Trump The Great Destroyer

There are those who say wind turbines are an eyesore, that they ruin the landscape.  But have you ever seen a strip mine in coal country?

Which do you think is the greater eyesore?  The picture on the right was once a beautiful green mountain, but this is what it looks like after the coal was extracted.

Today, Don Trump decided that he would much rather turn nature’s beautiful mountains into that picture on the right side, above.  Today, Don Trump signed a new executive order titled “Energy Independence” that is even more potentially destructive than the rest of his orders have been.  (Note that the man who was going to “make America great again” has, thus far done nothing constructive, but has attempted much destruction!)  The order directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to start the legal process of withdrawing and rewriting the Clean Power Plan.

energy-trump-signing

Surrounded by coal miners, he signed with a flourish and stated, “C’mon fellas. You know what this is? You know what this says? You’re going back to work.”  Jackass.  The order also lifts a short-term ban on new coal mining on public lands. Jerk. The order will all but ensure that the United States cannot meet its global warming commitments under the Paris accord.

“We’re ending the theft of American prosperity and reviving our beloved economy. The miners told me about the attacks on their jobs. I made them this promise. We will put our miners back to work.”

While the coal industry executives may be applauding and singing happy tunes today, there is more to the story than meets the eye.  There are some real world facts to be considered:

  • Regulatory relief could restore 10 percent of coal companies’ lost market share at most — nowhere near enough to return coal to its dominant position in power markets and put tens of thousands of coal miners to work.
  • Improved drilling techniques over the past decade have made natural gas a much more economical option than coal. Most utilities have already reduced their infrastructure and they already have commitments geared toward natural gas.
  • Wind and solar power are also taking market share, as the costs of utility-scale generation have become competitive with those of hydrocarbons in many parts of the country.
  • By the end of last year, 29 states had adopted rules to replace a substantial share of fossil fuel electricity production with cleaner power. California is far ahead of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan in environmental stewardship, and promises to resist the federal government’s new agenda. The existing state mandates alone are on track for meeting 20% of the nation’s energy needs within the next 8 years.
  • Federal tax credits for wind and solar enacted during the Obama administration will continue for at least several more years, and they have the support of Republican members of Congress from states producing wind power, like Texas and Iowa.

Nicholas K. Akins, chief executive of American Electric Power (AEP) said, “Our plans remain the same. We’re going to invest over the next three years $1.5 billion in renewables … This industry is moving in a direction that really moves toward a clean energy economy. That’s what our customers expect, that’s what our shareholders expect.”

And speaking of customers, a recent (January 2017) study by Pew Research found that fully 65% of Americans give priority to developing alternative energy over fossil fuels.    Apparently, for all his bluster and his faux claims, Don Trump has failed to listen to the voices of the American people, the citizens, taxpayers and voters.  Most in this country would prefer wind turbines to destroyed mountains, and most have come to understand that we simply cannot continue to destroy our environment, as we have been for so many years, without suffering devastating effects.

energy-Pew-chart

Earlier this month, with Trump’s blessings, the State Department granted the pipeline giant TransCanada a permit for Keystone construction to re-start, and Trump halted the initiative to impose stringent fuel-economy standards for automobiles, saying, “The assault on the American auto industry is over.”

The mining of coal is dirty and harmful to the environment, as is the burning of the ore.  Scott Pruitt, Trump’s puppet EPA Administrator, said today’s executive order would “be both pro-jobs and pro-environment.”  The reality is that it will be neither.  It is yet another ‘alternative fact’. What it will do is contribute further to the destruction of our environment, but not only our environment … the global environment.  When we dump CO2 into the atmosphere, it does not only affect the air we breathe, but it spreads the poison around the globe.  This is why nearly every country on earth has committed to try to reduce carbon emissions.  Quite frankly, every other nation on the globe has a right to be very angry at Trump over his recent anti-environmental moves.  In large part, Trump likely knows that nothing he has done will add a measurable number of jobs to the economy, but rather, he is driven by an obsession to ‘undo’ whatever President Obama did, such as repealing ACA with no viable alternative on the horizon.  This is exactly the wrong way to lead a nation, and it is why I claim the entire Trump administration is a circus … nay, a nightmare!  We The People deserve better!  We The People DEMAND better!

* Note:  John Podesta, an advisor on climate and energy policy to President Obama and campaign chair for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, has written a very good Op-Ed piece on this topic that is worth reading.

27 thoughts on “Trump The Great Destroyer

  1. The sea levels are rising already. Watch out Mar el Lago.
    If only …
    I don’t have children but I do care about the planet, about other humans, about animals and bees and trees – and the future of all the above. Nature will reassess and readjust her world if need be, but some humans are busy writing themselves a very, very long suicide note. Unfortunately so many ordinary everyday people think it doesn’t concern them and carry on blithely … [rant deleted!] … that they really need leaders to do the thinking for them – but in the USA you have That Man.
    I look at that picture of the signing and it makes me feel both angry and scared. And repulsed. And I am angry again at him for that last feeling. The people in all his pictures are men (mostly), aren’t they? And men who care more for money, themselves, their status than the precious planet on which we live in this case. Where are the good men who are putting obstacles in his way? Where are the Republicans standing up for what they know is right? I know some of them must be decent, good, honourable chaps. Perhaps this is a ‘let him have enough rope to hang himself’ strategy?
    As for the nerve – the cruelty – of signing it at the EPA. I’ve worked with businessmen like him – and that type of ‘leadership’ is dreadful. Bully, create divisions, make people compete rather than cooperate. Rate women by their looks not their ability.
    Eeurgh. Loathsome.
    Phew. Sorry. Better out than in!

