At long last, it’s time to pull the shutters closed on 2016, one of the hardest years in oil and gas history. At the end of a multi-year slump the industry is finally beginning to show signs of life. It won’t happen overnight, but there’s every indication that 2017 will be a much kinder year for the thousands of Americans who rely on the oil and gas industry to thrive.
With November 8 just around the corner, America is a few short weeks away from making a pretty tough decision. Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton may be a particularly desirable choice, on the second Tuesday in November every citizen will cast their ballot for President of the United States. For those millions of Americans who rely on oil and gas for their livelihood, each candidate’s stance on the industry is a crucial component of our vote.
We’ve previously looked at Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton’s take on oil and gas, so now it’s Donald Trump’s turn. The Republican candidate for President recently got into some hot water when he indicated that local communities should be able to determine whether oil and gas projects could take place. Since then, Trump has done his best to assure the oil and gas industry that he will work determinedly in their best interests.
However, is that the truth, or is Trump just trying to scratch up some votes from a historically conservative industry? More to the point, does the candidate even have the information necessary to make an informed decision about the oil and gas industry?
Trump’s Oil and Gas Plans
Okay, so let’s just move past Trump’s comments about local communities being able to overturn oil and gas projects in their community. That’s not his stance; the original comment was made in error. Since his misstep was pointed out, Trump has walked those comments back and done his level best to assure executives in the oil and gas industry that he will get to work eradicating some unpopular legislation.
In a speech to executives of the oil and gas industry in Philadelphia, the Republican candidate promised to “repeal a slew of regulations including the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the ban on new coal mining leases on federal land and other regulations.”
In another speech given in Denver, Trump allegedly proclaimed, “If Hillary [Clinton] gets in, she’ll put you out of business.”
So, while the specifics of his plan are still being kept under wraps, Trump has come out as a big fan of the oil and gas industry. His goal is limit regulation and help get more oil and gas projects up and running.
Trump and the Coal Industry
In an increasingly competitive energy race, Trump has divided his attention somewhat. Time and again, the GOP candidate has professed his love not only for oil and gas, but for coal as well. As one point, Trump was even quoted saying, “Coal will last for 1,000 years in this country.”
While no average citizen would actively root for the demise of the coal industry, the mere fact of the matter is that coal is on the decline because it’s being slowly supplanted by cleaner, more efficient energy extraction techniques like hydraulic fracturing. By actively supporting it, Trump may be making a lot of friends in the coal industry, but he’s also overlooking the fact that it’ll be likely impossible for both industries to thrive, no matter how much de-regulation the industry sees.
Donald Trump and His Line Item Knowledge
Perhaps the biggest area where Trump falters is his displayed knowledge of oil and gas. In the second Presidential debate, Trump made several claims that were proven to be outright false. He said that the energy industry is shrinking. It’s not. He said that energy income could pay off the national debt. It can’t. He also said there was such a thing as “clean coal,” a unicorn that only really exists in the minds of coal industry lobbyists.
Hillary Clinton absolutely distorted the facts to pander to the environmental vote, but Trump demonstrated that he desperately needs an oil and gas education.
Trump Really Wants the Oil and Gas Vote (A Lot.)
In recent weeks, Donald Trump has promised pretty much anything he can in order to appease oil and gas voters. He wants to strip government regulations, and there’s little reason to believe he won’t should he get voted into office.
Most troubling is Trump’s apparent willingness to say whatever will get him voters. His demeanor more than anything has turned people off at all levels of the oil and gas industry. One local shale industry union rep referred to Donald Trump as, a “snake oil salesman,” adding, “There’s just no way that I was going to associate … with any function that gives this guy an avenue to speak.”
In an effort to improve air quality statewide, two coal-fired power plants will shut down in the coming years, according to an announcement made last week. The closing of both plants, located on the Western Slope, will reduce carbon dioxide emission by an estimated 4 million tons per year, while also eliminating thousands of tons of other pollutants. Of course, those numbers fail to take into account the human element at stake.