Trump: Making America’s energy policy cheaper, faster, and better

Democrats want to lock up America's wealth, Republicans want to tap into our stored prosperity

The name Donald Trump will occupy the news cycle during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Other than hammcomments from oil entrepreneur Harold Hamm, energy won’t be a huge topic on the stage—though it does hold a spot on the newly approved Republican Platform and has a starring role in Trump’s plan to “make America great again.”

Trump calls it “An America First Energy Plan.” In it, he calls for “American energy dominance,” which he sees as a strategic, economic, and foreign policy goal. Like every recent president before him, he seeks “American energy independence”—which he defines as being “independent of any need to import energy from the OPEC cartel or any nations hostile to our interests.” According to his energy adviser, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), this acknowledges that we will still use oil from our friends like Canada and Mexico and that, for example, due to refinery configurations, there will likely continue to be oil imports and exports. The thing to note is that we will not need to, nor have to, do business with those who are hostile toward America.

He understands that our amazing American energy resources offer the United States tremendous wealth and economic advantage. In his May 26 speech in North Dakota, addressing untapped oil and gas reserves on federal lands, Trump exclaimed: “We have no idea how rich we are. We want to cherish that wealth.” In comparison, he pointed out that Hillary Clinton wants to lock up “trillions in American wealth” while her “poverty-expansion agenda” enriches her friends and makes everyone else poor. (Be sure to read more about Hillary enriching her friends in my column next week.) In the speech, Trump pointed out to the audience, largely made up of people from the oil and agriculture industries: “If Crooked Hillary can shut down the mines, she can shut down your business, too.”

His America First Energy Plan calls for a redirection of our energy agenda. Overall, Trump will move away from government-central planning efforts and return authority back to the states—an idea that has made it into the Republican Platform. His plan has three main components. Under a Trump Administration there will be big changes in climate policy, regulations, and the management of federal lands.

Climate policy

While Trump is known to have called climate change “a hoax,” and has declared that he will not allow “political activists with extreme trump2agendas” to write the rules, he is a true environmentalist. Coming from New York City where the only “nature” is Central Park, he has a heart for the environment. Cramer told me Trump holds a typical “Manhattan view of the West:” Clean air, green space, and nature are precious. In his energy speech, Trump announced his environmental policy: “My priorities are very simple: clean air and clean water.” A Trump administration “will work with conservationists whose only agenda is protecting nature.”

In his “100-day action plan,” Trump says he’ll rescind the Climate Action Plan—which “gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use.”

[Note: this foreign control over energy use was a key component in the Brexit vote—as I wrote a few weeks ago. Since then, the UK’s new Prime Minister, who last week announced: “I want to see an energy policy that emphasises the reliability of supply and lower costs for users,” has scrapped the Department of Energy and Climate Change and replaced it with a new Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. With a President Trump, we can expect similar action.]

Trump has pledged to “cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payment of U.S. tax dollars to UN global warming programs.” He says such policies are evidence of America bending to benefit other nations at a cost to the U.S. Once the “draconian climate rules” are eliminated, there is no rationale for imposing a “job-killing cap-and-trade” scheme or to keep extending the subsidies for wind and solar. He is not opposed to wind and solar energy, and in fact, wants to “get bureaucracy out of the way of innovation so we can pursue all forms of energy,” but he doesn’t support the idea of “the government picking winners and losers.” Like other energy sources, once the subsidies expire, the wind and solar industry would benefit from typical business tax deductions and deferments.

Regulations

DONshipsTrump’s agenda calls for “Regulation reform that eliminates stupid rules that send our jobs overseas.” He knows that “costly regulation makes it harder and harder to turn a profit.”

In his speech, he accused the Environmental Protection Agency of “totalitarian tactics” and pointed out the current enforcement disparity: “The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against seven North Dakota oil companies for the deaths of 28 birds while the Administration fast-tracked wind projects that kill more than 1 million birds a year.”

Cramer told me we can expect Trump to roll back a lot of Obama’s regulatory overreach and take a different approach toward rules, like the Waters of the U.S. and the Clean Power Plan, that are currently under a court-ordered stay.

Coal miners have come out en masse for Trump because of his promise to “save the coal industry.” I asked Cramer how Trump planned to do that. He told me that while coal-fueled power plants that have already been shut down or converted to natural gas will not likely be reopened, a Trump administration can save what’s left and stop the bleeding by not artificially punishing the industry through regulation.

