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As the 2016 presidential election grows close, many Americans are faced with the tough decision of voting for the candidate that best fits their personal, political and social stances.
As it currently stands, the Democratic party supports leading candidate, Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, while the Republican party has, likely nominee and Real Estate Mogul, Donald Trump. During this campaign, both Clinton and Trump have shown strong leadership in the polls, making it difficult to predict who might come out on top.
When it comes to American energy, it’s important to know about and understand a candidate’s stance on particular and important issues. After all, if elected they will have a significant impact on the current and future state of the industry.
To make things simple for voters, we’ve created a compilation of both Clinton and Trump’s stances on Energy and related topics. Through an unbiased view of each candidate, we hope to assist American voters to determine who they will vote for.
Hillary Clinton – A Summary:
- Coal: Clinton plans to revitalize coal communities to make sure that miners, power plant operators, transportation workers, and their families receive earned benefits.
- Oil & Gas: Through the use of more energy efficient vehicles, ships, and technologies Clinton plans to reduce the overall consumption of oil within the United States.
- Nuclear Power: Clinton is an advocate for advanced nuclear power and the expansion of successful initiatives such as, ARPA-e.
- Renewable Energy: Encouragement of states to participate and become a leader in the fight against climate change via installation of solar panels and the production of enough clean energy to power every home in the United States (within 10 years).
- Energy Waste: Reduce energy waste by a third to make manufacturing in the United States cleaner and more efficient.
- Energy Jobs & Economy: Clinton’s stance on energy is geared towards creating jobs in energy industries for the people of America. Focusing on a clean energy economy will also help to improve safety and national security.
- Energy Infrastructure: Upgrade the United States energy infrastructure by modernizing the pipeline system, increasing rail safety and enhancing grid security.
Donald Trump – A Summary:
- Coal: Trump plans to revive the coal mining industry by helping to get coal miners back to work.
- Oil & Gas: Has previously stated his support for fracking as a way to end America’s dependence on imported oil.
- Nuclear Power: Strongly in favor of nuclear energy, but the United States needs to put the proper procedures in place to ensure its continued safety.
- Renewable Energy: Encourages the development of plans surrounding renewable energies to support energy consumption for the future.
- Energy Waste: Trump has not released an official plan at this time.
- Energy Jobs & Economy: By bring manufacturing and other jobs back to Americans, Trump will re-stimulate the economy (although he has not defined an official energy plan).
- Energy Infrastructure: Plans to rebuild America’s infrastructure on time and on budget, but has not yet defined a plan for how this will improve the United States energy industry infrastructure.
Stance on Coal – The Details
Clinton’s campaign includes a $30 billion plan to revitalize coal communities in the United States.1 According to her official campaign factsheet, details of this plan include,
Security for Retirement and Health – Due to a decrease in the global demand for coal, several mining companies have declared bankruptcy. Clinton’s goal is to fight these companies attempts to illegally alter information pertaining to related court proceedings. This will help to prevent these companies from avoiding responsibility for the commitments they made regarding healthcare and pensions for retired employees. If elected, Clinton will put a federal backstop into place, one that makes sure the appropriate people receive the benefits they deserve.
Black Lung Benefit Program – Clinton’s plan focuses on preventing coal company funded lawyers and doctors from unlawful practices that deny sick or ill miners the medical care they need. Those who (in the past) were denied benefits will receive the support they require to attain legal representation as well as to re-open their cases. The Black Lung Benefit Program itself will receive adjustments to take care of changes related to cost of living.
21st Century Infrastructure – The infrastructure investment program Clinton plans to implement will focus on building new bridges, roads, airports, transmission lines and water systems. This includes completion of the Appalachian Development Highway System project. The primary idea behind this particular element of her plan is to investigate areas of the existing infrastructure to help get workers and companies access to jobs and new economic markets.
Funding for Local Schools – Plans also include providing funding for gaps in educational services like schools, where coal mining is an important source of revenue. To achieve this, Clinton aims to establish Secure Coal Community School (SCCS) programs. These programs will alleviate lower revenue generated by coal companies until other revenue like local taxes arise via economic growth.
Mine Land and Power Plant Sites – Abandoned coal mines contain rich soil and lots of water. Using the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, Clinton plans to invest in preparation of the site in order to develop the infrastructure required or needed in order to successfully build on the site.
Expand Internet Access – Clinton plans to set-up high-speed Internet within coal communities to help them stay connected. This will also help local workers, businesses, schools and healthcare facilities to connect on a global scale.
Increase Public Investment – An increase in public investment surrounding research and development institutions in coal mining communities will help to support carbon capture and other technologies. This will help Clinton to meet long-term climate control goals.
