"WASHINGTON — White House adviser John Podesta gently chided environmental groups for criticizing the Obama administration’s “all-of-the-above” energy plan and stressed that the president has led a transition toward cleaner power sources.
Podesta defended Obama’s approach to energy policy in a Jan. 17 letter to the groups reported first by the Washington Post.
The message was delivered one day after the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and 16 other green groups told the president that his goal of combating climate change was undermined by an all-inclusive approach to domestic energy that includes oil, gas and coal in the mix.
Without directly responding to the accusation, Podesta highlighted the Obama administration’s “steps to address the climate change challenge,” including “historic” fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for light-duty vehicles. Podesta cited other first-term accomplishments, including energy efficiency standards for appliances.
Podesta also noted that President Barack Obama pledged to take further action in a June speech at Georgetown University. The first and biggest tangible policy coming out of that speech and Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” are the first-ever carbon dioxide limits on power plants.
“Given this context, I was surprised that you chose to send your Jan. 16 letter to President Obama,” said Podesta, who was heading the Center for American Progress he established in 2003, until Obama tapped him as a top energy and climate adviser last month.
“The president has been leading the transition to low-carbon energy sources and understands the need to consider a blanched approach to all forms of energy development, including oil and gas production,” Podesta said.
Podesta also gently suggested that a backlash from environmentalists could undermine the administration and groups’ shared policy goals. “Significant work lies ahead in meeting the commitments outlined in the Climate Action Plan,” he said, noting continued “opposition to key components of the plan.”"