Perry: Trump wants to use energy for ‘global leadership’

Source: By Timothy Cama, The Hill • Posted: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

President Trump wants the United States to use its energy as a geopolitical tool for influence and leadership, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said.

Perry spoke with reporters Monday about how he, Trump and the administration see their stated goal of “energy dominance,” in which the U.S. goes beyond energy independence and starts actively competing on multiple global stages through self-sufficiency and exports of natural gas, oil, coal and other forms of energy.

Perry’s briefing at the White House came at the beginning of the Trump administration’s self-proclaimed “Energy Week,” in which officials are trying to highlight the president’s energy agenda thus far and his plans for the future.

Like Infrastructure Week and Technology Week before it, the attempt to focus on what the administration sees as positive policy accomplishments comes while national headlines are dominated by other stories.The Congressional Budget Office reported Monday that the Senate’s healthcare reform bill, which Trump supports and is set for a vote later this week, would leave 22 million more people uninsured over the next decade.

Nonetheless, through a series of events this week, the Trump administration wants the focus to be on energy.

“President Trump wants America to achieve energy dominance, utilizing our abundant domestic energy resources for good, both here at home and abroad,” Perry said.

“An energy-dominant America means a self-reliant, a secure nation, free from geopolitical turmoil of other nations who seek to use energy as an economic weapon. An energy-dominant America will export to markets around the world, increasing our global leadership and influence.”

The main focus thus far toward the energy dominance goal has been to roll back regulations and other policies, largely written by the Obama administration, that the administration thinks stand in the way of the production and use of domestic fossil fuels.

Across the administration, that’s included rules on oil and natural gas drilling, restrictions on coal mining on federal land, limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and exiting the Paris climate change agreement.

“For years, we have over-regulated that sector, mostly by Washington politicians and bureaucrats who knew they knew best,” Perry said. “The lecturing is over. It is now time to listen.”

Increasing liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports is a key piece of the agenda. Only one facility in the lower 48 states — Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabina Pass facility on the Texas-Louisiana border — is exporting LNG, but the administration wants to get more exporting facilities online.

Trump said Monday after meeting with Indian President Narendra Modi that he wants to export LNG to India as well.

“We’re also looking forward to exporting more American energy to India as your economy grows, including major long-term contracts to purchase American natural gas, which are right now being negotiated, and we will sign them. Trying to get the price up a little bit,” he said.

But Perry cautioned that, despite the fossil fuel focus and Trump’s Paris withdrawal, the administration still prioritizes clean energy.

“The binary choice between being pro-economy and pro-environment that was perpetuated by the Obama administration, it set up a false argument. We can do good for both, and we will,” he said.

He said the fact that the U.S. has been a world leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions — mostly due to cheap natural gas replacing coal for electricity — shows that the country can cut emissions without Paris or similar policies.

“Instead of preaching about clean energy, this administration will act upon it,” he said.

Perry will speak about Trump’s energy agenda Tuesday at an Energy Information Administration event.

He will also participate in a panel with Trump and other top administration officials on “Energy Dominance” at the Energy Department’s headquarters Thursday, but it will be closed to the public.

On Wednesday, Trump will host governors and leaders of American Indian tribes to talk about local and state involvement in energy policy.