At first the audience was puzzled—after all, both the environmentalists and the unions are “friends” of the Administration. I asked: “What have the unions done lately?” And answered: “Publically embarrassed Obama on his signature legislation.” The lights came on.
I backed up my view with a quote from the December 14 New York Times regarding John Podesta’s return to the White House: “his very presence could influence Mr. Obama’s thinking on the proposed pipeline from Canada’s oil sands—even though Mr. Podesta has said that he will recuse himself from the final decision because the liberal think tank he founded 10 years ago, the Center for American Progress, has been unsparingly critical of the entire enterprise.”
When St-Onge took the platform, she pointed to me and, in a jovial manner, said: “Marita, I hope you are wrong.” I called out: “I hope I am too! And, I hate to be wrong.”
All the while, the protesters were outside—at first pressing their signs against the windows (until the blinds were closed) and then shouting through a megaphone in a failed attempt to disrupt the meeting.
Fortunately, I’d had major plumbing problems at my home that morning. I am not happy that I had to leave two plumbers in my house when I headed off to speak at the Keystone meeting, but dealing with the problems prevented me from reading the pages of research I’d printed out on John Podesta and his views on the Keystone pipeline. I read them later in the day, on the plane on the way to join my family for Christmas.
Had I read everything I had on Podesta, I couldn’t have started with: “This is an exciting time to be alive!” I couldn’t have been my usual, positive, cheerleading self.
While I’ve been pessimistic about the future of the Keystone pipeline, I’ve spoken and written optimistically about America’s overall energy position and related politics. I’ve touted the increased domestic oil-and-gas development. I’ve pointed out the general demise of the climate change argument and the failure of Europe’s green energy policies. I’ve talked up the good-paying jobs provided by the energy industry. I’ve been encouraged by the changing politics in the other countries of the Anglosphere. I’ve said: “With my ear to the ground, I see good things coming…” But, with Podesta’s return to the White House as an advisor specializing in energy policy, I must admit my optimism was misplaced. I’ve been wrong. And, I hate to be wrong.
Having read extensively on Podesta and his policies, if I was giving the speech today, I’d have to start with: “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
The Daily Caller (DC) starts an article on Podesta’s White House return this way: “John Podesta’s return to the White House should have oil, gas and coal producers worried.” He is a former lobbyist and chief of staff to President Clinton. He is the founder of the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress (CAP)—which Bloomberg news called “an intellectual wellspring for Democratic policy proposals.” Many Obama staffers and policies have come from CAP. The DC says: “In 2010, Podesta wrote the foreword for a CAP report on how the president could use his executive authority to advance a progressive agenda, including actions to unilaterally force the U.S. economy to become greener.” CAP and the name Podesta have come up repeatedly in the Green-energy Crony-corruption Scandal that I’ve covered extensively with Christine Lakatos.
The New York Times states: “Mr. Podesta’s main task will be to give the Environmental Protection Agency the support it needs to devise new rules controlling greenhouse gases from new and existing power plants.” And, “He will further elevate the issue of climate change.” The New Yorker Magazine’s coverage of the Podesta position agrees: “Podesta’s climate-change portfolio will therefore be limited largely to overseeing the implementation of E.P.A. regulations.”
Regarding Podesta’s role, The Hill reports: it's “likely to include administration decisions about how to lease out federal lands and which energy development and mining projects to permit.” It also cites Jay Carney as saying: “Podesta will help implement ‘executive actions where necessary when we can’t get cooperation out of Congress.’” And, states: “Officials and outside energy groups are particularly optimistic he’ll be able to advance the administration’s environmental agenda through administrative policy.” According to the New Yorker, Podesta believes that Obama needs “to be expansive in his use of executive power.”
Specifically addressing the Keystone pipeline, Podesta has said: “I think he should not approve it. I’m of the view that you just can’t meet the standard now that Obama set out: Does it or does it not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution? What are the net effects? And I think a fair review of that would say the net effects are big and they’re negative.” The New Yorker ends its “Podesta and the Pipeline” report with this: “If Obama approves the project, he will have to do so knowing that he is contradicting the assessment of his new climate-change adviser.” The Washington Free Beacon (WFB) claims: “President Obama has consigned Keystone to bureaucratic purgatory.”
According to the DC, the Keystone pipeline is: “A minor concern when compared to the potential regulatory onslaught that Podesta could unleash from within the White House”—about which the WFB coined the term “Regicide.”
Yes, oil, gas and coal producers should be worried—and the individuals and industries that count on America’s abundant, available and affordable energy should be afraid, very afraid.
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