PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Experts React to President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order

President Donald Trump today signed an executive order to re-evaluate the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, lift restrictions on the exploration for fossil fuels on federal lands, and scrap the “social cost of carbon” as a factor in climate regulations. Trump says he is “putting an end to the war on coal.”

Several speakers at last week’s 12th International Conference on Climate Change in Washington, DC – hosted by The Heartland Institute – addressed this topic. You can view all the presentations and speeches at this link.

The following statements from energy and environment experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact New Media Specialist Billy Aouste at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 847/877-9100.

“Donald Trump gets it. He really gets it.

“At the signing ceremony for his ‘Energy Independence Executive Order’ today, President Trump stood surrounded by coal miners, talked to them like the real people they are, and thanked them for what they do. ‘I keep my promises,’ he said, and today he kept a big one. ‘We will put our miners back to work,’ he said. ‘We are putting an end to the war on coal.’

“President Trump stressed that this isn’t about lowering standards for protecting health and safety, whether for miners or the public, but about ending unnecessary and costly regulations that kill jobs without producing any benefits. His executive order will ‘end the theft of American prosperity’ and make EPA ‘focus on its primary mission of protecting our air and water.’

“For many of us who were marginalized, ignored, or demonized for the past eight years, this is an occasion for real joy, celebration, and yes, vindication. We have a president who gets it … he really gets it!”

Joseph Bast
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“President Trump’s executive order directing EPA to suspend, revise, or rescind President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a good first step in restoring sanity to American energy policy.

“Despite costing up to $39 billion and resulting in 68,000 people losing their jobs in the manufacturing sector each year, EPA’s own analysis showed the CPP would reduce potential future global warming only by 0.019 degrees C by 2100 – an amount too small to be accurately measured by even the most sophisticated scientific equipment. This means the Clean Power Plan hurts American workers for no measurable environmental gain.

“This is a step in the right direction, but the gains made by this executive order are by no means permanent. Congress and President Trump must work together to pass legislation rescinding the Endangerment Finding and withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement if these programs that kill American jobs are to be vanquished forever.”

Isaac Orr
Research Fellow
Energy and Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“With these executive orders and directions, President Trump is taking further necessary steps to dismantle and reverse Obama’s war on fossil fuels. The social costs of carbon calculation, for instance, was based on an absurd discount rate and the purported costs of climate harms to other countries when, per federal law and guidance, the calculation should have been strictly limited to the costs of carbon on the U.S. In addition, Obama’s calculation completely ignored the substantial benefits of continuing to use fossil fuels and the benefits of increased carbon dioxide. When all this is considered, we should likely really be talking about the social benefits of carbon.

“Ending the moratorium on coal leases on public lands and reexamining the Clean Power Plan (with the goal of ending it) will help Trump keep his promise to reverse coal’s fortunes. High-wage coal miners and power plant workers across the country can breathe a sigh of relief. Coal still has to compete with natural gas for power production, but at least it won’t have the added burden of federal regulation on its neck as it attempts to compete.

“One can only hope going forward Trump keeps the promise he made to those who elected him to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and reverse EPA’s endangerment finding. Otherwise, environmentalists will use the courts to replace Obama’s inane climate policies with equally bad ones. Until we are out of Paris and the endangerment finding is withdrawn, domestic energy use, and the jobs it creates, are not safe.”

H. Sterling Burnett
Research Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
[email protected]

“With Vice President Pence, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Energy Perry, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and coal workers flanking President Trump, America saw a bittersweet moment. “Bittersweet. There is no other word to describe it. President Trump is taking strong action to rein in agenda-driven environmental policy based on fake science, and that is welcome. This is another step in the right direction for energy security, job security, unraveling red tape and regulations, and strengthening the power grid.

“However, we also need to acknowledge the damage that has already been done. Radical environmentalists will privately gloat even with today’s executive actions because they have already achieved their goals. The coal industry is crippled, and many of those companies and their former employees will never recover. Put yourself in the shoes of a 40-year old miner who has lost his job and lives in an area with limited prospects. Because of regulations by the EPA, his job is not coming back.

“Looking forward, we need to build on the actions taken by the Trump administration and push Congress to enact permanent reforms to limit the damage from future federal agencies. We must educate people about the false premise of the policies of the past, and move forward to a prosperous future with less regulation, a strong economy, and energy and agricultural security.”

Bette Grande
Research Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

Ms. Grande represented the 41st District in the North Dakota Legislature from 1996 to 2014.

“Trump is right to kill the misnamed Clean Power Plan (CPP). The regulation only regulates emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), which even school children know is not unclean. CO2 is the elixir of life and its increase in the past century has resulted in billions of dollars more crop yield. Yet, in today’s version of Newspeak – the language used to limit freedom of thought in George Orwell’s novel 1984, the CPP refers to CO2 as ‘carbon pollution,’ even though it is the exact opposite of pollution.

“When CPP proponents are confronted by the fact that the CPP will have no measurable impact on climate, they respond that there will be significant pollution reduction co-benefits to the control of CO2 emissions. This does not match real world experience. The EPA’s own data show that total emissions of six major air pollutants dropped 62 percent since 1980 despite the fact that CO2 emissions increased by 14 percent. If we need to better control real pollution, then the foundational Clean Air Act regulatory program, known as National Ambient Air Quality Standards, should be modified. Using climate regulations to affect pollution levels is an expensive mistake.”

Tom Harris
Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition
Ottawa, Canada
Policy Advisor, Energy and Environment
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Discarding President Obama’s poor power plan is a necessary step in the right direction. It was unneeded, poorly conceived, and would place a huge burden on the poor.

“In the 30 years between a 1979 report to the National Academies of Science on an investigation of the possible effects of increased carbon dioxide on the earth’s temperatures and EPA’s 2009 faulty finding that carbon dioxide endangers human health and welfare, government-funded climate studies have turned from science to dogma. The 1979 report, called the Charney Report, included some of the nation’s best meteorologists and climate researchers. The report recognized that laboratory tests demonstrated the influence on global temperatures from doubling carbon dioxide (CO2) would be minor, and possibly unmeasurable.

“The report also identified educated guesses that the carbon dioxide influence may be greatly enhanced by increases in water vapor, which is the dominant greenhouse gas. If correct, this positive feedback would greatly multiply any increase in temperatures from CO2. Unfortunately, after 1979, government-funded research went from properly testing these educated guesses to using them to create fear of global warming, now called climate change. Economically drastic programs and destructive government policies have been justified based on these untested guesses.

“Government reports show that from 1993 to 2016, the U.S. spent more than $40 billion on what it calls climate science. It has produced nothing better than the 1979 Charney Report and remains based on guesses. Independent scientists and climate researchers have produced far better estimates of the influence of CO2, based on empirical scientific observations. But that research is not included in official government publications.

“Public policies on energy and the environment should be based on the best available empirical science, not outdated studies and guesses.”

Kenneth Haapala
Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
[email protected]