Bernie Sanders

Sanders Campaign Press Release - Clinton's Close Ties to the Oil, Coal and Gas Industry

April 01, 2016

NEW YORK – The Clinton campaign on Friday held a conference call with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to discuss Secretary Hillary Clinton's record on clean energy and climate change.

Unfortunately, the Clinton campaign left out some important facts.

In 2001, Clinton voted to kill a measure backed by most Democrats and spearheaded by Sen. Bill Nelson that would have restricted drilling off the coast of Florida. Sanders voted for the restrictions.

During the 2006 election, Clinton accepted $74,000 from oil and gas interests while running for re-election that year. According to a scorecard of Senate votes compiled by the League of Conservation Voters, Clinton cast two votes in support of 2006 legislation to vastly expand drilling in the Gulf. Those votes put her on the opposite side of then-Sen. Barack Obama. That same year, Sen. Bernie Sanders voted against a measure in the House of Representatives to expand offshore drilling.

During the 2008 election cycle, she was the 6th largest recipient of oil and gas money in the Senate.

A year later, as secretary of state, she approved the Alberta Clipper, a tar sands pipeline that Sen. Sanders opposes. The Clinton-led department said the pipeline would "advance a number of strategic interests." Environmental groups such as Earthjustice told Reuters: "It means large amounts of more air pollution, large amounts of water pollution and extra [greenhouse gases] because more energy is required to convert this [heavy oil] into a refined, usable petroleum product."

In 2010, Secretary Clinton remarked that she was ultimately "inclined to approve" Keystone XL, a pipeline that would transport tar sands oil from Canada. During the campaign, after strong opposition from environmental organizations, Secretary Clinton eventually came out in opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, not because of her concerns about climate change, but because she viewed it as a "distraction."

During her time leading the State Department, the agency also signed the "U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement," a deal it said would help energy companies expand offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The State Department said the pact would help energy corporations expand offshore drilling and "unlock areas for exploration and exploitation" in locations between the two countries. The agency said the deal will make "nearly 1.5 million acres of the Outer Continental Shelf more attractive" to energy companies.

In her 2016 bid, Clinton has relied on a slew of current and former advocates for the oil and gas industry for fundraising support, including Tony Podesta, the brother of Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta. As recently as this year, Tony Podesta has lobbied for BP, the company responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. He has also lobbied for a company partly-owned by ExxonMobil. Podesta has raised over $130,000 for Clinton's campaign, according to federal election records. According to public filings, approximately one in 15 dollars given to Priorities USA Action, a Super PAC coordinating directly with Secretary Clinton's campaign, came from oil, gas and coal interests.

Oil and gas companies have contributed more than $700,000 to Clinton's campaigns throughout her political career, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

"Bernie believes it is critical that the next president acts to curb the worst effects of climate change by acting boldly to move our energy system away from fossil fuels," said Jeff Weaver, Sanders' campaign manager. "He also believes you cannot take on an industry if you take their money. If the Clinton campaign wants to argue that industry lobbyists giving thousands of dollars to her campaign won't affect her decisions if she's elected, that's fine. But to call us liars for pointing out basic facts about the secretary's fundraising is deeply cynical and very disappointing. Secretary Clinton owes Sen. Sanders an apology."

Bernie Sanders, Sanders Campaign Press Release - Clinton's Close Ties to the Oil, Coal and Gas Industry Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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