Other details of this plan include,
- Expansion of clean energy from existing dams and federal land
- Development of small businesses and entrepreneurs within coal communities
- Continued education and training for coal communities
- Monitoring of mining community health and wellness
- Upgrades in local housing within coal communities
- Attracting private investment within coal communities
Recently, Trump gave a speech in West Virginia where the West Virginia Coal Association officially endorsed him. In the video below, he states that if elected, he will make fast moving changes to make the coal mining community, “better than ever before”. He also states that the changes will pertain to all kinds of energy promising, “we never want to be in a position where we were before, when we were literally controlled by people – OPEC and others, but we were in the hands of these people. Not gonna happen again folks, not gonna happen.”
(OPEC refers to the: Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.)
Stance on Oil & Gas – The Details
Clinton’s campaign website outlines her plans to support clean energy to meet the nation’s climate challenge. As a result, her goal is to reduce American oil consumption by a third through investing in more energy efficient vehicles, technologies and cleaners fuels.2 As part of her presidential campaign, she also promises to end tax subsidies for related companies and invest more in clean energy.
Trump does not provide an official view or stance on oil and gas on his campaign website, however he has conducted several interviews in the past where he talks about his opinions on the issue.
In 2008, he sat down with Neil Cavuto who asked him about the failure of the bailout bill.3 During the interview, Trump called out OPEC for what he considers unethical actions stating, “oil got up to a phony price of $150 a barrel, and I think oil could go down to $20 or $25 or lower depending on the severity of the so-called recession, meaning depression. I love the fact that oil dropped, I guess, over $10 a day, and it will continue to drop, and that is the beauty.” He also stated that, “oil is the lifeblood. Oil is going to drop, and ultimately, that is going to lead to a very strong economy. Every time they do something. Every time a move is made, if interest rates go down, oil goes up. No matter what happens that is positive, oil goes up.”
A few years later, in 2012, Trump participated in an interview with CNBC and stated that the leaders of OPEC are, “sitting around their table, setting the price of oil and laughing at us because we have no leadership.”4
When it comes to fracking, Trump has voiced his support for the technology, tweeting:
Fracking will lead to American energy independence. With price of natural gas continuing to drop, we can be at a tremendous advantage.
? Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2012
Earlier this year, Trump gave an interview to Field and Stream magazine. He was asked how he would balance energy exploration and extraction on public lands. Trump responded, “Well, I?m very much into energy, and I?m very much into fracking and drilling, and we never want to be hostage again to OPEC and go back to where we were. And right now, we?re at a very interesting point because right now there?s so much energy. And I?ve always said it?there?s so much energy. And new technology has found that. And maybe that?s an advantage and maybe?actually, it?s more of an advantage in terms of your question, because we don?t have to do the kind of drilling that we did. But I am for energy exploration, as long as we don?t do anything to damage the land. And right now we don?t need too much; there?s a lot of energy.”5
When the Keystone Pipeline Project wasn’t approved in the same year, he told Greta Van Susteren of Fox News, ?we don?t need Canada. We should just be able to drill our own oil. But as long as it?s there, we certainly should have approved it. It was jobs and it was cheaper oil.? He also used the opportunity to state his opinion on energy independence saying, “we?re taking oil from Canada. We?re paying Canada a lot of money. We don?t even need Canadian oil if we did it right. The really right way is to drill our own oil. We have so much of it we don?t know what to do. Between natural gas and oil and lots of other things, we should be doing our own.?
In February of this year, he brought up the Keystone Pipeline again in a press conference in South Carolina stating, “I will make a deal for this country where we get a chunk of it. Through eminent domain, we make the Keystone Pipeline and other things possible. They’re going to make tremendous amounts of money from the Keystone Pipeline. A lot of the money they make is going to come back to the people of this country.”6
Stance on Nuclear Power – The Details
When it comes to Clinton’s current stance on nuclear power, her Policy Director, Jake Sullivan has stated that, “she believes nuclear energy has an important role to play in our clean-energy future.”7 Through her proposed Clean Energy Challenge plan, Clinton also indicates that if elected, she will provide grants to rural communities, cities and states that show leadership in the ways they reduce their carbon output and energy costs through alternate fuels like, nuclear power, renewable energy, and carbon capture.8
Trump has not yet published an official stance on nuclear power during his campaign. However, in 2012 he participated in an interview with Fox News to discuss nuclear power risks (refer to video below). He believes that nuclear power is a way to get what we have to get, which is energy, but we have to be very careful about the way in which is it handled in regards to public safety and national security.
Stance on Renewable Energy – The Details
Part of Clinton’s campaign involves two national goals that will help to fight against climate change.9 These two goals include, the installation of more than half a billion solar panels across the country by the end of her first term and within ten years, to have the United States produce enough renewable energy to power every American building of residence.
To achieve these goals, Clinton plans to provide both grants and initiatives to help states exceed existing standards when it comes to carbon pollution. Communities who push to increase solar installation and decrease energy costs for consumers and businesses will receive awards like the Solar X-Prize. Working with rural communities, cities and states to improve and strengthen the grid will also help to support customer value and choice.
