By Alex Mills
Astonishing! Incredible! Surprising!
These are just some of the many words used to describe Donald Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8.
What does it mean?
We do know that there will be a reversal in energy policy from the previous eight years.
Trump said during the campaign that the oil and natural gas industry is overregulated by the federal government.
“Our nation’s regulatory system is completely broken,” Trump wrote in the October issue of The American Oil and Gas Reporter. “Terrible rules are written by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats who often know nothing about the people they are regulating. The regulators have all the power. We have too many costly, burdensome and unwise regulations that are bad for America and do little or no good.”
Trump believes that the federal government has overreached its authority and many of the rules need be returned to the states.
He pledged to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, and to kill the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan. He thinks the Endangered Species Act needs modification.
He is a supporter of hydraulic fracturing, increasing oil and natural gas production in the U.S., increased production on federal lands and offshore, and improving of infrastructure (including pipelines).
Tax reform will become a top priority.
Trump will be able to make key appointments to federal courts, including an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The new president will be facing many challenges left by the Obama administration.
The Wall Street Journal cited a recent Congressional Budget Office report, which warns of a large and growing federal budget problem. The annual budget deficit in 2016 rose from $439 billion to $587 billion, a 34% increase. Looking at the budget deficit another way, the 2016 deficit is 3.2% of gross domestic product, up from 2.5% last year.
Trump also inherits the issue of growing costs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which grew by $75 billion last year and now account for 10% of the entire U.S. economy, the highest level ever, and rising, the WSJ stated.
Even though Republicans will have control of the Senate and House, Trump will face many barriers as he tries to get the country’s economy moving in the right direction.
Already there have been protests, and he hasn’t even taken the oath of office.
Environmental groups have pledged “civil disobedience.”
E&E News reported on Nov. 9 that the League of Conservation Voters, NextGen Climate Action, the Sierra Club and others groups collectively spent over $100 million working to elect pro-environment candidates are holding meetings in Washington to discuss strategy.
Other groups – Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, and 350.org – all vowed that the “environmental resistance will stand against Trump.”
These environmental radicals will present a major obstacle in bringing the country closer together.
Alex Mills is President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. The opinions expressed are solely of the author.