    Like

  2. Great post. This is the assault on our existing policies that hits me right in the underbelly. everything he has done so has been so foul and destructive and obnoxious, but this THIS one is the worst so far. This one screws with my childrens’ future the most. This is the gesture of a con man. These miners are not getting their jobs back. This will benefit the coal execs and the execs of the companies that build machines that automate many of the tasks miners once did. The biggest losers: the environment, future generations and the miners who are being conned into thinking their jobs are coming back. Any many of the people in coal country don’t want the tops on mountains blown off and all that crap raining down on them and poisoning their drinking water. This man sucks sucks SUCKS

    Liked by 1 person

      • Early daze(sic)
        There will be those who owe their jobs to him.
        Those who voted for him and have a ‘Give Him a Chance’ outlook.
        Those who are in denial.
        And those who are talkin’ the talk for public consumption but are deftly treading another sort of ‘walk’
        This is the Never Changing world of political interactions.
        Nothing here that the Greeks, Romans, or the Court of a Pharaoh wouldn’t recognise.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Jill,

    Thanks a million for this post. DT is bent on causing destruction and somehow, he needs to be stopped.What is so sad, and it is just what you mentioned, he is not creating jobs with his actions but he is making us less safe in so many ways.He is just one angry man.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Gronda! Yes, it is all just so much smoke and mirrors. He tells the people what they want to hear, even though there isn’t a shred of truth to it, and they believe … perhaps because the want to … or need to. Sigh. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks Jill for writing this. Several points need to be made:
    – Wall Street Journal reporter today echoed on CBS Morning News what a coal CEO executive said the day before. Trump needs to soft peddle the coal job increases as the demand is not increasing. The WSJ reporter said the coal state representatives in Congress told Trump the same thing.
    – China and the EU both reiterated their support for the Paris Agreement yesterday. A German official is America is shooting itself in the foot and will fall behind on technology.
    – Trump’s own bill will help finish off coal. Natural gas killed off the jobs before the renewable energy industry got cheaper. Utilities are going to move in a direction of lower cost and environmental soundness and coal ash is the (negative) gift that keeps giving long after the plants are closed.
    – Solar jobs are growing at double digits. Wind energy is the largest renewable source in America, with the plains states leading the way. Coal jobs are retrenching with demand, so if you are an investor, where would you invest your money. Warren Buffett has been betting on GE because they make wind turbines.

    I left the GOP in 2006, with a primary reason being its stance on climate change then. It is eleven years later and this President continues to say this is not a problem that it is and called it a hoax a few years ago. Exxon Mobil is being investigated for misrepresenting the impact of climate change to its shareholders. The data being used against them is in their own files from speeches, research and reports. This is a securities crime, even if they did not do it intentionally.

    Fortunately, we have reached a tipping point with pricing. Even Trump cannot derail this train. And, to be frank, he is a damn fool to try. Keith

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks for the link to the Podesta piece. I mentioned this back in November after DT’s EPA nominations, but it would not surprise me to see some formal body, like the United Nations or The Breakthrough Energy Coalition to ask former President Obama to lead their efforts. This would permit what is already happening in the states to continue to flourish. Keith

      Liked by 1 person

      • I would LOVE to see President Obama in such a position. I think he would be excellent, and wouldn’t that be a slap in the fact to Trump! I was reading tonight that environmental groups throughout the country are planning to fight back … I am encouraged by this, and also by some of the statements in my post, such as by the AEP exec.

        Like

    • I cannot help wondering, when the jobs do NOT miraculously reappear in the coal industry, what those who have pinned their hopes on this move will say? Will they realize they have been lied to? Or will they continue to sing his praises? I am definitely encouraged by the things you mention, and by the outpouring of disagreement with his policies on energy and the environment. And yes … there was never a doubt in my mind that he is a damn fool, but so, apparently, are many of his followers and many of our elected representatives on Capitol Hill.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Eventually, real outcomes will have to come home to roost. Last fall, I listened to a energy expert explain how the utilities will seek the more economical paths, and Trump’s own plan will kill off coal. The key that the CEO of the coal company said, we have plenty of leases, the demand is falling.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, I think the ending to this story is clear, and it is sad that so many fail to see it. He has sold the masses, and in this particular case, the coal miners, a bill of goods with nothing to back it up but hot air, smoke and mirrors.

          Like

  5. This one just makes me too mad to comment in a sensible and polite way. People who are laughing while destroying our kid’s future with a pen stroke! (He of course is too old to bother with something as abstract and far away as future.)

    Liked by 1 person

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