DOE and BLM: Seemingly Contradictory Energy Strategy

Secretary Granholm at CeraWeek .Bloomberg photo.

Right hand-left hand. Interior vs. Energy.. with the White House as referee or ????

I’d like to start with Secretary Granholm’s statement at CERA week. From an article at E&E News..Energywire (open access).

The Biden administration’s seemingly contradictory energy and climate strategy was on full display here Wednesday: Try to pivot away from fossil fuels, but promote them for now.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm faced that paradox as she addressed energy leaders and insiders gathered in a hotel ballroom, praising the uptick in U.S. oil and gas exports during Russia’s war in Ukraine while touting a clean energy shift.

“Europe is poised to reach the spring without major outages or shortages, and that’s thanks in no small part to many in this room, who have been producing and exporting and working with the U.S. and with allies,” Granholm said.

“Indeed, the U.S. has become in this year an indispensable energy partner to our allies and a global energy powerhouse,” she said to applause.


Meanwhile, in another blow to the fossil fuel sector, the Biden administration said this week that a new five-year plan for offshore oil and gas drilling may be delayed until December (Greenwire, March 8).

To “complete all necessary analyses, approvals, and mandatory procedural steps, Interior requires until December 2023 to finish and approve the next Program,” said Walter Cruickshank, deputy director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, in a legal filing.

That prompted a sharp rebuke from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a key architect of the Inflation Reduction Act and a fossil fuel ally.

“The Department of the Interior made it painfully clear — again — that they are putting their radical climate agenda ahead of our nation’s energy security, and they are willing to go to great lengths to do it,” Manchin said in a statement Wednesday, saying the December deadline is “18 months late.”


Despite Granholm’s comments commending the fossil fuel sector, she used much of her speech to champion a clean energy transition.

Granholm announced $6 billion in new grants for industrial decarbonization projects, which may involve carbon capture and hydrogen. And she urged the fossil fuel sector to help develop those and other technologies.

“The U.S. is the indispensable nation, and our companies are producing irresistible products. And this administration is all in on it,” Granholm said. “We need the energy sector stepping up and that certainly includes the oil and gas industry.”

“You have the skill sets and knowledge to build some of these critical technologies at scale,” she said.

There’s also a story at Bloomberg that looks interesting but is paywalled:
Energy Secretary Granholm Changes the Tune on Big Oil
Just five months ago, President Biden was accusing the oil industry of profiteering. Yesterday, his energy secretary went to Houston to shower executives with praise.

You’d almost think there are three loci of control… the pragmatic DOE, the ideological DOI and the White House trying to placate key Demo interest groups without going to far into doing things that won’t look good for the 2024 election. The oil and gas industry.. demonized by some, and flagellated to produce more by others in the same Admin. If I were a political science professor, I would find this fascinating. What causes agency divergence? Career feds, or loyalties of politicals to the interest groups they came from? When are divergences tolerated, and when are they expunged?

2 thoughts on “DOE and BLM: Seemingly Contradictory Energy Strategy”

  1. I will add a fourth locus. KT McFarland, learned, experienced advisor to Presidents and industry stated this week that the path to preservation of Ukraine, NATO, and peace with Russia lies at our feet. She says the path to peace is to go full blown fossil fuel exploitation. Overwhelm the oil and gas production of all other nations to support NATO, EU, and to provide the energy to have a thriving US economy as we transition from China supply to home grown manufacture which takes time. A decade. That cuts the money to Russia. That cuts the economy of China facing huge labor issues of no workers due to decades of “one child policy.” Male child in China is to take care of parents in old age. So “choice” resulted in millions and millions of aborted females. Males, despite “woke” LGBTQ propaganda, cannot further the species alone.

    the KT McFarland strategy would overwhelm the world with ever cheaper fossil fuels while the US Government gained billions in revenue to invest in alternative fuel production and installations with subsidies or tax forgiveness. It is a lot easier to decommission a fossil fuel energy production facility that to build replacement power. And faster to raze than to build. New builds are NEVER on time, under budget or fully operational from the git-go. Engineers and architects are writing books about that and MegaProjects like London underground rail lines. New Airports world wide. Bridges over troubled waters. And new and unproven alternative energy production. The most destructive outcome of Biden energy diktats is to raze beyond replacement capacity. That can easily happen. Worse, electric energy is prone to vast losses in transmission, and is difficult to bring online and off again to meet demand, thus demand has to be anticipated at a loss of efficiency. Our existing energy system has evolved for over 133 years as an organized system. It is not a picture puzzle where you can pull and insert another piece. Herky Jerky is a failed energy distribution system. Brown and black outs are a failure of planning. Much easier to have too much and high reserve capacity as we transit to “cleaner” energy as an intact nation, EU, NATO, and a Russia dealing with new leadership. Bury them in our energy largesse, starve their economy and then sue for peace.

  2. Mr Thomas offers a promising strategy that will strengthen democracy around the world and as a result deter China from further expansion/aggression in the South China Sea while providing the economic base to make the necessary improvements in the grid to bring about a renewal energy US economy. The regulation maze is a problem but following Mr. Manchin’s directives will require a change in the “policies” of corporate America which has a long history of prioritizing profits over the best interests of society by denying or avoiding responsibilities for the externalities of their activities, e.g. remove a mountain top but “spend/invest” the money to preserve quality of streams and ground water; frack but “spend/invest” the money to handle fracking water and methane leaks to truly minimize environmental and medical health damage. Short term profits will not be maximized but the net gain for the earth/world population will be exponential over time.


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