Meet the most fossil fuel-friendly member of Biden's cabinet

Originally published at:


Sunrise Movement Climate Activists Call On Biden To ‘Keep His Promises’

As open as I am to pleasant surprises, when it comes to expecting any real progress from the Ctrl-Z Administration it’s best to…


It seems like the Office of Public Engagement is the PR part of the Department of Labor. This seems like a pretty good place to stash someone who is a bit iffy on the environment, since they will have little to do with environmental policy or enforcement.

Edit: It might not be under the DOL, but another White House office which was started under Obama and either eliminated to sidelined under Trump. Still just a PR position, though.


Apparently there are several House Dems who are disappointed with Richmond’s appointment, but only because he’s their best player in the Congressional Baseball Game.


Feh, if this were to end up being the worst example of third-way seat-fillers in the Biden / Harris administration, that would be a huge win.

But, y’know, progress isn’t just about casting, it’s also about the script. As long as the players aren’t bought-and-paid-for professional corruptees, there’s hope that the momentum of history can outweigh a bit of light-to-moderate bribery. Biden himself is notoriously um sensitive to the feelings of credit card companies (for example), but he seems to grasp that there are bigger forces in play right now, letting Bernie and Liz write parts of his platform and so on.

In the dream scenario, history will record that the present crazy-times energy drove meaningful, FDR-like change, and it was accepted because it was seen as being allowed by an instinctive conservative like Biden, rather than driven by a Bernie-type figure. As the Vulcan proverb sez, “only Nixon could go to China”.

(FTR I’m not quite that optimistic. But if I were, that’s how the optimism would work)


The main battles WRT fracking are not around banning it, they’re around regulating its toxic side-effects. In 2016 they were on a fairly reasonable track to require that leaks be stopped and at least getting disclosure on injection chemicals.

The Trump Administration stopped both of those, and at least WRT leaks did so even though it was not particularly beneficial to the frackers – it was just another example of triggering the libs for the sake of triggering libs.

Right now, fracking companies are losing money not because of environmental costs but because gas, cheap as it is, can’t compete with wind and solar except with subsidies. Given that oil and coal are so expensive for electrical generation that even existing plants are closing down – much less building new ones – gas is the only surge-load supply for when the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine.

And that won’t last either, because the transportation industry is going battery electric for cost reasons and that’s going to put a lot of time-flexible (and storage!) load on the grid. Assuming we actually build out the grid (hint to environmental and jobs activists.)

To give an idea how rapidly the energy sector is internalizing these realities, a good bit of the above is in the space where I (the family leftist) and my brother (who actually works for Entergy in planning) agree on it. Fiyr years ago there was very little we agreed on. He (still) wants massive gas subsidies to guarantee base load supply, but I’m not going to fight with him on Thanksgiving over it because frankly if we get the smart grid and transport conversion we both accept there’ll be a lot of market pressure which I suspect will make the subsidy question moot.


“Former head of the Congressional Black Caucus to run Department of Labor unit charged with advancing diversity” does sound both more salient and less controversial.


I NEVER said that, but I won’t disagree.

1 Like

The energy market in the UK has just got very interesting. The government introduced the so called Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) which is a way for small low carbon generators (<5MW) to sell energy into the grid through a market offering. At first it seemed like a weak replacement for the feed in tariffs it replaced, and initially it looked like that with the big companies offering pitifully low rates, but just recently Tesla have started to offer 11p/kWh when combining generation with batteries. Ignoring the standing charge for a moment, this is getting very close to the rates individuals buy energy at.

Whatever you think of Tesla, what they’ve cracked open is fascinating. They have no generating capacity of their own, but they are able to operate as an energy provider by buying capacity from small scale providers, with batteries providing the stability. This is exactly how markets should work. In the limit, I can see the cost of buying energy tending to the cost of providing energy (in both directions).

1 Like

Oil and gas is the only industry in south Louisiana. It doesn’t make much sense to attack Richmond for being friendly with them. Literally no one gets elected to state or congressional office otherwise. He has done fine in his tenure in the house. As much as I’m dissapppointed in having a centrist, neo-liberal president this really doesn’t seem like something to get upset about

Adam Smith smiles from the afterlife.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.