On July 14, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 2017 Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. It provides an example of actions we can expect from a President Trump. Cramer says if this bill were to make it to Trump’s desk, he would sign it. Some of the bill’s provisions include:

  • Prohibiting the EPA from implementing new greenhouse gas regulations for new and existing power plants,
  • Prohibiting harmful changes to the “stream buffer rule” or making changes to the definition of “fill material” negatively impacting coal-mining operations, and
  • Requiring a report on the backlog of mining permits awaiting approval.

Additionally, the bill cuts funding for regulatory agencies—“a decrease of $64 million from last year’s budget and $1 billion below the President’s request.”

While the Obama Administration has issued near fatal regulations on the coal industry (which Hillary would take even further), other countries are using more coal. On July 11, the Financial Times announced that prices for coal surged on increasing demand in China.

In short, Trump explained: “Any future regulation will go through a simple test: Is this regulation good for the American worker? If it doesn’t pass this test, the rule will not be approved.”

Federal lands

In his speech, Trump reminded people that President Obama has halted leasing for new coal mines on federal lands and aggressively HillKillCoalblocked the production of oil and natural gas by closing down leases and putting reserves off limits. He pointed out that these resources are an American treasure and that the American people are entitled to share in the riches.

One of the ways Americans will benefit from the riches of our natural resources is through a designated fund that, much like many natural resource states already do, will put a portion of the revenues directly into rebuilding roads, schools, and public infrastructure.

As a part of his 100-day action plan, Trump has promised to “lift moratoriums on energy production on federal areas.” Instead of slow-walking permits or being passive-aggressive with the permitting process, he’ll order agencies to expedite exploration, drilling, and mining permits.

Trump has said he intends to “trust local officials and local residents.” This idea will be played out in his approach to the management of federal lands—which Cramer explained will be more of a state and federal partnership where states will have a much greater say regarding the their  land use. This includes the regulation of hydraulic fracturing. In a blow to the Obama Administration’s overreach, a federal court recently affirmed that the regulation of the technology is the jurisdiction of the states—not of the Federal Bureau of Land Management.

monumentalobamaWe’ll see this same philosophy played out in the designation of national monuments—something the Obama Administration has abused by turning the ability to designate national monuments into a land grab. His monument designations often prevent productive use of the federal lands—such as agriculture or mineral extraction. The GOP platform committee adopted language that empowers states to retain control over lands within their borders. New monuments will “require the approval of the state where the national monument is designated or the national park is proposed.” As a result, Cramer told me: “We will not see a lot of new federal lands.”

There are two additional important energy items to note. First, Trump would “ask TransCanada to renew its permit application for the Keystone pipeline”—which would be built by American workers. Second, Trump has long been a supporter of nuclear power.

Trump’s energy plan is a turn toward realism. It is based on the fact that our American energy abundance can allow for shared prosperity, better schools, more funding for infrastructure, higher wages, and lower unemployment. Isn’t that what making America great again is all about?

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About the Author: Marita Noon

Marita Noon

CFACT policy analyst Marita Noon is the author of Energy Freedom.,

  • Ian5

    “Trump’s energy plan is a turn toward realism”

    He has a plan?? This article is political cheer-leading fluff. I don’t typically resort to name-calling but the only realism Trump has demonstrated is that he is an arrogant, narcissistic, isolationist, reality TV show clown. Not fit to lead.

    • Brin Jenkins

      Your opinion, you’r free to hold one but I don’t agree with you. Its time an American held office once more.

      • Marita K Noon

        Trump was not my first choice, but he is who the people voted for and that is how democracy works. Hillary will kill the energy industry and raise costs for everyone.

        • Li D

          Just a quick off topic observation.
          Ive seen several times Marita Noon engage with commenters. Never seen any
          other CFACT writers do this.
          Such egagement is quite honourable behavior from a writer who shows interest in a topic they write about. It lends
          authentication to her words.
          So, um, good onya Marita Noon.

          • Marita K Noon

            Why thank you!

        • Ian5

          So you are supporting Trump because “…he is who the people voted for” and “Hillary will kill the energy industry”? That’s an incredibly weak rationale. In temperament, character and preparation, Trump is unfit to be President. Regardless of Hillary’s energy policies, Trump has absolutely no record of public service or policy implementation. He is a xenophobic isolationist and shown himself to be completely irresponsible on national security issues. His parade of vulgar insults are designed to stereotype whole communities of people and is distinctly un-American.

