During a Friday interview on Wall Street Week, Larry Summers, who served as treasury secretary under former President Bill Clinton and was the director of the National Economic Council under former President Barack Obama, admitted that canceling the Keystone Pipeline was a “mistake” and that slowing oil permits and “being hostile as a country” toward natural gas were errors as well.
During the interview, Summers was asked about the OPEC+ move to slash oil production by 2 million barrels a day in order to control prices while the world heads towards recession. Before President Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia over the summer they were expected to cut production by only 1 million barrels a day.
Summers was asked if the oil production downturn will have “larger macroeconomic effects” and possibly speed us into a global recession.
“There’s nothing good in this,” Summers replied.
He later added that “We made a mistake by canceling the Keystone pipeline. We made a mistake by slowing down all kinds of permitting activity. We made a mistake by being hostile as a country to natural gas.”
Summers stated that “we made a mistake in the Congress a few weeks ago when we didn’t pass” the program from Democrat U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia that would have expanded permitting.
“We crucially need regulatory relief, or we’re not gonna get renewables online fast, and we’re not going to get the transmission lines that are necessary for renewables to become a large part of our energy fast,” Summers added. “So, the real lesson [of] this is we need a different kind of energy strategy than the one that we’ve had. We need a strategy that is balanced rather than an unbalanced strategy of total hostility to fossil fuels, or God knows the kind of total strategy of favoring fossil fuels that we had…even egregious favoritism toward Saudi Arabia that we saw during the Trump administration. We need to find a balance. And I think we’re making our way in that direction.”