Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke for taking steps towards allowing energy exploration and development on more than 90 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf. They also fume at President Trump for taking a week when he could be highlighting his support of Iranian protesters, the Dow crossing 25,000 and expanding American energy production and instead ranting about nuclear button sizes and trying to order a book publisher not to release a book critical of his presidency. And they laugh at the liberals in the media and beyond who believed an online parody – about Trump being obsessed with the “Gorilla Channel” up to 17 hours at a time – was actually in that new book.
An Obama-era plan to drastically reduce carbon emissions is on its way to the regulatory scrap heap after the Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday announced a repeal of the Clean Power Plan.
For Americans already struggling with much higher energy costs, this news will be welcome in many households trying to make ends meet.
“This was designed to cause electricity rates, according to [Obama] to necessarily skyrocket. So that won’t happen. The seniors, the poor on low and fixed income who had to choose between heating and eating will now, we hope, not have to,” said Horner.
The Trump administration projects this move will result in $33 billion in avoided costs due to the proposed policy. Horner suspects the actual number is much higher.
Even though the plan was never implemented, Horner says it still exacted a heavy toll on blue collar America.
“He put a lot of people out of work. A lot of communities were devastated. There’s an inescapable connection between the opioid epidemic in that region and the devastation that was wrought by what was clearly a political and not an environmental agenda,” said Horner.
“He thought he was punishing corporations. He harmed badly many communities and the people in them,” added Horner.
Horner says the outlook is getting brighter and will be helped by Tuesday’s EPA action. But he says a lot of the damage is permanent.
“Employment in that industry is rebounding. I don’t know that it will ever get to where it was before it faces the awesome power of the federal government,” said Horner.
What makes the toll even more tragic, according to Horner, is that the Obama administration freely admitted the crackdown on carbon emissions wouldn’t actually accomplish anything.
“The former EPA administrator under President Obama (Gina McCarthy), who is decrying the climate impact of this decision, testified that there was no detectable climate impact from this rule. There is actually a consensus on this,” said Horner.
So what was the point of the tougher emissions standards if they weren’t going to improve our climate? Horner says Obama was very clear about it.
“He said in four speeches, in the exact same deliberate phrase, ‘This to finally make renewable energy profitable in America. That’s what this was about. It was never about the climate,” said Horner.
But while Horner and his allies celebrate Tuesday’s decision, he says the fight is far from over.
“We will start a rule making process. Today begins the repeal, a 60-day comment period to be followed by another request for comments about what to replace it with if anything,” said Horner, who is urging Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to scrap another Obama-era finding.
“They also made a declaration that carbon dioxide, a marginal greenhouse gas produced at the margins by man – not just through exhaling but by combusting hydrocarbon energy, the stuff that works, the reliable, affordable, abundant stuff. The administration now has to determine whether that really does endanger human health and welfare,” said Horner.
In urging the EPA to go further, Horner also applauds Trump and Pruitt for a move on Tuesday that he believes many other Republicans would be reluctant to take.
“We say pull it out root and branch. This is a very good start. I have to say most establishment Republicans would have shied from it and hoped for the best from the courts. We’re asking, now that these people have shown that they’re serious, fix the problem and undo the endangerment finding,” said Horner.
He says that explicit step is critical since domestic activists and even the United Nations are asking the courts in the U.S. to effectively make policy instead of the executive branch.
“You will have to replace it because this doesn’t have to go through Congress anymore. There’s enough on the books that the courts will take this over. The UN is issuing reports calling on attorneys general and private parties to ask the courts to take over this policy now, including the United States, to impose the Paris Treaty on us and so forth,” said Horner.
He says defenders of freedom need to stand in the gap against that unconstitutional effort and any future efforts to repeat Obama’s moves.
“It was a cruel gesture. It was virtue signaling. Thank God the EPA has said, ‘We’re going to formally repeal this rule.’ Let’s fix the problem and make it more difficult for someone like a President Warren to just come in and do this again,” he said.
President Obama is taking multiple actions that could hamstring President-Elect Donald Trump’s plans to unleash domestic energy production, which is a major component of the Trump economic agenda.
On Tuesday, Obama banned offshore energy exploration in massive portions of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.
“The law allows a president to withdraw any currently unleased lands in the Outer Continental Shelf from future lease sales. There is no provision in the law that allows the executive’s successor to repeal the decision, so President-elect Donald Trump would not be able to easily brush aside the action,” reported CNBC.
The law in question is legislation from 1953 that deal with offshore leases. Advocates of American energy exploration contend this is simply Obama’s gift to the environmental lobby.
“There have been a lot of environmental groups, especially over the past few months, who have been urging the administration to take some sort of action,” said Chris Warren, vice president for communications at the Institute for Energy Research.
“This is pretty much the Obama administration giving an early Christmas gift to the ‘keep it in the ground’ activists, these folks who want to keep all our oil, gas, and coal resources in the ground,” he added.
Warren suspects the waters in question could yield trillions of barrels of oil, but he says greater energy independence isn’t even the most important result if those areas were to be opened up
“We produced a study a few years back at what would happen if we were to produce our oil and gas resources offshore in the Atlantic, the Arctic and the Gulf (of Mexico). These numbers are staggering. You’re talking about hundreds of thousands of jobs a year, hundreds of billions of dollars in GDP output per year, higher wages for folks, more revenue for government,” said Warren.
Warren says the method by which Obama is locking the offshore areas seems suspect.
“This is a pretty obscure provision in an old law. It’s never been used in this manner so we’re not quite sure how the next administration can take care of it but they certainly will be working hard to do so,” said Warren.
He sees two possible remedies.
