Skip to comments.Hoffa's Comments on Kerry Leave Some Perplexed (We're going to drill like never before-Kerry)
Posted on 02/25/2004 3:20:22 PM PST by kattracks
(CNSNews.com) - Teamsters union chief Jimmy Hoffa has confused both environmentalists and free-market advocates after saying that Democratic front-runner John Kerry, if elected president, would "drill like never before" across the United States.
Hoffa made the comments during a Feb. 17 segment on Hardball with Chris Matthews. Matthews had asked Hoffa why the union chose to endorse the Massachusetts senator even though Kerry opposed drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
"Well, we talked about that," Hoffa responded. "He says, look, I am against ANWR, but I am going to put that pipeline in and we're going to drill like never before."
The union supports drilling in ANWR and the creation of a natural gas pipeline that could stretch from Alaska to Chicago. Neither plan draws much support from Kerry's environmentalist base, however.
When Matthews pressed Hoffa for details on the promises Kerry made, the Teamsters president offered a vague response.
"Well, they are going to drill all over, according to him," Hoffa said. "And he says, we're going to be drilling all over the United States. And he says that is going to create more jobs."
Following the exit of Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) from the Democratic presidential race, Kerry courted unions, including the Teamsters, to support his candidacy. He secured the AFL-CIO's endorsement last week.
But Hoffa's comments have left Kerry's largest environmental backer somewhat confused about what the union chief might mean by Kerry's intentions to "drill like never before."
Betsy Loyless, vice president for policy and lobbying at the League of Conservation Voters, said she wasn't sure what Hoffa was talking about. She suggested asking the union, but three calls made by CNSNews.com on Monday and Tuesday weren't returned.
"We think there can be a balance between protecting the environment and growing the economy," Loyless said. "John Kerry knows ... promoting renewable and clean energy sources makes good sense."
When it comes to drilling in areas besides ANWR, Loyless said it was the Bush administration that wants to tap into public lands, not Kerry.
"This administration is making many of the wrong choices," she said. "This administration has said oil and gas drilling are the primary uses for public lands. We know that John Kerry disagrees that oil and gas drilling are primary functions for public lands."
And as for the natural gas pipeline, Loyless said most environmental groups, including the League of Conservation Voters, remain neutral on the idea. The plan was first authorized in 1976 and is expected to cost up to $20 billion. The most contentious issue is what route the pipeline would take from Alaska's Prudhoe Bay to the lower 48 states.
When Kerry was asked about Hoffa's comments last Thursday by CNN anchor Judy Woodruff, he skirted the issue and instead talked about the pipeline.
"I think he ... I said exactly what my policy has been all my life. Which is I'm for the natural gas pipeline. Absolutely. I voted for the natural gas pipeline. I think it's important to build it. And so do most Americans," Kerry said.
"I'm also for the drilling in the 95 percent of the Alaska oil shelf that's up for leasing now," he added. "In fact, President Clinton put out the biggest lease in American history in that part of the shelf. I'm not for drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and I haven't changed and I won't change."
When Woodruff asked if there was a contradiction in that statement, Kerry replied, "Absolutely none whatsoever." She didn't ask him to clarify what Hoffa might have meant by "drilling all over the United States."
Hoffa's interview caught the attention of free-market advocates at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Myron Ebell, director of global warming and international environmental policy, said it would be out of character for Kerry to make such a guarantee to Hoffa given his track record on environmental issues.
"If the Teamsters are concerned about jobs, the only way Hoffa could justify it is if he took Kerry's words to mean that he would start drilling in a lot of places that are off-limits," Ebell said. "But I don't believe Kerry would ever concede that."
The more interesting question, Ebell said, is what Kerry could possibly offer the Teamsters that President Bush hasn't already put on the table. During the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush unsuccessfully courted Hoffa in hopes of winning his endorsement.
"[The Bush administration] is in favor of the pipeline," Ebell said. "They're in favor of ANWR and they're in favor of opening up large areas of the Rocky Mountains to further gas exploration."
It's typical of unions to throw their weight behind one candidate for purely partisan reasons, said Justin Hakes, assistant director of legal information at the National Right to Work Foundation.
"Big labor feels threatened by the Bush administration," he said. "There's so much discontent with him on the left that once the Democratic candidate is selected, you're going to see a massive effort put forth."
Ebell added, "It may be the old Bill Clinton routine of telling each person you're talking to exactly what they want to hear, and hoping it never catches up to you."
E-mail a news tip to Robert B. Bluey.
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Sounds like a weekend at the Kennedy's.
Is kerry (he's a vietnam hero, you know) trying to out W the pres by stealing the opposition's platform and becoming the candidate of big oil?
(Help! I'm too burned out today to know where to put the </sarcasm> tag here)...
Lord knows, we have our problems..........but please don't send him here ! ( /sarc)
Well, there was at least one time that Sick Willie missed the danged sink and hit a blue Gap dress.
I thought at first glance John Effing Kerry57 was referring to doing close order drill all over the United States. And I was gratified but puzzled at what this would accomplish.
After all, he could return to Viet Nam for his close order drill at Ho Chi Mihn City. Kerry-Heinz is a decorated veteran of that war, you know, although he's very modest about it.
If he's talking about drilling for awl, I'll join in the laughter. There's nothing so amusing as a Massachussetts ultra-liberal trying to talk like an oil-field roughneck.
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