Energy & the Environment

Energy and the environment have been an issue brought to the forefront of American politics over the past 15-20 years. The concerns range from the rise of gas prices to the pollution of our air and waterways. Many proposals have been presented on the federal and state levels. Even local municipalities have gotten involved. The proposals have ranged from opening up federal land for oil production to subsidizing green energy to rejecting the Keystone XL oil pipeline over environmental concerns.

With America’s dependence on foreign production, many advocates have proposed opening federal land to oil production along with approval for offshore drilling to help bring costs down. Opponents to this proposal cite environmental concerns and point to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

On the flip side, many environmental activists have proposed that the United States subsidize green energy projects such as solar and wind to cut down on pollution. Opponents point to the crony capitalism of companies like Solyndra and government forcing a market that is not ready or affordable.

Along with the fight over energy, there is a battle over the environment and regulations. Proponents of regulating environmental issues point to the BP oil spill and the water disaster in Flint, Michigan. Opponents of regulations believe in free-market environmentalism and empowering property owners, giving them more property rights to set their own standards on pollution instead of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Oil Production in the United States

Point

With America's dependence on foreign production, many advocates have proposed opening federal land to oil production along with approval for offshore drilling to help bring costs down. Proponents believe that producing oil at home will provide more jobs and permanently keep the cost of gas down.

Counter

Opponents to oil production in the United States cite environmental concerns and point to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as reason to cease production. Many environmental advocates say that the United States has a dependence on oil and that the country should focus on green energy which has minimal environmental impact.

Green Energy Subsidies

Point

Many environmental activists have proposed that the United States subsidize green energy projects such as solar and wind to cut down on pollution. They point to oil spills and other factory pollution as problems and believe that solar, wind, and electric should be the future of energy.

Counter

Opponents point to the crony capitalism of companies like Solyndra which was investigated by the FBI and the United States Treasury regarding government loans to produce solar panels. Opponents also point to the high cost and lack of energy production by solar, wind, and electric. While some support the idea of diversifying energy sources, many believe that the market is not ready for green energy and would be extremely expensive.

Environmental Regulations

Point

Proponents of regulating environmental issues point to the BP oil spill and the water disaster in Flint, Michigan as a need for more regulation. They believe that manmade pollution is a market failure that needs to be resolved by the government. Regulation proposals include a carbon tax, increasing the scope of federally controlled land, and creating stricter pollution standards.

Counter

Opponents of regulations believe in free-market environmentalism and empowering property owners, giving them more property rights to set their own standards on pollution instead of the Environmental Protection Agency. They believe that the EPA allows companies to pollute other citizens' land up to a certain amount, not giving the property owners to set their own standards. Opponents also believe that government has created too many problems running city water and sewer that have led to problems seen in Flint, Michigan. There have been proposals to privatize city water and sewer to cut down on government inefficiencies.

What Students Think

Energy and the environment have been an issue brought to the forefront of American politics over the past 15-20 years. The concerns range from the rise of gas of prices to the pollution of our air and waterways. Many proposals have been presented on the federal and state levels. Even local municipalities have gotten involved. The proposals have ranged from opening up federal land for oil production to subsidizing green energy to rejecting the Keystone XL oil pipeline over environmental concerns. What do you think?

Candidate Positions

Donald Trump

Republican Candidate for President

Energy

 

A Trump Administration will develop an America First energy plan. Here is how this plan will make America Wealthy Again:

  • American energy dominance will be declared a strategic economic and foreign policy goal of the United States.
  • America has 1.5 times as much oil as the combined proven resources of all OPEC countries; we have more Natural Gas than Russia, Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia Combined; we have three times more coal than Russia. Our total untapped oil and gas reserves on federal lands equal an estimated $50 trillion.
  • We will become, and stay, totally independent of any need to import energy from the OPEC cartel or any nations hostile to our interests.
  • At the same time, we will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy.
  • We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Cheaper energy will also boost American agriculture.
  • We will get the bureaucracy out of the way of innovation, so we can pursue all forms of energy. This includes renewable energies and the technologies of the future. It includes nuclear, wind and solar energy – but not to the exclusion of other energy. The government should not pick winners and losers. Instead, it should remove obstacles to exploration. Any market has ups and downs, but lifting these draconian barriers will ensure that we are no longer at the mercy of global markets.


A Trump Administration will focus on real environmental challenges, not phony ones:

  • We will reject Hillary Clinton’s poverty-expansion agenda that enriches her friends and makes everyone else poor.
  • We’ll solve real environmental problems in our communities like the need for clean and safe drinking water. President Obama actually tried to cut the funding for our drinking water infrastructure – even as he pushed to increase funding for his EPA bureaucrats.
  • American workers will be the ones building this new infrastructure.


Here is my 100-day action plan:

  • We’re going to rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.
  • We’re going to save the coal industry and other industries threatened by Hillary Clinton’s extremist agenda.
  • I’m going to ask Trans Canada to renew its permit application for the Keystone Pipeline.
  • We’re going to lift moratoriums on energy production in federal areas
  • We’re going to revoke policies that impose unwarranted restrictions on new drilling technologies. These technologies create millions of jobs with a smaller footprint than ever before.
  • We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.
  • Any regulation that is outdated, unnecessary, bad for workers, or contrary to the national interest will be scrapped. We will also eliminate duplication, provide regulatory certainty, and trust local officials and local residents.
  • Any future regulation will go through a simple test: is this regulation good for the American worker? If it doesn’t pass this test, the rule will not be approved.

Policy decisions will be public and transparent. They won’t be made on Hillary’s private email account.

We’re going to do all this while taking proper regard for rational environmental concerns. We are going to conserve our beautiful natural habitats, reserves and resources.

