by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Department of Energy is touting its work with left-wing activists who want to eliminate fossil fuels as gas prices rise to the highest levels seen in over a decade.
In October, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm held an event called “Our Time is Now: Latinx Leaders on Climate Action,” focused on the Biden administration’s “efforts to usher in an equitable clean energy future.” Activists who attended include members from organizations called Queer Brown Vegan and Earth Uprising. Earth Uprising in April 2021 demanded “no new fossil fuel infrastructure, and existing fossil fuel extraction must be ceased, including all pipelines.” Queer Brown Vegan also calls for the elimination of all fossil fuels and endorses “zero waste” as “an ancestral BIPOC practice.”
The event was highlighted as an “outreach” effort by the agency in its new Equity Action Plan published earlier this month. The purpose of meeting with the activists, the agency wrote, was to promote the “environmental, social, and energy justice actions encapsulated in” President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” bill.
“We are looking at everything within the Department of Energy, every single program that we have … and asking how is this helping communities that have been left behind, how do we increase diversity in innovation, and how do we ensure we have underserved communities at the table and listening to make sure we’re getting this right,” Granholm said at the event.
The event exposes the tensions between the Biden administration’s purported policy goals and its pledge of “embedding equity in the everyday business of government.” In this case, the Energy Department’s equity initiatives explicitly contradict Biden’s claim that he is doing everything in his power to lower the price of gas, which sits at more than $4.10 a gallon. Biden has faced bipartisan criticism for stifling oil and natural gas production, which sits below levels seen under his predecessor.