Biden’s New Tune
Battered by rising energy prices, the Biden administration is now talking a good game about increasing supply and reducing prices. And yet it is still acting with, well, a forked tongue—that is, loudly cheering for more energy while still quietly seeking to limit it.
On March 31, the White House ordered the release of more oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and, in the meantime, the president himself was talking. And talking. Biden declared that he will “work like to the devil” to step up supply at the pump, while putting all the blame for price hikes on, bizarrely, Covid 19 and Vladimir Putin. Furthermore, pulling out an old Democratic playbook, he accused the oil companies of “hoarding” supply, as if the supply shrinkage of the last year—directly traceable to the Biden administration’s anti-fossil fuel executive order of January 27, 2021—was somehow Exxon’s fault.
In a sharp response to such demagoguery, Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) tweeted, “Our oil reserves are meant to assist us in times of emergency, NOT to compensate for bad policies.” And Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) added more context:
Biden’s plan to “increase domestic production” is to blame American energy companies saddled with regulatory uncertainty by his administration and lawsuits by members of his party. This is an absence of leadership.
Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, issued a detailed fact sheet, cuttingly titled, “A Promise Kept: Biden’s War on American Energy.” It lists the administration’s actions on energy side by side with a timeline of rising gas prices since Biden’s inauguration.
Yes, the Biden administration would have us believe that it is doing everything possible to provide energy to Europe and to keep energy prices low and to fight “climate change.” In other words, a trifecta. Do you think Biden can pull it off? Me neither. Yet it seems that, even now, most top Democrats think that of the three goals, fighting climate change is the most important. As Biden himself said on Thursday, “Ultimately, we and the whole world need to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels altogether.” So sorry, Ukraine! So sorry, American motorists! Our real priority is the penguins!
Energy Talk is Cheap
To be sure, some figures within the Biden administration have been saying that the U.S. should produce more. For instance, back on March 9, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm flew to Houston to tell an energy conference:
We are on war footing. That means [crude oil] releases from the strategic reserves all around the world. And that means you producing more right now if and when you can. I hope your investors are saying this to you as well. In this moment of crisis, we need more supply.
That sounds good. In fact, in past “war footings,” the Oil Patch has come through, big. For instance, during World War II, domestic oil production increased by a third. Moreover, the U.S. built two oil pipelines, connecting Texas to the Northeast; each, including feeder lines, was some 1500 miles long—and they only took about a year to build.
So America has done it, and can do it again, IF, that is, the laws were changed to once again permit Can Do. Most obviously, there’s the issue of environmental impact statements, a requirement dating back to 1970, and a process routinely used by paperwork-minded greens to block just about everything. The Biden folks haven’t said boo about changing any of that.
The Deep Green State
Indeed, the Biden administration never talks about changing any environmental regs to actually allow for more American energy production. Not Granholm, not Biden, not any of them.
And why not? One simple reason: The Bidenites just aren’t into it. Yes, Granholm might have said nice-sounding things in Texas, and Biden, ditto, at the White House, and yet in the corridors of policymaking, nothing has really changed.
You see, the greens are arguably the strongest single group within the Democratic coalition, intellectually, financially, and bureaucratically. And so the Deep Green State never sleeps.
We might consider: On March 21, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), chaired by a Biden appointee, Gary Gensler, voted to require that all publicly traded companies calculate and publicize their CO2 emissions, as well as the “risks” that these emissions supposedly pose to the company. Obviously, it’s a mickey mouse rule designed to a) signal virtue, b) give the greens media-friendly ammunition, c) serve up to the trial lawyers easy cases for zillion-dollar shareholder lawsuits.
Shareholder activism on climate change is already increasing, as rich green groups use their money-muscle to sabotage carbon-energy production. And as Breitbart News’ John Carney reported on Thursday, this sort of fiscal sabotage—all legal, of course, blessed by the finest minds at Yale Law School—is working. That is, big American banks are shying away from investing in American energy. So, while Biden is talking about more energy, investment is walking—in the other direction.
And that’s the plan, as advocated by, to name another name, Sarah Bloom Raskin. Remember her? Back in January, she was nominated by the administration for the number two post at the Federal Reserve System, which would have given her vast oversight powers over the financial system, including energy investment. As this author wrote, here and here, Raskin was a declared champion of using the Fed’s power to strangle oil companies. Mercifully, Raskin was blocked from confirmation by the Senate, and she withdrew her name on March 15—although we haven’t heard the last from her. Indeed, in the anti-carbon fuel action of Gensler and the SEC, we see that Raskinite ideology very much abides.
The SEC’s move provoked Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) to erupt in a stern letter to Gensler; later, Hagerty tweeted, “Biden has destroyed our energy independence and is kowtowing to the far-left extreme of his party, all to the detriment of our economy.” Indeed, Hagerty, who is doing his homework, also sent an equally tough letter to another Deep Statist in league with the greens, Scott Nathan, head of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC):
I urge DFC to make a concerted effort to help fund investments that would allow the fossil fuel industry to deliver cheap, reliable, and environmentally responsible energy for the world, without forcing them into the arms of adversaries….
Of course, so long as the Democrats control Congress, Republicans such as Hagerty have little power over outfits such as the SEC and the DFC. Thus, for now, what’s striking is the determination of inside-the-Beltway greens to continue green business as usual, pretending that Russia is some unrelated topic.
Needless to say, these D.C. greens have plenty of outside help. For instance, reacting to a White House announcement on March 25 that it had made a deal to supply an additional 15 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the European Union, the New York Times—the newspaper that every elite Democrat across the country reads—worried that the deal “locks Europe into the gas habit for longer.” And another green told the Times that the LNG agreement “makes no sense.” Makes no sense, that is, because the problem, as greens see it, isn’t that the West is financing the Russians as they bombard Mariupol, but rather, that an iceberg somewhere is melting.
