President Donald J. Trump wasted little time in eliminating any references on the White House website to renewable energy or Climate Change, signaling a dramatic and stunning reversal of U.S. energy policy from the past eight years.
Despite the president’s pledges on the campaign trail – and his Secretary of Energy nominee’s repeated vow on Thursday – to support an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, Trump’s 337-word “An America First Energy Plan” focuses only on shale oil, traditional oil and natural gas as domestic energy resources that must be exploited.
The plan, expansive on rhetoric but limited on details, also promises to take advantage of these resources on public lands (emphasis added):
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.
In October, after meeting with oil-and-gas executives, the Trump-Pence campaign issued a statement on the future of energy policy under a then-theoretical President Trump. It sounded much different than the plan provided on the White House website (emphasis added):
The Trump energy policy will make us energy independent, create millions of new jobs, and protect clean air and clean water. We have one of the world’s most diverse resource bases – from abundant coal, oil, and natural gas to geothermal, solar, and wind. We are also the world’s leader in energy technologies like nuclear power.
The 180-degree shift should come as no surprise, however, to those who watched the campaign closely. After all, in speech after speech, Trump suggested solar power didn’t work and was too expensive (all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding). He also insisted that wind energy would “kill all the birds,” despite studies that showed skyscrapers killed far more birds each year than wind farms do.
As pv magazine reported on Thursday, Secretary of Energy-nominee Rick Perry’s testimony in favor of continuing research into renewable energy resources – something he occasionally championed as governor of Texas – was undercut by the announcement of draconian cuts to the Department of Energy, including the elimination of eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
So while the details of what Trump will do to the solar industry and other renewable energy resources are unclear, his commitment to maintaining an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that includes renewable energy is certainly in question.
On the final day of his administration, mere hours before Trump replaced it, former President Barack Obama had devoted 1,274 words to renewable energy alone – nearly four times the number of words Trump spent on his entire energy plan to date.