Trump’s Top Seven America-First Energy Wins in 2018

The Associated Press
Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP

President Donald Trump has been busy this year reversing many of the burdensome energy regulations and policies of the Obama era that have hurt Americans and American businesses. 

Here are Trump’s top seven energy victories in 2018 through his America-First agenda:

• On August 21, 2018, Trump introduced the Affordable Clean Energy rule that dismantled the Obama administration’s federal rules over the nation’s coal production and gives authority to the states.

“Some states, like California, may propose even harsher targets. But others, such as coal-rich states like West Virginia and Pennsylvania, are likely to loosen emissions regulations that coal industry leaders have called burdensome and expensive,” National Geographic reported.

  On September 18, the Trump administration announced final new rollbacks to reducing requirements for oil and gas companies to monitor and mitigate methane from wells and other production sources.

National Geographic noted that Obama’s last-minute 2016 rule would cost the oil and gas industries $530 million by 2025.

• On October 24, the Trump administration’s Department of Interior announced that it would allow the first oil and gas production in waters of the U.S. Arctic. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued a conditional permit to Hilcorp, which hopes to extract 60,000 to 70,000 barrels per day from as many as 16 wells on the island —  a total haul of 80 million to 130 million barrels over 15 to 20 years. Oil will be transported by an underwater pipeline.

“Responsibly developing our resources, in Alaska especially, will allow us to use our energy diplomatically to aid our allies and check our adversaries,” then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said about the announcement. ”That makes America stronger and more influential around the globe.”

• On November 30, the Trump administration permitted five oil and gas companies to use seismic airgun blasts to detect lucrative oil and gas deposits that may exist under the ocean floor off the U.S. east coast, from New Jersey to Florida.

“The proposal was shot down by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in 2017 after it was deemed unsafe for marine life, but a recent review by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded the blasts could be done without significantly threatening the population status of threatened or endangered species,” National Geographic reported.

• On December 6, the Trump administration announced it was putting plans in place to protect the once-endangered sage grouse but also allow millions of acres of public lands to benefit Americans in the states where the birds live,” Breitbart News reported. This includes plans to allow more oil and gas drilling, mining, and other activities.

“I completely believe that these plans are leaning forward on the conservation of sage grouse,” Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt told the Associated Press. ”Do they do it in exactly the same way? No. We made some change in the plans and got rid of some things that are simply not necessary.”

•On December 6, the Trump administration announced it would lift some restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from coal power plants.

“Consistent with President Trump’s executive order promoting energy independence, EPA’s proposal would rescind excessive burdens on America’s energy providers and level the playing field so that new energy technologies can be a part of America’s future,” EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said. “By replacing onerous regulations with high, yet achievable, standards, we can continue America’s historic energy production, keep energy prices affordable, and encourage new investments in cutting-edge technology that can then be exported around the world.”

• On December 11, the Trump administration announced its new Waters of the World rule, which gave power back to the states to “develop, build and invest in projects that improve the environment and the lives of their fellow citizens.”

“The U.S. is the gold standard for clean air and clean water. We reached that point through private sector innovation and cooperation between Washington and the states to implement our nation’s environmental laws,” EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler wrote in an op-ed in the Kansas City Star. “The Obama EPA’s 2015 definition upset that balance. The Trump administration’s proposal would respect the limits of federal authority and give hardworking Americans the freedom and certainty they need to do what they do best: develop, build and invest in projects that improve the environment and the lives of their fellow citizens.”

The Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law came up with a list of the thrust of Trump’s executive orders on energy: 

These executive actions … include:

• requiring that for every regulation promulgated, two must be eliminated;

• requiring agencies to establish regulatory reform task forces;

• freezing the issuance of all regulations for a set period so they can be re-reviewed by the new Administration;

• directing the Secretary of Commerce to establish a broader regulatory reform plan after considering public input; and

• directing various agencies to ‘suspend, revise or rescind’ several rules thought to potentially burden the development of domestic energy resources.

The lengthy report concluded, “The foundation of the America First energy policy is straightforward: pursue policies that (1) promote American energy independence, and (2) create American jobs.”

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