Republicans are blaming Hillary Clinton for the ‘birther’ movement. That’s …

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Clinton Unveils Energy Plan with Focus on Pipelines.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton unveiled a plan on Wednesday to lower out-of-pocket health costs, including expanded coverage of sick visits to the doctor and tax credits for those with substantial medical bills.

On Tuesday, in yet another move — like her opposition to Arctic drilling — that rallied the environmental base, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.Clinton, the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, has been dogged for months by revelations that she used a private email account and home server in lieu of the official government email system while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

Clinton, who has promised to build on President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare initiative, also pledged to try to strengthen efforts to block or modify what her campaign called “unreasonable” health insurance rate increases. Clinton said the server was wiped clean after aides determined which messages were personal and which were work- related and should be turned over to the State Department. Other provisions focus on increasing pipeline and rail regulation, instituting North American climate compact that would build upon Clean Power Plan and incl. methane emission reduction targets The New York Times, however, said yesterday that the FBI had found the emails, citing two government officials, one of whom said the process of recovery had not been too difficult.

The position paper from the presidential contender added a new wrinkle Wednesday to an issue that has already inserted itself in two national elections — the current Canadian one, and the 2016 U.S. presidential race. The flaws and vulnerabilities of the U.S. energy infrastructure were recently highlighted in the Obama administration’s first Quadrennial Energy Review, which found that an array of new challenges are emerging because of climate change, the increasing penetration of clean energy into the grid, and risks related to terrorism and cyber-attacks. But Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, has vowed to fight Republican criticism and make Obamacare a key element of her campaign for the November 2016 election. The Washington Post had previously reported that the company that managed Clinton’s private e-mail server said it had “no knowledge of the server being wiped,” suggesting that deleted emails could be recovered.

It’s the first time a prominent U.S. politician has explicitly linked the pipeline issue to more action on climate change from Canada — something President Barack Obama has never done. ‘I am announcing a comprehensive strategy to modernize American energy infrastructure and forge a new partnership with Canada and Mexico to combat climate change across the continent’ It’s also a significantly more aggressive plan that the current continental working group on climate change which aims to upgrade infrastructure but does not set out firm greenhouse-gas targets. “Building a clean, secure, and affordable North American energy future is bigger than Keystone XL or any other single project. Clinton’s campaign cited a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study showing the average deductible for an individual has grown seven times faster than a worker’s average wages since 2010. “When Americans get sick, high costs shouldn’t prevent them from getting better. Clinton says she would seek strong national targets to cut carbon pollution; ensure all three countries demonstrate a commitment to climate action; and create accountability measures to make sure each country respects its commitments. The candidate also promised tighter regulations of pipeline siting and oil-by-rail transport. “I will strengthen national pipeline safety regulations and partner with pipeline operators, local regulators, and technology providers in repairing and replacing thousands of miles of the country’s oldest pipes,” Clinton wrote. “Clinton’s emphasis on modernizing energy infrastructure is welcome and long overdue, as investment has languished in Congress which hasn’t kept infrastructure investment and gasoline taxes equal with inflation for a quarter century,” said Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton White House climate staff member, in reacting to the plan by email. “But the most dynamic energy innovation will come about as part of tax reform eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and providing clear incentives for deployment of low emissions energy resources, including efforts on carbon capture. Other parts of the paper mention speeding up ongoing safety upgrades to rail tanker cars that carry oil, new regulations for pipeline safety, and repairing older, leak-prone pipelines.

The plan also would provide a refundable tax credit of up to $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 per family for Americans with out-of-pocket healthcare expenses above 5 percent of income. The paper comes one day after she stunned allies of the Keystone project by announcing opposition to a pipeline she’d once said she was inclined to support, and she called Canadian oil the continent’s dirtiest fuel.

This is a growing concern for many “supply side” environmental activists, who have targeted fossil fuel infrastructure projects that they believe help make the world more likely to bust its carbon budget and have recently called for a cessation of all new federal fossil fuel leases, their strongest stance yet. Shares in drug and insurer stocks were unaffected by the proposals but the leading health insurance industry lobbying group said Clinton’s plan would not help keep coverage affordable. “Mandating additional benefits without addressing the cost of the services will just make coverage more expensive,” said Clare Krusing, spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans. And her focus on problems with pipelines and oil trains also plays to recurrent concerns expressed by green activists about the dangers of drilling for and transporting fossil fuels. Clinton has been under pressure to take more populist political stances to counter the rising challenge from her leading rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has galvanized the party’s more liberal base.

Combined with her views on Arctic drilling, then, it all suggests that a Clinton presidency might tack more to the environmental left than Obama’s has.

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