Hillary Clinton Breaks With Obama Over Arctic Drilling

by Samantha Lachman, The Huffington Post

Hillary Clinton, taken on November 2, 2014 | Marc Nozell, via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has agreed with the vast majority of President Barack Obama’s policies, but in a Tweet on Tuesday she expressed her disapproval with one: letting Shell drill for oil in the Arctic.

Clinton had previously said she was “skeptical” and had “doubts” as to whether the Obama administration should have given Shell the go-ahead for exploratory drilling. The oil company’s permit from the U.S. Department of the Interior allows it to drill in the Chukchi Sea off the northwest coast of Alaska. Shell halted its drilling program in the region after it lost control of a massive rig in 2012.

Environmental advocates say drilling in the Arctic will deepen the United States’ reliance on oil, harm local wildlife and upset the region’s fragile ecosystem. They have called Obama’s planned visit to the region later this month — the first to the Arctic by a sitting U.S. president — hypocritical, given the president’s focus on combatting climate change since he took office.

Clinton’s willingness to come out against Arctic drilling is at odds with her non-answer on whether she supports construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. When pressed on the issue, she said that it would be inappropriate for her to express an opinion, since she was head of the Department of State when the pipeline review process began.

Clinton outlined her own climate change plan in July, which focuses on incentivizing renewable energy sources.

This article is republished on Medium as part of Climate Desk, a joint publishing partnership between The Huffington Post, where it first appeared, The Atlantic, CityLab, CIR, Grist, The Guardian, Mother Jones, Slate and WIRED. Originally published on August 18, 2015.

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