Hannity’s Pennsylvania “Town Hall” Puts Big Oil Lies on Primetime

YORK, Penn. – Last night, Sean Hannity hosted a town hall with Dr. Oz, Doug Mastriano, and other hardline conservatives to amplify some of Big Oil’s biggest lies ahead of the midterm elections. What was supposed to be a town hall to offer Pennsylvanians an opportunity to learn more about where Republican candidates for governor and senate stand on key issues, was really an hour-long rant riddled with disinformation. 

This comes as Pennsylvanians face record high energy prices driven by corporate greed and price gouging, as well as the increasingly costly and devastating impacts of the climate crisis. Yet, neither Oz nor Mastriano offered any meaningful solutions to cut costs for working people or protect them against the changing climate. Instead, they spent an hour spreading fear and lies in hopes of tricking Pennsylvanians into voting for out-of-touch candidates who care more about aiding and abetting wealthy Big Oil executives and their shareholders than ordinary people.

Here are some key moments from the town hall:

  • While Oz, Mastriano, and the others were quick to talk about high gas prices, they failed to mention that corporate greed is driving high gas prices. Fossil fuel executives and their wealthy shareholders are raking in record profits as Pennsylvanians pay the price. Big Oil has made more than $210 billion just in the first six months of 2022 and another quarter of sky-high profits are expected starting next week.
    • And Big Oil is pouring those ill-gotten profits into key elections, backing Republicans who will fight for their interests, enabling them to continue price-gouging consumers and blocking overwhelmingly popular investments in clean energy and climate.
    • Dr. Oz has taken $114,422 from the oil and gas industry for his Senate campaign. Fetterman vowed not to accept fossil fuel industry donations.
  • Dr. Oz noted that reliance on fossil fuels is a national security issue, saying: “But maybe for most of us, the most important reality is it makes us subservient to our enemies. If you want energy independence and energy dominance then get natural gas out of Pennsylvania.”
    • Oz got one thing right here – we cannot achieve true energy independence until we break our addiction to fossil fuels. Clean energy, produced in Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S. is the key to unleashing true energy independence. 
    • Unlike clean energy, no matter where you drill or produce, oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) is sold on the global market, leaving Pennsylvanians subject to the whims of OPEC and authoritarians like Putin.   
  • Mastriano alluded to one of Big Oil-backed Republicans favorite lies, the purported “war on energy.” He said, “On Day One we’re gonna rip away the restrictions on our energy sector. We’re gonna drill and dig like never before. We’re gonna be out of the carbon tax.”   
    • The reality is, domestic energy production is at record highs. U.S. crude oil production has actually grown under President Biden and is projected to break annual production records by 2023. Natural gas production already set a new annual record in 2021 and hit a record for daily production in September 2022. 
  • Hannity chided Lt. Gov. John Fetterman for being a “lifelong opponent of the fossil fuel industry,” saying that Fetterman would prosecute energy CEOs. Hannity showing more concern about the welfare of Big Oil executives says it all. His faux outrage isn’t about relieving working people from the burden of high energy costs, it’s about protecting the ultra-wealthy.
    • Fetterman has made it clear that he is willing to stand up to greedy corporations, especially when they take advantage of hard-working Pennsylvanians. 
    • Fetterman has praised the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which invests an estimated $270 million in large-scale clean power generation and storage in Pennsylvania between now and 2030. These investments will add to the state’s already robust clean energy sector, which accounted for 92,773 jobs at the end of 2021.

This so-called town hall left voters without answers to critical questions less than three weeks from Election Day. Oz and Mastriano owe it to voters to answer the following questions related to climate action, lowering gas prices, and creating good-paying jobs in the already-booming clean energy industry.

  1. Can you explain your opposition to the Inflation Reduction Act, which experts say will create millions of clean energy jobs over the next decade, save the average Pennsylvania homeowner 13.5% on their utility bills, and invest $270 million in large-scale clean power generation and storage?
  2. What steps would you take to protect Pennsylvanians threatened by extreme weather, and how can voters trust anything you say on the topic when you’ve made discredited claims about climate change throughout your campaign?
  3. Earlier this year, the U.S. House passed legislation prohibiting oil and gas companies from profiteering at the pump. If elected, would you be willing to stand up to the powerful oil and gas lobby and support similar legislation in the Senate?
  4. Clean energy industries are projected to see significant growth over the coming decade, adding to Pennsylvania’s already robust clean energy sector. How would you work to bring clean energy jobs to the Keystone State and ensure Pennsylvanians are well-positioned to compete for these new jobs? 
  5. Pennsylvanians face rising home energy costs, with an average low-income family in the state spending 8-10% of their income on home energy costs. What efforts would you support to help lower these costs for Pennsylvania families?  
  6. Do you support legislation like the Environmental Justice for All Act — co-sponsored by Senator Casey  – that addresses the disproportionate effects of federal laws and programs on communities of color, low-income communities, and tribal and Indigenous communities?