The Biden administration has made renewable energy a key focus of the administration.
So much so that newly revealed internal documents reportedly show the administration waived off a safeguard for taxpayers to allow an offshore wind project.
The Vineyard Wind Project was being developed off the coast of Massachusetts.
There are some optics on the project that already had people's ears up.
For instance, former Deputy Interior Secretary Tommy Beadreau, the second-highest ranking official at the Department of the Interior (DOI), which houses the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the agency responsible for oversight of this project, was working for Latham & Watkins, which is the legal firm that was representing Vineyard Wind.
After the waiver was granted for the project, Beaudreau left Latham & Watkins and was sworn in at the Department of the Interior.
Beaudreau left the DOI in October for a position at another firm. When he was reached for comment, he said he has nothing to do with the waiver, so any inquiries regarding a conflict of interest are irrelevant.
In other words, we say there is nothing inappropriate, so stop poking around... sadly, it is an excuse we have heard many times from past and present administration officials on various matters.
Protect the Public's Trust (PPT) obtained internal communications regarding the project, showing that BOEM decided to waive the developmental fees for the project, which is a fee that the developer generally pays before the project starts.
This is partly to guarantee that the lands, or waters, in this case, are returned to their prior condition once the lessee leaves the lease.
PPT Director Michael Chamberlain stated:
"At the same time the Department of the Interior was looking at forcing greater and more expensive bonding requirements on holders of long-standing oil and gas leases, they were relaxing these requirements on the nation's first utility-scale offshore wind energy producer, one that just coincidentally happened to be a client of their incoming #2.
"If you want to talk about bad optics, I don't see how they could be any worse than right here. For an administration touting itself as the most ethical in history, this represents yet another incident in which Secretary Haaland's Interior appears to have a tough time living up to that standard."
The waiver given to Vineyard Wind would require the payment of the fee 15 years after the project started, five years before the lease was set to expire.
BOEM tried to justify the fee waiver by stating that "with guaranteed electricity sales prices that, coupled with the consistent supply of wind energy, ensure a predictable income over the life of the project."
This would appear to be one more weapon that Biden will use in his war against the fossil fuel industry.
Consider that in addition to Vineyard Wind, Biden has approved five additional offshore energy projects, one of which has already folded.
News broke in early October that Ocean Wind 1 was folding shop, with the developer citing a variety of economic factors that no longer made the project feasible.
At the same time, while lowering costs for renewable energy projects, the administration has increased minimum bids, royalty rates, and bonding requirements for fossil fuel leasing, driving prices even higher.
Holly Hopkins, the vice president of upstream policy at the American Petroleum Institute, commented on this recently, stating:
"Amidst a global energy crisis, this action from the Department of the Interior is yet another attempt to add even more barriers to future energy production, increases uncertainty for producers and may further discourage oil and natural gas investment.
"This is a concerning approach from an administration that has repeatedly acted to restrict essential energy development."
I don't want to make renewable energy out to be a bad thing, but the reality of the situation is that we need renewable energy and fossil fuels to work in conjunction with each other, not be at war with each other, which is what the politicians on both sides of the aisle are doing.
Having said that, Biden has turbocharged this battle, turning it into an outright war to the point fossil fuel producers are terrified to invest money into an industry that could be extinct within a decade if Democrats have their way.
Meanwhile, we are nowhere near able to produce enough renewable energy to meet this country's demands, which puts our national security at risk because we have to depend on other nations, including our adversaries, to meet our energy demands.