Press Release: LCV Statement on Donald Trump's Energy Speech
On May 26, Donald Trump outlined his energy platform at an oil and gas conference in North Dakota. Unsurprisingly, Trump doubled down on fossil fuels, while giving lip service to clean and renewable energy resources, which are essential in order to protect and preserve the environment for future generations. Then, in an effort to outdo himself, Trump told supporters in California that, contrary to their lived experience, the state has not experienced drought. His frequent flirtations with reality are, frankly, too many to count, but we’ve compiled and fact-checked a few of them to demonstrate just how clueless Trump is when it comes to energy and environmental leadership.
TRUMP: “The President stated that it was his intent to eliminate oil and natural gas production in America … President Obama has done everything he can to keep us dependent -- and this is so important -- on others.”
· FACT: Obama Administration Boasts About The Increase In Domestic Oil And Gas Production. The Obama administration’s energy strategy includes “reducing our dependence on foreign oil” and “safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production.” According to the White House, “In November 2013, America hit a milestone of energy independence: For the first time in nearly two decades, the U.S. produced more oil domestically than it imported from foreign sources. And the U.S. is now the number-one natural gas producer in the world … In 2010, in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration launched the most aggressive and comprehensive reforms to offshore oil and gas regulation and oversight in U.S. history and put in place new safeguards to protect the environment. These measures help to ensure that our nation can continue to safely and responsibly develop offshore energy resources.” [White House, accessed 5/27/16]
TRUMP: “The administration fast-tracked wind projects that kill more than 1 million birds a year.”
· FACT: If Anything Is Killing Millions Of Birds Every Year, It’s Coal – Nearly 8 Million. Multiple studies have shown that the number of bird deaths from renewable energy sources pales in comparison the number of bird deaths from dirty energy. Solar energy is responsible for less than 30,000 bird deaths a year, while wind energy can claim up to 328,000. However, oil and gas claims up to 1 million birds every year, while coal-related bird deaths reach nearly 8 million annually. [US News, 8/22/14]
· FACT: Skyscrapers, Like Those Built By Trump, Kill Nearly A Billion Birds Every Year. According to the Washington Post, “Windows, like those in the skyscrapers built by Donald Trump, are responsible for the deaths of between 365 million and 988 million birds a year all around the world. Each skyscraper kills an estimated 24 birds per year.” [Washington Post, 5/26/16]
TRUMP: Keystone XL pipeline would have created 42,000 jobs, and would have no significant environmental impact.
· FACT: Keystone XL Pipeline Would Only Create 35 Permanent Jobs. A State Department report “puts the total at 42,100 jobs, though the definition of a job in this sense is a position filled for one year. Much of the construction work would come in four- or eight-month stretches. About 10,400 seasonal workers would be recruited for construction, the State Department said … The report says the project would provide jobs for about 35 permanent employees and 15 temporary contractors.” [PolitiFact, 2/10/14]
· FACT: Keystone XL Pipeline Would Increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Operating The Pipeline For One Year Would Be The Equivalent Of Emissions From 300,000 Cars. The State Department’s final supplemental environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL pipeline – released after it dug deeper into the issue of whether the pipeline would have an environmental impact – fond that it would indeed “increase greenhouse gas emissions. Oil from Alberta's tar sands is one of the most polluting kinds of oil, the report notes, thanks to the energy cost of producing it in the first place as well as the pet coke and other byproducts that end up getting burned as well. The State Department also noted that just running the pipeline for a year once built would result in the same greenhouse gas pollution as roughly 300,000 cars over the same time span, and that the oil carried by the pipeline could add as much as 27 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere each year, most of that from its ultimate use as fuel.” [Scientific American, 1/31/14]
TRUMP: “President Obama entered the United States into the Paris Climate Accords – unilaterally, and without the permission of Congress. This agreement gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use right here in America. These actions have denied millions of Americans access to the energy wealth sitting under our feet.”
· FACT: Paris Agreement Didn’t Need Congressional Approval, It Doesn’t Require The U.S. To Take Orders From Foreign Governments Or Bureaucrats, And It Doesn’t Dictate How America Creates Or Uses Energy. The Paris climate agreement is non-binding, meaning that the “setting of emissions targets for any individual country” are not required. Additionally, the U.S. Congress “ratified the formation of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC), a 1992 treaty. That means the United States has already committed to ‘stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.’ ‘The Paris agreement does not appear to require the U.S. to do anything beyond what it is already committed to doing under the UNFCC,’ [executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School Michael] Burger said … If the $200 billion global commitment to developing nations had included specific numbers for the U.S. budget, we would have had to ask the Senate.” The agreement broadly serves as a template for the various countries, who are then tasked with coming up with their own plan to reduce carbon emissions in order to curb temperature rise. [TIME, 12/12/15; Think Progress, 12/14/15]
TRUMP: “President Obama’s anti-energy orders have also weakened our security, by keeping us reliant on foreign sources of energy.”
