Clinton Panders Toward Sanders On Energy

- April 4, 2016

5 Ways Hillary Clinton Has Adopted The Sanders Anti-Energy Agenda To Appeal To Radical Environmentalists


  • On one energy and environmental issue after another, Hillary Clinton has been flip flopping, pandering to environmentalists who are Feeling the Bern.
  • In a testy spat with a Greenpeace activist, Clinton defended donations from the oil & gas industry, but in 2008, she ran ads insinuating it might taint a Democrat running for President. She continues to refuse to pledge to neither solicit nor accept donations or bundled contributions from fossil fuel lobbyists.
  • As Secretary of State, Clinton backed a plan to drill off the coast of the Arctic and the Atlantic, a plan she now opposes. Meanwhile, Sanders has long supported a ban on all offshore drilling.
  • After years of dodging on the Keystone XL pipeline, Clinton, under pressure, finally came out in opposition, a position Sanders has held for years.
  • Though an advocate of fracking globally as Secretary, Clinton has a confusing and unclear position designed not a given a clear answer, while Sanders simply states "No, I do not support fracking."
  • And after running as a "champion of coal" in 2008, Clinton now says coal "We're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business." Sanders meanwhile wants to ban the extraction of coal and all fossil fuels.


CLINTON THEN : In 2008, Clinton Ran A Campaign Ad Against Then-Candidate Obama, Slamming Him For Taking Donations From Oil And Gas Industry Employees. "But during her 2008 presidential campaign against Obama, Clinton ran a 30-second ad hitting the then senator for the same thing. 'You've seen the ad,' says a narrator before cutting to a separate ad of Obama saying, 'I don't take one from oil companies.' 'No candidate does. It has been against the law for 100 years,' says the narrator. 'But Barack Obama accepted $200,000 from executives and employees of oil companies. Every gallon of gas takes over three bucks from your pocket. But Obama voted for the Bush-Cheney energy bill that puts $6 billion in the pocket of big oil.' The narrator adds, 'Hillary voted against it. She will make oil companies pay to crate the new jobs in clean energy America needs.' Clinton concludes the ad by saying, 'I'm Hillary Clinton and I approve this message.' The ad ran during Pennsylvania's primary, a state Clinton won by nearly 10 percentage points. Clinton's ad was a response to Obama's own ad that said, 'I'm Barack Obama. I don't take money from oil companies or Washington lobbyists and I won't let them block change anymore.'" (Dan Merica, "Clinton, Under Fire For Oil And Gas Donations, Once Hit Obama For Same Reason," CNN, 4/1/16)

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CLINTON NOW : Last Week, Clinton Lashed Out At An Environmental Activist Who Asked Her To Pledge To Not Accept Money From The Fossil Fuel Industry, Saying She Only Has Money "From People Who Work For Fossil Fuel Companies." QUESTION: "Thank you for tackling climate change, will you act on your word to reject fossil fuel money in the future in your campaign?" CLINTON: "I do not have, I have money from people who work for fossil fuel companies…" QUESTION: "…and registered lobbyists?" CLINTON: "I'm so sick! I'm so sick of the Sanders' campaign lying about this, I'm sick of it!" (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At Rally At SUNY Purchase, Purchase, NY 3/31/16)

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  • This Election Cycle, Clinton Has Accepted $333,262 From PACs And Individuals In The Oil And Gas Industry. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 3/31/16)
  • "Nearly All" Of The Lobbyists Bundling For Clinton's 2016 Campaign "Have At One Time Or Another Worked For The Fossil Fuel Industry." "Nearly all of the lobbyists bundling contributions for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign have at one time or another worked for the fossil fuel industry. A list of 40 registered lobbyists that the Clinton camp disclosed to the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday revealed a number of Democratic Party lobbyists who have worked against regulations to curb climate change, advocated for offshore drilling, or sought government approval for natural gas exports." (Paul Blumenthal and Kate Sheppard, "Hillary Clinton's Biggest Campaign Bundlers Are Fossil Fuel Lobbyists,"The Huffington Post, 7/21/15)

