On Tuesday March 28, President Donald Trump announced his executive order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth. The document opens with the words. ” It is in the national interest to promote clean and safe development of our Nation’s vast energy resources, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation.”
The energy independence executive order springs from the President’s philosophy that a clean safe environment can co-exist with a thriving coal production industry. This position is in direct opposition to that of former President Barack Obama and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who both advocated and acted to stymie coal production and by consequence the livelihoods of coal miners. In fact, one of the key slogans heralding the executive order, which the President signed at the Environmental Protection Agency with Vice President Mike Pence, Environmental Protection Administrator Scott Pruitt, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry present, is that it effectively ends the war on coal by bringing back at least 130,000 coal mining jobs. The jobs will be restored by ending the Federal Land Coal Leasing Moratorium which was implemented by President Obama in 2015.
The Energy Independence and Economic Growth executive order is in many ways a clear demarcation of the differences between President Trump and President Obama with President Trump positioning himself as the “energy independence” president and President Obama who aligned himself with a “Clean Power” position. To that end, with this executive order, President Trump has put under review President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (which was signed in 2015, but is currently held up in litigation) which called for a 32% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants from 2005 levels by 2030. President Trump has also rolled back six additional climate related executive orders and memorandums which were implemented by President Obama.
Sen. Tom Carper (Delaware), the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee described Trump’s plans to put the Clean Power Act under review as “a denial of science”. Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) also commented “President Trump didn’t issue an executive order, he issued a declaration of war on American climate leadership and our clean energy future. This executive order isn’t about energy security, it’s about climate denial.”
Secretary of the Interior Zinke praised the executive order. “Producing energy domestically and reasonable regulation is far better than watching it being produced overseas with no regulation.” The executive order was also supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “America got good news today when President Trump took bold steps to make regulatory relief and energy security a top priority,” the group said in a statement. “The U.S. Chamber has long argued that EPA’s power plant regulations are not only unlawful, they are a bad deal for American families and businesses.”
My prediction? The war between the environmentalists and the energy independence advocates is just beginning.
Leonora Cravotta is the Program & Talent Director for Red State Talk Radio, the Co-Host for the Scott Adams Show, a political radio talk show, and a syndicated writer for conservative publications.