By Michael Brooks
President Trump announced six “initiatives” in a speech at Energy Department headquarters Thursday, saying they would create “American energy dominance” in the world.
The announcements were part of the White House’s Energy Week, an effort to highlight the administration’s energy policies.
Some of the announcements were merely approvals by the departments of Energy, Interior and State. Flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Trump announced:
- A review of U.S. policies on nuclear energy resources;
- The Treasury Department would work to address barriers on financing foreign coal plants;
- A Presidential Permit for a petroleum pipeline crossing Mexico;
- Sempra Energy had agreed to negotiate a deal to export LNG to South Korea;
- Approval of two long-term applications by the Energy Department to export LNG from the Lake Charles, La., facility; and
- A new offshore oil and gas leasing program.
Trump did not go into specifics about the announcements. They made up a brief segment of a speech punctuated by praise for his administration’s elimination of “job-killing” regulations, celebration of the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change and jabs at CNN for recent resignations over a retracted story about alleged ties between a Trump ally and a Russian investment fund.
Like his speech announcing the withdrawal from Paris, Trump’s remarks had nationalistic overtones, arguing that the U.S. has been taken advantage of by other countries that “used energy as an economic weapon.” The president did briefly mention that America’s “clean, beautiful coal” was in high demand from countries such as Ukraine. And he said the pipeline to Mexico would go “right under” his proposed border wall.
Nuclear Energy Institute CEO Maria Korsnick, who attended the speech, thanked the president for the study on the challenges facing the nuclear energy industry.
“If the president wishes for our nation to achieve nuclear energy dominance both at home and abroad, he’ll do it by preserving the existing nuclear fleet, paving the way for the deployment of advanced nuclear designs and stimulating exports abroad,” she said in a statement.
Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, issued a statement Thursday expressing support for Trump’s “strategic vision to seek American energy dominance.”
“The administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, including resources like wind, can work to make America safer and more self-reliant while growing the economy,” Kiernan said.
Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said Trump’s “Energy Week” showed “just how weak he is on energy solutions. Trump’s rhetoric on energy falls short of the reality in which he’s canceling life-saving public health standards that protect clean air and water just to boost the profits of fossil fuel executives. Trump isn’t leading America, he’s trying to drive us backwards and he will not succeed.
“Trump’s head is stuck so far into the sand that it’s no wonder the only thing he can speak of is fossil fuels — he can’t see that solar and wind energy are creating more jobs and powering homes and businesses across the country. If he truly cared about energy dominance, Trump would be investing in growing the booming clean energy economy rather than trying to turn back the clock for dirty fuels.”