CERAWeek returned to Houston this week after a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the last 40 years, world leaders, energy ministers, and oil and gas executives have gathered to discuss the future of the world’s energy system. This week members of the Biden administration have flown into the city for their time on the stage, including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and John Kerry, Climate Czar.
While walking down a hallway after delivering her speech, she was asked a question by a FOX reporter. As he began his question, she acted startled that someone was speaking to her, and then her pace picked up. She walked briskly away from him. Her aides physically blocked reporters from moving near her. The FOX reporter was asked his name after he got his question out. Granholm’s press secretary chuckled.
“Hi, Secretary Granholm,” Fox News Senior Political Editor Andrew Murray asked the secretary as she walked down a hallway flanked by her aides following her speech at CERAWeek by S&P Global in Houston. Granholm recoiled in surprise as Murray attempted to ask her a question about Iran and gas prices.
“Is there any talk about bringing Iran back to the table because of gas prices,” Murray asked.
Granholm continued walking while her press secretary, Charisma Troiano, asked reporters to direct questions to her instead of Granholm while aides physically blocked reporters from getting close to the energy secretary.
That was a perfectly legit question, given that there has been lots of reporting that the administration is looking for oil from several nefarious actors around the world. The Biden administration is trying to bring back the nuclear deal with Iran. Instead of answering the question, Granholm’s aid put a folder in front of Murray’s cell phone camera when he identified himself. Her aides continued to rush her away. Where’s all that transparency we were promised by the Big Guy?
What is striking about Granholm’s speech at the CERAWeek conference is that suddenly she is pro-oil and gas drilling. Remember when she first went to work as the energy secretary and she was asked about her plans for oil and gas drilling? She laughed and admitted she had no such plan. Remember during the Colonial Pipeline crisis when Granholm said if you drove an electric car, this would not be affecting you? Good times, good times. Now she is lecturing world energy leaders that there must be an increase in oil and gas drilling.
“In this moment of crisis we need more supply,” Granholm told attendees during her speech. “Right now we need oil and gas production to rise to meet current demand.”
She told the audience, “We are on a war footing,”
Bravo to BP, Exxon, Shell and others in the private sector who are withdrawing from Russian operations. But there’s more to do. There are more battles.
Putin’s actions have sent the oil market reeling. I don’t have to tell you that when oil is $109 a barrel, and $4.25 at the pump, the impacts are severe and real for people who buy your product—regular working folks, from Uber drivers to teachers to farmers.
So, what else can we do in this fight? We are on a war footing—an emergency—and we have to responsibly increase the short-term supply where we can right now to stabilize the market and to minimize harm to American families.
That means releases from strategic reserves across the world, like we’ve done. And that means you produce more right now, where and if you can.
You’ll note she talks about a short term solution. She acts as though oil and gas producers can just turn production on and off at a moment’s notice. Now she says the Department of Energy and the Biden administration are ready to work with oil and gas producers. The problem with her plea to them now is that from the time Biden entered the White House he has been hellbent on destroying domestic oil and gas production. Energy companies are wary of the Green New Deal cult that demands an end to drilling for fossil fuels and choking off financial funding for oil companies from financial institutions.
Jen Psaki likes to point to the 9,000 leases not being used. I’m not sure that’s an accurate number but the point is that a lease is just one step in the drilling process. Next, the driller must get permits and that often takes years. There is an abundance of red tape in the process. The oil and gas industry is the most regulated industry in the country. Nothing happens overnight.
The war in Ukraine has added to the rise in gas prices at the pump. Granholm likes to pretend that prices were not on the rise for consumers before Russia invaded Ukraine but anyone who fills up a gas tank knows that gas prices have increased ever since Biden took office. During the pandemic, energy producers concentrated on paying down debt and not on increasing drilling, knowing that obstacles were continuing to come from the Biden administration. From the time he took office, Biden and his cabinet members have made it clear that they are only interested in clean energy. Now Granholm declares, “We can walk and chew gum at the same time.”
The oil and gas companies have been working on clean energy for years. That may come as a surprise, considering how demonized the industry has been by the environmental wackos. The transition away from fossil fuels is a long way off, no matter how badly the extremists want to banish fossil fuels. Oil and gas produced in America is the cleanest, while the oil the administration wants to import from countries that hate us is not.
The solution is an all-of-the-above approach. Granholm is right – we can walk and chew gum. That’s what we were doing in the previous administration and for the first time, America was energy independent. Energy independence holds the price down for consumers. This is just basic economics. For Biden to accuse oil companies of gouging prices and being the cause of the mess he has gotten us into is repulsive. Jennifer Granholm can run from reporters all she wants but there is no hiding from her incompetence and that of her boss.