US Senators Urge Biden to Pressure AMLO’s Energy Reform
By KELIN DILLON
In a two-page letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday, Jan. 19, four senators from the U.S. Democratic Party urged President Joe Biden’s administration to break its silence and intervene in Mexico’s “harmful” energy policies, going on to ask the officials to prevent the passage of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) controversial energy reform.
“If enacted, the Mexican government would cancel renewable energy permits, contracts and certificates and eliminate federal energy regulatory agencies that provide checks and balances to Mexico’s state-owned energy companies,” detailed the letter, signed by U.S. Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menéndez, former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, and Senators Jeff Merkley and Brian Schatz, going on to point out the potential $44 billion of private foreign investment in Mexico put at risk by the reform.
“We urge the Biden administration to more forcefully express concerns about President López Obrador’s damaging fossil fuel agenda,” continued the letter, mentioning the energy reform’s violation of the multinational United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“Reports indicate that President López Obrador interprets the relative silence of the Biden administration in public on this energy issue as indifference or a tacit endorsement of his government’s decision to prioritize the development of fossil fuels over renewable energy.”
The U.S. senators’ letter similarly highlighted potential issues with AMLO’s proposed electricity reform that would strengthen the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) over private initiatives and limit foreign investment into mineral mining, a matter currently under debate in open parliament within Mexican Congress.
“The proposal guarantees that the CFE will control at least 54 percent of the market, reorganizes the private and state energy production quotas to favor the production of fossil fuels, and places the state as the sole implementer of the transition from Mexico to clean energies,” said the letter.
Menéndez, Kaine, Merkley and Schatz went on to say that nationalized Mexico’s extraction of minerals critical for energy transitions is similarly in direct violation of the USMCA and subsequently poses national security risks to the United States.