Sanders Touts Fracking Ban as Clinton Pushes Renewables Plan Just Days Before California Primary
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are ramping up their green bona fides before the Golden State's crucial Democratic primary Tuesday. The Democratic presidential candidates recently elaborated their national energy plans, with Sanders calling for a nationwide ban on fracking and Clinton pledging to use federal lands to enable the nation's transition to more renewable energy.
“If elected president, we will not need state-by-state, county-by-county action, because we are going to ban fracking in 50 states in this country,” the Vermont Senator said at a press conference in Spreckels, California. “I hope very much that Monterey County will continue the momentum that makes it clear that fracking is not safe, is not what we want for our kids.”
He also called Clinton out for being weak on fracking regulations. The former Secretary of State has been attacked for her enthusiasm for fracking and natural gas, and for saying at a December 2014 New York City speech before the League of Conservation Voters, “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.”
Sec. Clinton does not support a ban on fracking. Instead, she would simply impose a few more regulations on it. Not good enough.— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders)1464809644.0
“Secretary Clinton and I obviously have many, many differences of opinions on many issues, but on the issue of fracking, our differences of opinion are pretty profound,” he said. “I think it is too late for regulation. I think fracking ought to be banned in America.”
During his speech, Sanders said that the Democratic Party as a whole should also adopt a fracking ban on its platform.
“I would hope the Democratic Party makes it clear that it has the guts to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and tell them that their short-term profits are not more important than the health of our children or the future of our planet,” he said.
Sanders said he will be fighting Clinton all the way to the Democratic National Convention in late July, even though at this point it is mathematically impossible for him to win the nomination based on pledged delegates alone.
However, as Grist noted, even if he loses the nomination, one of the candidate's biggest contributions is pulling Clinton and the party to the left. Additionally, as the publication observed, he was recently awarded five out of 15 slots on the all-important Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee, ensuring that his environmental and progressive legacy will live on if he doesn't win.
Sanders's candidates include academic and political activist Cornel West, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, Arab American Institute head James Zogby, Native American activist Deborah Parker and climate activist Bill McKibben.
"Now, as we work to combat climate change and build America into the world's clean energy superpower, our public lands can once again play a key role in unlocking the resources we need," Clinton wrote in an editorial in the Mercury News published Wednesday.
As we celebrate 100 years of the @NatlParkService, Hillary has a plan to preserve America's 'best idea.'https://t.co/gqVXRZTiji— John Podesta (@John Podesta)1464805877.0
She continued, “We can accelerate our transition to a clean energy economy by increasing renewable energy generation on public lands and offshore waters tenfold within a decade.”
"To help meet this goal, Clinton will expand energy production on public lands and waters ten-fold within ten years of taking office, while reforming federal fossil fuel leasing," the site states.
Clinton, who has a narrow two-point lead over Sanders in California, recently received a rare endorsement from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)'s Action Fund, the first time the NRDC has backed a presidential candidate.
"Hillary Clinton is an environmental champion with the passion, experience and savvy to build on President Obama's environmental legacy," Rhea Suh, president of the NRDC Action fund, said. "More than any other candidate running, Hillary Clinton understands the environmental challenges America faces, and her approach to solving them is grounded in the possibility and promise our democracy affords."
"The future is at stake. And that’s why we’re with her." —@NRDC_AF on its first-ever presidential endorsement https://t.co/tH4uO2YpcA— Hillary Clinton (@Hillary Clinton)1464726992.0
Michael Brune, Sierra Club's executive director, also praised Clinton’s environmental stewardship plan, calling it a "huge step forward that would build on the progress President Obama has made to keep our cherished public lands public."
He said that Clinton's proposal pushes for reforms of oil and gas leasing programs, and "ends the debate once and for all surrounding offshore drilling in the Arctic and the Atlantic."
“This detailed, specific plan also reaffirms our belief that everyone should have the same opportunities to enjoy and explore our parks, and boosts the American outdoor economy that creates jobs and generates billions of dollars. Additionally, Clinton is committing to protect our forests and expanding the resources available to fight devastating wildfires," Brune added.
“We applaud this proposal that makes conservation central to Clinton’s campaign and offers powerful solutions to protect our treasured lands and make them more accessible and available for generations to come.”
The Sierra Club has not endorsed a presidential candidate.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.