References to a cap on carbon emissions and a campaign pledge to spend $150 billion on clean energy technologies disappeared from the White House website in June — even as the Senate was still trying to pass legislation implementing those priorities.
Peter Bray, president of Versionista, a Portland, Ore.-based company that tracks changes to the White House site, said the Obama administration made “whole-cloth” changes to its Energy & Environment issues site on June 10.
Deleted items include a section titled “Closing the Carbon Loophole and Cracking Down on Polluters” that offered broad-brush goals for “protecting American consumers” and “promoting U.S. competitiveness.”
Also eliminated was President Barack Obama’s oft-repeated campaign call to spend $150 billion over a decade on “energy research and development to transition to a clean energy economy.”
In its place, the new White House site includes a three-minute Earth Day-themed video from Obama and a list of several of his early accomplishments, including $80 billion for renewable energy via the economic stimulus package and new federal climate rules for motor vehicles. It also says Obama is “working with Congress to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation.”
The website changes came with little fanfare at the same time that environmental groups were pleading with Obama to take a more proactive role to find the votes for a sweeping climate bill. The president’s prime-time address from the Oval Office on June 15 drew criticism from activists when he didn’t mention the words “carbon,” “greenhouse gases,” “global warming” or “cap and trade.”
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) decided after an additional month of internal debate to drop the carbon cap and instead try for a legislative response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Plans to move that bill remain uncertain headed into the midterm elections.