Other initiatives from this campaign include,
- Strengthening rural leadership in renewable energies
- Promoting solar access
- Developing more clean energy tax initiatives
- Increasing renewable energy innovation
- Developing more security for energy and the climate
In January of this year, Trump’s campaign led him to Iowa where he made a speech to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. During his speech he states, “I’m self funding my campaign. I’m not asking all of you biofuel people and you ethanol people – I’m not saying please can I have money!” He goes on to say, “I don’t want anything. I do what’s right, so when I want to go with ethanol, I can go with ethanol.” He also mentions that other candidates are being funded by oil companies saying, “I’m going to do what’s right for the country.” Watch the video below for his complete speech.
On April 28th, Trump participated in Town Hall in Indiana with Fox News anchor, Greta Van Susteren. His campaign focus is primarily on other topics like manufacturing, education and national security. These are issues that he feels have a greater impact on the United States. For example, when asked if he would deploy troops in any place (in the world) he responded, “when I heard the other day, I heard president Obama say, the single greatest threat to our country is global warming.” He continued to state that, “the big threat we have is global warming, but it’s of the nuclear variety . . . That is the single biggest threat we have.” Watch the video below for more information.
Stance on Energy Waste – The Details
If elected, Clinton plans to cut energy waste by a third within ten years. This plan would target energy waste generated by homes, stores, municipal buildings, offices, and hospitals within the United States. As a result, both businesses and families will save money and America can continue to address climate changes issues.10
This plan proposes to decrease the cost of energy by around $600 per year for the average household. It will also help to lower public building, healthcare and education building energy costs by more than $8 billion each year. This project would include less oil consumption and production to improve air quality and prevent rate hikes.
Other elements of Clinton’s energy waste initiatives include,
- Improving building codes and standards
- Energy transparency
- Continued support of appliance energy standards and labels
At this time, Trump has not directly addressed or announced official plans to handle issues concerning energy waste management.
Stance on Energy Jobs & Economy – The Details
Clinton’s campaign website states that her clean energy plan is focused on generating new economic investment opportunities that will help to create paying jobs nationwide. She believes that through upgrades to energy infrastructure, manufacturing and supporting innovative technologies, the American economy will generate competition, which will produce additional careers for communities within the United States.11
During several of Trumps rally’s he has mentioned bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States from countries like China and Mexico. In his presidential announcement speech, he said, “we have people that aren?t working. We have people that have no incentive to work. But they?re going to have incentive to work, because the greatest social program is a job. And they?ll be proud, and they?ll love it, and they?ll make much more than they would?ve ever made, and they?ll be? they?ll be doing so well, and we?re going to be thriving as a country, thriving. It can happen.” He also added, “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. I tell you that. I?ll bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places. I?ll bring back our jobs, and I?ll bring back our money.”12
At this time, Trump has not announced any official plans regarding how he will generate new jobs in the energy industry.
Stance on Energy Infrastructure – The Details
Part of Clinton’s clean energy plan also includes initiatives to modernize North America’s energy infrastructure.13 Her primary focus is to make the existing infrastructure safer and cleaner than it is today. In order to achieve these goals, Clinton has proposed to modernize the existing pipeline system, increase rail safety and enhance grid security.
Pipeline System – Clinton’s plans include repairing or replacing outdated pipeline over thousands of miles. This work will help to lower leaks and improve safety by the end of her first term. She also plans to implement automatic or remote-controlled safety valves as recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Rail System – These plans will require the Department of Transportation to ensure that first responders and the public have more information on what trains carry through their community (including hazardous materials and oil). Clinton also plans to phase out old tank cars to increase the safety and security of rail lines.
Grid Security – Create a new Presidential Threat Assessment and Response Team to help state, local officials, and the energy industry to handle cyber security threats using new improved technologies.
In Trump’s candidacy announcement he compared America’s infrastructure to third world countries saying, “we?re becoming a third word country, because of our infrastructure, our airports, our roads, everything.” He also indicated that nobody could rebuild the country’s infrastructure like him, stating, “believe me. It will be done on time, on budget, way below cost, way below what anyone ever thought.”
Trump has not yet provided plans on how he will achieve this goal, nor how these changes will apply to the United States energy infrastructure. Watch the video below to learn more.
1. Hillary Clinton’s Plan for Revitalizing Coal Communities
2. Climate Change and Clean Energy
3. Donald Trump Sees Silver Lining in Failure of Bailout Bill
4. OPEC Leaders Are ?Laughing at Us?: Donald Trump
5. Q&A: Donald Trump on Guns, Hunting and Conservation
6. Donald Trump Press Conference in S.C. Aired February 15, 2016 – 14:30 ET
7. Clinton, Sanders United on Global Warming, Divided on Nuclear Energy
8. Hillary Clinton’s Vision for Renewable Power
9. Hillary Clinton’s Vision for Renewable Power
10. Hillary Clinton’s Plan for Advanced Buildings: Creating Jobs, Reducing Pollution and Saving Americans Money
11. Hillary Clinton’s Vision for Modernizing North American Energy Infrastructure
12. Here’s Donald Trump’s Presidential Announcement Speech
13. Hillary Clinton’s Vision for Modernizing North American Energy Infrastructure