Playing the Fool: Obama’s Heather Zichal Goes Hydrocarbon
Greenwire (Energy & Environmental News) ran a piece (excerpted below) that further portrays Obama faking hydrocarbon affection during a tough election year where jobs are scarce and natural gas is a leading job creator.
The article profiles Heather Zichal, Obama’s deputy assistant for energy and climate change, who has just started the job of building bridges between the Administration and the natural gas industry.
With the Administration’s environmental allies throwing natural gas under the bus, and going all out to stop drilling where natural economics dictates, the industry has learned its lesson about coalescing with the enemy.
OR, let’s hope so. After all, the industry holds the high ground in that
- Energy is the master resource.
- Consumers want oil and gas (and coal), not inferior substitutes such as ethanol, (on-grid) solar, and wind.
- Jobs, jobs, jobs are all about the technological boom in oil and gas drilling. (Artificial) boom and bust is about politically correct energies that wither and die as taxpayer dollars go away.
In the E&E article, “With ‘Midwestern Straightforwardness,’ Heather Zichal Looks to Woo Industry Allies” (May 30, 2012: sub. req.), we have the irony of Ms. Zichal trying to square the circle of real consumer-driven energy vs. politically correct pretend energy.
In Heather Zichal’s new position as President Obama’s deputy assistant for energy and climate change, she must work as a liaison between the administration and the oil and gas industry, making inroads with officials at the same companies that helped derail climate change legislation she was pressing Congress to pass just a few years ago.
One of her jobs as head of the administration’s new task force on natural gas development is to court American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard, who has been critical of the Obama administration’s oil and gas policies and has come out in support of Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney.
“We agree on a few things and we disagree on a lot of things, but we can still have a civil conversation,” Gerard said of Zichal, adding that the two share a rural upbringing. Zichal is from Iowa, while Gerard hails from Idaho.
Zichal, 36, … trying to sway those with even greater ties to the GOP … recently told an audience of officials from the oil and gas industry, Congress, and states that oil and gas companies are “incredibly important to our domestic energy portfolio.” And she said during an API conference on hydraulic fracturing that the administration “probably could have been doing a lot more outreach from the beginning.”
Meanwhile, Zichal also must balance the concerns of advocates for natural resources and public health. Many of these groups, traditionally part of the Democratic constituency, have been critical of recent decisions on energy policy. In particular, they are critical of the administration’s recent support of natural gas…. [Think Sierra Club]
Denise Bode (AWEA) Tilting at Windmills Too
In an Greenwire article, “Wind Backers Lobbying Romney to Shift Position on Tax Incentive” (June 4, 2012), Nick Juliano described how “wind industry lobbyists and executives, along with supportive politicians, are reaching out to Mitt Romney in hopes of shifting the presumptive GOP presidential nominee’s position on a key tax break.”
“‘We’re working very hard on that, actually, because we think it should be the role of both presidential candidates … to support an all-of-the-above policy,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.
But in a campaign briefing paper on energy, wind and solar are rejected as “sharply uncompetitive” with carbon-based conventional resources and not worthy of “particular” political favors.”