Hillary Clinton said that her own supporters in the environmental movement “put ideology ahead of science” when they deny the advantages of natural gas and nuclear power.
“Proposals to end natural gas production or rapidly shut down our nation’s nuclear power fleet put ideology ahead of science and would make it harder and more costly to build a clean energy future,” the former secretary of state said in a Monday press statement.
Clinton’s statement was an attempt to affirm her stance on coal power while approving some form of governmental support to out-of-work coal miners. Clinton’s statement does not change her position on coal power, as she has consistently stated her policies are “going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” The statement also notes Hillary’s objection to coal bankruptcies, which she sees as coal companies shirking their responsibilities to retired coal miners and dependents.
“Although Hillary Clinton is eager to kill the coal industry and thereby put people working in energy-intensive manufacturing industries as well as coal miners out of jobs, her comments on natural gas and nuclear power demonstrate that she is not entirely out of touch with economic reality,” Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “She understands that her climate policies will harm the economy, particularly in states that vote Republican, but cannot be allowed to kill the economy in states that vote Democratic. That would compromise her political future.”
The former secretary of state claimed to be “agnostic about nuclear power” in the 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate. As a result, she rarely directly discusses nuclear energy, though one of her campaign fact sheets states she favors “advanced nuclear,” which requires “expand[ing] successful innovation initiatives, like ARPA-e, and cut those that fail to deliver results.” In Monday’s statement, she says that the government needs to continue “supporting safe and responsible natural gas production and nuclear energy, and the thousands of jobs that come with it.”
Clinton made promoting hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas in other countries a big priority during her tenure as Secretary of State. Her Department of State advised world leaders on the benefits of fracking, connected them with American energy experts, and organized visits to American drilling sites with the explicit goal of making the U.S. into a role model for natural gas fracking around the world.
“Hillary Clinton has consistently put ideology ahead of science and reality when it comes to energy issues,” Chris Warren, a spokesman for the American Energy Alliance, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This is the same Hillary Clinton who just recently bragged that her policies would crack down on hydraulic fracturing, which would severely limit American natural gas production, eliminate jobs, and increase energy costs. This is the same Hillary Clinton who supports the idea of banning natural gas, oil, and coal production on federal lands. ”
In Clinton’s defense, nuclear power and natural gas are effective at reducing the carbon dioxide emissions she believes cause global warming. Total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by 1,022 million tons, making them significantly lower than their peak in 2007.
Fracking for natural gas, not government green policies, has caused carbon dioxide emissions to drop sharply in 47 states and Washington, D.C. in 2015, according to both Scientific American and the Energy Information Administration. Studies show that fracking for natural gas is responsible for almost 20 percent of the drop in carbon dioxide emissions, while solar power is responsible for a mere 1 percent of the decline. For every ton of carbon dioxide cut by solar power, fracking cuts 13 tons.
Despite the advantages of nuclear and natural gas, the former secretary of state’s energy policy revolves around building “half a billion” solar panels and extending green energy tax credits. Hillary stated she will “make the production tax credit for wind and solar permanent” and will defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
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