Yes, within the MSM, eagerness to work the climate change beat is as strong as ever. As another journalist tweeted on March 21:
Headed to @washingtonpost to cover one of journalism’s most important + challenging stories: the energy transition. Climate change is no longer a story. It is THE story.
Got that? Climate change is THE story. So don’t bother about Russia and Ukraine, or China and Taiwan, or criminal predators and their victims on the streets of the USA—or anything else. Worry about the sea level in the year 2100.
Indeed, even media outlets that might be expected to focus on the crisis in Ukraine sometimes have a not-so-well-hidden green agenda. For instance, War on the Rocks, supposedly about military matters, made room for green zealots who sneaked in AOC-type authoritarianism:
Western governments now have the opportunity to implement decisive and orderly conservation policies. Not only are compulsory conservation measures necessary to mitigate the negative consequences of a global energy scramble, but they can also generate economic, strategic, and environmental benefits. Governments might consider, for example, mandatory speed limits, car-free weekends, mandatory work-from-home, incentivized public transport, reduced non-essential lights at night, rolling outages, private transport rationing, and mandatory indoor temperature limits. Conserving energy keeps consumer energy prices down, increases energy security, and reduces emissions.
Yes, these greens would have us believe that we have the “opportunity” to implement “decisive” policies. (As an aside, have you ever noticed that the greens want to be tougher on regular Americans than on anyone else?)
In the meantime, liberal think tanks are often just as committed to green dogma. Here, for example, is the advice of a March 1 report from the Tax Policy Center, a joint effort by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, two blue-chip (very blue) outfits: “Policymakers could embrace higher oil prices as the necessary cost of both containing Russia’s aggression and protecting the environment.” Then, the document helpfully added, policymakers should take the next step of inflicting more pain on consumers: “Focusing on the longer term, they could design a plan to gradually increase taxes on motor fuels to reflect their full environmental cost and help speed electrification of the vehicle fleet.”
In this sort of intellectual, er, hothouse, it is little wonder that Democratic politicians still agree with, and play to, the greens. For instance, Michigan’s attorney general, Dana Nessel, is still at it, suing to shut down an energy pipeline.
To be sure, some Democratic pols, eyeing the polls—and the 2022 midterm elections—are sensing the electoral danger of runaway greenery. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Chairman of the Democrats’ House campaign arm, admitted recently that gas prices are “a real problem.”
Amusingly, Democrats are coming up with a response that is, even by their standards, breathtakingly cynical: They want to send rebate checks to ordinary people to cover gas prices.
So let’s get this straight: Democratic policies made gas prices higher by cutting supply. Of course, Democrats don’t want to do anything about supply, but they do want to assist people by putting more (borrowed) money in their hands. This will in turn boost demand and put upward pressure on prices. But Dems hope that people will notice the rebate check right now, and not see the higher prices down the road. Are Americans really so dumb that they can be bamboozled like this? Democrats hope so.
Speaking of money—this time, big money—the Democrats are raking it in from the greens. On March 14, Biden held his first in-person fundraiser since becoming president. As The Washington Post reported, the event was oriented toward “Democrats focused on climate and environmental issues.” And sure enough, the fat cats got what they paid for: In the first minute of his remarks, the president said of climate change, “It is the existential threat to humanity. And it’s not hyperbole.”
Green donors love to hear the “e” word, existential, because it flatters them into feeling good about the policy choice they’ve made, attaching planetary significance to their Tesla, even as actual immediate threats proliferate.
So now, we’re starting to see the picture better: All those private-jet-flying eco-fat-cats, the folks that presidential climate envoy John Kerry epitomizes, as well as fronts for, want to see climate at the top of the Biden agenda. So Putin, Shmutin—let’s get going on windmills! (But not anywhere near Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, or other ritzy precincts.)
In fact, the same day as Biden’s fundraiser, March 14—three weeks after the Russians invaded Ukraine—a full 89 House Democrats wrote to Biden, imploring him to get back on the green track, starting with the $555 billion in “climate investments” left over from Build Back Better. Interestingly, although not surprisingly, the letter makes no mention of Ukraine, or Russia, or rising energy prices. And, in fact, Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget, released on March 28, is stuffed with so much green pork that even a vegan will love it.
Meanwhile, on March 31, House Democrats blocked a Republican “all of the above” energy bill—for the fourth time. And Secretary Granholm—who talked briefly about drilling more—went on MSNBC to assure liberals that all her talk was just temporary tactic; the real goal is still, always, to move toward green energy. In the opinion of Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), “Ditching fossil fuels makes even more sense now.” (And if you own a Tesla, or solar panel farm, maybe that’s true.)
So we can see: Democrats say that they want to help American energy consumers, just as they say that they want to help Ukraine. And yet at the same time, in opposing expanded American energy production, they’re helping Russia. And of course, they’re most eager to work with the greens—their media mentors, as well as their campaign funders and other Great Resetters. And that’s the way it is: Greens first, America second. (And as for poor Ukraine, it ranks somewhere below the polar bears.)
Oh, and one last thing: Keep your eye on Sarah Bloom Raskin. On the day that she withdrew from Fed consideration, Biden said of her, “I am grateful for Sarah’s service to our country and for her willingness to serve again, and I look forward to her future contributions to our country (emphasis added).”
I added that emphasis because, yes, you’ll be seeing her again. Her work—taking away our jobs, while maybe saving us from rogue CO2 molecules—is nowhere near complete.