For all of former U.S. President Barack Obama’s positive moves on clean energy and environmental protection, one glaring black mark remains on his record: He oversaw a huge expansion in domestic oil drilling. Unfortunately, this is the only part of his legacy that incoming President Donald Trump wants to keep intact.
While Obama’s support for renewables and stricter regulations on dirty power plants is one reason that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions dropped during his presidency, many say not enough was done to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Even the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster – from which the Gulf Coast is still recovering — did not dent drilling under Obama.
Oil production, which had been falling since the 1970s, grew under an astounding 72 percent during the Obama years. That is 3.6 million extra barrels a day from a president who promised to shift us to more environmentally-friendly policies. In 2013, the U.S. even became the world’s leading oil and gas producer. Remember how Republicans used to always call for energy independence? Under Obama, we got closer to that goal than ever before.