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Same as the Old Boss: Energy Under a President Hillary Clinton

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How Hillary Clinton would change—or not change—the North American energy landscape


Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder discus Gun Violence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

In all likelihood, the next president of the United States will be Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Almost as predictable, Clinton’s energy policy for the next four years will look and sound a lot like that of her predecessor and former boss, President Barack Obama. For an oil market that’s seen more than its fair share of unpredictability over the past three years, a Hillary Clinton presidency could provide a steady and stable hand while market forces rebalance. Sure, politicians have a pesky habit of promising one thing and doing another, but here’s what we can divine about the next four years of American energy policy, based on the most consistent statements of the Clinton campaign:

Natural gas

The Clinton campaign says that, as president, Hillary Clinton would build new natural gas pipelines with an emphasis on high environmental standards, while repairing or replacing “thousands of miles of leaky pipes by the end of her first term”


The North American market for thermal coal has been tanking, largely due to environmental concerns and low natural gas prices. But, unlike her Republican challenger, Donald Trump, President Clinton would not try to jump to the industry’s rescue. For U.S. coal workers who are being laid off by the thousands, Clinton has promised new jobs in an expanded renewables sector

Keystone XL

While heading up the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backed the Keystone pipeline expansion in 2012. But in the lead up to the Democratic primaries, Clinton flip-flopped on XL, fearing she would bleed green votes to her challenger on the left, Senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton will likely maintain her opposition to Keystone XL, though new carbon taxes in Alberta and Canada could give the U.S. president enough cover to reverse her position on it once again

Methane emissions

Under President Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the U.S. and Canada signed an agreement to cut methane emissions. As president, Clinton says she would hold fast to the goal of reducing methane emissions by 40 to 45 percent of 2012 levels by 2025

Arctic oil exploration

In a rare break from the energy policies of President Obama, Clinton has opposed Obama’s 2015 approval of Arctic oil exploration in the Chukchi Sea between Alaska and Siberia, tweeting that it was “not worth the risk”

Continental Energy Strategy

Clinton has been supportive of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. all working together to share energy information and clean-energy innovations, in what’s seen as a move towards a holistic continental energy strategy. A plan to map out energy infrastructure across the three countries onto a single web platform was completed under President Obama

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