Pence derides Biden’s climate ‘regime’ as expensive folly

Source: By Lesley Clark, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 27, 2020

Vice President Mike Pence ripped Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as he formally accepted the nomination to the Republican ticket last night, charging that Biden’s climate change “regime” would hike costs for Americans.

“Where this president achieved energy independence for the United States, Joe Biden would abolish fossil fuels, end fracking and impose a regime of climate change regulations that would drastically increase the cost of living for working families,” Pence said at Fort McHenry National Monument in Baltimore.

He was the first speaker in three nights of the Republican National Convention to mention “climate change,” even as speakers at the convention repeatedly denounced “radical environmentalists.”

The omission of climate change has disappointed some Republicans who have urged the party to offer its own solutions (Greenwire, Aug. 26).

President Trump, though, has dismissed climate concerns and made it clear be considers the Democrats’ sweeping plans to address the issue a motivator with voters.

Pence opened his remarks by noting Hurricane Laura bearing down on the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. Researchers have suggested that climate change is a factor in such rapidly intensifying storms.

Pence said the administration was working with the states and that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had mobilized resources and supplies.

“This is a serious storm,” he said. “Stay safe and know that we’ll be with you every step of the way.”

Biden calls climate change one of four crises facing the U.S. and has centered his $2 trillion climate action plan on creating green energy jobs and recovering from the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden’s plan would not end all hydraulic fracturing, but he would ban new fracking on public land.

Pence praised Trump’s record, boasting that he had rolled back “more federal red tape” than any other administration and “unleashed American energy.”

“America,” Pence declared, “became a net exporter of energy for the first time in 70 years.”

Other speakers touted President Trump for rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations, charging that Democrats have caved to “radical environmentalists” and harmed farmers and loggers.

“If given power, they would essentially ban animal agriculture and eliminate gas-powered cars,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), citing what she called the “so-called Green New Deal.” She added “it would destroy the agriculture industry, not just here in Iowa, but throughout the country.”

Biden has called the Green New Deal a “crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face” but has stopped short of endorsing it. His climate plan calls for a carbon-free power sector by 2035.

Ernst credited Trump with helping farmers in her state by rolling back what she called “Obama and Biden’s” rule that defined which wetlands and streams qualify for Clean Water Act provisions.

Ernst said the “punishing” Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule would have regulated about 97% of land in Iowa, including puddles.

“It would have been a nightmare for farmers,” she said.

She said Trump also implemented the sale of E15 fuel year-round, which she said would lead to more jobs for farmers and which she said the Obama administration failed to do.

“In fact, I can’t recall an administration more hostile to farmers than Obama-Biden, unless you count the Biden-Harris ticket,” she said.

She cast the election as a choice between “two very different paths,” painting the Democratic way as “paved by liberal coastal elites and radical environmentalists. An America where farmers are punished, jobs are destroyed and taxes crush the middle class.”

‘Make Logging Great Again’

Ernst’s remarks came as she pressed Trump last week to speak to EPA about worries from her state’s biofuels industry and its allies over fuel refineries’ petitions for exemptions from the federal ethanol blending mandate.

Trump promised to “speak” to EPA. Biden yesterday pledged his support for biofuels, criticizing Trump’s enforcement of the federal biofuel blending law and charging the president had sold out farmers “with the granting of waivers to Big Oil.”

Scott Dane, a logger and trucker from Minnesota, wore a “Make Logging Great Again” cap and criticized Biden for failing the timber industry during his time in the Senate and as vice president.

“Under Obama-Biden, radical environmentalists were allowed to kill the forest,” Dane said. “Wildfire after wildfire showed the consequences.”

Dane hailed Trump for what he said was a “new recognition of the value of forest management in reducing wildfires,” adding that “we’ve seen new support for our way of life.”

Trump for two years has blamed forest management practices for the wildfires in California, an assertion that has been dismissed by experts who have blamed a combination of factors, including climate change.

“I said ‘You gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests,” Trump said last week at a Pennsylvania rally.

Madison Cawthorn, a North Carolina congressional candidate, called on conservatives to “define what we support and win the argument in areas like health care and the environment.”

He offered no details. Republicans this year offered no new platform for the 2020 convention — but said they would “continue to enthusiastically support the president’s America-first agenda.”