Quantcast

Hillary Clinton Open to Fracking, Ignores Keystone XL

Climate

Hillary Clinton, widely assumed to be planning another presidential run in 2016, spoke at a League on Conservation Voters (LCV) fundraiser in New York yesterday evening, displaying her usual cautious positioning and avoidance of anything that might be perceived as a leftwing pet project—such as the Keystone XL pipeline, which she failed to mention. Despite ongoing pressure from environmental groups, Clinton has consistently refused to address Keystone XL, saying she can't comment while the pipeline is going through the approval process at the State Department, which she formerly headed.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Still, like many of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate who opposed the pipeline in the Nov. 18 vote pushed by embattled Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu to give her an edge in her Dec. 6 runoff election, Clinton has been actively helping to raise money for the avidly pro-pipeline Landrieu's long-shot bid. Yesterday, prior to her LCV speech, she appeared at a fundraiser for Landrieu.

LCV president Gene Karpinksi dismissed Clinton's enthusiastic support for Landrieu, saying they were "friends going way back." He also told reporters after the event that "it's not critical at this moment" for her to take a stand on it. And he praised her commitment to environmental issues.

“You saw her tonight, coming to our organization and really leaning in to this issue to make it clear how much she cares about it,” he said after the speech. “She’s always been committed on it, and she’s voted right very consistently, but with this audience, she’s now making whole comments and focusing on this.”

Since she was headlining a fundraiser for a major environmental group, of course that's what she focused on. Clinton, who shared a table with NextGen Climate's Tom Steyer as well as LCV board members, asserted that climate change is real and needs to be addressed—hardly radical positions. And she said she felt that it could be addressed without hampering the economy but urged a cautious transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.

In remarks very similar to those she made at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas in September, she said, "The science of climate change is unforgiving, no matter what the deniers may say, sea levels are rising, ice caps are melting, storms, droughts and wildfires are wreaking havoc. The political challenges are also unforgiving, there is no getting around the fact the kind of ambitious response required to effectively combat climate change is going to be a tough sell at home and around the world at a time when so many countries including our own are grappling with slow growth and stretched budgets.”

"Our economy still runs primarily on fossil fuels and trying to change that will take strong leadership,” she said. "We do not have to choose between a healthy environment and a healthy economy.”

Referring to her speech as "resolutely vanilla," The Guardian of London pointed out that she also gave a qualified thumbs-up to fracking, saying "Methane leaks in the production and transportation of natural gas pose a particularly troubling threat so it is crucial we put in place smart regulations and enforce them—including deciding not to drill when the risks to local communities, landscapes and ecosystems are just too high. If we are smart about this and put in place the right safeguards, natural gas can play an important bridge role in the transition to a cleaner energy economy."

Julia Walsh of Frack Action also caught Clinton's fracking statement. "At the League of Conservation Voters dinner last night in New York City, HillaryClinton said, 'The science of climate change is unforgiving, no matter what the deniers may say.' That's correct and would be a laudable statement, except then she touted natural gas from fracking as a bridge fuel, which contradicts the very science she called unforgiving. Hillary can't have it both ways: she can't claim to be a climate champion and support fracking," said Walsh on behalf of New Yorkers Against Fracking.

"On the other hand, Hillary noted the risks of expanding production of natural gas and even supporting prohibitions 'when the risks to local communities, landscapes and ecosystems are just too high.' Perhaps she sees the writing on the wall that Americans are rapidly opposing fracking, with national polls trending anti-fracking. But she can't have it both ways, especially when the science overwhelmingly shows that the risks of fracking are way, way too high for anyone. New Yorkers have decisively demonstrated that they want a statewide ban on fracking, and increasingly, Americans are showing that they don’t want fracking anywhere," concluded Walsh.

While in the Senate, Clinton was a a fairly reliable pro-environment voter though not an environmental superstar, with a lifetime score of 82 percent from LCV.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Hillary Clinton Calls Out Climate Deniers at Clean Energy Summit

30 Environmental Groups Urge Hillary Clinton to Take a Stand Against Keystone XL

Rand Paul Says Hillary Clinton's Focus on Climate Change Shows She Lacks 'Wisdom' to Be President

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Individual standing in Hurricane Harvey flooding and damage. Jill Carlson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis

Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.

Read More Show Less
A pregnant woman works out in front of the skyline of London. SHansche / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.

Read More Show Less
Ten feet of water flooded 20 percent of this Minot, North Dakota neighborhood in June 2011. DVIDSHUB / CC BY 2.0

By Jared Brey

When Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle last October, it killed at least 43 people, caused an estimated $25 billion in damage and destroyed thousands of homes.

Read More Show Less
A protestor holds up her hand covered with fake oil during a demonstration on the U.C. Berkeley campus in May 2010. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Forest fire continues to blaze in Indonesesia on Sept. 18. WAHYUDI / AFP / Getty Images

Nearly 200 people have been arrested in Indonesia over their possible connections to the massive wildfires raging in the nation's forest, officials said this week.

Read More Show Less

By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.

Read More Show Less
Covering Climate Now / YouTube screenshot

By Mark Hertsgaard

The United Nations Secretary General says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change "emergency."

Read More Show Less