Trump picks climate realists for new administration
President-elect Donald Trump’s picks for key cabinet and administrative posts show he is serious about reining in environmental regulations and rationalizing the nation’s climate and energy policies, thereby removing barriers to job growth, economic progress and improved national security.
Trump selected U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, to head the Central Intelligence Agency, the prime agency charged with gathering intelligence related to potential threats to U.S. national security. Under President Barack Obama, the CIA was charged with studying climate change, turning common sense on its head. In an increasingly dangerous world, every dollar devoted by the CIA to climate-related efforts was a dollar unavailable to gather important information about our enemies and potential threats. Rather than worrying about drowning polar bears, the CIA should have devoted its efforts entirely toward real foreign policy threats, especially halting the attempts made by North Korea and Iran to create nuclear arsenals, the expansionist policies pursued by Russia and China, and global terrorism.
Under Pompeo, this nonsense will likely end. As a congressman, Pompeo championed expanded oil and gas production, which is in the nation’s best interests, and raised appropriate doubts about enacting costly policies in reaction to the speculative dangers posed by global warming.
Trump nominated former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to run the Department of Energy, and he should provide a breath of fresh air.
Under Obama, the department squandered billions of dollars funding one politically connected renewable-energy venture after another, touting each as being on the cusp of starting the next great energy revolution. Dozens of companies backed by grants, loans and tax credits failed during Obama’s time in office, leaving taxpayers stuck with the bill.
As governor, Perry showed he knows how to manage a budget and increase economic prosperity. Perry made it clear to companies Texas was “open for business,” and as a result, Texas has been a notable bright spot among state economies, even during the depths of the recession. Leading Texas’ economic miracle was the energy sector. The fracking revolution virtually started in Texas, and once it boomed, Texans profited substantially.
It’s not so much that Perry is responsible for enacting policies that created the state’s energy boom as it is he understood, quite aptly, if he just kept government out of the way by minimizing regulations and laws that could hinder energy production, energy innovation and efficiencies would emerge. Perry was correct, and the boom that followed has blessed the state with more energy production and jobs.
It is unlikely green-energy boondoggles will continue under Perry. Perry will also likely look to reverse or halt many of the restrictions put in place or proposed under Obama, especially those limiting domestic coal, gas and oil production on public lands and offshore. With Perry at the helm, the outlook for the nation’s energy security is better than it has been in at least the past eight years. The department finally has the opportunity under Perry to get back to its primary purpose, encouraging responsible energy development, rather than fighting the hobgoblin of human-caused climate change.
Before the election, Trump said, “Over-regulation presents one of the greatest barriers to entry into markets and one of the greatest costs to businesses that are trying to stay competitive.” As part of his effort to limit burdensome regulations, Trump has promised to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget dramatically and to review all its past and proposed regulations, eliminating any that unnecessarily cost jobs or hurt businesses. Trump could have picked no better ally to radically reform EPA than Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the agency.
Few people understand just how far beyond what federal law allows EPA has traveled under the Obama administration. In his years as Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt fervently and effectively fought to defend Oklahomans against federal overreach and to defend sound energy and environmental policy. Pruitt successfully sued EPA on multiple occasions, leading to courts overturning its Mercury and Air Toxics rule and imposing stays on EPA’s Waters of the United States rule and Clean Power Plan.
With Pruitt now running the agency he has fought against so effectively, the Trump administration may be able to rein in the runaway EPA, by either withdrawing and/or rewriting rules in ways that respect freedom and economic progress or by declining to defend them in court against challenges filed by states and industries.
Only time will tell how effective Trump will be in putting the needs of people ahead of the misanthropic desires of the powerful green lobby, but his picks for key administration positions should give hope to supporters of limited government and personal freedom.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is a research fellow on energy and the environment at The Heartland Institute.