In a Trump Administration, political activists with extreme agendas will no longer write the rules. Instead, we will work with conservationists whose only agenda is protecting nature.

From an environmental standpoint, my priorities are very simple: clean air and clean water.

My America First energy plan will do for the American People what Hillary Clinton will never do: create real jobs and real wage growth.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, lifting the restrictions on American energy will create a flood of new jobs:

  • Almost a $700 billion increase in annual economic output over the next 30 years.
  • More than a $30 billion increase in annual wages over the next 7 years.
  • Over the next four decades, more than $20 trillion in additional economic activity and $6 trillion in new tax revenue.

The oil and natural gas industry supports 10 million high-paying Americans jobs and can create another 400,000 new jobs per year. This exploration will also create a resurgence in American manufacturing — dramatically reducing both our trade deficit and our budget deficit.

https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/an-america-first-energy-plan

Gary Johnson

Libertarian Candidate for President

The environment is a precious gift and needs to be protected. Gov. Johnson believes strongly that the first responsibility of government is to protect citizens from those who would do them harm, whether it be a foreign aggressor, a criminal — or a bad actor who harms the environment upon which we all depend.

Consistent with that responsibility, Gary Johnson believes it is the proper role of government to enforce reasonable environmental protections. He did so as Governor, and would do so as President.

However, Gov. Johnson also believes that it is NOT the proper role of government to engage in social and economic engineering for the purpose of manipulating the energy marketplace or creating winners and losers in what should be a robust free market. Such efforts have failed in the past, and are doomed to continue to fail. Preventing a polluter from harming our water or air is one thing. Deciding in Washington, DC, that one source of energy should be subsidized and others penalized is a different matter.

In a healthy economy that allows the market to function unimpeded, consumers, innovators and personal choices will ultimately bring about the environmental restoration and protection society desires. Conversely, destroying prosperity and innovation through government intervention will only harm the environment.

When it comes to global climate change, Gov. Johnson believes too many politicians are having the wrong debate. Is the climate changing? Probably so. Is man contributing to that change? Probably so. The important question, however, is whether the government’s efforts to regulate, tax and manipulate the marketplace in order to impact that change are cost-effective — or effective at all. Given the realities of global energy and resource use, there is little evidence that the burden being placed on Americans is making a difference that justifies the cost.

Hillary Clinton

Democratic Candidate for President

Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time—and Hillary Clinton has a plan to tackle it by making America the world’s clean energy superpower, taking bold steps to slash carbon pollution at home and around the world, and ensuring no Americans are left out or left behind as we rapidly build a clean energy economy.

2015 was the warmest year on record—and 15 of the 16 hottest years on record have come just since 2001. Already, American families are seeing the impacts of climate change with their own eyes, from the record drought in California to the frequently flooded streets of Miami and Annapolis. While climate deniers continue to ignore settled science because it does not suit their political agenda, and climate defeatists doubt America’s ability to meet this challenge, Hillary knows that America is fully up to the task.

Already, U.S. carbon pollution has been cut to its lowest level since 1995. Wind power has expanded three fold and solar power 30-fold since 2008. But that’s not enough to tackle the climate challenge, meet America’s carbon pollution reduction goals, or to compete for the $13.5 trillion of global clean energy investment unlocked by the historic international climate change agreement reached in Paris. We can and must go further.
-That’s why on day one, Hillary will set bold, national goals that will be achieved within ten years of her taking office:
-Generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of Hillary’s first term.
-Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
-Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships and trucks.

Jill Stein

Green Party Candidate for President

 

A Green New Deal:

Create millions of jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, and conservation.

Protect Mother Earth

Lead on a global treaty to halt climate change. End destructive energy extraction: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, and uranium mines. Protect our public lands, water supplies, biological diversity, parks, and pollinators. Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe. Protect the rights of future generations.

 

  • Enact an emergency Green New Deal to turn the tide on climate change, revive the economy and make wars for oil obsolete. Initiate a WWII-scale national mobilization to halt climate change, the greatest threat to humanity in our history. Create 20 million jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, conservation and restoration of critical infrastructure, including ecosystems.
  • Implement a Just Transition that empowers those communities and workers most impacted by climate change and the transition to a green economy. Ensure that any worker displaced by the shift away from fossil fuels will receive full income and benefits as they transition to alternative work.
  • Enact energy democracy based on public, community and worker ownership of our energy system. Treat energy as a human right.
  • Redirect research funds from fossil fuels into renewable energy and conservation.  Build a nationwide smart electricity grid that can pool and store power from a diversity of renewable sources, giving the nation clean, democratically-controlled, energy.
  • End destructive energy extraction and associated infrastructure: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, natural gas pipelines, and uranium mines. Halt any investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, including natural gas, and phase out all fossil fuel power plants. Phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies.  End all subsidies for fossil fuels and impose a greenhouse gas fee / tax to charge polluters for the damage they have created.
  • Protect our public lands, water supplies, biological diversity, parks, and pollinators. Ban neonicotinoids and other pesticides that threaten the survival of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
  • Support a strong enforceable global climate treaty that limits global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius and provides just financial compensation to developing countries.
  • Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe.
  • Support organic and regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry.
  • Protect the rights of future generations. Adopt the Precautionary Principle. When an activity poses threats of harm to human health or the environment, in the absence of objective scientific consensus that it is safet precautionary measures should be taken. The proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof.
  • Invest in clean air, water, food  and soil for everyone. Clean up America.
  • Enact stronger environmental justice laws and measures to ensure that low-income and communities of color are not disproportionately impacted by harmful pollution and other negative environmental and health effects.
  • Support conversion to sustainable, nontoxic materials and the use of closed-loop, zero waste processes.