CNN anchor John Berman challenged Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm directly during a Wednesday morning interview, asking how President Joe Biden could expect oil companies to absorb losses in the near term while his administration worked to put them out of business entirely.
Berman pointed to the fact that Biden and other members of the administration have hardly been shy about their long-term goals of putting an end to fossil fuels in an effort to balance out the impact of climate change. He then argued that convincing oil companies to absorb profit losses to help bring down inflation and gas prices — which have been bouncing from one record high to the next — could be a hard sell if they believe their entire existence to be at risk once the immediate crisis is averted.
CNN's John Berman asks Energy Sec. Granholm how President Joe Biden could expect oil companies to absorb losses in the near term while his administration works to put them out of business entirely. pic.twitter.com/UpJiBR6roJ
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) June 15, 2022
Berman and Granholm discussed President Biden’s call to oil companies, criticizing them for bringing in record profits while Americans pay more at the pump almost by the day. “Your companies need to work with my Administration to bring forward concrete, near-term solutions,” Biden said, promising to use every available tool to help bring costs down.
Berman asked Granholm whether a surtax on oil companies was one of the things Biden was considering, and she replied, “It is a tool. I’m not saying he would support it. He wants to hear from the companies first.”
Noting that the administration had been clear about its plan to move the country away from dependence on fossil fuels, Berman pointed out that asking oil companies to invest more in production might hit them the wrong way.
“Five years from now, 10 years from now, are you telling me you want them drilling for more oil? You want the refineries putting out more gasoline in five years or 10 years?” Berman asked.
“What we’re saying is today we need that supply increased,” Granholm said, but she immediately pivoted to say that the increase was designed to be a temporary fix for an immediate problem — and the administration is still committed to getting away from fossil fuels. “Of course, in five or 10 years, actually in the immediate, we are also pressing on the accelerator, if you will, to move toward clean energy so that we don’t have to be under the thumb of petro-dictators like Putin.”
“But that’s the problem for these companies. These companies are saying, you know, ‘You’re asking me to do more now, invest more now, when in fact five or 10 years from now we don’t think that demand will be there, and the administration doesn’t even necessarily want it to be there,'” Berman explained.