Energy & Environment

Clinton: Banning fossil fuels on public land a ‘done deal’

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Hillary Clinton appeared to endorse a plan to end fossil fuel development on federal land following Thursday night’s Democratic debate in New Hampshire. 

An activist with green group 350 Action asked Clinton whether she would seek to ban hydraulic fracturing if she is elected president.

{mosads}Clinton, in a video released by the group, said the president doesn’t have the authority to do that. When the activist asked, though, if she would support banning fossil fuel extraction on public lands, Clinton said: “Yeah, that’s a done deal.”

A separate activist asked Clinton to clarify her position on public land extraction. 

“That’s where the president is moving,” she said, according to a video of that exchange. “No future extraction. I agree with that.”

In a statement, campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson said Clinton believes the U.S. should be “on a long-term path to a future where there is no extraction of fossil fuels on public lands.

“President Obama’s policies have started us on that path, and Clinton supports the President’s actions,” he said. “She believes that as America moves toward ending fossil fuel extraction on public lands, we should start with the most polluting sources, and we should in the meantime ensure taxpayers are getting a fair deal for current production.”

President Obama’s Interior Department in January said it would halt new leases for coal mining on federal land while it figures out how to account for climate change-related costs associated with burning coal. 

Obama and Clinton, however, have so far resisted calls to ban all fossil fuel extraction on federal land. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary, introduced a bill last fall to do just that, a cause supported by an environmentalist movement to “keep it in the ground.”

“Young people are calling on the next leader of our country to take a firm stance against Big Oil and communicate exactly how they will keep fossil fuels in the ground,” 350 Action campaign coordinator Yong Jung Cho said. 

“While we still have concerns about Clinton’s questionable ties to the fossil fuel industry, it’s huge for her to be calling for a ban on extraction in public lands. We look forward to continuing to hold her accountable.”

Clinton was also confronted by another audience member Thursday night about donations from the fossil fuel industry.

“I’m going to pledge to stop fossil fuels, that’s a lot better,” she responded.

Katie Brown, with the Independent Petroleum Association of America, hit Clinton’s plan on Friday.

“Royalties, taxes and fees from oil and gas production on federal lands are among the largest contributors to the federal Treasury, and are a major reason why the United States has become a global leader in energy production,” Brown said.

“Not only has development on federal lands created jobs and enhanced our energy security, it has also provided cleaner air and lower greenhouse gas emissions.  The vast majority of prominent Democrats have acknowledged these facts.”

This story was updated at 2:57 p.m.

Tags Bernie Sanders Fossil fuels Hillary Clinton Keep It In The Ground

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