GOLDEN — The booming oil industry has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise sluggish economy, but Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says that the days of fossil fuel are numbered as the administration focuses on climate change.
Mr. Moniz, who spoke during Democratic Sen. Mark Udall’s energy forum at the Colorado School of Mines on Friday, said the increase in oil production “has had enormous economic benefit” by boosting the economy and helping correct a lopsided trade imbalance.
“I want to emphasize: The increase in oil has been again a great boom economically, lowering our imports, but we are focused on lowering our oil dependence,” said Mr. Moniz.
Oil imports have been declining as domestic production surges and fell to below 7 million barrels of crude per day in January for only the second time in 14 years. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported Thursday that the economy contracted for the first time since 2011.
“Why we are committed in the first place to this reduction in greenhouse gas emissions goes to what probably many in this room understand very, very well: the mitigation of the risk that we have from global warming and climate change,” said Mr. Moniz.
The secretary appeared in Colorado two days after he toured Louisiana Gulf Coast oil and gas operations with Sen. Mary Landrieu, another Democrat locked in a tough reelection battle. The visits also come with the Obama administration poised to announce Monday strict new standards on power-plant carbon dioxide emissions.