-- Hillary Clinton has made a rare policy break from the White House, coming out in opposition of off-shore drilling in the Arctic Ocean just one day after the Obama administration gave Shell the go-ahead to drill for oil and gas there.
“The Arctic is a unique treasure. Given what we know, it’s not worth the risk of drilling,” the front-running Democratic presidential candidate tweeted this morning.
On Monday, the Obama administration approved a permit for Shell to drill in the undersea Arctic, a move seen as a crushing defeat for environmentalists and one that may hint at how the president will vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline. (White House principal deputy press secretary Eric Schultz, however, disputed this assertion, telling ABC News, “I would dissuade anyone from reading into that too much.”)
Clinton’s opposition to Arctic drilling marks a rare instance of Clinton directly opposing a policy move made by President Obama, who she frequently praises on the campaign trail.
Last month, after unveiling a 10-year plan to curb global warming, Clinton hinted that she would oppose Arctic drilling, too, saying she had “doubts” about whether it’s worth it. Even so, she has come under fire by environmentalists for not taking any stance at all on the Keystone pipeline, which she says she will not do as a candidate due to her past role as secretary of state.
Clinton’s Democratic presidential rivals Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have both been on the record in opposition to all new Arctic drilling (in addition to the Keystone Pipeline) for months, and also oppose the Shell proposal.
On Monday, the Obama administration pushed back on skepticism to the drilling.
“The president believes that we're not going to transition to a low-carbon economy overnight,” Schultz told ABC News. “And producing oil here at home safely and responsibly is a necessary part of this transition."