Podesta hits back at Obama’s green critics

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A senior White House adviser with strong ties to the environmental movement Friday blasted environmental groups for criticizing President Obama’s “all of the above” messaging on energy.

John Podesta, a senior aide to President Clinton whose return to the White House earlier this month was cheered by environmentalists, said groups including the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters got it wrong last week when they called on Obama to stop expressing support for fossil fuel development Greenwire, Jan. 17).

Podesta said he was surprised by the letter, especially coming as the administration continues to implement the president’s Climate Action Plan in the face of opposition from many in Congress and elsewhere.

“The president has been leading the transition to low carbon energy sources and understands the need to consider a balanced approach to all forms of energy development, including oil and gas production,” said Podesta in the two-page paper.

He reminded the green community that the president’s plan calls for more renewable energy production on federal lands, energy efficiency standards for appliances and first-ever carbon dioxide curbs for existing power plants — all policies they have strongly supported.

In their letter last week, environmental and advocacy groups charged that the president’s messaging on energy was “fundamentally at odds” with the imperative to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Greens have looked to Podesta to help press for a strong existing power plant rule, more progress to reduce short-lived climate pollutants like hydrofluorocarbons and other priorities. As president of the liberal Center for American Progress, Podesta opposed the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, but he says he will not use his new position at the White House to press Obama to reject the pipeline proposal.