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Obama's Energy Policy: A Labyrinth of Contradictions

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When it comes to energy, there is an incoherence to President Barack Obama's policies.

This incoherence is embedded in his administration in the person of Carol Browner. She is largely regarded as the agent of a kind of reactionary environmentalism that once haunted the Democratic Party.

Browner, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bill Clinton, is a special assistant to Obama for energy and environment. To a wide variety of industries, though, she is the agent of regressive, just-say-no environmentalism.

Browner's background from environmental jobs in Florida to working with Al Goredooms her to suspicion of zealotry, which is probably unjustified. Her defenders (just about all in the environmental movement), see her as a great public servant and standard-bearer.

But she is largely out of sight these days; her writ and her influence unknown.

To the energy industries, from the ever-embattled nuclear sector to the euphoric-for-now natural gas producers and the mostly happy wind farmers, Browner and her role remains a mystery. Why is she there? How much does she influence Obama? Or, for that matter, does he care more about the politics of energy and the environment than he does about the issues?

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