“I Will Give You Everything” Promises Trump in Announcing His Energy Plan
Trump is the master of Doublespeak.
Yesterday in a press conference and speech in North Dakota, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced what some are terming his energy policy. His announcement was extremely short on specifics, included factual inaccuracies, and in some cases contained obvious internal contradictions. As such, what he said might better be termed “energy aspirations.” We’ll have to wait for the details to see how these aspirations might eventually lead to policy.
What were those aspirations? There were two related themes in the announcements: extraction is good, and regulations are bad because they tend to limit extraction. So Trump will get rid of a lot of the latter in order to boost the former. But, at the same time, he’ll preserve our air, water, and natural resources.
At one point, Trump estimated that “75 percent of our rules and regulations are bad for us.” So he’d get rid of most of them: “Any regulation that’s outdated, unnecessary, bad for workers, or contrary to the national interest will be scrapped, and scrapped completely.” Lest there be any confusion about whose rules were problematic, he went on to accuse the Environmental Protection Agency of using “totalitarian tactics” and accused the Obama administration of blocking extraction.
There’s a small problem with that narrative: under the Obama administration, the US has become the world’s single largest producer of oil and natural gas. To sustain this criticism, Trump had to find a statistic that sounded bad; he settled on blaming Obama for “the lowest oil rig count,” even though that clearly has no relationship to production.
This sort of cognitive dissonance pervaded the speech. Trump promised to make US energy independent and free from international markets yet at the same time promised to approve the Keystone pipeline, which would bring in oil from another country. His promised approval got applause from the crowd in North Dakota even though the Canadian oil would be competing with their own local production.