Biden appoints former oil and gas lobbyist to oversee energy security policy amid growing climate catastrophe

Amos Hochstein attends an event at the COP 23 United Nations Climate Change Conference on November 13, 2017 in Bonn, Germany.
Amos Hochstein attends an event at the COP 23 United Nations Climate Change Conference on November 13, 2017 in Bonn, Germany. Lukas Schulze/Getty Images
  • Biden appointed Amos Hochstein to be a State Department energy envoy.
  • Hochstein was the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Tellurian, a natural gas company.
  • Hochstein once declared that “gas is going to be the fuel of the future.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Biden administration has reportedly appointed Amos Hochstein, formerly the Senior Vice President of Marketing at natural gas company Tellurian, to be an energy envoy at the State Department, giving the former oil and gas executive purview over US energy security policy.

Hochstein, a former board member of Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz and a “Russia hawk,” will be overseeing a US-Germany deal to allow the controversial Nordstream 2 pipeline to be completed, according to Axios. Previously, Hochstein served in the Obama administration as the State Department’s special envoy for international energy affairs, where he met then-Vice President Joe Biden.

But Hochstein’s role as an oil and gas executive is already raising eyebrows.

“Hochstein is a constant repeater of the dangerous industry-led lie that fossil gas should be used as a ‘bridge fuel,’ which requires building out gasoline infrastructure that will be in place for decades to come,” said Max Moran, a researcher at the Revolving Door Project. Moran also noted that Hochstein’s former employer likely stands to benefit from both his previous and upcoming government positions.

The news came on the same day that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report warning that changes to the climate as a result of burning fossil fuels would be “irreversible for centuries to millennia.”

Yet Hochstein has generally been bullish on oil and gas, particularly natural gas. “Natural gas will continue to be that backbone of a cleaner energy future,” he told the 2017 GE Oil & Gas Annual Meeting in a keynote closing address.

“Gas is going to be the fuel of the future, alongside renewables,” he said at the International Energy Forum in New Delhi in 2018.

“Hochstein will surely try to commit the U.S. to pursuing and extracting even more foreign oil and gas, especially within the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East,” said Moran. Indeed, part of his record as a Russia hawk includes advocating for more oil drilling in that region.

“The Eastern Mediterranean can play a role in freeing central and southeast Europe from their overwhelming dependence on Russian gas,” Hochstein told the House Foreign Affairs Joint Subcommittee in 2016. “This is an exciting opportunity to enhance prosperity, economic security, stability, and political security. That is why we’ve made this a top priority for the United States.”