Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Trump vows action on energy, but modifies stance on climate accord

Donald Trump has vowed to roll back regulations he believes are stifling production of energy, including coal and shale oil and gas.

But, in a recent interview, the president-elect suggested a softening of his earlier hard stance against the Paris climate agreement.

Energy industry experts, however, believe Trump will move to “declaw” the Environmental Protection Agency, and scrap the Clean Power Plan, which already is under attack in the courts.

Trump said last week he wants to “formulate a rule which says that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated,” repeating a proposal he made shortly before the election.

Trump also promised to "cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy — including shale energy and clean coal,” though he did not specify which restrictions he planned to eliminate. This step would create "many millions of high-paying jobs," he said.

Twenty seven state attorneys general, all Republicans, and many power companies, particularly those involved in the production and use of coal, oppose the Clean Power Plan. Apart from the EPA, supporters include 18 states, renewable energy firms and  several large companies.

“With control of the White House and Congress, President Obama’s coal-killing Clean Power Plan is likely history,” Christopher Helman wrote in a post for Forbes magazine. “The EPA will be declawed.”

But some economists, supporters of boosting renewable energies, and other industry watchers argue coal is losing market share because natural gas and renewable energy is cheaper. And boosting coal production may not produce the jobs promised because of increasing automation.

Questioned about the Paris accord signed a year ago, Trump told the New York Times that he is looking at it “very closely” and has an open mind. This is despite his vow on the campaign trail that he would withdraw the United States from the agreement.

Trump admitted to the newspaper that he believed there is "some connectivity" between human activity and climate change.

"I think there is some connectivity; some, something. It depends on how much," Trump said.

In his policy document published during the campaign, Trump promised to make America energy independent, create millions of new jobs and protect clean air and clean water. “We will conserve our natural habitats, reserves and resources,” the document read. “We will unleash an energy revolution that will bring vast new wealth to our country.”

Trump further promised to declare American energy dominance a strategic economic and foreign policy goal of the United States and “unleash” the country’s $50 trillion in untapped shale oil and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves.

He vowed to open onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands, to open shale energy deposits and eliminate the moratorium on coal leasing.

“Mr. Trump will reduce and eliminate all barriers to responsible energy production, creating at least a half million jobs a year, $30 billion in higher wages and cheaper energy,” the policy document stated.

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Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

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