Enviros Question Hillary’s Commitment To Fighting Global Warming

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has got a problem coming from her political left: environmental groups who think she’s not outspoken enough on global warming.

Already environmental activists are concerned Hillary thinks she’s got their votes just because she’s said she believes global warming is mostly man-made and threatens society. But that’s not going to be enough, according to activists who plan to let her know.

“Clinton could coast through the primary with an environmental platform that rests entirely on this fact and remain vague on her plans for climate action,” writes Rebecca Leber for the liberal news site the New Republic. “But she would be blowing a tremendous opportunity.”

At a conference last year, Hillary called global warming “the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world.”

Leber notes such remarks “only signal that she’s not, say, Ted Cruz.”

“Little is known about her specific policies on the environment,” Leber writes. “She’s never tweeted about climate change, and she’s steered clear of debates over the Keystone XL pipeline.”

Environmentalists want her to model President Obama’s approach to global warming, and plan to challenge Hillary on her staying silent on major issues like whether or not she supports the Keystone XL pipeline.

The group 350 Action, the political arm of the eco-group 350.org, says it will protest outside Hillary’s campaign office Monday against her silence on Keystone XL.

“She’s been very dodgy on Keystone,” Karthik Ganapathy, 350 Action’s spokesman, told Business Insider. “We’ve been dissatisfied with that for a while. That unwillingness to take a position on something, it’s significantly more indefensible when you’re a declared presidential candidate.”

President Obama recently vetoed a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, saying he won’t let Congress go around the established regulatory process for the project. Obama has not said he’s opposed to the project, but has cast doubt on its economic benefits and environmental impacts.

Republican candidates, like Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, have come out in favor of the project, but Hillary has been mum on the issue even after she left the State Department — the agency tasked with reviewing the pipeline.

“It’s even more indefensible when Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have taken a position on it when you, as the Democratic front-runner, have not,” Ganapathy added.

Environmentalists are also pressuring Hillary to oppose hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Activists said they were disappointed to see that Hillary had not backed off her previous support of the practice.

“For our health, our water, and our climate, we need the United States to join that list and stop the expansion of fracking,” wrote environmental groups which convinced New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban fracking late last year.

“A growing majority of Americans oppose fracking and its toxic effects on our health and environment,” Mark Ruffalo, an actor and environmentalist, said in a statement. “We’re calling on Hillary Clinton to listen to those voices and the rapidly increasing body of scientific evidence that shows that fracking can’t be done safely.”

While in the Obama administration, Hillary touted natural gas as a clean fuel source that could boost the economy. But even after she left the administration, Hillary kept the line on fracking, saying at a conference last year that “natural gas can play an important bridge role in the transition to a cleaner, greener economy.”

Despite the criticisms, Hillary’s campaign is pushing out rhetoric on global warming to help alleviate environmentalists’ concerns. Long-time Clinton operative John Podesta recently tweeted out that fighting global warming was one of three top priorities for Hillary.

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