December 9, 2016

Trump in Transition (v6)

In this picture, Trump looks like he's ready to unleash the mother of all f-bombs -- and in a way, that's what he did this week.

Yeah, he and FDOTUS Ivanka met with Al Gore, the guy who invented the Internet, er, I mean, the guy who has been championing environmental issues for years, which resulted in Gore calling it a "lengthy and very productive session" and saying, according to the press pool report
It was a sincere search for areas of common ground. I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued, and I'm just going to leave it at that
Apparently that search for common ground was fruitless, because it wasn't all that much later that the POTUS-elect named his choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency: Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma's Attorney General.

Pruitt has a long history of not being a fan of regulations related to energy and climate issues, having frequently joined or supported from the sidelines cases against the Obama administration's efforts.

The OK Attorney General's media page is full of references to clean energy, clean water, fossil fuels,a and the like; pretty generally, if the current Administration is for something, looks like Pruitt and his office are against it.

He co-authored, along with Alabama's AG Luther Strange, an article published in the National Review a few months back, in which it was noted
Healthy debate is the lifeblood of American democracy, and global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime.
According to an investigation by the NY Times back in 2014, Pruitt in his official capacity as AG, sent a letter to the EPA that was written by energy lobbyists, and they've helped with drafts of other letters to multiple federal agencies; he and other AGs are collaborating with corporations to craft legal strategy against the Administration; and industries regulated by his office have joined lawsuits filed by his office.

There's really no surprise in the choice. Here are just a few of the bullet points in his energy plan:

  • Make America energy independent, create millions of new jobs, and protest 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.
  • Open onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands, elimination 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 half a million jobs a year, $30B in higher wages and cheaper energy.

Promises of millions of high paying energy jobs in Trump's plan seem to assume that prices of domestically produced energy will go high and stay high indefinitely as we pump drill and dig and frack our brains out - which seems unlikely to be the case, doesn't it?  And if it is in fact unlikely, those jobs and all that economic input will disappear, just as they have over the past year or so, in Texas, and in North Dakota, when the price dropped and there was nothing in it for the energy companies to keep working. (Hey - when the price goes down, production goes down, employment goes down, economic input goes down. Is that what trickle-down economics is all about?)

Trump is no fan of the EPA, and I think this choice only adds clarity to what we can expect going forward.