· FACT: For The First Time In Nearly 20 Years, The U.S. Is Producing More Oil Than It Is Importing, Resulting In A 40-Year Low In Dependence On Foreign Oil. As mentioned above, in November 2013, “America hit a milestone of energy independence: For the first time in nearly two decades, the U.S. produced more oil domestically than it imported from foreign sources. And the U.S. is now the number-one natural gas producer in the world. Thanks in part to these initiatives, America’s dependence on foreign oil is at a 40-year low — and declining.” [White House, accessed 5/27/16]
TRUMP: “America has 1.5 times as much oil as the combined proven resources of all OPEC countries; we have more natural gas than Russia, Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia Combined; we have three times more coal than Russia.”
· FACT: Oil Reserves In Saudi Arabia Are Seven Times Greater Than Those In The U.S., And Four Other Countries Have Greater Natural Gas Reserves Than The U.S. The Washington Post, citing information from the Dept. of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, said that “the United States had proven oil reserves of 39.9 billion barrels as of Dec. 31, 2014. Saudi Arabia alone has proven reserves of about 268 billion barrels, and four other OPEC members have greater reserves than the United States. Trump also said that the United States has more natural gas than Russia, Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia combined. In fact, according to the EIA, the United States ranks fifth in the world, and its natural gas reserves come to less than a 10th of those countries combined.” [Washington Post, 5/26/16]
TRUMP: Wind and solar energy are “very expensive.”
· FACT: The Cost Of Solar Energy Has Dropped Nearly 75 Percent In 10 Years, While Residential Costs Have Dropped Nearly 50 Percent Since 2010. Currently, there is enough solar capacity to power nearly 5 million American homes, with a new solar project being installed in a home or business every two minutes. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, “Since the implementation of the ITC in 2006, the cost to install solar has dropped by more than 73%. While residential costs have dropped by 45% since 2010, utility-scale costs have dropped more significantly, with recent contracts at prices below $0.05/kWh.” [SEIA Data, accessed 5/26/16]
· FACT: The Cost Of Wind Energy Has Dropped More Than 60 Percent; Wind Power Can Currently Provide Energy For 20 Million American Homes. Wind energy is slated to provide 10 percent of America’s electricity by 2020, while the cost of wind power has dropped by more than 60 percent. There is now enough wind energy capability to provide power for 20 million homes across 40 states. [Clean Technica, 5/26/16]
TRUMP: “We are going to save the coal industry and other industries threatened by Hillary Clinton’s extremist agenda.”
· FACT: Coal Industry Is Declining Because Of The Abundance Of Cheap Natural Gas And The Market Push For Renewables; “None Of It Had Anything To Do With The New Carbon Rules, Which Aren’t Even In Effect Yet.” While Trump talks a big game about revitalizing the coal industry, he has “yet to explain” just how he’d do that. The Washington Post reported, “To pull it off, he will have to overcome market forces and a push for cleaner fuels that have pummeled coal. Coal’s slump is largely the result of cheap natural gas, which now rivals coal as a fuel for generating electricity.” Furthermore, an energy analyst at the investment firm Raymond James said that “coal has been losing ground to natural gas and renewables nearly continuously since 2004 — and none of it had anything to do with the new carbon rules, which aren’t even in effect yet.” [The Washington Post, 5/5/16; 5/26/16]
TRUMP: “From an environmental standpoint, my priorities are very simple: clean air and clean water.”
· FACT: Trump Promised To Do Away With Nearly Every Major Environmental Safeguard. Priorities? Seconds before delivering the above line, Trump promised that he would, as president: rescind the Clean Power Plan, the Clean Water rule, revive coal, approve the Keystone XL pipeline, re-allow oil and gas drilling in federal areas, back away from the Paris climate agreement, and remove environmental regulations. This is not prioritizing – this is gutting the safeguards that keep our air and water clean. [Donald Trump campaign website, accessed 5/26/16]
TRUMP: [Climate Change]
· FACT: Trump Did Not Mention Climate Change Once During His Speech. 2016 is slated to be the warmest year on record, thanks to rising temperatures brought on by climate change, but Donald Trump continues with his climate denial. 97 percent of climate scientists agree that warmer temperatures trends over the past century are “very likely due to human activities.” Nearly two-thirds of the American people – a record high – believe that man-made climate change is real, including a majority of Trump’s own supporters. [TIME, accessed 5/27/16; NASA, accessed 5/27/16; Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, accessed 5/27/16]
TRUMP: “There is no drought” in California.
· FACT: “Yes, There Is A Drought.” 86 percent of California is currently experiencing drought, with more than 21 percent of the state experiencing exceptional drought. According to the U.S. Geological Society, “California’s currently in its fifth year of severe drought … 2014 was the third driest year on record. On January 17, 2014 California State Governor, Jerry Brown, declared a drought state of emergency.” Or, as USA Today put it: “Yes, there is a drought.” [US Drought Monitor, 5/24/16; USGS, accessed 5/31/16; USA Today, 5/28/16]
TRUMP: “Every idea Hillary has will make jobs disappear. Hillary Clinton’s agenda is job destruction.”
· FACT: LOL.
Paid for by the League of Conservation Voters, www.lcv.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.