Obama's Security Chief From Big Oil?

Which way will Obama go on energy policy? Many of us are anxious to see whether Bush’s replacement will bring real change to one of the most important files on the presidential desk.

Now comes news that Obama will name retired General James Jones to be his National Security Adviser.

This is not good news.

Jones is currently a director of Chevron Oil. He also heads of the Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy - a group lobbying on energy issues in DC and described by the Grist as “part of the Republican machine, dominated by -- and lobbying fiercely for the interests of -- Big Oil, Big Auto, Big Pharma, and other such Bigs.”

As their president, Jones has made a number of troubling blog postings calling for the repeal of restrictions of off-shore drilling, scaled up oil sands development, coal extraction, coal-to-liquids, nuclear energy, and waiving various environmental protections.

When he is National Security Adviser to Obama, Jones will be in a powerful position to make these environmental roll-backs happen.

Have a look at this recent post General Jones made on the importance of scaling up production of dirty oil from the Alberta tar sands:

“We must continue to invest jointly in the technologies that will allow us to use oil sands and oil shale in an environmentally responsible way. It is estimated that by 2030, production from Canadian oil sands will reach 3.6 million barrels a day. This represents a promising new source of energy at a time when many existing oil fields are in decline. An important step for the United States to take is the repeal of Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act, which prevents the federal government from utilizing non-traditional fuel sources, such as oil shale, for its vehicles and aircrafts.”

General Jones goes on to tout the virtues of carbon capture and storage as a way to have our oily cake and eat it too:

“We must work together to increase investments in carbon capture and sequestration technologies to ensure its viability for harnessing the coal and oil sands that our countries have in abundance. Technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration offer the potential to meet energy demands while promoting environmental stewardship.”

This sunny evaluation is spite of a secret Alberta government memo showing that decision makers have known since at least the spring of 2008 that carbon capture at the tar sands on a meaningful scale remains impossible. This of course has not stopped politicians from telling the public exactly the opposite.

General Jones also holds forth on the a series of other issues that will be music to the ears of the oil, nuke and coal industries:

- Permanently end the moratorium on exploration and production of America’s oil and natural gas resources.

- Expand the federal Loan Guarantee Program to increase the construction of emission-free nuclear power plants.

- Increase federal investments in clean coal technology to $20 billion over ten years, with half coming from the federal government and half from the private sector through a small fee on fossil-based utilities.

Will Obama will bring “real change” to DC? We'll be watching closely.

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