Democratic vice presidential nominee Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine came out against offshore drilling off the Atlantic Coast after expressing support for the idea just months ago.
“Um, I’m not sure that I did,” Kaine told an environmentalist at a rally in North Carolina Monday. “Oh, you know what, but with respect to the Department of Defense objected to it off the shore, and that’s really where, that’s a huge industry in Virginia, the Department of Defense, and we can’t jeopardize that.”
Kaine was also asked by an environmental activist Saturday if he’d help Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton ban offshore drilling. Kaine told the activist he opposed offshore drilling because the Pentagon objects it. He didn’t cite any environmental reasons for opposing drilling.
“You know what, I actually I am now in that position because the Obama administration has decided not to do offshore drilling because of the Defense Department objects and I share those objections,” Kaine said.
Kaine’s opposition to offshore drilling stems from a March 2016 study released by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in consultation with the Department of Defense, which Kaine said confirmed drilling could not be done in conjunction with Atlantic naval operations.
“I have long believed that the moratorium on offshore drilling, based on a cost-benefit calculation performed decades ago, should be re-examined,” Kaine said in an official press statement in March, when the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management [BOEM] was considering lifting the moratorium.
“I am particularly struck by the material objections of the Department of Defense to the incompatibility of drilling with naval operations off Virginia’s coast, cited by the BOEM as one of the three principal reasons for their decision,” Kaine added. “I have participated in this debate for over a decade as a Governor and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The DOD has been relatively quiet during this public debate and has never shared their objections with me before.”
But Kaine hasn’t always been opposed to offshore drilling. Kaine and Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner introduced the Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act in 2013, which would have expanded offshore drilling. Kaine was a strong supporter of increased offshore drilling because it would “create jobs.”
Kaine joined Republicans in sending a letter to the Department of the Interior in April 2015, pushing for expanded offshore drilling. He wrote that “offshore energy exploration can be an opportunity to diversify the economy and create jobs in the Mid- and South-Atlantic region, as well as a means to lessen our national reliance on foreign sources of energy.”
Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also has a long history of changing her position on energy issues. A Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of Clinton’s statements and policy positions found that she flipped her position on nuclear power eight times while running for office.
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