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Trump Loves Fossil Fuels

Alex Epstein, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress, sent out a newsletter today:
I’m writing this from the Republican debate in Las Vegas. I will be attending as part of an upcoming campaign to make America’s amazing energy opportunities a central theme of this election. I hope you’re as tired as I am of candidates trying to win on negatives—like Trump’s Tweets or Clinton’s emails—rather than giving us a positive, inspiring vision. In the next couple of weeks you’ll see what I believe America’s future could be with the right policies—and I hope you’ll join me in fighting for it. [emphasis added]
At first I read this as an attack on Donald Trump for writing negative tweets that insult people. I found that surprising because Trump is so good on energy, and Epstein is a one-issue guy (energy, energy, energy). Now I've decided the newsletter is confusing and I don't know what it means. I also find it weird to bring up the emails (a serious crime that ought to land Hillary in jail) next to the tweets.

Whatever Epstein meant, he should be a fan of Donald Trump. He should be gushing about Trump in his newsletter. He should be thrilled and telling me all about Trump's energy policies. Here's why:

Epstein has done such a great job of promoting industrial progress and fossil fuels that people sometimes falsely accuse him of being a paid shill for oil companies. Epstein wrote The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.

In Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, Trump presents a positive vision (notice the title) and he talks about energy. Trump comes out for fracking and developing all the US's energy resources. He attacks climate change, solar, wind, tree huggers, cap and trade, and the EPA. Trump emphasizes cost efficient energy, not green or sustainable energy. He says we have plenty of oil and gas underneath the US to last hundreds of years, and we should use it. He's in favor of development, drilling and pipelines. This is a similar message to Epstein's.

Here are quotes from Chapter 6, "The Energy Debate: A Lot of Hot Air", with my emphasis added:
Now these “experts” [on global warming] can’t figure out whether it’s getting too hot or too cold, so the new term is “extreme weather conditions.”
In his 2015 State of the Union speech, President Obama declared the biggest threat on the planet today is climate change. The biggest threat?! We have ISIS troops chopping off the heads of innocent Christian missionaries. We have a coalition of adversaries in Syria supporting a dictator who uses chemical weapons on his own people. We have millions of Americans who have mortgages greater than the value of their property, while middle-class incomes are stagnant and more than 40 million citizens are living at poverty levels.

And our president is most concerned about climate change?
I do agree that so-called global climate change is causing us some problems: It’s causing us to waste billions of dollars to develop technologies we don’t need to fulfill our energy needs.
The truth is, we have sufficient energy supplies in this country to power us into the next century—all we have to do is develop them. Among all the gifts that God gave to America was an abundant supply of natural energy. According to the Department of Energy, the natural gas reserves we have in the ground could supply our energy needs for centuries.
Researchers at Rice University in Houston, Texas, have estimated we might have two trillion barrels of recoverable oil, enough to last the next 285 years. Technology has changed so much in the last few years that a Goldman Sachs study has estimated that by 2017 or 2018, we could overtake both Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s largest oil producer.

The oil is there for the taking; we just have to take it.
We need to be prepared to drill our own oil. And we need to take advantage of every opportunity, including approving the Keystone XL Pipeline.
One of the main criticisms of the pipeline has been the possibility of oil spills. Even the State Department has said the pipeline will be safe, and far better and safer than the existing system of transport. But mere possibilities shouldn’t prevent progress. You prepare for these situations, taking as many precautions as possible, and when they occur, you clean them up.
Our first priorities need to be approving the Keystone XL Pipeline and starting to drill everywhere oil is accessible.
There has been a big push to develop alternative forms of energy—so-called green energy—from renewable sources. That’s another big mistake. To begin with, the whole push for renewable energy is being driven by the wrong motivation, the mistaken belief that global climate change is being caused by carbon emissions. If you don’t buy that—and I don’t—then what we have is really just an expensive way of making the tree-huggers feel good about themselves.

The most popular source of green energy is solar panels. They work, but they don’t make economic sense. They don’t provide enough energy savings to cover the cost of installing and using them. They are the most highly subsidized form of green energy in America.

Some estimates claim it takes as long as several decades after installing solar panels to get your money back. That’s not exactly what I would call a sound investment.
It’s no secret that I’ve had serious personal issues with the supporters of wind turbines.
The bottom line is that we are going to remain dependent on oil and natural gas to fill our energy needs for a long time into the future. So if we are going to become energy independent, we need to keep drilling. The good news is that we have tremendous supplies of fossil fuels. We just need to decide to go after it.

We need to use every cost-effective method we have available to retrieve these resources. That includes fracking. For those who don’t know, fracking is a technology that involves injecting fluids into shale beds at a very high pressure to free locked-in resources. It makes it possible to recover vast amounts of oil and gas that otherwise can’t be reached through traditional methods.

While New York governor Andrew Cuomo has banned fracking, this technology has created an economic boom in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. There were more jobs created and less unemployment in those areas than practically anywhere else in the country. Upstate New Yorkers would like to replicate that boom in their region, lower taxes, and pay off massive New York State debt.

The bottom line on energy is that until there is a better “alternate” or “green” way of supplying our energy needs, we must put our resources to work for us, and now.
When it comes to energy (and immigration!), there's a lot to like about Donald Trump!

Elliot Temple on December 15, 2015

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