Last week, Hillary Clinton was in New Hampshire fielding questions about student debt and the state's heroin epidemic.
About 30 minutes into the event, Clinton used her answer to a question about a proposed pipeline in southern New Hampshire to address how regulators should approach climate change and encourage cleaner energy sources.
The attendee who posed the question did not ask about climate change, but instead raised concerns about a proposed natural-gas pipeline and the role of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The woman was concerned that FERC “is funded by big oil and gas” and therefore failed to consider input from local stakeholders. FERC is a federal agency funded through national budgets. However, it does receive filing fees from the industries it regulates and imposes some annual charges. Clinton dismissed the funding issue, but addressed the broader issue of federal energy planning.
“The process FERC has in place does not give enough weight to public opinion,” said Clinton, who admitted she had not given the issue much thought before traveling around New Hampshire.
The agency is currently awaiting a Supreme Court decision that will decide the fate of its jurisdiction.
Clinton broadened her answer beyond local planning and siting. “Now that people raise this with me...if we’re going to have a national commitment to do something about climate change, FERC needs to be part of that national commitment.”
Clinton said it's time to get beyond the idea that more energy is the only answer. “Now we have to change that,” she said. “We have to change our values and our goals.” (In this respect, FERC has been a staunch advocate of demand response.)
To combat climate change, Clinton said she would ensure every agency is operating with the same goals in mind. “Every part of the federal government needs to be focused,” Clinton said at the event. “It’s really important to not have the left hand doing something different than the right hand,” said Clinton.
Watch the video of her answer: