Ex-Democratic presidential candidate says oil is in America’s best interest

Former senator and Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb said he thinks oil is ultimately in America’s best interest, despite embracing investments in renewable energy.

“Let’s remember, energy security is very important to our national security and our economic security,” Webb told Hill.TV correspondent Molly Hooper on "What America's Thinking."

Webb said he thinks lawmakers should not lose sight of protecting domestic energy production in the U.S.

“I believe in the next 30 years at least we’re going to have a preponderance of our energy needs solved by oil even as we move into alternative energy programs as well,” he said.

The former Virginia senator also said he supports the Trump administration’s new leasing plan that would expand U.S. offshore drilling.

Webb serves as co-chairman of the American Petroleum Institute’s “Explore Offshore” campaign, which aims to find new oil and natural gas resources.

“We need to take a look on what we can do offshore. People tend to think that offshore drilling is a thing of the past around the world but it’s not,” Webb said, holding up Mexico as an example.

“If you want to look at the southern side of Mexico, Mexico is leasing vast amounts of its territory for offshore drilling. We can do it better,” Webb told Hill.TV.

As a Democrat, Webb has a complex history with energy, especially when it comes to clean energy.

During his tenure as a Virginia senator, Webb repeatedly defended coal, one of the state's main industries.

Webb denounced efforts in 2011 to use rules from the Environment Protection Agency to limit carbon emissions from coal power plants. He said wasn't convinced the bill was ever meant to “regulate something as basic and ubiquitous in our atmosphere as carbon dioxide.”

— Tess Bonn