Top Clinton adviser cool on greens’ fossil fuel push

Top Clinton adviser cool on greens’ fossil fuel push
© Cameron Lancaster

One of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton slams Trump rally: 'The time has come again' to fight for democracy Trump blasts minority Democrats, rally crowd chants 'send her back' The Memo: Democrats debate Trump response – 'Being righteous and losing sucks' MORE’s top advisers indicated Friday that the Democratic front-runner isn’t likely to endorse a new campaign against fossil fuel development from environmentalists and her presidential rivals.

In an interview with The New Republic, campaign chairman John Podesta said Clinton will release a plan outlining how taxpayers can “get fair value” out of energy production leases on federal lands rather than stopping them altogether.

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Last week, Clinton’s top challenger, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats react to 'send her back' chants at Trump rally Cardi B posts message of support for Ilhan Omar #IStandWithIlhan trends after crowd at Trump rally chants 'send her back' MORE (I-Vt.), and others introduced a bill to block future energy production on federal land, a cause green groups have rallied behind. Clinton has said she wouldn’t rule out letting companies extract fossil fuel from public land, but Podesta said the government should expect to receive more royalties and tax revenue from those operations.

“Among any of the fossil fuels, federal taxpayers shouldn’t pay twice,” Podesta told The New Republic.

“That means charging fair value, and accounting for the cost that the taxpayers are paying when the fuels that are produced on those lands cause damage, which ends up being picked up by the public. So I think that there’s going to continue to be some production in federal lands and waters.”

Clinton was briefly heckled by activists in July when she said she wouldn’t stop federal energy development if elected president.

Even so, the former secretary of State has introduced a plan to boost renewable energy production and promised to protect Obama-era climate rules. She won the League of Conservation Voters’ endorsement this week, and Podesta said she’s focused on “the path toward clean renewable energy and off the path of fossil fuel.”

“That’s going to require a change of policy — but that’s a process,” he said.

“We’re not going to eliminate the production of fossil fuels from public lands and waters overnight. She’s come out against drilling in the Arctic. With respect to the dirtiest fuels, the most environmentally sensitive places, I think she’s shown her willingness to put limits on that.”

In the interview, Podesta also suggested Clinton could pursue new regulations on methane — a potent greenhouse gas — and he repeated her call for a North America-wide deal focused on protecting the climate.

Clinton's challengers, Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, have looked to highlight their green credentials in the Democratic presidential primary process. Green groups have predicted climate change will be a bigger issue in 2016 than in past cycles, something Podesta echoed.

“I think that unlike past campaigns, including the Obama campaigns, this will be a front-and-center issue,” Podesta, a former Obama adviser, told the New Republic.

“I think that politics is largely about friction. And I view this as a place of high friction with the Republican candidates today.”