SANDERS ALWAYS : Last Year, Sanders Signed A Pledge Saying That He Would "Neither Solicit Nor Accept Campaign Contributions" From The Oil And Gas Industry, A Pledge Clinton Will Not Sign. "To break the carbon barons' grip over America's response to this crisis, The Nation calls upon all 2016 presidential and congressional candidates to make and honor the following pledge: In the name of protecting our country and the world from the growing dangers of climate change, I will neither solicit nor accept campaign contributions from any oil, gas, or coal company. The Nation asked each of the major declared presidential candidates in the Democratic, Republican, and Green parties if he or she would make and honor this pledge. So far, two have responded affirmatively: Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and Green candidate Jill Stein. Two other Democratic candidates, Martin O'Malley and Lincoln Chafee, said they supported strong climate action but would not sign the pledge. [UPDATE: On July 7, Martin O'Malley's campaign contacted The Nation to let us know that the governor has agreed to the pledge.] Hillary Clinton, like the 14 Republican candidates contacted, did not reply." (Editorial, "Why the Presidential Candidates Should Reject Donations From Fossil-Fuel Companies," The Nation, 7/6/15)


CLINTON THEN : In 2012, Clinton Declined To Object To A Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil And Gas Leasing Plan That Would "Expand Offshore Drilling" In The Arctic And Gulf Of Mexico, Saying Her Department Had "No Comments." "As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton was asked to comment on an Interior Department proposal to expand offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean and in the Gulf of Mexico. In a January 2012 letter, provided to The New York Times by the Republican National Committee, she wrote to the interior secretary, Ken Salazar, that the State Department had no comments to offer on the plan." (Trip Gabriel and Coral Davenport, "'Fractivists' Increase Pressure On Hillary Clinton And Bernie Sanders In New York," The New York Times¸4/4/16)

(Hillary Clinton, Letter to Ken Salazar, 1/12/12, Department of the Interior FOIA Request, 9/30/15, OS-2016-00011)

CLINTON NOW : In October 2015, Clinton Said She Opposed Arctic And Other Offshore Drilling Because "We Need To Keep More Fossil Fuels Under The Ocean And In The Ground." CLINTON: "We have to move away from fossil fuels including gas, but that gas can be a useful bridge, especially as we move away from coal, and we move away from dirtier oil and some of the really bad alternatives. And we want to keep more fossil fuels under the ocean and in the ground. That's why I'm against arctic drilling and why I'm against offshore drilling because I don't think we should start that." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At Town Hall, Keene, NH, 10/16/15)

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  • Last Month, Clinton Said She Was "Relieved" That Obama Blocked Offshore Drilling In The Atlantic, And Said It Was "Time To Do The Next Right Thing And Protect The Arctic, Too." "Relieved Atlantic drilling is now off the table. Time to do the next right thing and protect the Arctic, too. -H" (Hillary Clinton, Twitter Feed, 3/15/16)

(Hillary Clinton, Twitter Feed, 3/15/16)

SANDERS ALWAYS : In 2010, Sanders Proposed Banning All American Offshore Oil And Gas Drilling. "Hours before the president was set to unveil his new proposals, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced legislation that goes far beyond temporary bans on additional offshore drilling permits. The Vermont Independent-Socialist is calling for the reinstatement of bans that expired in 2008, which would fully prohibit permits for 'exploration, development, or production of oil or natural gas' on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts as well as sections of the Gulf. In short, the bill would have the effect of essentially forcing the country to go cold turkey on offshore oil consumption. '[Obama] wants a moratorium for six months. We want a permanent ban,' Sanders said, in a call announcing his legislation. 'I think the president is probably seriously regretting the fact that he lifted the moratorium... he is right to re-impose the moratorium as a time out.'" (Sam Stein, "Sanders Introduces Bill Banning Drilling Off Atlantic, Pacific Coasts," The Huffington Post, 5/27/10)


