Category Archives: Republican Party

Trump energy policy: more fossil fuels, less regulation

Repost from ThinkProgress

Trump ‘Completely Rethinks’ U.S. Energy Policy By Doubling Down On Fossil Fuels

By Ryan Koronowski, August 8, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers an economic policy speech to the Detroit Economic Club, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, in Detroit. CREDIT: AP/EVAN VUCCI

On Monday in Detroit, Donald Trump sought to reset his campaign again with a speech about the economy to begin “a great conversation about economic renewal for America,” portraying Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as “a nominee of yesterday.”

Trump aides told Politico prior to the speech that Trump economic vision also involved “a complete rethinking of our energy policy.”

What does this “complete rethinking” look like?

More fossil fuels. And less environmental regulation. A Trump administration would follow the same rhetorical stance on energy as the RNC and the Romney campaign, and the Bush administration’s policy playbook.

The 2016 Republican presidential nominee cited “energy reform” as a priority midway through the speech, attacking “the Obama-Clinton war on coal” and boasting how his own plan to cut regulations on the fossil fuel industry would create jobs.

“I am going to cut regulations massively,” Trump said. “Massively.”

Beyond vague anti-regulatory rhetoric, Trump’s speech cited studies from the Koch-funded Institute for Energy Research, the Exxon-funded Heritage Foundation, and the American Petroleum Institute, all purporting to prove the economic ruin wreaked by the Obama administration’s environmental actions.

Further detail was provided by a Trump campaign email sent to the press which outlined “policy highlights” from Trump’s economic vision:

CREDIT: TRUMP CAMPAIGN EMAIL

While Trump may not be able to accomplish all of his stated energy agenda, these policy highlights are essentially the same as the energy plan he outlined in May. His vision lines up almost perfectly with that of the fossil fuel industry.

“Donald Trump’s energy proposals read like a gift registry for the fossil fuel and financial industries,” Greenpeace executive director Annie Leonard said in a statement. “If a U.S. president would attempt to enact any of these proposals it would not only undo the the progress millions of people around the world have achieved on climate change, it would set this country on a path to economic ruin and environmental devastation.”

Trump would “immediately cancel” President Obama’s executive actions, singling out the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the United States rule. Trump doesn’t mention that the Climate Action Plan’s carbon rule would lower electricity bills and the Waters of the U.S. rule actually helps protect small farmers against pollution from big agribusiness.

He promises to “save the coal industry” — though international coal market dynamics are to blame and U.S. coal jobs are not coming back even with a President Trump.

Bringing back the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf are goals that have been on the conservative drawing board for decades — hardly something that belongs in a completely rethought economic vision.

Cancelling the Paris Climate Agreement and defunding U.S. contributions to United Nations climate programs would drag the United States and the world back decades.

“Lift restrictions on American energy,” to Trump, means fossil fuels and not renewable energy sources like solar and wind, which are growing faster than fossil fuels and getting cheaper at a truly astonishing rate. Trump, however, said last week that renewable energy “is not working so good.”

What the billionaire did not mention on Monday is how much climate change is projected to hurt the global economy: the United States will take a 36 percent GDP hit by the end of the century if its leaders allow it to suffer an unmitigated climate, according to research from ICF International and NextGen Climate Action. Globally, that number jumps to $44 trillion by 2060, according to Citigroup.

Trump called Clinton “the candidate of the past” while his own campaign was “the campaign of the future.”

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    GOP Establishment ties to the stalkers harassing Bill McKibben and Tom Steyer

    Repost from DeSmogBlog

    How America Rising Ties the GOP Establishment to the Stalkers Harassing Bill McKibben and Tom Steyer

    By Ben Jervey • Saturday, August 6, 2016 – 02:58

    For the past few months, when they dare venture out to the supermarket, to church, or to a climate rally, Bill McKibben, Tom Steyer, and other climate activists are being stalked by a team of GOP-trained camera operators. The so-called “trackers” with the cameras are working for a group called America Rising Squared (aka America Rising Advanced Research or AR2), and publishing the occasional “embarrassing” display of alleged hypocrisy on a website called CoreNews.org.

    DeSmog first covered this new “creepy” campaign back in May, and since then, the harrassment has only gotten worse, as Bill McKibben writes in Sunday’s New York Times. In his op-ed, “My Right Wing Stalkers” (the web headline is: “Embarrassing Photos of Me, Thanks to My Right-Wing Stalkers”), McKibben describes what it’s like to live under surveillance, and the psychological toll that it takes on him and his family. (One particularly infuriating detail: McKibben’s daughter believes that she, too, is being filmed in public.)

