Records show Interior supporting foreign energy and mineral production as it hinders domestic sources
April 6, 2023
(Washington, DC) – Today, the Functional Government Initiative (FGI) released records obtained from the Department of the Interior that raise concerns over the contradictory energy policies being pursued by the Biden administration. The records were obtained as part of an ongoing project by FGI to comprehend the priorities and actions being pursued by President Biden’s top appointees as they attempt to rein in inflation, reduce supply chain dependence on China, and transition away from fossil fuels.
In this year’s State of the Union Address, President Biden affirmed that climate change needs to be addressed immediately. He stated that the oil industry generated massive profits in 2022 and asserted that the US would soon lead the world in clean energy, largely dependent on critical minerals. However, records obtained by FGI reveal dysfunction within the Biden administration’s energy agenda. Although pushing for a “green transition” in the United States, the government is funding overseas oil and gas projects that appear to run counter to that effort. While the administration seeks to shut down oil and gas leasing on public lands domestically, the records demonstrate Interior is using taxpayer funds to support Albania and Somalia’s fossil fuel industry, despite the dramatically reduced environmental standards in those countries relative to the United States. The records reveal the interest in foreign energy efforts beginning on page 467.
The documents provided to FGI reveal Secretary Deb Haaland’s Interior Department is providing funding to Argentina to mine lithium, a critical mineral component in green technologies. Simultaneously, her Department has shut down mining opportunities around Chaco Canyon, a high-profile issue in her home state that saw intense lobbying from a group affiliated with her daughter, the Pueblo Action Alliance. Haaland is currently facing ethics scrutiny over her potentially inappropriate involvement in the issue. She has also exercised her authority to cancel leases and restrict mining of domestic sources of minerals necessary for expanded use of clean electricity technologies. It remains unclear what impact the decision to fund foreign energy projects will have on Interior’s climate change analysis or whether its panoply of mining restrictions have factored into the country’s increased reliance on China for critical minerals.
Peter McGinnis, spokesman for FGI, issued the following statement:
“I find these revelations very concerning. The records obtained by FGI also show that the government is undermining not only its own green transition goals but also America’s ability to meet its energy needs. The administration’s secret financing of foreign energy projects while imposing a moratorium and raising royalty rates at home is hardly a transparent way to run the government. It’s also one unlikely to lead to either a green transition or reduced dependence on China.”