“One way they can do this is by undesignating this area. Of course, they’ll be sued after that but they’ll take it to the court system and we’ll see how it shakes out from there. Congress could also pass legislation to reverse this,” said Warren.
Obama’s efforts are not limited to offshore exploration. Earlier this month, the administration blocked the controversial path of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This week, it also finalized the Stream Protection Rule, which mandates distances that coal mining operations must keep away from waterways.
Warren says the latter policy continues Obama’s strangling of the coal industry.
“This is really just another way that the Obama administration is trying to take coal off the table. They want to prevent it from being mined. They want to prevent it from being used in our electricity system with the clean power plant regulation, which was the hallmark of this administration’s climate agenda. This is just one more regulation that the Obama administration is trying to push out the door,” said Warren.
So is Obama succeeding at putting roadblocks in the way of the Trump energy agenda? Warren says there are new hurdles to clear but that Trump still has other good options.
“Our federal lands have tons of oil, gas, and coal resources that have been held under lock and key by this current administration. It hasn’t been through regulation. It’s been by slow-walking permits, offering very few leases to companies to produce these resources. That’s something the Trump administration can come in and do fairly quickly,” said Warren.
Warren says the Obama and Trump approaches to energy could not be more different.
“We’re not talking about favoring one source over another, whether it’s coal or natural gas or wind or solar or whatever. It’s about allowing Americans to make those choices for themselves,” said Warren.
“Under this current administration, that hasn’t been the case. It’s been throwing money and mandating the sources that President Obama prefers. Under the Trump administration, I think we’ll see an end to that,” said Warren.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Donald Trump’s selection of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to be secretary of energy. They wince as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell taps the brakes on the Trump tax plan and offers no ideas on how to reduce spending fight future deficits or replace Obamacare. And they discuss the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the FBI disputing the CIA’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 campaign explicitly to help Trump win.
President-Elect Donald Trump is vowing to unleash American energy and begin scrapping burdensome regulations on his very first day in office, announcements welcomed by the energy industry, although they still have other goals they want to see the new administration pursue.
In a short video, Trump outlined several directives he will issue on his first day in office on issues ranging from trade and immigration to national security and ethics reform. However, promoting domestic energy and rolling back regulations were right near the top of the list.
“I will cancel job killing restrictions on the production of American energy, including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high paying jobs,” said Trump in the video.
“On regulation, I will formulate a rule which says that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated,” said Trump.
The energy industry is hopeful that the next four years will offer it a more hospitable environment than what it received during the Obama administration.
“We’re certainly encouraged by the fact that the president-elect understands that one of the key drivers to a strong economy is energy security,” said American Petroleum Downstream Group Director Frank Macchiarola.
Macchiarola believes Trump understands the need to champion domestic energy production and is fully confident the American people are on board.
“Survey after survey tells us that the American public is concerned about economic growth and believes that we need to be energy secure,” he said, but notes that Obama has left a pretty complicated knot for the new president to untangle on energy regulation.
“I think what happened over the course of the Obama administration is that there was a lot of consolidated power in the administration. I think with the division in Congress and the stalemate between both parties in the House and Senate, I think the administration took that opportunity to consolidate it’s power through a stronger regulatory agenda,” said Macchiarola.
He says those regulations had a clear impact on the energy industry.
“We have 145 current regulations that directly impact the oil and natural gas sector, whether it’s issues related to public land and access or issues related to the downstream or issues related to air or water or an issue like the Renewable Fuel standard. It’s a broad spectrum,” said Macchiarola.
Macchiarola and his allies want the Trump administration to go over every single one of those regulations and provide as much relief as possible.
“What we really would like to do is to have the new administration, with a fresh set of eyes, take a look at this regulatory onslaught that we’ve seen. And, again, consistent with their message and principles that they stated during the campaign about the need for less burdensome regulations here in Washington, free up capital to be invested in the private sector and the nee for secure U.S. domestic energy production,” said Macchiarola.
One of the policies Macchiarola is most concerned about is the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, and the increasing amount of ethanol being required in our fuel. He says the RFS was created last decade to help boost energy independence at a time when the U.S. was importing vast amounts of energy.
He says the policy no longer fits the reality.
“What they didn’t know is that we would have an American energy renaissance. Because of the shale revolution here in the United States and the energy renaissance, we’re now producing greater and greater amounts of oil and natural gas. We’re the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas,” said Macchiarola.
“At the same time, demand for energy has essentially flat-lined. So what you’ve seen is America become more energy secure over that time,” he added.
Macchiarola says addressing the RFS is critical now because the amount of ethanol about to be required in gasoline is incompatible with the vast majority of American vehicles.
“(It) creates an issue because it potentially adds cost to the consumer both through food and fuel. And these higher ethanol blends above E10 are incompatible with the cars we have on the road today. So the bottom line is the RFS is a mess, and it really needs to be fixed,” said Macchiarola.
Bipartisan legislation to address the Renewable Fuel Standard exists in the House of Representative but has not yet been considered.
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We’ve all seen the media blitz by oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens as he pushes for a shift in American energy priorities – namely from oil to wind and natural gas. But what isn’t he telling us? Why could this plan mean huge government subsidies and profits for Pickens? Why is he backing away from oil? And why should landowners in the Midwest take a careful look at this proposal? We get answers from Amy Ridenour, President of The National Center for Public Policy Research.
Most eyes are on the presidential campaign, but what do the Congressional races look like? Will Democrats hold their majorities or do Republicans have a shot? Which seats do GOP officials think they can win back? Which issues do they see as winners? And how will Republicans overcome the mountain on retirements among House members? We ask all these questions to Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.