Oz’s Focus on Oil Would Enrich Fossil Fuel Executives While Short-Changing Pennsylvanians

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Last night, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz faced off in the first and only debate in the Pennsylvania Senate race. Dr. Oz came out swinging, firing off personal attacks against Fetterman while offering no substantive policy solutions to address the key issues Pennsylvania voters are most concerned with, from the economy to job creation, and energy security. 

Dr. Oz tried to paint himself as a man of balance, even as he parroted the same extremist rhetoric as his Big Oil backers. Dr. Oz has taken $114,422 from the oil and gas industry for his Senate campaign. And the main SuperPAC supporting Dr. Oz with over $30 million in ad buys, the GOP’s Senate Leadership Fund, has taken over $12 million from companies and individuals working in the energy/natural resources industry. When it comes to energy, Oz has an incredibly myopic point of view – he sees fossil fuels as the be all end all, while totally ignoring the immense untapped renewable resources Pennsylvania has to offer. 

By completely writing off Pennsylvania’s renewable energy potential, not to mention the additional manufacturing capabilities for renewables like batteries and solar and wind power, Oz is short-changing Pennsylvanians and leaving money – and jobs – on the table. Oz repeatedly attacked Fetterman for his work to hold Big Oil accountable. The fact that Oz appeared more concerned about the welfare of Big Oil executives and wealthy shareholders than the working people he is running to represent says it all. 

 Here are some key examples of Dr. Oz’s Big Oil talking points from tonight’s debate:

  • Oz repeatedly called for “unleashing” Pennsylvania’s energy industry, but he failed to mention the Keystone State’s immense clean energy potential and the thousands of folks already working in clean energy.
    • Oz said unleashing Pennsylvania’s fossil fuel energy, “would help everybody.” This just isn’t true. While it would enrich his corporate donors, it would leave frontline communities vulnerable to health impacts and deny Pennsylvania workers the opportunity to lead one of the fastest-growing industries in the country.
    • Oz went on to promote a false choice, saying: “Why John Fetterman is so rigidly stuck on fighting against energy companies is stunning to me. Because it’s the jobs I want – tens of thousands of high paying jobs to help Pennsylvanians.” 
      • Pennsylvania was already home to 92,773 jobs in clean energy at the end of 2021. 
      • The Inflation Reduction Act, which Oz opposes and Fetterman supports, invests an estimated $270 million in large-scale clean power generation and storage in Pennsylvania between now and 2030, adding to the state’s already robust clean energy sector.
  • Oz emphasized the need for energy independence, but failed to provide a meaningful solution that doesn’t rely solely on oil and gas. 
    • Oz said that with “the energy we have in our country, we have control over our future.” 
    • While he’s close, he misses the mark by once again focusing solely on oil and gas. The reality is, those resources will run out, not to mention they are fueling the climate crisis and quickly becoming the energy of the past as market forces turn towards clean energy. 
    • 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. 

In stark contrast, Fetterman, who has not accepted any fossil fuel industry donations, took a much firmer stance holding the industry accountable for taking advantage of hard-working Pennsylvanians. 

  • Fetterman emphasized the connection between inflation and corporate greed, saying, “We need to fight inflation right now because it is a tax on working families. Dr. Oz can’t possibly understand what that is like – he has ten gigantic mansions. We must push back against corporate greed. We must make sure that we’re also pushing back on price gouging as well too. We need to make sure more is made in America, too.” 
  • Fetterman called out the true driver of rising prices and committed to tackling price-gouging, stating: “We have to keep pushing back on [price gouging]. [Oz] would never make that choice to fight for families here in Pennsylvania. He has never met an oil company he doesn’t swipe right about. He has never been able to stand up for working families all across Pennsylvania. We must push back. Inflation has hurt Americans and Pennsylvania’s families and it has given oil companies record profits.”
  • Fetterman stated that “energy independence is critical.” Unlike Oz, he highlighted the need for an approach that takes advantage of Pennsylvania’s clean energy resources.