Common Sense Energy: Follow the Money ? - TEA



Common Sense Energy: Follow the Money ?

Your Weekly Dose of “Common Sense Energy News

Presented by:

The Empowerment Alliance

January 28th, 2022

As in most things, following the money tends to provide interesting insight.

Even though investment management company Blackrock does not have a formal policy to divest from fossil fuels, the company has encouraged other investors to do so and has reduced its own investments in this critical domestic industry. This presents a problem for states like West Virginia and Texas where a significant portion of their economic activity is based on the fossil fuel industry. West Virginia State Treasurer, Riley Moore, took the next step for the state to “no longer use a BlackRock Inc. investment fund as part of its banking transactions.”

Other banks and investment companies have signaled similar actions of reducing their investments in the American fossil fuel energy industry. So many banks have done this that more than a dozen state treasurers signed an open letter to the banking industry “asking financial institutions to award financing based on an unbiased, non-political basis.”

So what is pushing banks and Wall Street to reduce their investments in reliable and abundant American energy sources? Political pressure from the Biden Administration.

Policies like the Treasury’s guidance for Multilateral Development Banks and the President’s nominees like Saule Omarova and now Sarah Bloom Raskin are each bringing pressure in their own way to oppose a critical American industry.

Senator Toomey (R-PA) summarized it, “Sarah Bloom Raskin has specifically called for the Fed to pressure banks to choke off credit to traditional energy companies and to exclude those employers from any Fed emergency lending facilities,” he said in a statement. “I have serious concerns that she would abuse the Fed’s narrow statutory mandates on monetary policy and banking supervision to have the central bank actively engaged in capital allocation.”

Bottom Line: Why are people losing jobs in the industry? Why are energy prices climbing? Follow the money back to the Biden admin’s policies assaulting the domestic energy industry on all fronts, including finance.

Driving the news this week is the situation along the Ukrainian and Russian border. Among the complexities of the situation is the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which connects Russia directly to central Europe under the Baltic Sea. Although it isn’t yet operational due to regulatory hurdles in Germany and the rising potential for armed conflict, President Biden waived the sanctions on the project paving the way for construction to be completed.

Keep in mind that even before the current crisis, Europe was starving for inexpensive energy sources to fill the void left when wind doesn’t blow, the sun isn’t shining and cold weather drives up demand. Exacerbated by a restriction in supply of reliable fuel sources like natural gas, energy prices skyrocketed, leaving consumers paying the bill and leaders looking for a lifeline that isn’t tied to Russia.

So the Biden Administration’s move to withdraw support for the MedEast Pipeline, which would have originated in Israel, one of America’s key allies in the region, is baffling. In short, the Administration’s hypocrisy continues to manifest. On one hand, he’s paving the way for a natural gas pipeline that connects Europe to one of America’s geopolitical antagonists while on the other hand, he’s preventing an ally from building a key piece of infrastructure that could prevent a future energy crisis.

Bottom Line: We all agree that Russia should not control the supply of European energy, right? Then we all agree it’s nonsense for POTUS to hand Putin his pipeline while blocking those here at home and from our allies.

Last week, TEA shared the news that Virginia Governor, Glenn Youngkin, plans to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Recent polling shows just how popular that move is.

The Jefferson Policy Journal reported on a poll in Virginia that shows significant opposition to increasing consumer costs. When asked whether they support the increases in bills and taxes in order to pay for the conversion to renewable energy sources, respondents overwhelmingly opposed it.

“73 percent opposed the new carbon tax that now appears on Dominion Energy Virginia monthly bills. It was imposed in September to recover from customers the dominant electricity provider’s costs under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)”

Bottom Line: Even if consumers support the policy intent, the message is clear: costs matter. Forcing people to pay more for green new deal style policies is a losing position at the local, state and federal levels.

Gas prices are once again on the rise. Which is pretty embarrassing for the President, considering how much his administration claimed victory for the recent (but short-lived) price relief.

As of today, the national average for a gallon of gas is sitting at $3.35, up 3 cents from last week. Unfortunately, Americans shouldn’t be waiting for gasoline prices to come back down anytime soon. Experts are predicting oil will hit $100/barrel this year, which would mean average prices for a gallon of gas will be over $4 in most states. Buckle up!

Hearing on “Clean Energy” And Manufacturing: On Wednesday, February 2, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will hold a hearing on “Manufacturing a Clean Energy Future: Climate Solutions Made in America.”

Wisconsin Line 5 Public Hearing: On Wednesday, February 2, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will hold a virtual public hearing on the environmental impact of a proposed relocation of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline through three Wisconsin counties.

Energy And Interior Nomination Hearings: On Thursday, February 3, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources will hold nomination hearings for positions in the Energy and Interior departments.

On Episode 7 of the Empowering America Podcast, executive director Matt Hammond speaks with Congressman Troy Balderson (R-OH). 

Matt and Rep. Balderson discuss the many ways that the oil and natural gas industry benefits local communities, and how the Biden Administration needs to do a better job at communicating information about how this industry’s efforts are helping save money, jobs, and emissions.

To listen to Episode 7 on Spotify, click here.

To listen to Episode 7 on Apple podcasts, click here.