As the United States’ Presidential election lurches toward November 8, I wanted to summarize the two major candidates’ positions on environmental issues. Starting with Republican nominee Donald Trump, the first thing to observe is that his official candidate campaign webpage does not list ‘environmental’ as one of the major pull-down issues available for viewing. However, positions on environmental issues are presented in the policy areas that are addressed.
Environmental Matters Within “Energy” Issues
The website sets forth “An America First Energy Plan,” which depends in large part on expansion of domestic production of fossil fuels. This presents various bullets, including the following:
“Make America energy independent, create millions of new jobs, and protect clean air and clean water. We will conserve our natural habitats, reserves and resources. We will unleash an energy revolution that will bring vast new wealth to our country.”
“Unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves.” Readers will note that domestic development depends considerably on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) (which I’ve written about several times, including here).
“Open onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands, eliminate moratorium on coal leasing, and open shale energy deposits.”
“Encourage the use of natural gas and other American energy resources that will both reduce emissions but also reduce the price of energy and increase our economic output. “
“Rescind all job-destroying Obama executive actions. Mr. Trump will reduce and eliminate all barriers to responsible energy production, creating at least a half million jobs a year, $30 billion in higher wages, and cheaper energy.”
This portion of the website includes numerous contrasts with policy pronouncements by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The Trump website emphasizes Clinton statements supporting Obama Administration moves to expand emission restrictions on fossil fuels.
Environmental Matters Within “Regulations” Issues
The website offers the general idea that there are too many regulations, some of which exceed statutory limits, and many of which impose unnecessary burdens. Specific points include:
“Ask all Department heads to submit a list of every wasteful and unnecessary regulation which kills jobs, and which does not improve public safety, and eliminate them.”
“Eliminate our most intrusive regulations, like the Waters of The U.S. Rule. We will also scrap the EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan which the government estimates will cost $7.2 billion a year.” These are two of the Obama Administration’s most controversial environmental initiatives. I’ve blogged about them previously, including here.
Climate Change Is Not Man-made
Donald Trump has stated many times that he does believe that climates fluctuate naturally, and does not believe that climate change is man-made. Hillary Clinton pointed out at their second debate that he has called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, but at other times he has said that this statement was meant as a joke. In September, the Trump campaign named Myron Ebell, Director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute think tank, to head the post-election Environmental Protection Agency transition effort should Trump be elected. Ebell has argued that the Clean Power Plan is illegal and that the Paris climate change agreement is unconstitutional, and is described as a “climate change skeptic”.
Where Can I Go For More Information?
Information available via the Internet includes:
● Trump-Pence campaign website
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About the Author
Jon Elliott is President of Touchstone Environmental and has been a major contributor to STP’s product range for over 25 years. He was involved in developing 13 existing products, including Environmental Compliance: A Simplified National Guide and The Complete Guide to Environmental Law.
Mr. Elliott has a diverse educational background. In addition to his Juris Doctor (University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law, 1981), he holds a Master of Public Policy (Goldman School of Public Policy [GSPP], UC Berkeley, 1980), and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Princeton University, 1977).
Mr. Elliott is active in professional and community organizations. In addition, he is a past chairman of the Board of Directors of the GSPP Alumni Association, and past member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of California's Environmental Law Section (including past chair of its Legislative Committee).
You may contact Mr. Elliott directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.