Exclusive Interview: Obama Defeats Romney, Says We Must Tackle Climate Change

Exclusive Interview: Obama Defeats Romney, Says We Must Tackle Climate Change

The president provides written answers to 10 critical questions about the environment.

By Alisa Opar
Published: 11/07/2012

In order to lower our dependence on foreign oil and help families save at the pump, safely and responsibly expanding domestic oil production is part of my all-of-the-above energy strategy. However, I have insisted that we implement a balanced and careful approach to offshore development that addresses environmental concerns; the social, cultural, and subsistence needs of local communities, and resource constraints. The Arctic is a unique ecosystem--that's why my administration has put together a targeted leasing plan that sets a new standard for considering the environmental and safety challenges of the Arctic and diminishing risks. This plan minimizes possible conflicts with environmentally sensitive areas and the native Alaskan communities that rely on the ocean for subsistence use. It integrates heightened safety requirements and considerations that will employ the highest possible level of caution in this important ecological and natural resource.


Would you permit drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and what will you do to protect sensitive areas like Teshekpuk Lake in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska?

My administration has no plans to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I am committed to protect and conserve wildlife and their habitat on sensitive public lands with exceptional ecological value. The Arctic Wildlife Refuge is among the most profoundly beautiful places in America and would not permit drilling in one of American's greatest treasures. We are actively considering options to protect the Teshekpuk Lake area of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which is home to the northern hemisphere's largest concentration of nesting migratory birds and is a unique habitat for a number of species important to Alaskans and native populations.


How will you ensure oil drilling for natural gas, including fracking, doesn't lead to long-term damage or the permanent poisoning of our water supplies and habitat?

To ensure that hydraulic fracking is done in a safe and responsible manner, my administration has proposed a number of safeguards to protect against water and air contamination. This includes proposing commonsense requirements for companies to protect drinking water sources across 750 million acres of public and tribal lands. It would require companies to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, manage their wastewater and safeguard drilling wells from leaking. We've also issued standards that will require operators of natural gas wells to capture smog-forming pollutants and air toxics that otherwise escape the well. These standards will ensure that we capture 95 percent of the harmful emissions from these wells that previously polluted our air and threatened our climate and will also allow operators of these wells to increase their bottom line by selling the additional captured gas.


In your administration, what role will the EPA play protecting our air and water?

My commitment to protecting public health and the environment is unwavering. Under my leadership, my administration is working hard to make sure that the air we breathe and the water we drink is safe. America prospers when we're all in it together and everyone plays by the same rules, which is why we are holding polluters accountable. Recently, we implemented the first national standards to cut down on mercury and other toxic air emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants. It will make our air cleaner and families healthier, and it will save up to 11 thousand lives each year. EPA is also cleaning up contaminated sites in communities across the country, helping to rid neighborhoods of environmental blight while putting Americans back to work. I have also made historic investments to restore our rivers and coasts, from the Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf Coast, and the Great Lakes to the Everglades. We also developed a first-of-its kind National Ocean Policy for the U.S. designed to protect and enhance our oceans and restore our coastal areas. Under my Presidency, the EPA will continue to protect the environment not just for our children but their children.


The Keystone XL pipeline would transport what some consider to be the dirtiest oil in the world and cause destruction of boreal forest in the process. Will you allow it to be built?

Author Profile

Alisa Opar

Alisa Opar is the articles editor at Audubon magazine. Follow her on Twitter @alisaopar.

Type: Author | From: Audubon Magazine


Moving from liquid petroleum fuels

Natural gas is the ideal replacement for gasoline and diesel fuel TODAY; it is cheaper, cleaner and produced domestically. Widespread conversion from liquid petroleum-based motor fuels to natural gas and electricity is the ONLY way to break OPEC market power over American consumers. Breaking the supply-side oligopoly that supports OPEC is an essential first step towards real energy freedom. Empowering consumers to choose motor fuels will accelerate transition to even more sustainable gaseous and electric motor fuels and vehicle technologies.

Just another politician hedging his answers

Obama's adminstration has already allowed weakening of the ESA incl. delisting of the wolf. He has proven himself to be too weak to stand up for what he talks about, calling it "compromise" to cave in to the teaparty/plutocratic industrial interests. Is he ignoring a possible link of frakking to increased earthquakes? Does he really think that listing the frakking chemicals will make it safer? How about pushing to revise the ancient Mining Act, or adequately funding NPS & USFWS, or rescinding oil subsidies, or stopping the exportation of currently produced US oil while we continue to import it, or honoring treaties with Native Americans instead of ramming the Keystone pipeline down their throats? Just another politician...

Obama's promises

I admit, he's good with words, but 80% of his promises during his last term have been that - just words. The fact that he supports expanding fracking, tar sand pipelines, and up drilling in the Arctic, make his promises no more than that - promises that most likely will not be kept. As far as what he has done - too little and too late.

Still delusional

Safeguards? who are you kidding. "Oops." there IS no safe level for drilling in the fragile Arctic, nor for fracking near water sources (read: everywhere).
Keeping down prices at the pump?--already artificially low. Get us OFF the fossil fuels, as Fast as Possible! anything else is courting Disaster (which we are already seeing).
How will "protecting" endangered birds work, after the Gulf Stream has stalled and the permafrost has melted to release all the sequestered methane?
Convene a panel of actual scientists- let me introduce you to Jim Hansen- and roll up your sleeves. Nothing is more urgent.

thought he forgot

Wow I thought he forgot about us...maybe he can get to it now.

Obama climate

There's no such thing as clean coal and natural gas is a product of regular old oil drilling, baby. Stick to the solar, wind an OTHER resources available to us Mr President.


Sorry Mr President but I really don't believe anything you say any more.I was happy when you were elected,especially since you are the first black president and i had hoped you would bring the country together.Instead,I've watched you split us between race and rich and poor.
At one time we were a people who cared about the other guy,But Mr President you've managed to create a country riven between ethnic and social strata.This is not a good nor healthy thing and it will hurt America in the long run.Take from the rich and give to the poor sounds like Robin Hood, but in reality it creates conflict and that's just where we're going.
I wish you'd been sincere when you said you wanted us to not be red or blue, but Americans.
That was wonderful rhetoric,but rhetoric is all it was.
God Bless this country Duke

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