01.20.17

Trump’s White House website now makes energy production a priority

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Coinciding with President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, the official White House web page switched over to make its first policy brief a pledge to eliminate the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule that had been backed by the Obama administration.

Many of West Virginia’s political figures, including the congressional delegation and the state Attorney General, have been critical of those policies.

When the White House website switched from representing the Obama administration to Trump’s, it loaded a statement on the Briefing Room called “An America First Energy Plan.”

“For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry,” it stated. “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.”

The revamped White House website also eliminated a page that had been dedicated to the topic of climate change. A version of the Obama administration’s White House website is now archived by the National Archives and Records Administration.

A group of state attorneys general, including West Virginia’s Patrick Morrisey, has advocated for Trump to immediately pledge to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, which is an aspect of the Climate Action Plan meant to curtail carbon dioxide emissions.

An opposing group of attorneys general has asked Trump not to make that move and also has vowed to take legal action to fight the Clean Power Plan’s dismantling.

In any case, doing away with the Clean Power Plan, which is already under review by the federal courts system, would be a complicated regulatory process, just as it was to pass through the regulatory process in the first place.

During the election, Trump promised to get behind all forms of America’s energy, including coal and natural gas, which both have prominent roles in West Virginia’s economy.

The policy briefing loaded onto the White House website today reflected those earlier promises.

“Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America,” the policy brief states. “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.”

The policy brief goes on to say about coal, “The Trump Administration is also committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long.”

Coal and natural gas are competitors in the energy marketplace, so encouraging both is a balancing act. But those in the coal industry have said all they want is an even playing field and that it’s unrealistic to expect a full return to boom times.

The energy policy brief on the revamped White House website does include a statement about environmental stewardship.

“Lastly, our need for energy must go hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship of the environment,” it states. “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.”

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., issued a statement alluding to promised changes in federal energy policy.

“President Trump, you have provided much hope in West Virginia. I stand ready to work with you, Vice President Mike Pence and your administration to expand opportunity in my state, strengthen our infrastructure, and grow our energy sector,” Capito stated.

Congressman Alex Mooney, who represents the middle swath of West Virginia, sent out a statement looking forward to fewer federal regulations.

“I look forward to working with President Donald Trump and his top notch administration to undo burdensome regulations forced upon the American people by former President Barack Obama,” Mooney stated.


By:  Brad McElhinny
Source: Metro News