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By Tripp Baltz
Oct. 17 — Environmental groups told Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton Oct. 17 not to appoint Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) as interior secretary in light of his support for oil and natural gas activity in his state, should she win the presidency.
Hickenlooper, who the groups say is rumored to be a pick for the position, is a “known advocate” of oil and gas drilling and would therefore be ineffective at combating climate change and protecting the environment.
“We are asking you to re-affirm the urgency of addressing climate change and the necessity of protecting people from fossil fuel extraction by appointing to your cabinet proven climate champions independent of industry allegiance or control,” the groups said in a letter to Clinton. “Governor Hickenlooper is not that person.”
Kathy Green, spokeswoman for Hickenlooper, told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail Oct. 17 that the governor has said “he has the best job in the country. He has not changed his position.”
Greenpeace USA, Climate Hawks Vote, 350.org and 350 Colorado, Rainforest Action Network, Oil Change International, Environmental Action, WildEarth Guardians, and Friends of the Earth Action signed the letter among other groups.
The head of the Interior Department is uniquely positioned to combat climate change and coordinate federal support for renewable energy, in addition to managing coal leasing, oil and gas drilling, national park conservation, and renewable energy initiatives, the groups said. The secretary is also tasked with working with tribal and native communities.
“Because we must protect communities and the climate by keeping at least 80% of the world’s proven fossil fuels in the ground, the appointment of Secretary of Interior is critical,” the letter said. “The Secretary of the Interior will have a crucial role in moving the federal leasing program in-line with our broader national climate goals, recognizing that state and regional Bureau of Land Management offices cannot remain unchecked.”
The groups called Hickenlooper, formerly a geologist, a “known advocate” for fracking, noting that he touted the practice -- which involves the high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to stimulate production of natural gas and oil -- in his memoir. Hickenlooper directed the state to sue Colorado communities that have tried to ban or restrict the use of fracking.
“If Secretary Clinton is serious about giving us a fighting chance of stabilizing the climate, it is crucial that she select a Secretary of Interior who champions the environment, not someone who is known for cronyism with oil and gas corporations like Governor Hickenlooper,” Ruth Breech, Rainforest Action Network senior climate and energy campaigner, said in an Oct. 17 statement.
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