U.S. clean energy vision offered in Copenhagen, challenged at home

On Thursday, at UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, U.S. Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar praised President Obama for leading the United States “out of the darkness of a failed energy policy and into the dawn of a clean energy economy.”
His main message to delegates: “The (U.S.) understands the danger that climate change poses to our world and we are committed to confronting it.”
As such, he laid out a sweeping vision for converting America’s lands and oceans into clean energy producers.
“We must manage our lands and oceans for these three new functions – renewable energy production, carbon capture and storage, and climate adaptation – if we are to tackle the climate crisis,” he said, going on to report progress the adminstration has made in each area.
But the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry’s chief lobbying group, said in a statement today that the plan does not go far enough in addressing the role public lands can play in addressing the nation’s energy needs.
“Public lands are vital to the nation’s energy future, both in producing alternative energy – as Interior Secretary Salazar pointed out – and in supplying oil and natural gas, which remain available there in massive quantities and which could generate thousands of new jobs if allowed to be developed,” API CEO Jack Gerard said.
“Public lands also have potential for managing greenhouse gas emissions, using carbon capture and storage technology pioneered by America’s oil and natural gas industry many years ago,” he said.
“We share the Secretary’s optimism for alternative energy and would note the oil and gas industry’s more than $58 billion in investments in low carbon technologies between 2000 and 2008, more either than the federal government or the rest of the private sector combined. “