October 15th, 2008
08:25 AM ET
13 years ago

Fact Check: Did Obama 'all of a sudden' alter energy stance?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/15/art.obama.5.19.jpg caption="Palin said Obama altered his energy stance, but did he?."]
The Statement
Republican vice-presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, in an interview taped Oct. 8 and aired Sunday, Oct. 12, on Fox News' "Hannity's America," referred to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama's stance on offshore High drilling and "clean-coal" technology. "That was kind of perplexing last night, listening to Barack Obama's position all of a sudden saying 'yay' to clean coal and perhaps 'yay' to offshore," she said. Palin said he's "so on record as having opposed" those technologies.

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The Facts
Obama has voiced support for the development of clean-coal technology throughout his political career, starting in the Illinois State Senate and later in the U.S. Senate. He reiterated that stance during his Aug. 28 nomination acceptance speech and at the Oct. 7 debate that Palin references.

In Illinois, Obama voted for an energy bill that provided $25 million for clean-coal research. On its Web site, the Obama campaign's energy plan includes a push to "develop and deploy clean-coal technology." "Obama's Department of Energy will enter into public-private partnerships to develop five
'first-of-a-kind' commercial scale coal-fired plants with clean carbon capture and sequestration technology," it says.

Obama said during the Oct. 7 debate that he supports "drilling offshore" as a "vital" element of his energy stance, but he had spoken out against lifting the federal moratorium on offshore drilling since June, when Sen. John McCain proposed lifting it.

Obama said on Aug. 1 that he would be willing to compromise on his position against lifting the moratorium if it were a part of a more overarching strategy to lower energy costs, CNN.com reported on Aug. 3. The federal moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling in some areas has expired.

"If we've got a plan on the table that I think meets the goals that America has to set and there are some things in there I don't like, then obviously that's something that I would consider because that's the nature of how we govern in a democracy," Obama is quoted as saying.

Obama's Web site says "oil companies have access to 68 million acres of land, over 40 million offshore, which they are not drilling on. Drilling in open areas could significantly increase domestic oil and gas production. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will require oil companies to diligently develop these
leases or turn them over so that another company can develop them." He mentioned the same stance in an Aug. 4 speech in Lansing, Mich. The Obama campaign said Obama supported a 2005 energy bill in the Senate that included provisions to streamline oil and gas development on offshore and onshore sites.

The Verdict: False. Obama long has supported clean coal technology and more recently changed his stance on offshore oil drilling - two months before the Oct. 7 debate referenced by Palin.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Fact Check • John McCain
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