CNN anchor John Berman confronted Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm Wednesday over a threatening letter President Joe Biden recently sent to oil companies.
What about the letter?
The letter — which Biden sent to executives at BP, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, Shell, and Valero Energy — accused oil companies of profiteering at a "time of war" and demanded they do more to increase production of oil.
"At a time of war, refinery profit margins well above normal being passed directly onto American families are not acceptable," Biden said. "There is no question that Vladimir Putin is principally responsible for the intense financial pain the American people and their families are bearing. But amid a war that has raised gasoline prices more than $1.70 per gallon, historically high refinery profit margins are worsening that pain."
Biden also threatened to use "emergency authorities" if the companies do not comply with his demands.
"Your companies and others have an opportunity to take immediate actions to increase the supply of gasoline, diesel and other refined product you are producing," he said. "My administration is prepared to use all reasonable and appropriate Federal Government tools and emergency authorities to increase refinery capacity and output in the near term, and to ensure that every region of this country is appropriately supplied."
What happened on CNN?
During an interview with Granholm on "New Day," Berman pointed out the contradictory nature of Biden's demands.
Biden administration officials have made it clear from day one they want to transition America from reliance upon oil and gas, and they have even celebrated the current gas price crisis for accelerating that transition. But how can you simultaneously demonize oil companies and demand more oil production?
"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 5 years or 10 years?” Berman asked.
When Granholm confirmed that "what we're saying is today we need the supply increased," Berman exposed the flaw in that position. Why would oil companies invest in producing more oil if such an investment will be turned to waste in just a few years?
"But that’s the problem for these companies," Berman told Granholm. "These companies are saying, you know, ‘You’re asking me to do more now, invest more now, when, in fact, 5 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."
Economists at the Federal Reserve of Dallas have already debunked the allegation that oil companies are responsible for record-high gas prices.
"Since only 1 percent of service stations in the U.S. are owned by companies that also produce oil, U.S. oil producers are in no position to control retail gasoline prices," the economists explained last month.