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By Rachel Leven
May 26 — Donald Trump would dismantle key parts of President Barack Obama's environmental legacy within his first 100 days as president, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said May 26 in his most detailed energy policy comments to date.
Trump would cancel the Paris climate agreement, eliminate blockbuster climate and water regulations and stop sending funds to the United Nations global warming programs, while making it easier to produce oil and gas and boosting the coal industry, he said in Bismarck, N.D. He framed the general election as a choice between wealth and poverty.
“It’s a choice between sharing in this great energy wealth or sharing in the poverty promised by Hillary Clinton,” Trump said at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, referring to the Democratic party's presumptive presidential nominee. “If Hillary can shut down all of the [coal] mines, she can really shut down the entire country”
Trump's energy speech and pre-speech comments puts him in line with much of the Republican establishment. He made these comments the same day he topped the delegate count needed to win the Republican party nomination (99 DEN A-2, 5/23/16).
In general, a President Trump would be working to make the U.S. energy independent and an energy exporter, he said. His focus would be on ensuring regulatory certainty, offering transparency in policy and harnessing natural resources, he said.
Trump would specifically work to remove regulations in President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan as well as the Clean Water Rule and only implement new rules if they are good for workers, he said.
Trump would request TransCanada reapply for a Keystone XL pipeline permit, and would negotiate a “better deal” that would give the public a larger share of the profits from the project. When asked about whether he would approve a separate pipeline project, Trump said “my bias would be to approve” pipelines.
He also didn't discount wind and solar energy, although Trump added that this type of energy was expensive, required subsidies and—for wind—kills eagles. But Trump maintained that he is committed to addressing “real environment challenges,” adding “from an environmental standpoint my priorities are very simple: clean air and clean water.”
Environmental groups expressed alarm at Trump's comments. Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's executive director, in a statement called Trump's plan “an unmitigated disaster” that is “disconnected from economic realities and our moral imperative to transition to clean energy.”
Meanwhile, the American Petroleum Institute released a comment from its executive vice president Louis Finkel supporting a 2016 national energy discussion. Finkel's statement, which doesn't mention Trump by name, says the U.S. is the top oil and natural gas producer in the world and a leader in carbon emissions reductions.
“We need energy policies that do not stifle innovation, investment, the development of new technologies or weaken our national security,” Finkel said.
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