At a fossil fuel industry conference in Pennsylvania last Thursday, Trump elaborated upon his energy plan that strongly favors the fossil fuel industry.
Despite three major oil spills earlier this month and increasing popular support against the Dakota Access pipeline, Presidential candidate Donald Trump promised Oil and Gas Company executives that he would end unnecessary regulations and expand American oil and natural gas production. Speaking at the Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Trump promised to expand fossil fuel extraction – namely coal and fracking – and to quicken and facilitate oil and gas infrastructure projects such as interstate pipelines. He told conference attendees, among them the top names in the fossil fuel industry, “You will like me so much” because his agenda essentially mirrors an industry wish-list for US domestic energy policy. Trump also said that he would drastically reduce the number of regulations that energy companies face and would place a “moratorium on new regulations not compelled by Congress or public safety.”
Trump also assured industry insiders that new fossil fuel projects, such as pipelines, would not be a problem under his administration, saying that “they’ll happen quickly. You’ll be amazed how quickly.” Though Trump promised to surround himself with “conservation experts” to protect the environment, it is doubtful that he will listen to any such person over industry lobbyists due to his “friendly” relationship with oil and gas company executives. Trump said that he was among friends at the conference, mentioning that he recognized numerous faces. He also mentioned fracking billionaire Harold Hamm several times, naming him as a valuable consultant and implying that Hamm should have a hand in writing future US trade deals. Trump also promised to end the Obama-imposed moratorium on new federal coal leases, saying that Obama’s anti-coal positions are bad for “people and for our workers.” Ultimately, Trump touted his energy plan as a way to “make America wealthy again” by boosting GDP by $100 billion and creating a significant number of new jobs.
Trump also called out President Obama and his rival Hillary Clinton for being anti-fossil fuel and for over-regulating fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure projects. However, Obama’s administration approved several pipelines just this year. The Dakota Access pipeline was among these, though Obama later temporarily halted construction on a small fraction of the Dakota Access pipeline after public backlash. Obama has also helped the fracking industry expand over his 8 years in office. Clinton, for her part, has opposed fracking since “winning” the Democratic nomination, but was previously an advocate for fracking and other forms of “domestic energy.” She also used her power as Secretary of State to export the controversial practice to other nations. Leaked emails showed Clinton’s role in bringing foreign dignitaries to a fracking site in Pennsylvania and its desire to make Poland a “laboratory for testing whether US’ success in developing shale gas can be repeated in a different country.” Other countries in the plan included China, South Africa, Romania, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Indonesia, and Ukraine.
For those who oppose fracking and continued fossil fuel extraction, it seems clear that neither of the two major party candidates will do anything to end these environmentally-damaging practices. It is up to the people to say enough is enough.
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