America’s Energy Revolution vs. Hillary Clinton’s Special Interests

“We’ve not yet signed off on it [Keystone XL]. But we are inclined to do so and we are for several reasons.” – Hillary Clinton, October 20, 2010

“I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone pipeline as what I believe it is — a distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change — and unfortunately from my perspective, one that interferes with our ability to move forward to deal with all the other issues. Therefore I oppose it.” –Hillary Clinton, September 22, 2015

What changed in five years?

Simple. Hillary Clinton surrendered to special interests on the far Left.

In this Oct. 15, 2010, photo, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks before the Commonwealth Club Friday, Oct. 15, 2010, in San Francisco. Senators from both parties urged Clinton on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010, to clarify remarks she made during the speech in San Francisco, that signaled likely U.S. support for a $7 billion pipeline to carry Canadian oil to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was in favor of the Keystone Pipeline. She has since flip-flopped in the face of opposition from her wealthy donors. | Photo: AP

As secretary of state five years ago, Clinton was right to support the Keystone XL pipeline project. As part of expanding North American energy production, Keystone XL offers the United States investment, jobs and cheaper global oil prices. Though disdainfully ignored by the anti-energy lobby, these economic benefits would help millions of American families.

Unfortunately, to Clinton, that moral truth has become irrelevant. These days, what matters most to the presidential candidate is the environmental lobby — particularly special-interest billionaires dangling campaign cash. That’s why in recent months, Clinton has also opposed new drilling in select areas of the Arctic.

Enter California hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer.

Having hosted a Clinton fundraiser earlier this summer, Steyer has firmly ensconced himself in the Clinton patronage camp. And as with the Democratic Party’s other favored benefactor — Big Labor — Steyer’s support comes with a hefty price tag. Steyer wants Clinton to wage regulatory war on conventional energy producers. This is what Steyer and Co. mean when they talk about “waiting periods” and “thorough investigations” for new energy projects. They know that by burying energy companies in red tape, they can prevent those companies from making the multi-year investment decisions necessary to get their projects off the ground.

But while Steyer preaches the language of enlightened moral certitude and hilariously describes his fundraising efforts as those of a “small shepherd boy,” he is quite the opposite. And in reality, far from supporting lower-income Americans, Clinton’s supplication to Steyer’s special interests would whack the bank accounts of American families. Renewable energy is not cheap. And Clinton’s policy would also jeopardize the potential for cheaper energy offered by developments like fracking (which Steyer also opposes, albeit more subtly).

Tom Steyer

Billionaire Democratic megadonor and fringe environmentalist Tom Steyer has given his financial backing to Clinton in exchange for her opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline | Photo: AP

But there’s another untruth in the Clinton-Steyer alliance: jobs.

While Clinton speaks about a jobs boom by moving towards renewable energy sources, any green jobs revolution would necessarily require massive government subsidies. In effect, it would mean a pretense of private sector jobs under a vast expansion of the public sector. Consider California’s Clean Energy Jobs Act, passed in 2012. Supporters claimed it would lead to 33,000 new clean energy jobs. But as Vance Ginn of the Texas Public Policy Foundation notes, it has created just 1,700 jobs — at a per-job price of $175,000. Hardly a resounding success.

Nevertheless, this isn’t merely an issue of economics. As a former secretary of state, Clinton’s anti-energy stance is also profoundly illogical in diplomatic terms. After all, Clinton knows full well that a U.S. energy export expansion would serve key national security interest, such as restraining Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Rather than supporting lower-income Americans, Clinton’s supplication to Steyer’s special interests would whack the bank accounts of American families

In the end, it is the principle of economic honesty where pro-energy activists should make our stand. And Hillary Clinton’s own climate change factsheet shows why. Reading the document, it’s clear that Clinton’s campaign understands her political vulnerability in confronting energy producers. Promising that Clinton would “protect the health and retirement security of coalfield workers and their families and provide economic opportunities for those that kept the lights on and factories running for more than a century,” the campaign implicitly acknowledges the great harm Clinton’s Steyer-sponsored regulations would do to these communities.

It also clarifies our moral responsibility in opposing her policies: facing Steyer’s billions, conservatives should stand up to take advantage of America’s great energy potential and opportunity it offers the nation.  

Tom Rogan is a contributor for Opportunity Lives and writes for National Review. He is a panelist on The McLaughlin Group and a fellow at the Steamboat Institute. Follow him on Twitter @TomRtweets.