E&E EnergyWire (subscription required) last week reported that Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has endorsed federal legislation that would open offshore Virginia to oil and gas drilling. This is a major shift from his failed 2009 campaign, during which he opposed offshore drilling. On energy policy, McAuliffe also has done a U-turn on coal. In 2009, he pledged to never allow a coal fired power plant; now, he doesn’t mention coal-fired power, but his campaign does support increased coal exports.
McAuliffe’s abrupt shift in energy policy mirrors President Barack Obama’s performance during debates with GOP candidate Mitt Romney in late 2012. During his first term, President Obama’s administration imposed a suite of policies meant to inhibit hydrocarbon energy production in the United States. Yet during the debate, when the American public was paying attention, the President championed his supposed support for more oil and gas drilling, and even claimed to be a booster of the coal industry.