Trump bets on dramatic fossil fuel production increase

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump today reiterated his vow to create “vast new wealth” in the United States by expanding oil and gas production and revitalizing the coal industry.

Trump, looking to invigorate his campaign against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to succeed President Obama, outlined a series of proposed tax breaks and regulatory reforms in a speech to the Detroit Economic Club.

The former reality television star and real estate mogul incorporated his previously detailed energy platform, reiterating a plan to boost fossil fuel production while slashing climate policies (E&E Daily, May 27).

“A Trump administration will end this war on the American worker and unleash an energy revolution that will bring vast new wealth to our country,” Trump said.

Trump vowed to lift restrictions “on all sources of American energy,” including ending the Interior Department’s recent moratorium on new coal leases.

He also called for making land in the Outer Continental Shelf available to oil and gas production, and reiterated his request for TransCanada Corp. to submit a new permit application for the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline. The Obama administration rejected the project last year.

Trump cited statistics from the free market think tank Institute for Energy Research to argue that allowing unfettered access to federally owned oil, gas and coal resources — including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans — would create millions of new jobs and add more than $100 billion annually to gross domestic product (Greenwire, Dec. 8, 2015).

He also hit Clinton over her remarks at a CNN event in March where she suggested her administration would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

The remarks, part of Clinton’s attempt to promote her own $30 billion plan for revitalizing distressed communities, including the nation’s coal fields, have now appeared in numerous campaign ads in competitive 2016 contests.

“We will put our coal miners and steel workers back to work,” Trump said, hitting on a recurring theme in his stump speech.

He then hit Clinton over her promises to restrict hydraulic fracturing through strict regulations. “Clinton not only embraces President Obama’s job-killing energy restrictions but wants to expand them, including going after oil and natural gas production that employs some 10 million Americans,” Trump said.

Trump reiterated his vow to “cancel” the Paris climate agreement and roll back Obama administration regulations, including U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Act jurisdiction rule.

The Republican’s hypothetical White House would also issue a “regulatory moratorium” and require every federal agency to rank its existing regulations “from most critical to health and safety to least critical.”

“When we reform our tax, trade, energy and regulatory policies, we will open a new chapter in American prosperity,” Trump said. “We can use this new wealth to rebuild our military and our infrastructure.”

Environmentalists immediately panned Trump’s latest proposals, including League of Conservation Voters National Campaigns Director Clay Schroers, who called the speech a “big polluters first” agenda.

“For a candidate who claims to pride himself on never reading from a script, Trump sure sticks to the big polluters’ talking points when it comes to energy and the environment,” Schroers said.

“The policies he’s espoused — ending regulations, cutting the EPA and attacking the Clean Power Plan — as well as naming billionaire oil executive Harold Hamm as one of his economic advisers, shows that Trump is happy to give away our clean air and water to big polluters in the oil and gas industry with no regard for the damage they will do.”