Steyer Promises Executive Authority to Advance Climate Agenda, Block Federal Leasing
Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer visited Colorado this past weekend pledging to use unilateral executive powers as president to implement his environmental agenda if Congress does not act.
Steyer spoke at the American Renewable Energy Day in Snowmass Village, near Aspen.
He said he would give Congress a deadline of 100 days to pass a Green New Deal and that failure to do so would mean declaring a “climate emergency” that he claims would give him broad executive authority, according to the Aspen Times.
Steyer, a billionaire finance executive who has invested in fossil fuel projects in the past, has put environmental issues at the center of his political activities for years, including spending millions of dollars to support like-minded candidates. Along with Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee, he’s one of two candidates who have focused their presidential campaigns almost solely on climate change.
Steyer also said during his speech that he plans to bar new oil and natural gas leasing on public lands.
Following his announcement for president last month, Western Wire covered his environmental agenda that would “keep publicly-owned oil, coal, and gas in the ground by stopping the expansion of fossil fuel leases and establishing a careful process to wind down federal onshore and offshore fossil fuel production.”
Oil and natural gas lease sales on public lands generated $1.1 billion in revenue in 2018 with 52% of the total going to the U.S. Treasury and the other 48% directed to states to fund education and infrastructure. Nearly half a billion in revenue went to New Mexico alone.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is another leading presidential candidate who has said she’ll end leasing on public lands if elected.
The Aspen Times also reported that Steyer’s campaign confirmed he’s the first 2020 candidate to sign 350.org’s “Day One Pledge” that in addition to preventing new federal leasing, would also have the United States rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and ask Congress to investigate the fossil fuel industry.
Although the group’s website still does not acknowledge Steyer or any other candidate signing the pledge yet.
During a separate stop in Denver, Steyer vowed as president to intimidate corporations into supporting his environmental agenda, according to the Denver Post. He took specific aim at energy companies and financial institutions but failed to impress some attendees of the event because his wealthy background wouldn’t allow him to emphasize with low-income Americans.
Steyer has not qualified for the third presidential debate in Houston in September. He has reached the 165,000 individual donor threshold, but he still needs a fourth poll that registers him at least 2%.
He also has not been invited to a townhall hosted by CNN next month that will be focused on climate because he has not reached the polling threshold set by the Democratic National Committee to qualify for the upcoming debate.