Issues

Clinton Tacks Left Of Obama On Arctic Drilling, Opposes Permit For Shell Oil


In a rare dispute with the president, Hillary Clinton tweeted opposition to Barack Obama’s plan to grant Arctic drilling permits to the Shell Corporation, on Tuesday. Clinton tweeted:

The Arctic is a unique treasure. Given what we know now, it’s not worth the risk of drilling.

Environmental groups were quick to praise Clinton for voicing her dissent with the Obama administration’s decision. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune stated:

She’s exactly right: Everything we know about dangerous oil drilling in the Arctic indicates it imperils a national treasure and is guaranteed to make our climate crisis worse.

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In addition to tweeting her position, Hillary Clinton also expressed her concerns while speaking in Nevada. She argued that Shell had a history of drilling problems, which raised red flags for her. She added:

I think we should not risk the potential catastrophes that could come about from accidents in looking for more oil in one of the few remaining pristine regions of the world. Rather we should be focusing on clean renewable energy.

Clinton still has not articulated a firm position on whether or not she supports construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, but her stand against Arctic drilling suggests that she is sensitive to concerns raised by environmentalists surrounding energy extraction.

Predictably the “drill baby drill” Republicans were quick to attack Clinton’ position. Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush called her stance “extreme”. Her position is hardly extreme, balancing as it does, environmental and safety concerns with the need to produce energy. Republicans however, appear to have no interest in balance or in recognizing the long-term consequences of an unrestrained rush to drill anywhere and everywhere.

Clinton’s opposition to Arctic drilling permits for Shell underscores her apparent move to the left on environmental issues. In July, she pledged to put the United States on course to generate a third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2027. That proposal is more ambitious than President Obama’s expressed goal of having 20 percent of our electricity come from renewable sources by 2030.

Many environmental voters would certainly still like to see Hillary Clinton come out against the Keysone XL pipeline. Until then, they can at least take heart that Clinton seems to be moving in a more progressive direction on energy policy. She appears to have positioned herself to the left of Barack Obama on environmental issues. Given the strong commitment Democratic and Independent voters have towards protecting the environment, it is not only the right thing to do for America’s future, but it is also a wise move politically.

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