    McKibben writes:

    To be watched so much is a kind of never-ending nightmare. And sometimes it’s just infuriating. I skipped the funeral this summer of Patrick Sorrento, an important mentor to me at my college newspaper, because I didn’t want my minder to follow me and cause a distracting spectacle. When my daughter reports someone taking pictures of her at the airport, it drives me nuts. I have no idea if it’s actually this outfit; common decency would suggest otherwise, but that seems an increasingly rare commodity.

    Almost as startling as the tactics of the campaign is how closely it is tied to the mainstream Republican establishment. Core News (and by extension, America Rising Squared) might have the look and feel of a Right Wing lunatic fringe campaign funded by the darkest of oil and gas money. But in actuality it’s a foundational block of a prominent GOP opposition research firm, the heads of which have collectively spent decades working for big name Republicans like Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, John McCain, and even the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee itself.

    Check out this network map (built on LittleSis) to see for yourself how Core News is directly tied to the Republican establishment’s leading opposition researchers. And for good measure, here is DeSmog’s profile of the entire America Rising family tree, with branches including America Rising LLC, America Rising PAC, America Rising Squared, Definers Public Affairs, and Core News.

    As you can see, the founders of America Rising are both longtime GOP establishment insiders. Matt Rhoades has worked on presidential campaigns going back to Bush-Cheney in 2004, and was Mitt Romney’s campaign director for his failed 2012 bid. Joe Pounder was Research Director for the Republican National Committee at the time, and it was out of the ashes of that campaign that the idea of America Rising was born.

    Brian Rogers, the Executive Director of America Rising Squared, was a longtime staffer with Senator John McCain and—oddly enough—briefly served as research director for Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection.

    Of the “trackers” campaign and Core News, Rogers has said his group will “hold Steyer and the Environmentalist Left accountable for their epic hypocrisy and extreme positions which threaten America’s future prosperity.” Though there’s no indication yet that Rogers’ trackers will be following his old boss, former Vice President Gore, around with cameras.

    Who is paying America Rising Squared to stalk McKibben, Steyer, and others?

    It’s hard to say, as donations to America Rising Squared needn’t be declared, as the entity is incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c)4. In fact, the various entities under the America Rising umbrella give the enterprise a flexible structure that can serve different purposes. The PAC can purchase research from the LLC and can sell or disseminate it to other organizations. The nonprofit AR2 doesn’t have to declare its donors. America Rising LLC is a business that can sell its services with no disclosures necessary.

    According to OpenSecrets.org, the Republican National Committee spent at least $183,900 on America Rising in the 2016 election cycle, with an additional $45,000 from the National Republican Congressional Committee. All told, America Rising had a budget of $8 million for the 2014 elections and is seeking to nearly double this.

    Again, for a whole lot more background on America Rising, including a list of known leadership and staff and reported funding, check out DeSmog’s profile of the entire America Rising enterprise.

    As Bill McKibben sums up in his op-ed, these stalkers aren’t fooling anyone, and the truth is that the entrenched special interests who hired them are the ones running scared:

    Merely having someone with a camera follow you somehow makes you feel as if you’re doing something wrong. My house is covered in solar panels, and I plug my car into a socket those panels power. But environmentalists also live in the world we’re trying to change: We take airplanes and rent buses for rallies; we make a living, shop for groceries. None of this should demand an apology. Changing the system, not perfecting our own lives, is the point. “Hypocrisy” is the price of admission in this battle.

    And despite what the industry and its advocates insist, that does not make us all equally responsible for the climate crisis.

    We’re fighting for policy changes that will make it possible for us to have better choices: utilities that offer us renewable options, electric trains that make short-haul flights obsolete, public transit. Exxon and its ilk have been fighting for decades to keep these choices out of our reach, and then claim that we are voting with our dollars every time we sit in traffic or heat our homes with fossil fuels supplied by a utility that has a monopoly. They can play gotcha as much as they want, but all it proves is how badly we need better options. And we are still going to fight like heck to make sure options are available to everyone.

    The fossil-fuel industry may threaten us as a planet, as a nation, and as individuals, but when we rise up together we’ve got a fighting chance against the powers that be.

    And perhaps that realization is just a little bit scary for them.

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