Here’s another reason why it’s so bizarre that North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp is backing Hillary Clinton.
The Obama administration has halted leasing for coal development on federal lands pending a review which would “address climate change.”
This is potentially a major headache for coal states like North Dakota. In this state, like many others, federal lands with coal resources tend to be in the middle of private and state land. If the federal government blocks development of coal resources on federal land, or applies some stiff new regulations making their development impractical, it would not only inhibit mining on that federal land but on the state and private land around it.
“These proposed rules are an attempt by this administration to shut down the industry as they pursue their War on Coal,” Rep. Kevin Cramer said in a January 15 press release. “There are North Dakota lease applications under review by the Bureau of Land Management and as a result of today’s announced pause of the leasing program they may not be approved. With approximately 15 percent of the coal in North Dakota classified as federal, making the federal coal program more restrictive will be very expensive and lead to job loss in coal country. To mine around federal coal is very expensive and could ultimately make a mine economically unfeasible.”
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Keep in mind that Heitkamp’s popularity among North Dakotans – which earned her an election day victory by the slimmest of margins in 2012 – is built on her departures from Democrat positions on key issues like energy development.[/mks_pullquote]
Senator Heidi Heitkamp also blasted the announcement. “Coal is absolutely critical to delivering power in North Dakota, yet the Administration has once again gone after the coal industry in rolling out this ban on new leases – and with little to no input from Congress, constituents, or impacted states,” she said in a press release coinciding with Cramer’s. “This ban and policy changes will impact jobs and electricity prices here and across the country, and Interior has not been forthcoming about how these policies could impact leasing on sovereign tribal lands once implemented.”
So some common ground for the liberal Heitkamp and conservative Cramer on the coal issue. Both agree that this move by the Obama administration is bad news for North Dakota.
But here’s the rub: One of these two politicians is a proponent of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president, and it isn’t Kevin Cramer.
Heitkamp signed a letter urging Hillary Clinton to run for President back in 2013. In December Heitkamp stood alongside other Democrat members of the Senate and, again, endorsed Clinton for the presidency (video here). But the question is why Heitkamp, given her stated policy positions on energy, would want any part of a Clinton presidency.
After all, Clinton has promised to follow through on the aforementioned Obama administration review of coal leasing if she’s elected. Clinton has also said she plans to crank up fees and taxes on fossil fuel energy development in order to fund more subsidies for so-called “green energy” projects.
Oh, and Clinton has also said that she’ll maintain the political roadblocks in front of the Keystone XL pipeline project.
Keep in mind that Heitkamp’s popularity among North Dakotans – which earned her an election day victory by the slimmest of margins in 2012 – is built on her departures from Democrat positions on key issues like energy development.
Which makes it very, very strange that Heitkamp would go out of her way to endorse a candidate like Clinton who, clearly, would not be good for North Dakota.
Someone should ask Heitkamp why she has been so willing to support a presidential candidate who has positions that are the polar opposite of what she campaigned on in 2012.