Hillary Clinton’s call to continue the Obama administration’s policy of extracting fossil fuels from public lands has not pleased the environmental activist community. Clinton addressed the topic in a recent speech
“We still have to run our economy, we still have to turn on the lights,” the Democratic presidential frontrunner told the audience in the small southeastern town of Dover, N.H. Clinton said she would continue the current energy policy in the short term but would gradually end fracking and oil extraction on public lands in the long term.
Environmental activists were disappointed to hear Clinton’s plan of at least temporarily continuing the practice, even though she stated that it would not be permanent under her administration if she were elected president.
“I know what the right answer in terms of getting votes would have been. The right answer would have been ‘you bet I would ban extraction on public lands,’” Clinton said in response to an audience member’s question.
Part of Clinton’s vision for the future would require corporations that drill for oil or natural gas and mine for coal to pay higher taxes or a special tax aimed at businesses who solely operate on fossil fuels.
“I do think that there has to be a greater fee on extraction while we do everything we can to transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency,” Clinton said.
While Clinton has laid out her future initiatives to combat climate change and move the nation to cleaner energy uses, her second presidential campaign is collecting millions of dollars from corporations and donors that have worked in the fossil fuel industry in the past. According to recent campaign filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), 40 lobbyists registered with the Democratic Party have donated to Clinton’s current presidential bid. Significantly, the 40 lobbyists have worked in the past to prevent greater restrictions on extraction methods, promoted the benefits of offshore oil drilling, or lobbied to the federal government for exports on natural gas, The Huffington Post reported.
For example, Scott Parven and Brian Pomper, lobbyists who work for oil corporation Chevron, contributed $24,700 and $29,700 respectively to Clinton’s campaign. Parven and Pomper have advocated for tax breaks for oil corporations in the past and fought against potentially new regulations to curb fossil fuel use.
Theresa Fariello, the top lobbyist for ExxonMobil, donated $2,700 to Clinton’s campaign. Fariello also worked for former President Bill Clinton as an official in the U.S. Department of Energy.
It is unknown if the environment advocacy community has noticed the financial connections between the Clinton campaign and the fossil fuel industry.
“If she is serious about tackling climate change, she needs to be bold, show us a plan, and stop looking at this as a trade-off,” Karthik Ganapathy, a spokesman for 350.org, said about Clinton’s Dover speech.