Here’s a head scratcher.
Weren’t we told by Joe Biden that the release of a million barrels of oil a day from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) from April onward, “will help address supply disruptions caused by Putin's further invasion of Ukraine and the Price Hike that Americans are facing at the pump?”
Why then in June — during an American energy shortage — did Biden’s Department of Energy headed by former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, agree to transfer between a fifth and a sixth of the reserve oil that he bragged about releasing to boost America’s supply offshore to Europe and Asia?
More disturbingly curious, of the 5 million barrels of crude already to be tapped from SPR for export abroad, why would Energy Secretary Granholm sign off on a sale of 950,000 of those barrels to China — much less to Unipec, the trading arm of the China Petrochemical Corporation — better known as Sinopec, where former V.P. Biden’s son Hunter’s private equity firm, BHR Partners, bought a $1.7 billion stake in Sinopec seven years ago?
Unipec’s bid was selected by the Energy Department as one of 12 among 126 submitted to receive part of the SPR offering based upon the “price-competitive sale.”
Although Hunter’s lawyers told The New York Times that he “no longer holds any interest, directly or indirectly” in BHR Partners, a company he co-founded in 2013, the Washington Examiner reported that he remained listed as a part-time owner through another company, Skaneateles, an LLC he solely owned as recently as last March.
According to the Examiner: “Business records from China’s National Credit Information Publicity System accessed Tuesday continue to identify Skaneateles as a 10% owner in BHR, and Washington, D.C., business records continue to list Biden as the only beneficial owner of Skaneateles.”
Biden’s Energy Department has refused compliance with requests in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by a nonprofit government watchdog, the Functional Government Initiative, to compel records concerning administration officials’ decision to tap the oil reserves in the absence of a sudden disruption in supply such as a hurricane or cyberattack.
And of all places, why send our emergency oil to China, a country that is Russia’s main market to support its war against Ukraine that Biden blames for American pump pain?
Joe Biden and his history of curious family connections with the DOE and China readily trace back to his years in the Obama administration.
Remember back in 2009 when Fisker Automotive, a start-up company to be located in then-V.P. Biden’s Newport, Delaware, backyard was gifted with an unsecured $529 million DOE loan guarantee to develop two lines of plug-in hybrid cars that would ''result in approximately 5,000 jobs created or saved for domestic parts suppliers and thousands more to manufacture a plug-in hybrid in the U.S.''?
Four years later, when Fisker filed for bankruptcy, not a single one of those thousands of efficient cars ever rolled off assembly lines, and those thousands of jobs poofed into thin air promises.
Sadly, at least for taxpayers — perhaps less so for the Biden family — there’s more to this story.
Whereas intricacies of the Fisker’s settlement deal are tangled, bankruptcy documents curiously listed Joe Biden's son, [Robert] Hunter, along with a brother of Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden as creditors.
Also, curiously, Fisker was later purchased at auction by Wanxiang, a Chinese conglomerate, after reportedly being ''enticed'' by Fisker creditors.
As I reported on this column in Jan. 2021, Wanxiang also reportedly has ties to Hunter Biden.
The foreign company had invested $1.25 billion into a different company that was a client of Seneca Advisors, Hunter's private equity firm he cofounded in 2019 with Christopher Heinz, the stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry when Joe was vice president.
Other notable Fisker Chapter 11 creditors included former Clinton Vice President Al Gore and venture capitalist John Doerr, a ''big-ticket'' Obama donor, and later a major contributor to Joe Biden's 2020 campaign.
Perhaps it’s little wonder then that Joe Biden picked an experienced boondoggler, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, as his DOE secretary.
During her governorship from 2003 to 2011, Granholm handed out hundreds of millions of dollars to politically favored startups to create ''green jobs,'' of which many failed.
One of those companies was A123 Systems, a fledgling electric-car battery manufacturer that received a $249 million DOE grant plus another $125 million in Michigan state tax credits.
As coincidences never seem to cease, A123 went bust in 2012 about the same time its customer — none other than Fisker Automotive also did — and also, like Fisker, its assets were purchased by Hunter’s Seneca Partners reported client, China's Wanxiang group.
Then-Gov. Granholm also offered battery manufacturer LG Chem $125 million on top of the $150 million in DOE stimulus dollars it received. LG Chem apparently ran out of clean energy when its employees were caught watching movies and playing games around the clock because they ostensibly had little productive to do.
Mascoma, a biofuels startup, got $20 million from Granholm and up to $100 million from DOE for a plant that was never built to convert biomass into cellulosic ethanol.
Granholm also approved $100 million for a renewable energy park that was scrapped.
Other dim projects included some shady solar energy bets including United Solar Ovonic, Evergreen and GlobalWatt.
According to the Mackinac Center, a Michigan think tank, only 2.3% of Granholm's investments in the state's main incentives program met their job creation promises.
Speaking of dim projects, the shadiest of all may be Joe Biden’s choice of Jennifer Granholm to head his transition to a green energy future … one that relies on Beijing’s control of 90% of those solar panels we import and 80% of the rare earth minerals needed for the millions of electric vehicles we’re supposed to buy to plug in to our already overtaxed energy grids.
Whether prompted by colossal incompetence, concerning conflicts of interest, or resulting from confounding coincidences, such policies compromise any confidence that we dare trust those in charge.
More on this story to follow in upcoming article …
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 12 books is "Architectures Beyond Boxes and Boundaries: My Life By Design” (2022). Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here
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