Farallon Founder Talks Green Energy At Dem. Convention

Sep 10 2012 | 12:04pm ET

While most hedge fund managers are backing President Barack Obama's opponent this November, Farallon Capital Management founder Thomas Steyer is keeping faith with his liberal leanings. And last week, the usually media-shy hedge fund magnate got the chance to tout one of his pet projects on a national stage.

Steyer addressed the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, one of the dozens of speakers warming up for the evening's headline events, speeches from Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and former President Bill Clinton.

The Farallon chief spoke for about six minutes on the subject of renewable energy, blasting the Republican nominee against Obama, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"I think Mitt Romney and I share an income bracket, although I guess we're never going to know for sure," Steyer said, referring to Romney's evasiveness about his tax returns and how much he actually pays in taxes. "But the reason I'm here tonight is that Mitt Romney and I don't share the same vision for the future, especially when it comes to energy."

"Gov. Romney would do nothing to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and much to increase it," the billionaire alleged. "He would gut Pres. Obama's investments in clean energy. He wants to keep giving $4 billion in taxpayer's dollars to oil companies every year—the very same companies pouring millions into outside groups backing his campaign."

Instead, he urged listeners to continue to back Obama's "all-of-the-above" strategy to take "control of our destiny by doing what Americans do best—by out-innovating, out-hustling and out-thinking our competitors."

"Should we go back to the boom and bust, drill baby drill, polluting energy policies of yesterday or should we embrace an advanced energy economy that meets opportunity with innovation?” Steyer asked.

"Now I say this not as the head of Greenpeace or the Sierra Club but I say it as the head of an investment firm that has spent the last quarter century crunching numbers and making tough calls,” Steyer said in his summation. “Pres. Obama knows advanced energy is America’s future and my bet as a businessman is that he’s exactly right."

Steyer wasn't the only alternative investment representative to take the stage at the Charlotte, N.C., convention. Three former employees of Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Romney, also spoke on Wednesday.


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