          Marita, you and every other compassionate Conservative should be lining up to vote for Clinton in November to ensure this buffoon is not elected President. Lots of informed Conservatives are going this route so you’ll be in good company: http://r4c16.org/

      • Ian5

        What do you mean by this comment?

        “Its [sic] time an American held office once more”.

    • Marita K Noon

      He has many serious advisers and yes, he has a plan. I’ve outlined it and brought attention to it. It is pro-energy. For that, yes, I am a cheerleader.

      • RobbertBobbert GDQ

        Marita,
        Hello from Australia,
        Australian Financial Review July14. 2016
        “South Australia intervenes in electricity market as prices hit $14,000MWh”

        The Article deals with the extraordinary financial reality that our most Wind and Solar dependent State (South Australia) has got itself in due to this decision to promote these bandits.

        Note that for a short time the price got up to the highest allowed of $14,000 per MWH. Our dollar is 75% of the US dollar and this extreme price equals running a small electric bar heater for one hour at a $14 cost.

        The finances discussed are gobsmacking as to the ludicrous surge prices that occur in this farcical renewable industry ( often surging to $1000 per MWH (and even further as above) which is ten times normal, yet, normal price for these bandits is 25%to 50%, or more, expensive than traditional sources!
        Yet our Labor Party, which just lost the recent Federal election by a very narrow margin campaigned on a policy of 50% renewables by 2030.
        And The Green Crazies demand that we go full hardcore all renewable even sooner.

        I recommend this article and others that deal with the situation in South Australia as a warning of things to come and ask Marita and readers to explain why the supporters of these Green energy bandits cannot see what is obvious to everybody else as to the dismal financial outcome and the lack of real baseline grunt of The Wind and Solar Rubbish.

        Is there anywhere anyplace in the world that has introduced these things and have had them be an instant, efficient, effective, and financial success?

        Regards to all from the Land of The Kangaroo and thank you Marita for your informative reports.

        • Li D

          More false bullshit.
          Sounds a bit like what would
          come outa Andrew Bolts mouth. Angry dribbling shit.
          Its the cost of gas thats upped the price of SA power.
          Get the charts and compare!

          Theres actually some curious anomolies in the SA power picture and if i was a corrupt person involved id be a bit nervous.

          • RobbertBobbert GDQ

            Li D
            And if you actually quoted some evidence rather than relying on emotive rambling I might get …nervous …but that would be asking you to do some hard work, and that is where you and The Renewable Bandits Of Wind and Solar are similar… An inability to do the Efficient Reliable Hard work when it is required.
            So we know that Your renewable wonders were costing $100 to $1000 per KWH at certain times in South Australia and even spiked to $14000!. (75% USA Dollar)
            That is facts and figures.
            You got any about these Gas prices you claim are the key to Wind being so massively expensive or is this just the latest Lefty Spin to protect these pathetic regrettable bandits of inefficiency, expense and unreliability.

    • You are CORRECT! He does NOT have a plan, these are all “words” the man has said to, you guessed it, become president as he has pined to be for more than 20 years.

      PPL keep saying; “he’s not a politician”, and they would be right. But why does he act like one, talk like one and flip-flop like one?

      As easily as he spews these words he just as easily refutes them in contradiction like a political pro. Just as he flipped on minimum wage.

      • katiehutton

        His plans for immigration, the economy, jobs, energy etc etc are very clearly laid out and reasonable enough. Can you read. Please do so and report back at what you found. Hillary’s plan is more failed Obama policies. She wants to put the coal miners out of business. Doesn’t even mention ISIS as an issue of our national security and the war on terrorism.

        • Everyone can read, thanks for the snarky comment. Now explain the point we made, why is Trump contradicting in public what his website says on his “plan”. Specifically, yesterday’s flip flop on minimum wage.

          It is going to be interesting to see which one of these two lowest common denominators can muster the number’s to win.

  • Brin Jenkins

    Sounds pragmatic, we need some of that in these Salem witch hunt times. Until a full audit by independant and trusted people is done and the truth made clear we should stop the industrial destruction.

  • Li D

    Er, how exactly does promoting coal fit into a claimed ” clean air ” is ” precious ” paradigm?

