Bernie Sanders Vs. Hillary Clinton On Risky Arctic Oil Drilling
Yesterday, President Barack Obama did a big favor for Big Oil, and approved the expansion of risky offshore drilling for crude oil in Arctic waters. This is a big blow to the environmental movement, and as such, something that Democratic presidential candidates should be expected to have some reaction to.
So, what have the two main Democratic Party presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, had to say on the issue of drilling for oil in the Arctic?
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has a long record of opposition to expanded drilling for oil in the Arctic.
In 2001, Sanders voted for H.R. 4, to prohibit drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and then co-sponsored the Morris K. Udall Arctic Wilderness Act, additional legislation to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling.
In 2007, Sanders supported the ANWR Wilderness Act, which would have provided extra protection to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
In 2010, Sanders openly criticized Barack Obama’s plans to expand new areas of the Arctic to risky drilling for crude oil, republishing an op-ed that concluded, “comprehensiveness is precisely what the President’s strategy lacks.”
In 2013, Sanders wrote a letter to the Department of the Interior demanding that federal leases for oil drilling in the Arctic be suspended.
How does Hillary Clinton’s position on oil drilling in the Arctic measure up to the record of Bernie Sanders? Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Nebraska, has warned, “Standing with citizens on risks of fracking, oil trains and drilling in the Arctic are all issues Clinton must address. It is not enough to say you believe climate change exists, we want to know what Clinton is going to do about it.”
Since the news came out yesterday that the Obama Administration is supporting expanded oil drilling in Arctic waters, Hillary Clinton has remained silent. Her presidential campaign appears to either not know or not care about the news.
At this point, however, the familiar narrative, of how Bernard Sanders is more progressive than Hillary Clinton, and Clinton is nothing more than a corporate-owned Republican in Democrat’s clothing, falls apart.
The fact is that, when Hillary Clinton was in the U.S. Senate, she had a record of solid opposition to oil drilling in the Arctic, just like Bernie Sanders has had.
Hillary Clinton voted against allowing drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Record in 2002, and again in 2003 and 2005. Clinton supported the ANWR Wilderness Act, just like Bernie Sanders did.
Though Hillary Clinton hasn’t been outspoken about protecting the Arctic from oil drillers, Bernie Sanders hasn’t been outspoken about oil drilling in the Arctic since he began his presidential campaign either. Like Hillary Clinton, Sanders has remained silent about the news that Barack Obama is supporting expanded oil drilling in the Arctic. Like Clinton, he seems to either not know or not care about the decision.
On the issue of oil drilling in the Arctic, neither Clinton nor Sanders is fatally flawed, but neither candidate comes off as particularly impressive either. Both Sanders and Clinton should be doing more to stand against Barack Obama’s approval of expanded oil drilling in Arctic waters.