This is a commentary on Donald Trump speaking about Energy Policy from a speech to raise funds for Republicans in New York August 13, 2018.

While this speech is not about Energy Policy, it contains points he repeats elsewhere and is as complete a presentation of his views as I have seen.

You know, uh considering the fact that we have the highest taxes in the nation in New York, and we should have no taxes if Andrew Cuomo, if he took over and if he — think of it — if they would have allowed a little bit of fracking and taken some of the richness out of the land, which by the way is being sucked away by other states. You know, they don’t have state lines underground. You know what that means? That means it just goes down, down, down.

Gas does not always flow everywhere in fracking fields. This is why you have so many short lived drilling points.

However by fracking and blowing up the geological barriers you can get gas leaking into the water table and making water poisonous. You can also get gas leaking into the air. With Gas you also get large leaks through ancient pipes, particularly in big cities. Gas is heavily polluting, breathing methane is not pleasant and it adds to global warming.

We don’t get it. You look at what’s happened in Pennsylvania with the money they’ve taken in, you look at what happened in Ohio with the money they’ve taken in. They’re fracking, they’re drilling a little bit, they’re creating jobs, and this place, it’s just so sad to see it.

Would fracking in New York really create a significant number of jobs in New York, given New York’s population? I’d doubt it. But he never gives any figures, so who knows.

You look at what’s happened in Pennsylvania with the money they’ve taken in, you look at what happened in Ohio with the money they’ve taken in….. Because stuff flows — do you understand that? It flows, and they probably have those little turns, you know, they make the turns at the border. It goes like this, right? And all of a sudden someday you’re not going to have that underground maybe so much

If gas under New York Flowed to Pennsylvania and Ohio, then taking the gas out in New York would diminish the benefits and jobs produced by the gas in Pennsylvania and Ohio. So he is effectively suggesting that New York get rich at their expense.

This could have been Boom Town USA.

Ok New York has no business, and never booms? An odd view perhaps.

We got ANWR, one of the largest fields in the history in anywhere in the world. One of the great, one of the great energy fields anywhere in the world. That’s in Alaska. They’ve been trying to get that long before Ronald Reagan.
Nobody could get it approved. We got it approved. That’s going to be one of the great energy [Inaudible].

Yes you do have access to the Artic National Wildlife Refuge – largely because of climate change (which is good for you), but with oil drilling, spills and flares, construction and transport, you will not keep it as a wildlife refuge. This may not be a problem to neoliberals. So lets not push it. Trump has been trying to overturn National Monument protection to allowing mining and drilling. This is more of the same. Profit not wildlife.

We approved the Keystone and the Dakota-access pipelines in just about Week 1. They were dead. They were dead. I had dinner the other night with one of the gentleman involved in the Dakota access. He said, “Sir, we were dead.” — I never met him — “We were dead. It was not going to happen.”

Now it’s open. Tremendous numbers of jobs were produced in building it and everything else. We got it started. Likewise Keystone. I think it’s gonna be a total of 48, 000 jobs during construction and also environmentally better than the alternatives.

Stages 1-3 of the pipeline were completed before Trump became President. Stage 4 (the Keystone), which he gave the go-ahead to, is not yet completed or open. Yes people were protesting against the pipes, because they risked despoliation of water supplies and land, and they are now going ahead. Profit before people and land. The job figures appear to be fantasy, but I’m open to correction. And what is better about oil covered land?

We have clean coal — exports have increased, 60% last year — clean coal, which is one of our big assets that we weren’t allowed to use for our miners. You remember Hillary with the coal, right, sitting with the miners at the table? Remember? That wasn’t so good for her. So the people of West Virginia and all over, you look at Wyoming, you look at so many different places where they just, Pennsylvania, where they loved what we did, and it’s clean coal and we have the most modern procedures.

We don’t have clean coal. Clean coal is largely an expensive fantasy. Burning coal can be more, or less, polluting but it is not clean. Let’s be clear; coal is poisonous. Mining it damages water tables and can give people lung diseases. Burning it produces greenhouse gases and poisons. The ash which remains holds heavy metals and is poisonous; Trump’s EPA now allows the ash to be dumped in streams.

Four months after this statement, Trump’s EPA would abolish or modify Obama’s requirement for low emissions and Carbon Capture, so his point about coal being clean is largely irrelevant due to his own policies.

But it’s a tremendous form of energy in the sense that in a military way — think of it — coal is indestructible.

You can blow up a pipeline, you can blow up the windmills. You know, the windmills, [mimics windmill noise, mimes shooting gun] Bing! That’s the end of that one.

Coal actually works as an energy source because it is easily destructible. Burning coal destroys that coal. Sun and Wind are not destroyed by using them for energy – this is what is usually meant by “renewable”.

However, even if Trump really means coal infrastructure is more resistant than wind to attack or disaster, you still have a problem. Coal mines and power stations can be bombed or set alight. It is hard to put out fires in coal mines. Cables and grids can be cut or hacked. Coal power can collapse with high temperatures as we learn in Australia regularly. Because wind and solar are more widely distributed, and less concentrated in a small place, they are probably more resistant to attack.

If the birds don’t kill it [the wind farm] first. The birds could kill it first.

It is nice to see the President concerned about birds, but does anyone know of him ever expressing any concern about wildlife in any other situation? See the point about the Artic National Wildlife Refuge above. As far as I know, birds have never taken down a modern windmill.

And you know, don’t worry about wind, when the wind doesn’t blow, I said, “What happens when the wind doesn’t blow?” Well, then we have a problem. OK good. They were putting them in areas where they didn’t have much wind, too.

Strangely energy companies seemed not to be too worried about this problem. But if people were putting windmills in areas without much wind, it was probably because of a bad subsidy – say one that rewarded them for numbers installed rather than power generated.

And it’s a subsidiary [sic] — you need subsidy for windmills. You need subsidy. Who wants to have energy where you need subsidy? So, uh, the coal is doing great.

There are indeed subsidies for Wind power. However Trump is forcing people to buy coal power to keep coal power running, because of supposed security concerns. This is effectively a subsidy reflected in higher prices for consumers. Coal usually receives tax concessions, and exemption from its pollution costs, so coal is subsidised already.

American oil production recently reached an all-time high in our history and it’s going higher. We’re now the No. 1 in the world in that category. We’re No. 1 and there are, nobody ever thought they’d see that, but we opened it up in a very environmentally friendly way.

People who live in fracking fields may dispute how environmentally friendly this gas is: that is, if they did not have to sign confidentiality agreements.

Withdrew the United States from the job-killing Paris climate accord. That was another beauty. That was a beauty.

Exiting the Paris accord is probably not beautiful. Along with his removal of waste and pollution controls on corporations, it is going to harm the American people and the world. It also indicates to anyone that Trump cannot be relied upon to keep promises and treaties entered into by the USA, thus lowering US presence in the world, and boosting that of China.

Trump may be seduced by corporate profit as a good thing. But he also seems to be seduced by a narrative which states that coal is a source of power, progress and stability. But Coal is no longer any of these things, as explained above and elsewhere. New coal power is also extremely expensive to build, which is why pro-coal and pro-free market governments are talking about subsidies and compulsions to buy coal power. Nobody wants to build it without such subsidies. Left to itself and the market, coal is dead. But it won’t be left to itself.