    • Brin Jenkins

      Where was this claimed?

      • Li D

        Clean air, green space, and nature are precious. In his energy speech, Trump announced his environmental policy: “My priorities are very simple: clean air and clean water.”

        The above is taken from Noons writing, er, above a bit more, in the
        section titled Climate policy.
        Care to explain the contradiction?

        • America burns cleaner varieties of coal with particulate scrubbers rendering its use quite clean. Contrast the “dirty” burning of coal in China and India. Combustion of all kinds (and respiration) emits CO2, but labeling CO2 pollution is propaganda.

          • Li D

            Ok. The thing is, the overarching priority in Trumps own words is clean air and water.
            So developing policy with this in mind is pretty easy.
            Get a chart of all production methods listing pollutantant ratios per kwh affecting air and water quality.
            Ignore CO2 if ya want.
            Focus on promoting the low and zero emiters. Focus on getting rid of high emiters.
            Thats what a policy with those
            priorities stated by Trump needs to do.
            A chart with other priorities may look quite different but Trumps got his priorities for his own reasons.
            One assumes Trumps clean air and water philosophy extends to all aspects of industry, agriculture, and transport, not
            soley electrical generation.

            So, good job Trump and his party. Clean air and water are excellent things, im sure we all agree.
            It makes Trumps support for coal a standout exception to his own philosophy, and thats what im querying.

            • Li D

              So look out air and water polluters. Trump is gunna hammer ya if he gets in. Hes got a stated environmental agenda.
              Notable exception being coal it seems.

              Voters who like dirty air and dirty water might wanna back cantidates promoting dirty air and water platforms instead of
              Trump and the elephant party.

  • Li D

    Good for the American worker test is a classic.
    Landmine factories are good for employment arnt they?
    Heroin dealing employs alot of people.
    Actually low wages could be considered good. More employment see.
    Are flexible hours good? Well how about some good old zero hour contracts.

    • Brin Jenkins

      What a strange imagination?

    • Frederick Colbourne

      This adds nothing to the discussion.of practical options for maintaining health and welfare in America.

      Americans want jobs, real jobs. The notion that the electorate will long tolerate job-killing policies is a fantasy.

      The stated purpose of Federal environmental legislation: health and welfare.

      In this context “welfare” means economic well-being and not food stamps or support for the unemployed.

      The reason Mr Trump has got this far is that he understands and his opposition does not.

  • burgess

    The problem with this analysis is that Trump’s nomination is the best chance Hillary has to win. Supporting Trump is in effect supporting Hillary.

    And then there’s Trump’s support of EXPANSION of ethanol mandates. Shouldn’t have to explain to readers of CFACT how bad that is.

    • Frederick Colbourne

      Yes, this is obvious. But who else in the GOP could win? Certainly not Cruz.

    • Marita K Noon

      I wrote about Trump’s support of Ethanol back in January–posted here at CFACT. However, I suspect, now that he better understands the energy picture, he’ll back away from his support. If Congress sends him a bill to revise or remove the ethanol mandates, I am confident he’d sign it.

    • J T

      You’re dreaming, fool.

  • Mike Lipshultz

    Trump needs to make LFTR reactors a reality and locate them in close proximity to population centers. The only way to assure the integrity of the electric grid is through local generation. LFTR technology is intrinsically safe, no meltdowns and can use nuclear waste along with abundant Thorium as fuel.

  • Vickie

    Trump is a breath of fresh air. I am sick of lying politicians! Make America Great again! Make America energy independent!

  • Frederick Colbourne

    I have been a practical environmentalist since childhood with two essential aims:

    clean air and clean water.

    Trump’s approach to environmentalism is what I grew up with before he was born.

    That is what cleaned up the mess in America and Canada too after the industrial and urban expansion following the Second World War.

    It’s time to return to a practical approach.

  • Robert Mahar

    Amazing, all the experts on clean air and water. All you green putz’ speeding into red lights and through parking lots while yapping meaningless bs on yer phone. When this country dies under hitlary Clunton, well at least the fricken air will be clean but everything else will be gone ! We need Money ! To fix things ! For – poor neighborhoods, infrastructure, schools. The list is endless! We’re sitting on a vast gold mine of opportunity and technology and you stupid yuppie fools haven’t a clue. Wake up!!