May 27, 2016

The Future Of U.S. Energy, According To Donald Trump

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Donald Trump speaks to a packed arena at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, ND.

Leigh Paterson/Inside Energy

Donald Trump speaks to a packed arena at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, ND.

Donald Trump speaks to a packed arena at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, ND.

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

Donald Trump speaks to a packed arena at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, ND.

With the help of a few more delegates from a handful of states, including North Dakota, Donald Trump finally gathered enough to clinch the GOP nomination on Thursday. With that news, the official Republican presidential nominee rolled into Bismarck, North Dakota on Thursday to speak at an oil industry conference.

It was here, at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, that Trump laid out his thoughts for the future of U.S. energy. What is that vision? Here’s a summary of the big themes:

  • Energy Jobs Equal Economic Prosperity

Trump started with President Obama, accusing him of killing jobs and restricting energy development. And he quickly turned to his current rival and her oft-quoted, widely criticized comments about putting coal miners out of work:

“If Hillary can’t shut down the mines, she can really shut down our whole country and your businesses will be permanently in many cases permanently ruined,” Trump said.

Trump contrasted himself to Clinton, saying he would put people back to work and grow the economy. That connection between jobs, energy development, and economic prosperity was a major theme in his speech.

But putting energy workers back on the job is no easy task because the big driver behind those job losses is not just Obama, or even Clinton. It’s the weak market for fossil fuels, which is really more a matter of supply and demand.

  • Increase Energy Production

Although the U.S. produces more oil and gas than anyone else, Trump believes federal regulations are limiting that production.

“America’s incredible energy potential remains untapped. It’s totally self-inflicted,” Trump said.

Upping U.S. energy production, he reasoned, will make America great again.

“We’re loaded, didn’t even know it, we’re loaded. We had no idea how rich we were!” Trump exclaimed, referencing U.S. fossil fuels reserves.

With those riches could come energy independence, an idea Trump hit on several times. But many economists say that the concept of energy independence is basically meaningless because oil, for example, is a global commodity and thus subject to global price fluctuations.

  • Pushback Against Climate Change Initiatives

Trump didn’t talk much about how all of this energy development relates to the environment, although he did say he wants clean air and water. But climate change is still an important theme, especially with President Obama’s push for stricter regulations. Here is where Trump stands on that issue:

“We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement …. Unbelievable. And stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs,” Trump said, as applause interrupted him.

Overall, Trump’s speech was pretty fossil-fuel centric but he did acknowledge the existence of fossil fuel alternatives:

“[My vision]…it does include nuclear and wind and solar. But not the exclusion of other forms of energy and other forms that, right now, are working much better.

So, what does Donald Trump see for the future of U.S. energy? Its pretty simple:

“A Trump administration will develop an American First energy plan. America first folks, America first. Make America great again! Make America great again!


  • john

    The take out is that the policy is ” make America great again “, just how this relates to anything tangible is the question.
    Just how coal is working, ” much better “, than other sources of energy is not shown to be correct when looking at the real life situation.
    Slogans are not policy framework by any stretch.

  • greggoble

    U.S. House Committee on Armed Services


    The committee is aware of recent positive developments in developing low energy nuclear reactions (LENR), which produce ultra clean, low cost renewable energy that have strong national security implications.

    …the committee directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on the military utility of recent U.S. industrial base LENR advancements to the House Committee on Armed Services by September 22, 2016. – end quote

    See Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) Briefing, pg 87, “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017″

    President Obama, as the Commander in Chief of the US Department of Defense, is ultimately responsible for this briefing.

    This literally means that President Obama will be announcing emergent LENR energy before his end of term, claiming this as part of his legacy.

    “Department of Defense Commander in Chief – What will Obama Say?”

  • john

    once again I say the man has no idea about relating to the international stage, let alone to the state stage the poor man is a smoke screen of slogans and zero substance.
    He has not got a clue how do deal with people his whole idea at the present moment is to appeal to the lowest common denominator and yes that works for really dumb people.
    Lets go up a step the poor bloke has not got no ideas or fundamentally any worldly knowledge.
    This person is going to be a very poor example of how you project your self image.