CLINTON THEN : In 2010, Clinton Said She Was "Inclined" To Sign Off On The Keystone XL Pipeline As Secretary Of State, Saying "We're Either Going To Be Dependent On Dirty Oil From The Gulf Or Dirty Oil From Canada." QUESTION: "Another international issue that you signed in on last year was the Alberta Clipper, a pipeline from Alberta that brings tar sands, oil sands directly into Wisconsin to the U.S. Midwest. This is some of the dirtiest fuel in the world. And how can the U.S. be saying climate change is a priority when we're mainlining some of the dirtiest fuel that exists." CLINTON: "Well, there hasn't been a final decision made. It is-." QUESTION: "Are you willing to reconsider it?" CLINTON: "Probably not. And we - but we haven't finish all of the analysis. So as I say, we've not yet signed off on it. But we are inclined to do so and we are for several reasons - going back to one of your original questions - we're either going to be dependent on dirty oil from the Gulf or dirty oil from Canada. And until we can get our act together as a country and figure out that clean, renewable energy is in both our economic interests and the interests of our planet - I mean, I don't think it will come as a surprise to anyone how deeply disappointed the President and I are about our inability to get the kind of legislation through the Senate that the United States was seeking." (Secretary Hillary Clinton, " Remarks At The Commonwealth Club Of San Francisco," San Francisco, CA, 10/15/10)

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CLINTON NOW : In October 2015, Clinton Said She Opposed The Keystone XL Pipeline Because It Was A "Distraction From The Important Work We Have To Do To Combat Climate Change." CLINTON: "I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone pipeline as what I believe it is - a distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change, and unfortunately, from my perspective, one that interferes with our ability to move forward to deal with all the other issues. Therefore I oppose it." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At Community Forum At Moulton Elementary, Des Moines, IA, 9/22/15)

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SANDERS ALWAYS : Sanders Applauded Obama's Initial 2012 Decision To Reject The Keystone Pipeline And Said He Would "Fight To Ensure Congress Does Not Overturn The Decision." "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a member of the Senate energy and environment committees, issued the following statement today after the Obama administration rejected a permit for TransCanada to build an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico: 'The president made the correct decision today in rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, and I will fight to ensure Congress does not overturn the decision.'" (Press Release, "Sanders Statement On Keystone XL Pipeline," Senator Bernie Sanders, 1/18/12)


CLINTON THEN : As Secretary Of State, Clinton Said "The United States Will Promote The Use Of Shale Gas" And Offered The Aid Of The U.S. Geological Survey To Assist Developing Countries In Harnessing Their Shale Resources. CLINTON: "Sixth, the United States will promote the use of shale gas. Now, I know that in some places is controversial. But natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel available for power generation today, and a number of countries in the Americas may have shale gas resources. If developed, shale gas could make an important contribution to our region's energy supply, just as it does now for the United States. And the geologists at the U.S. Geological Survey are ready to work with partners to explore this potential. And we want to do it in a way that is as environmentally respectful as possible. So there are some best practices that we would be more than willing to share, and as countries develop the legislation or regulation necessary for this industry, to make sure it gets off on the best foot." (Secretary Hillary Clinton, Remarks At The Energy And Climate Partnership Of The Americans Ministerial , Washington, DC, 4/15/10)

  • In Hard Choices, Clinton Lauded Natural Gas Development For Creating "Tens Of Thousands Of New Jobs" And Giving The U.S. A Competitive Advantage Over Other Economies. "The boom in domestic energy production, especially in natural gas, created major economic and strategic opportunities for our country. Expanded energy production created tens of thousands of new jobs, from oil rigs in North Dakota to wind turbine factories in South Carolina. Cheap and plentiful natural gas is helping drive down costs for energy-intensive manufacturers and giving the United States a big competitive advantage over places like Japan and Europe, where energy prices remain much higher." (Hillary Clinton, Hard Choices, p. 522)

CLINTON NOW : At A March Democrat Debate, Clinton Said Under Her Administration, There Wouldn't "Be Many Places In America Where Fracking Will Continue To Take Place." CLINTON: "So by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place. And I think that's the best approach, because right now, there are places where fracking is going on that are not sufficiently regulated. So first, we've got to regulate everything that is currently underway, and we have to have a system in place that prevents further fracking unless conditions like the ones that I just mentioned are met." (Hillary Clinton, CNN Democratic Primary Debate, Flint, MI, 3/6/16)

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Just Last Week, Clinton Told An Environmental Activist That She Supports New York State's Ban On Fracking, Imposed By Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY). QUESTION: "Senator Clinton, do you support New York State's fracking ban?" CLINTON: "I do. Yes. I do." (Miles Goodrich, "Clinton Supports New York State Ban on Fracking," 350 Action, 4/1/16)

