Biden's energy secretary: Oil companies need to step up while we shut them down, or something

Biden's energy secretary: Oil companies need to step up while we shut them down, or something

Sometimes, there are no words.

But let me find a few anyway.

This exchange took place yesterday morning on CNN’s New Daywhere even John Berman seemed nonplussed by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. The energy czar demanded that oil companies invest in the very activities that Joe Biden pledged to eliminate — exploration, extraction, and refining of fossil fuels. Thanks to Biden’s policies that he implemented on Day One with his EO 13990, energy companies have stopped investing in expanded production.

Berman can’t quite wrap his mind around how Granholm expects these same companies to sink massive amounts of capital into an industry that Biden’s actively sabotaging …. and neither can we:

I’ve included a bit more of the relevant exchange from the transcript:

BERMAN: And I just want to be crystal clear about this, it’s possible, you’re saying, that he would support a surtax on excess profits from oil companies?

GRANHOLM: I’m just saying that no tool has been taken off the table and he wants to hear from the refineries, the companies who are doing refining, to see what is the bottleneck and how we can increase supply. And he’s also asking, of course, for the oil and gas industry to increase supply as well by drilling more. They are about 100 rigs shy of what they were before Covid. They need to increase supply.

If Biden wants more drilling, that’s definitely an about-face. He ran in the primaries on the explicit promise to end drilling, and not just on federal lands. Biden’s climate czar John Kerry declared this week that “we absolutely don’t” need to drill more or refine more, calling that a “false narrative”:

That sounds a lot more consistent with Biden’s policies than what Granholm’s slinging here.  If Biden actually wanted more drilling and expansion, he’d rescind EO 13990 to remove the regulatory and financial disincentives on expanded operations at the very least. Biden hasn’t budged on that, nor has he even bothered to claim that he’s rethinking his pledge to “transition” away from oil altogether.

And neither is Granholm, for that matter, which contributes to Berman’s bemusement. That’s not the only “false narrative entering into this” from Granholm, either:

GRANHOLM: There was a study — there was a study yesterday that came out of Reuters and it said that while the profits in the first quarter were record profits —

BERMAN: Do you want — can I ask —

GRANHOLM: Were record profits, we also know that they returned about $9.5 billion to shareholders. If they had even taken half of that, we’re not against profit, obviously, they’ve taken just half of that and reinvested it in supply, we would see hundreds more rigs, we would see hundreds of thousands more barrels of oil. We’re asking them to be in this era, where we’re on a war footing, to consider increasing supply, both domestically and, of course, internationally.

The United States is not at war, so why would oil companies be on a “war footing”? If the US is on a “war footing,” why hasn’t Biden revised regulatory conditions to incentivize production?

As far as “record profits” are concerned, the net profit margin of most oil companies is still in the single-digit range as I have extensively demonstrated this past week. The reason that oil companies are conducting stock buybacks rather than investing in expanded oil production and refining is because those require massive long-term investments. Biden’s made it clear that he plans to make those investments fail, and soon, so what else are they supposed to do with the money? Stock buybacks are the rational choice when hostile administrations make all other investments all but certain to lose money.

Berman gets close to that point next:

BERMAN: Do you want – do you want – do you — five years from now, ten years from now, are you telling me you want them drilling for more oil, you want the refineries putting out more gasoline in five or ten years?

GRANHOLM: What we’re saying is today we need that supply increased. Of course, in five or ten years – actually, in the immediate, we are also pressing on the accelerator, if you will, to move toward clean energy so that we don’t have to be under the thumb of petro dictators like Putin or at the whim of the volatility of fossil fuels.

Ultimately, America will be most secure when we can rely upon our own clean, domestic production of energy through solar, through wind, through –

BERMAN: But that’s the problem for these companies. These companies are saying, you know, you’re asking me to do more now, invest more now, when, in fact, five or ten years from now we don’t think that demand will there be. And the administration doesn’t even necessarily want it to be there.

Oh, the demand will be there. The regulatory environment, however, will prevent these companies from meeting it, and not just in five years but right the **** now. Biden insists on curtailing all of these activities no matter what the demand might be as a way to pander to radical environmentalists. That’s what the drilling-lease lawsuit is designed to facilitate, in fact; it sets up Granholm and Biden to cut a deal through the courts blocking access to oil leases that they can then blame on the judiciary, all while bypassing Congress.

This administration has pulled out all of the stops to block expansion of American oil and natural gas production. Now that they got their wish, though, the effects are so unpopular that Biden and Granholm have turned to shameless demagoguery as a means to avoid accountability for their own policies and schemes. That demagoguery has gotten brazen enough that even friendlier media outlets have stopped buying it — and voters have long since seen through it.

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Ben Shapiro 12:01 AM on June 01, 2023