Politics

Carney rejects carbon tax proposal

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

By developing new energy sources, he claimed, “that’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks … how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.”

Carney pushes the same message.

“There are huge opportunities there in alternative energy … [it] is going to be a huge part of a 21st century global economy … we [should] dominate those fields of endeavor and we create the jobs associated with those industries here in America,” he said Jan. 22.

Obama’s far-reaching inauguration claims about climate control worried some energy companies, whose new fracking technology is extracting huge quantities of low-carbon natural gas from deep underground. They’re producing so much gas that the price has plunged, which allows electricity generation, trucking and manufacturing companies to reduce their use of coal, diesel and gasoline in favor of cleaner-burning natural gas.

However, the declining price of natural gas is also a threat to the new wave of green-tech companies backed by Obama during his first term. Without more subsidies and favorable regulation, some green-tech companies may go under if they can’t produce power as cheaply as the gas fracking companies.

The next demonstration of the administration’s balancing act between economic growth and climate control is the pending decision on whether to approve the Keystone pipeline, which would pump carbon-intensive oil from Canada to refineries in Texas.

Prior to the election, Obama delayed approval of the pipeline. That decision prompted cheers from environmentalists, but disappointment from the workers — and the companies — who would have built the pipeline and processed the oil.

However, Obama will soon face the postponed decision again.

For the moment, White House officials insist the decision to approve or halt the pipeline will be decided by State Department officials.

“The State Department is conducting its assessment, as appropriate and as has been standard over the years, on behalf of the federal government, and I don’t want to get ahead of that process,” Carney said Jan. 22. “When the State Department has something to move forward on, we’ll obviously address that issue when it does.”

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