Biden’s Inner Energy Circle

Biden claims Trump is lying about his intentions on fracking. I dive deep into those influencing Biden’s Climate Policy.

I first wrote this story as a draft two months ago and just couldn’t polish it off. However, that was before the second presidential debate and the election itself.

‘I will not ban fracking!’

You’ve likely seen the exchange. Joe Biden has pledged that he is not going to ban fracking. “No matter how many times Donald Trump lies. I am not banning fracking in Pennsylvania or anywhere else!”

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign didn’t have to go far to suggest that traditional fuels have no place in a Biden Administration:

…and then there was the second presidential debate.

“Fracking on federal land. No fracking on federal land.”

— President-Elect, Joe Biden

The Committees & Task Forces

In reality, neither of these candidates has any clue about energy policy. Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden should be ashamed of their lack of energy knowledge after serving in the White House for years.

Source: @roberthefnerv Twitter

Donald Trump, while on a campaign fundraiser hosted by Double Eagle in Midland, TX made all kinds of claims that are so far out of touch with reality in the oil and gas industry it made me realize how full of S*#% he was (@roberthefnerv). The same with Biden, as evidenced by his lack of knowledge of what his own policy position is on the subject at multiple points during his candidacy. In fact, Mike Pence is the only candidate who demonstrated working knowledge of energy, which was on full display during his Vice Presidential Debate route of Kamala Harris.

Instead of listening to the rhetoric of know-nothing candidates, we instead are required to focus on those Mr. Biden has chosen to include in his inner circle.

Tom Steyer: Chairman of Biden’s newly created Climate Engagement Advisory Council

This 70-person task force advises California Governor Newsom.

In the Political Climate podcast presented by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute on August 27, 2020, Steyer is quoted on the topic:

  • “I was one of the leaders to stop what I think will be the last proposed natural gas plant in California, which was the Puente Power Plant.”
  • “I’m 100% clear that the way to solve these problems is not fossil fuel plants.”
  • “We need to get the regulations streamlined so that companies can provide the clean systems that people want.”
  • “We are in a new regime from a climate standpoint; it’s not going back, we need to adapt to that new regime to ensure that we are 100% fossil fuel-free.”
  • “The Biden-Harris team has put together a plan that’s fantastic. It’s just about perfect for this time. It’s got $2 trillion of infrastructure spending in the first four years. It deals specifically with the needs of black and brown communities with air and water pollution.”
  • “The Biden Climate Plan is also a gigantic jobs program; it is a union jobs program and he has the Unions’ support.”
  • “100% clean electrical generation by 2035 is aggressive. It is more aggressive than the goals we have set in California.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Co-Leader of Biden’s Climate Task Force

AOC, the architect of the Green New Deal, is about as militant as it comes to traditional energy fuels.

Meanwhile, her militancy and influence are also infuriatingly for someone so dilatant. For example, she thinks fracking is a fuel (SMH).

Bernie Sanders: Head of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force

Similar to the other socialist contingent, AOC, Bernie has very similar views. In fact, AOC sits on this Task Force as well, which also includes Rep. Kathy Castor, Kerry Duggan, Catherine Flowers, Former Secretary of State John Kerry (co-author of the Paris Climate Accord), Rep. Conor Lamb, Gina McCarthy, Rep. Donald McEachin, and Varshini Prakash.

Bernie is clear-cut on his positions:

Obama’s Energy Cabinet by Comparison

President-Elect Biden’s committees — those he’s personally chosen to influence his energy policy — stands in stark contrast to that of Obama’s.

At the heart of the current debate for Secretary of Energy is Dr. Ernest Moniz, Obama’s former Secretary of Energy. Progressives urge Biden away from including Obama energy secretary in administration due to his unabashed support for natural gas as a bridge fuel for the United States and as a fuel to help lift billions out of Poverty (the #1 issue at the United Nations where Climate Change ranks #13/16 according to their millions of stakeholders). This is the man that helped negotiate the Iran Nuclear Deal as well. In fact, President Obama was very complimentary of fossil fuels at multiple State of the Union addresses as well — going as far as to take credit for America’s energy independence.

For those holding Biden out to be a centrist, which he has historically been, this should be a signal that he potentially deviated from center.

However, in all fairness to President-Elect Biden, those he chose to include in his circle as outlined above were named prior to November 3, 2020. Unlike what Hillary Clinton and the DNC did to Bernie Sanders and his supporters in 2016, it is more likely that Biden instead chose to include leftists in his party leading up to the election because he needed their votes. He couldn’t risk demoralizing the leftist (socialist) contingency of his base and still hope to win.

The Economist: A Democrat Defeat in Victory

The 2020 Election

The narratives leading up to the 2020 election seemed to mimic those of 2016, with predictions of a windfall for the Democratic Party — gaining seats in the House, flipping the Senate, and taking the White House. While Democrats won the White House, they did not fare as well down-ballot. Instead of adding to their majority in the house, Democrats lost 9 seats (and counting). Instead of flipping the Senate, Republicans appear to have held on (pending two races in Georgia).

“Besides Donald Trump, the election’s biggest loser was the Democratic Party.” — The Economist

The Economist, a left-leaning publication, goes on to describe the election’s aftermath. “Unlike President Trump, Mr. Biden’s party is already reckoning with its failure.” This sparked fierce debate behind closed doors. “A leaked record of a meeting between House Democrats last week — before Mr. Biden’s victory had been called — included angry exchanges between the two groups, which have continued on social media and in the pages of the New York Times. Abigail Spanberger, a narrowly re-elected Virginian moderate, warned that the party must resolve among other things “to not ever use the word socialist or socialism again”. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a proud democratic socialist, responded by suggesting the centre-left losers didn’t understand how to campaign on social media (unlike her, presumably, with her 10m Twitter followers). Moderates were outraged.” (The Economist)

The down-ballot results seem to have provided Mr. Biden the justification he needed to refute the leftists within his party. If Biden’s current shortlist for Secretary of Energy is any indication, it seems that he might be running back to centre.

Dr. Ernest Moniz: President and CEO, Energy Futures Initiative; former Obama Secretary of Energy; professor of physics and engineering systems emeritus at MIT

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall: Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology; former Obama deputy secretary of energy; former White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction

Arun Majumdar: Engineering professor at Stanford; former acting under secretary of Energy; founding director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy

It seems that a Biden Administration, in post-election reflection, might be far more centrist than leftists like AOC had hoped. A centrist Biden Administration just might push AOC to quit.

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Robert Hefner

Robert Hefner

Robert Hefner is an entrepreneur whose insight and theories have been reported nationally from the Wall Street Journal through to the Oil & Gas Investor.