Alaska’s reliance on oil and gas production is in line with the U.S.’ “all-of-the-above approach” to developing domestic energy, an Obama administration official claimed Tuesday.
“Responsibly developing Arctic oil and gas resources aligns with United States’ ‘all-of-the-above’ approach,” Amy Pope, vice chairwoman of the White House Arctic Executive Steering Committee, said at an event sponsored by the Arctic Energy Center.
She made the comments at an Atlantic Council event on Geopolitics, Security, and Energy in the Arctic.
All types of energy are welcome, Pope said, “wheather it’s renewables, expanding oil and gas production, increasing efficiency and conservation efforts to reduce our reliance on imported oil, and strengthening our nation’s energy security.”
Pope’s comments suggest the Obama administration might be accepting fossil fuel production as a valid form of energy. A shift in position would essentially place President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party at loggerheads.
The phrase “all of the above” does not appear once in the 2016 Democratic Party platform, even though the phrase “clean energy” appears 27 times. In fact, the document dedicates an entire section of its table of contents to “Creating Good-Paying Clean Energy Jobs.”
The plank was stripped from a draft of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) platform shortly before the convention under pressure from environmental groups hell-bent on pushing the “keep it in the ground” movement.
Admiral Robert Papp, the State Department’s special representative for the Artic, doubled down on Pope’s comments, telling the audience: “I think that somehow encouraging further development is important, simply because we are going to be dependent upon petroleum and gas for a long time.”
The president tepidly praised the fossil fuel industry during an Oct. 4 event at the White House, telling those in attendance that oil companies, to their credit, developed hydraulic fracking, which injects cheap, clean energy into the market.
“When you think about coal … we have reduced the amount of power from coal … but number one … coal miners feel battered, so they blame me. We’ve seen reduced coal prices because of fracking, not because of my regulations.”
“We have to live in the real world,” because keeping fossil fuels in the ground right now is simply not viable, Obama said.
Environmentalists, climate scientists, and other politicians have taken similar stances on oil production.
Former NASA climate Scientist James Hansen, for instance, said in a 2013 interview “that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”
Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who also spoke at the Politico event, said during a panel discussion in April that anti-fossil fuel activists and “Keep It In The Ground” types are a “small minority” and “not an accurate representation” of the people in his state.
He went on to warn his fellow panelists that, “we’re a long way from saying we can walk away from hydrocarbons and not do significant damage to our economy.”