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SANDERS ALWAYS : When Asked At A March Democrat Debate If He Supported Fracking, Sanders Said "My Answer Is A Lot Shorter" Than Clinton's, "I Do Not Support Fracking." "Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Sunday night mocked Hillary Clinton's numerous conditions for allowing hydraulic fracturing operations. 'My answer is a lot shorter,' he said, responding to a debate question about whether the candidates support fracking, a procedure in which pressurized water and chemicals are injected into the ground to release oil and natural gas. 'No, I do not support fracking,' he said to cheers from the debate crowd in Flint, Mich." (Devin Henry, "Sanders: 'My Answer Is A Lot Shorter' Than Clinton On Fracking," The Hill, 3/6/16)


CLINTON THEN : In 2008, "Clinton Ran As A Champion Of Coal," Saying "We're Going To Use Coal, There's No Doubt About It." "Eight years ago, Clinton ran as a champion of coal beating then Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in the Ohio and Pennsylvania primaries with support from working class white Democrats. 'But we're going to use coal, there's no doubt about it,' said Clinton at a 2008 campaign event in Indiana." (Lisa Lerer, "Clinton Releases Plan To Help Coal Country Adapt To Climate," The Associated Press , 11/12/15)

  • In 2006, Clinton Said "Coal Is To Us What Oil Is To Saudi Arabia, And Part Of Our Domestic Strategy Must Involve Coal." "But we have to deal with coal because we have huge resources of coal. Coal is to us what oil is to Saudi Arabia, and part of our domestic strategy must involve coal. But unless we learn to burn it cleanly, the price of independence from imported oil by using coal will be accelerated global warming. Even if the United States never burned another lump of coal, China is bringing online a 1,000 megawatt coal-fired power plant every 10 days. So if we're going to reassert our leadership on climate change, which I think we should, we've got to deal with coal." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Remarks At National Press Club Newsmaker Breakfast, Washington, D.C., 5/23/06)

CLINTON NOW : Once A "Pro-Coal" Democrat, Clinton's Campaign Rhetoric Has Changed As She Now Talks About The Coal Industry "In The Past Tense." "In her 2008 bid for the White House, Hillary Clinton cast herself as a blue-collar Democrat who was unabashedly pro-coal, a stance that helped her beat opponent Barack Obama easily in primaries in states that produced or were reliant on coal. Eight years later, a Reuters review of her recent campaign speeches and policy announcements shows that the great-granddaughter of a Welsh coal miner is now talking about the coal industry in the past tense." (Valerie Volcovici And Amanda Becker, "Clinton Strays From Her Roots As Coal Miner's Great Granddaughter," Reuters, 8/10/15)

  • At A March Town Hall, Clinton Said "We're Going To Put A Lot Of Coal Miners And Coal Companies Out Of Business." CLINTON: "We're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business." (CNN, Democrat Town Hall, 3/13/16)

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  • During A November 2015 "Environmentalists For Hillary" Event, Clinton Said "We Have To Move Away From Coal. Everybody Understands That, There Is No Doubt About It." CLINTON: "I also want to say a special word about coal. We have to move away from coal. Everybody understands that. There's no doubt about it." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At An Environmentalists For Hillary Event, Nashua, NH, 11/9/15)

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SANDERS ALWAYS : Sanders Is A Cosponsor Of The Keep It In The Ground Act, Which Would Ban The Extraction Of Coal And Other Fossil Fuels. "Bernie Sanders launched a new climate campaign on Wednesday, aimed at fighting global warming by banning new coal, oil and gas mining on public land. The Keep it in the Ground Act co-sponsored by the senator and Democratic presidential candidate aims at plugging one of the big gaps in Barack Obama's climate change plan: his administration's continued sanction of fossil fuel extraction on the government's lands and waters. The bill, authored by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and supported by Democratic senators Barbara Boxer of California, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in addition to Sanders, says that the US could avoid the vast majority of fossil fuel emissions by stopping any new mining projects." (Suzanne Goldenberg, "Bernie Sanders Backs New Climate Plan To Curb US Fossil Fuel Extraction," The Guardian, 11/4/15)

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