Friday, November 4, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Her Fossil Fuel Reality

Back in September 2015, Hillary Clinton had a chance to attend a private meeting of the Building Trades Union or NABTU.  She was seeking their endorsement for her run as president and had a chance to offer her opinion on how much support she would give to the construction of new pipelines, a matter of critical importance to the NABTU since many of its members spend their working careers building pipelines among other infrastructure.  Pipelines for hydrocarbons, particularly oil, have been a hot topic during the Obama Administration since Washington had to make a very difficult decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.  Let's look at some excerpts from the meeting, focussing on the comments that Ms. Clinton made during a question and answer period about Keystone XL.

"QUESTIONER 1: And now the Sierra Club won't support any natural gas. And to be honest, not you, but the Democrats were so disillusioned with Congress on both sides, they expected that -- one we sure as hell didn't expect that we were getting [inaudible] out of the Democrats in the energy sector. But it's encouraging--

HILLARY CLINTON: Well they've come out, and you may not know this, but they've all [inaudible]. I mean I have not said anything about Keystone because I wanted to give the President, the Secretary a chance to make their decision. But I can't wait any longer. And you know from my perspective, this is just one of these issues--

QUESTIONER 2: It's symbolic--

HILLARY CLINTON: It's symbolic and it's not going to go away. They're all hanging on to it. So you know Bernie Sanders is getting lots of support from the most radical environmentalists because he's out there every day bashing the Keystone pipeline. And, you know, I'm not into it for that. I've been-- my view is I want to defend natural gas. I want to defend repairing and building the pipelines we need to fuel our economy. I want to defend fracking under the right circumstances. I want to defend, you know, new, modern [inaudible]. I want to defend this stuff. And you know, I'm already at odds with the most organized and wildest. They come to my rallies and they yell at me and, you know, all the rest of it. They say, 'Will you promise never to take any fossil fuels out of the earth ever again?' No. I won't promise that. Get a life, you know. So I want to get the right balance and that's what I'm [inaudible] about-- getting all the stakeholders together. Everybody's not going to get everything they want, that's not the way it's supposed to work in a democracy, but everybody needs to listen to each other." (my bold)

Get a life?  Perhaps that's a bit harsh statement to environmentalists who actually have a right to "yell" at Ms. Clinton.  Later in this posting, we'll look at one of those confrontations to get a sense of who's really losing control of their emotions.

Back to Hillary Clinton.

"And we need to do-- you know, nuclear, talk about climate change -- nuclear is no greenhouse gas emissions. France has it for nearly 100% of their energy-- they've never had a problem. We've had two problems that people know about: Chernobyl, which was a disaster and [inaudible], and you know Three Mile. Right, those were the problems we had. We've come a long way from there....

You know, I'm having conversations in these town halls and these meetings I'm having with a lot of people who break into my meetings, they hold up posters, they scream at me, and all the rest of that: 'Stop extracting fossil fuels, stop extracting on public lands, come out against nuclear, coal' you name it. They are after everything and I'm just talking through them. And of course they go support somebody else. That's fine and I don't particularly care. But I do think I have to say, look, given everything else we have to do in this country, this is not an issue for me that I'm going to say I support. I want to work on other stuff." (my bold)

Let's look at who is really getting agitated.  As I posted back in April 2016, Ms. Clinton has shown that she can get quite confrontational when someone dares to accuse her of accepting donations from the fossil fuel sector as shown here:

In fact, at that point, despite her vehement protestations to the contrary, Ms. Clinton had already accepted funds from the oil and gas sector and these funds have nearly doubled from $307,561 at the end of March 2016 as shown here:

At $609,059, Hillary Clinton's "gleanings" from the oil and gas sector put her in second place among all candidates of all parties.

In addition, on June 24, 2016, Democrats appointed to the Democratic Party's Platform Committee by Hillary Clinton (six members), Bernie Sanders (five members)  and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (four members), defeated a motion which proposed a moratorium on fracking by a 7 to 6 vote.  Interestingly, two of the members appointed by Hillary Clinton, Carol Browner and Wendy Sherman, work for Albright Stonebridge Group (founded by former Clinton 1 Administration Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright) which has, through a private equity capital investment wing named Albright Capital Management, ownership of a 10 percent stake in EcoStim Energy Solutions as shown here:

EcoStim is a non-conventional oil industry well stimulation and completion company (think fracking, albeit in this case, "environmentally friendly") as you can see on this video:

Through a Stockholder Rights Agreement, Albright Capital Management has the first right to purchase up to 40 percent of any securities that EcoStim sells on the market and , according to the SEC, ACM's emerging Markets Master Fund owns 33.04 percent of EcoStim's outstanding shares.

So, when you put all of this information together, it certainly appears that the Democrats under Hillary Clinton's guidance, have swung somewhat closer to the "dark right side" when it comes to their sincerity about combatting climate change.  As I've said before, when it comes to politicians, money is a very persuasive master and it never pays to bite the wealthy hand that "feeds" you.  

I guess that when you are a politician you do whatever it takes to get power, a concept that is beyond the understanding of most mere mortals.

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