Danielle Elkins: Trump’s nominations continue to stun the political left
Environmentalists are losing sleep as Donald Trump’s supporters rejoice over the president-elect’s recent cabinet nominations and their potential effects on energy.
It’s no secret that the president-to-be is planning to shake things up and take energy in a new direction during his presidency, to the dismay of the left.
Let’s talk about three of Trump’s nominations who are causing the controversy surrounding the topic of energy. They include the following.
• Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who is currently in the middle of a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, for administrator of the EPA
• ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state
• Former Texas governor Rick Perry for secretary of energy, a choice leftists are criticizing since Perry said in his 2012 presidential campaign that he would eliminate the Department of Energy as president
It isn’t hard to see why there’s controversy. Obviously, the left is going to be upset by these nominations because, if confirmed, they’ll almost certainly flip Obama’s energy policy on its top.
In reaction, columnist Paul Krugman wrote a piece for The New York Times titled “Trump and Pruitt will make America gasp again.” I don’t need to tell you what that piece consists of — the title seems to speak for itself.
Like Trump, Tillerson is being criticized by many for his lack of experience in politics and his position as a businessman.
“This is certainly a good way to make clear exactly who’ll be running the government in a Trump administration — just cut out the middleman and hand it directly to the fossil-fuel industry,” said environmental activist and founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Bradley Olson.
Another reason for criticism of Perry, besides his previous statements during a presidential race, is that he sits on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. The company is currently in the middle of a lawsuit brought by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The tribe says that an oil spill from the pipeline’s operations could have damaging effects on its water supply.
Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director for WildEarth Guardians, is uneasy about the president-elect’s nominations.
“We’re stunned. We understand that different philosophies are at issue here, but we didn’t realize that it would mean people being appointed who want to tear down agencies that are helping our nation maintain basic levels of public health. The department of energy is in place to help our nation develop and advance innovative energy solutions. I just can’t understand destroying that,” he said. “To us, we have our perspective on coal — and I know that folks in Craig have their perspective on coal — but this is going beyond perspectives on coal. Our nation prides itself on protecting its people and advancing economically, and we’re afraid that progress will be set back with these appointments.”
There are two sides to every story, however.
A Dec. 8 statement released by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin summed up her feelings about Trump’s nomination of Pruitt.
“Attorney General Scott Pruitt is a tireless advocate of the precious balance of power between state and federal governments,” she said.
In a Dec. 10 article for Forbes.com, David Blackmon explained that, if the left would stop to examine Tillerson’s background, it might find him to be less of a threat than originally assumed. He has long advocated a carbon tax, and he has strong relationships with leaders of the dozens of countries with which he has successfully negotiated business deals.
Texas Tribune writers Jim Malewitz and Kiah Collier reported in a Dec. 13 article that — though he’s a huge supporter of fossil fuels, such as coal — in his record 14 years as governor of Texas, Perry helped lead the state in producing “more energy from wind turbines than all but five countries.” Based on this, it would appear that Perry may be willing to compromise when it comes to opposing views on energy.
Moffat County Commissioner Frank Moe is pleased with Trump’s choices.
“As a commissioner I think its very exciting news. Having people in office who are pro-energy and pro-economy is going to be great for Moffat County. I’ve never run into a Republican who wants to harm the quality of our air and water — we’ve just been dealing with a lot of overregulation,” Moe said. “Speaking in terms of the county budget, the reduction in income has come from overregulation. Had we not made year-by-year adjustments in reaction to this overregulation, by 2021, we would have a $14 million shortfall as a county. But we did make those adjustments, because we were put in a position that required us to. The word hope got abused the last eight years. Now, I think it’s finally going to be a reality.”
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