Despite promising to do an end-run around Congress to fight global warming in his Tuesday speech, President Obama is still taking heat from environmental activists for not going further and attacking all fossil fuels.
In his State of the Union address, Mr. Obama specifically praised natural gas as a “bridge fuel” that can lower carbon emissions in the near term, while technology catches up on even cleaner energy in the future.
But the Sierra Club said that was hypocritical.
“He’s trying to have it both ways — but we can’t drill and frack our way out of the climate hole we’re in,” Michael Brune, the Sierra Club’s executive director, said in an email petition drive. “President Obama has the power to put an immediate stop to future drilling and fracking on public lands, but it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to use that power.”
Natural gas is cleaner than oil in terms of carbon emissions, but it is still a fossil fuel, and many environmental groups argue the extraction process also poses dangers.
In his speech, Mr. Obama hinted at some major steps, including using his executive authority to declare more federal lands as national monuments, putting them out of reach from mining.