- Obama's Secretary of Energy this week signaled his tacit support for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, carrying some of the dirtiest crude from tar sands in Canada straight to the United States.
- In August, The President approved the sale of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico, just over a year after the horrible BP oil spill there. Those leases could produce more oil than the Keystone pipeline could carry in one year.
- In March, Obama approved the sale of coal leases in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. Four large tracts of land are expected to produce 758 million tons of mineable coal.
Concerned citizens and environmental groups have urged the Obama administration to adopt a smarter path with clean energy, such as encouraging distributed generation (i.e. rooftop solar), or putting solar facilities on land that is already-disturbed. Just last month three major environmental groups warned the administration to reconsider its support for a destructive 7 square mile solar facility. The groups asked that the administration and solar company to consider using nearby fallow agricultural land instead.
Washington is not getting the message. Federal and State officials gathered in Las Vegas earlier this week to discuss clean energy investments and were dismissive of the ecological damage large scale solar and wind development can impose on our wildlands. The White House has been quiet on distributed solar generation, the most efficient and least destructive form of clean energy. The Federal Housing Finance Agency has been blocking property assessed clean energy (PACE), a vital program that would enable most homeowners to finance their own rooftop solar installations.
Even through all the smog, it's clear that the Obama administration does not respect nature. On one hand it proudly announces its efforts to stem greenhouse gas emissions by bulldozing 10 square miles of pristine desert for a solar facility as if it should earn them an environmental badge of honor. The next press release from Washington announces plans to open up the same amount of land to produce millions of tons of coal. Obama's environmental credentials should not be measured by his support for clean energy.
Americans need a clean environment just as they need good jobs, and Obama is certainly a smart enough President to meet the challenge of governance in this regard. This President is capable of bringing complicated issues to the public, and infusing policy with ingenuity. If Obama cared, he would be leading the country in a way that balances economy and the environment. His "all of the above" approach, however, just does not reflect any interest in taking that wiser path.