Trump: Biden’s ‘radical left’ climate plan imperils economy

Source: By Lesley Clark and Carlos Anchondo, E&E News reporters • Posted: Sunday, August 30, 2020

President Trump assailed Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s plan to tackle climate change as a threat to millions of jobs and oil-producing states as he officially accepted the Republican nomination for president last night.

Trump, who took the unprecedented step of addressing the Republican National Convention from the south lawn at the White House, cast Biden’s $2 trillion plan that embraces green energy as one plank of a “radical left” agenda that would lead to open borders, rising taxes, fealty to China and rising unrest in the streets.

“Biden has promised to abolish the production of American oil, coal, shale and natural gas, laying waste to the economies of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico,” Trump charged. “Destroying those states, absolutely destroying those states and others.”

Trailing in the polls amid a novel coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 180,000 American lives, Trump insisted that under a Biden presidency that “millions of jobs will be lost, and energy prices will soar.”

And he seized a familiar refrain of the convention, blaming the renewable energy that Biden supports for California’s recent rolling blackouts, which the state’s power operator used to manage electricity during extreme heat waves.

“These same policies led to crippling power outages in California just last week,” Trump said; although observers have also cited inadequate planning and climate change as contributing factors. “How can Joe Biden claim to be an ‘ally of the light’ when his own party can’t even keep the lights on?”

Two other speakers touted Trump’s energy record, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who switched to the Republican Party last December during the impeachment inquiry into Trump. Drew declared under Trump the U.S. is “energy independent and we protect our environment.”

Though polls show many Americans, including Republicans, are increasingly concerned about the effects of climate change and the environment, Trump didn’t say a word about it.

His only reference to climate change came as he boasted that days after taking office, he “immediately” approved the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, “ended the unfair and costly Paris climate accord and secured, for the first time, American energy independence.”

The U.S. still has to complete work to withdraw from the climate accord. And both pipeline projects are no strangers to legal challenges. Biden said in May that he would stop the Keystone XL pipeline “for good” by rescinding the permit (E&E News PM, May 18).

Other speakers sounded a similar theme, praising Trump’s record and accusing Biden of carrying out a liberal agenda — though many progressives view the former vice president and longtime senator from Delaware as too moderate.

“He’s a Trojan horse with Bernie, AOC, Pelosi, Black Lives Matter and his party’s entire left wing hidden inside his body just waiting to execute their pro-criminal, anti-police policies,” former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said of Biden.

Trump crowed, somewhat inaccurately, that he had intervened to restore jobs for “hundreds of American workers” whom he said the Tennessee Valley Authority had “laid off” and forced to train their foreign replacements.

“Those talented American workers have been rehired and are back providing power to Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia,” Trump said, leading a round of applause for several of the employees, whom he noted were in the audience.

Trump did sign an executive order earlier this month aimed at preventing federal agencies from replacing U.S. jobs with foreign labor, after spotting a television ad produced by U.S. Tech Workers, a nonprofit that wants to limit visas given to foreign technology workers.

The workers hadn’t yet been laid off, though the nation’s largest public power company had announced earlier this year that it would outsource roughly 120 IT jobs — roughly 1 out of every 5 workers — to India.

Trump has struggled to deliver many details for a second term but pledged that if elected he’d “greatly expand energy development, continuing to remain No. 1 in the world, and keep America energy independent” (see related story).

He added, “and for those of you that still drive a car, look at how low your gasoline bill is. You haven’t seen that in a long time.”

Gas prices plunged to record levels earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, trade war and a global glut of oil.

Biden counters

Biden, at a virtual fundraiser yesterday before the final night of the GOP convention, countered that his plan to combat climate change would boost the pandemic-wracked economy.

“We’re going to make sure that America owns the electric car market,” Biden said, noting his plan will help him win automotive-rich Midwestern states.

“One of the reasons why I have such a strong, both environmental plan and got every major union to support me, is they’ve figured it out,” he said.

Biden said his plan calls for rebates to people who trade in their gas cars for electric vehicles and said it would create 1 million new jobs in auto manufacturing and related industries.

“I’m going to turn the federal fleet, which is one of the largest fleets in the world that anybody controls, and we’re going to turn it into electric vehicles,” he said.

In an email, Biden’s campaign refuted Republican accusations that Trump has achieved energy independence and that Biden would “abolish fossil fuels, end fracking, and impose regulations that would cost working families.”

The campaign cited a New York Times fact check and called it “fact” that “while Trump buries his head in the sand about the realities of climate change, Joe Biden’s smart plans to address the crisis would actually be a net benefit on the economy.”

Fact checkers have noted that although Trump claims the U.S. is energy independent, it still imports oil and gas.

And Biden has not called for a complete fracking ban but supports an end to new fracking on public lands (Energywire, Aug. 19).

The analytical firm Rystad Energy said this week it would not expect a potential federal land fracking ban to have “any immediate impact on nationwide” production because activity likely would migrate from federal to state and private land.