The Secretary of Energy of the United States, Jennifer Granholm, raised her voice this Friday after a visit to Mexico marked by “concerns” and pressure in Washington caused by the controversial electrical reform promoted by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The official, who canceled a press conference to talk about her tour, warned of the “negative impacts” of the reform in a public position shared by the Department of Energy.
“In each meeting, we expressly convey the real concerns of the Biden-Harris Administration about the potential negative impact of the proposed energy reforms in Mexico on US private investment in Mexico,” Granholm said.
In contrast, President López Obrador assured in his morning conference that his Thursday meeting with Granholm was “very cordial,” who was “understanding that the mission is to banish corruption.”
“We talked well. We informed him about the electricity reform and what we are doing to correct wrongs, solving serious problems that they inherited from us, explaining how corruption prevailed in everything,” he said.
The president did not mention renewable or clean energies and instead highlighted as the main achievement the culmination of the purchase of the Deer Park refinery, in Houston, Texas, so that Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) refines more oil.
While Granholm warned that “the proposed reform could also hinder the joint efforts of the United States and Mexico on clean energy and climate.”
“We must maintain and enhance the open and competitive energy markets that bring benefits to North America. I was assured that Mexico is committed to supporting clean energy and resolving current disputes with energy projects within the framework of the law,” he said.
‘DEPRESSURIZE’ THE RELATIONSHIP
Granholm’s tour occurred in the midst of the public debate on the reform, which would limit private participation in electricity generation to 46% in favor of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), a state company.
In the government of Joe Biden there is “concern” about the future of the law, said Emerson Segura, parliamentary adviser in the Senate and associate of the Mexican Council of International Affairs (Comexi).
“The visit is a message to depressurize the tension that existed over a supposed confrontation between the US and Mexican governments over the energy issue, “ Segura said in an interview.
The constitutional reform would also eliminate autonomous energy regulators and prioritize CFE’s fossil plants over private renewables, which could contravene the Treaty between Mexico, the United States, and Canada (T-MEC).
For this reason, Segura considered that Granholm’s trip also responds to the growing pressure from Democratic and Republican legislators, as well as businessmen, who have demanded that the White House protect investments and the T-MEC.
“If the legislators believe that the visit was of no use to dialogue and moderate the current electricity reform, the pressure on the Biden government will continue to increase,” the internationalist predicted.
TENSION IN THE CONGRESS
Granholm, who in his speeches repeatedly reiterated the need for a clean energy association in North America, also met with his Mexican counterpart, Rocío Nahle, with businessmen, and with the various political forces in the Senate.
“She was respectful, she simply said that her country was interested in continuing to take care of investments,” said Ricardo Monreal, president of the Senate’s Political Coordination Board (Jacopo) and leader of the caucus of the ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena).
The leader of the ruling party ruled out risks due to the approval of the electricity reform and warned that “it will continue to advance”.
Clemente Castañeda, the coordinator of the parliamentary group of the opposition Citizen Movement (MC), stated that at the meeting “the need was mentioned for Mexico, at the time of any decision, to take particular care of the investment it has in the country.”
In addition, the Plural Group of the Senate, which includes dissidents from the ruling party, denounced that the Jucopo excluded them from the meeting.
“They lack votes in the Senate and they have plenty of arrogance,” the group wrote on their official networks.
In this scenario, the analyst Segura pointed out that “the fracture or tension within Morena can be used by the United States Government to incorporate changes in the electricity reform.