“America First” Energy Plan Puts Americans Last

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Originally published on Gas2:

The new boss waited about 1.2 nanoseconds before announcing his America First Energy Plan. Environmental groups weighed in a heartbeat later to denounce it as a dangerously misinformed mistake that will make America a pariah among the world’s nations. First, let’s see what the plan is.

Energy is an essential part of American life and a staple of the world economy. The Trump Administration is committed to energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.

For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years. [Editor’s Note: The crossed-out line is almost 100% certainly false, so it has been stricken.]

Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well. [Editor’s Note: $50 trillion? Yes, that is also certainly false and misleading … unless you believe we can also jet around the world on flying unicorns, in which case I guess you are easily persuaded by insane claims.]

The Trump Administration is also committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long. [Editor’s Note: There’s no such thing as “clean” coal, so that adjective has been stricken.]

In addition to being good for our economy, boosting domestic energy production is in America’s national security interest. President Trump is committed to achieving energy independence from the OPEC cartel and any nations hostile to our interests. At the same time, we will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy.

Lastly, our need for energy must go hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship of the environment. Protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources will remain a high priority. President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water.

A brighter future depends on energy policies that stimulate our economy, ensure our security, and protect our health. Under the Trump Administration’s energy policies, that future can become a reality.

Now let’s hear from the other side. Here’s what Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, had to say:

Minutes after he was sworn in, any illusion that Trump would act in the best interests of families in this country as President were wiped away by a statement of priorities that constitute an historic mistake on one of the key crises facing our planet and an assault on public health. What Trump has released is hardly a plan – it’s a polluter wishlist that will make our air and water dirtier, our climate and international relations more unstable, and our kids sicker. This is a shameful and dark start to Trump’s Presidency, and a slap in the face to any American who thought Trump might pursue the national interest.

Details about the America First Energy Plan are few, but it seems to be little more than a “Drill, Baby, Drill” proposal that seeks to wrest every last molecule of fossil fuel beneath American soil. It is couched in terms of protecting American interests, but which Americans?

Care to hazard a guess what will happen to the Native Americans protesting the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock, North Dakota? It seems likely their concerns will be swept away by armed force in a way that will make Ruby Ridge and Waco look like child’s play. And when (not if) that pipeline fails, spewing millions of gallons of Bakken crude oil into the Missouri River to be carried downstream to the entire Mississippi River basin, how will that help make America be great again?

The weakness of the “America First Energy Plan” is that it totally discounts the global emergency we are facing. The environment does not distinguish between American molecules and those from Russia, Europe, India, or China. Pollution is pollution and it threatens us all. Trump is asking us to substitute patriotism for common sense.

The problem with American Exceptionalism is it assumes we are smarter than people in other countries. We are not. India is making huge strides to convert its enormous economy to renewable energy. China is doing the same. Both countries realize that mankind is in a race against time and there is very little margin for error. To preserve the earth’s ability to sustain life, we need to leave whatever fossil fuels we have not yet been mined, extracted, or fracked, in the ground and shift all our efforts to renewable resources.

There is a great lie at the heart of the America First Energy Plan. It purports to be a plan to help the American people, but anyone with more than a 4th grade education will see it is really about further enrichment of the Koch Brothers, ExxonMobil, and the rest of the enormous fossil fuel industry. For every few dollars extra that average Americans may see in their paychecks as a result of this plan, the corporate overlords of the energy world will see millions in extra profits at our expense. It is classic bait and switch.

Will the American people ever commit to a clean energy future? Not with the leaders we have at present at the helm. Politics is too important to be left to feckless politicians who are only too happy to throw their constituents under the bus in exchange for 30 pieces of silver. The real American energy plan must come from the bottom up, not the top down.

The need is now. The urgency is great. The most important issue facing American consumers is not the freedom to buy gargantuan vehicles that gets lousy gas mileage. It is making sure our children and future generations live in a world that can continue to support human life. We can’t do both. If the people will lead, their leaders will follow. Contact your Senator or Congressman today and make your voice heard.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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