JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon urged President Joe Biden in an off-the-record meeting this week to develop a “Marshall Plan” to fortify the energy security of the United States and Europe, a person familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN Wednesday.
The original Marshall Plan was named for US Secretary of State George Marshall, who in 1947 called for a comprehensive program to rebuild Europe’s decimated infrastructure in the aftermath of World War II. Hoping to stave off the spread of communism, Congress would eventually devote more than $12 billion to rebuild Western Europe and expand the reach and influence of Western democracy.
In a similar vein, Dimon urged Biden on Wednesday to ramp up US natural gas production to strengthen the US and EU’s energy security, the person familiar with the matter told CNN.
The source said Dimon believes the federal government should focus on four areas: increasing natural gas production in an environmentally responsible way, building additional liquefied natural gas facilities in Europe, investing in new technology for hydrogen and carbon capture resources and streamlining permitting for renewable alternatives like wind and solar.
Of course, environmentalists and progressives would oppose efforts by the federal government to ramp up production of fossil fuels given the worsening climate crisis. Democrats in Congress have also recently urged the White House to consider banning or limiting the export of both oil and natural gas due to high energy prices at home.
‘The peace project of our time’
A top Biden official echoed Dimon’s Marshall Plan characterization in a speech on Wednesday.
“I think it’s a moment for us to ask at this point in our history, what is going to be our version of the Marshall Plan for clean and secure energy in 2022 and beyond,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said at an International Energy Agency event in Paris.
“This clean energy transition could be the peace project of our time,” Granholm said. “But peace always comes after struggle. So let’s give this peace project the focus and the commitment and the resources of a war time effort. Our Marshall Plan.”
A White House official told CNN the Biden administration has an “historic set of ideas” on the table for investment in the US energy industry that would strengthen security and make the United States “more resilient to actions by leaders like Putin.”
“Those ideas are concrete and we welcome engagement from all those who would join us in driving investments to strengthen our energy sector,” the White House official said.
A JPMorgan spokesman declined to comment on the White House meeting, which included the CEOs of ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Marathon Petroleum, Bank of America, US Steel and Cargill, a senior White House official previously told CNN. President Biden was joined by other key officials, including US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and US national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for committing to a new Marshall Plan for Ukraine.
— CNN’s Ella Nilsen contributed to this report.