Energy Secretary Rick Perry is planning to leave the Trump administration, but his departure is not imminent, Reuters reports.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is expressing irritation at what he calls “idiotic” comments by President Trump about wind energy, CBS News reports.
Grassley told reporters that the comments “were first of all idiotic and it doesn’t show much respect for Chuck Grassley as the grandfather of the wind energy tax credit.”
“President Trump has long despised wind power. He has repeatedly blamed wind turbines for killing birds (which they do at a lower rate than other energy sources) and for allegedly causing electrical power to halt when the wind stops blowing (in fact, electricity grids using mixed power sources and battery storage have solved this problem.) In a speech tonight to House Republicans, Trump claimed that wind turbines cause cancer,” New York Magazine reports.
Said Trump: “They say the noise causes cancer.”
“Wind turbines do not cause cancer. Some people blame the noise for causing a variety of other health ailments, but these charges have zero scientific validity. Cancer is not caused by noises of any kind.”
“If Hillary got in… you’d be doing wind. Windmills. Weeeee. And if it doesn’t blow, you can forget about television for that night. ‘Darling, I want to watch television.’ ‘I’m sorry! The wind isn’t blowing.’ I know a lot about wind.”
— President Trump, suggesting renewable energy doesn’t work at a rally in Michigan.
President Trump repeated his opposition to wind power on Fox News, claiming that it would not work for energy because the wind “only blows sometimes.”
Said Trump: “You look at the fact that we would have been powered by wind which wouldn’t have worked by the way because it only blows sometimes and lots of problems come about.”
“A federal judge ruled late Tuesday that the Interior Department violated federal law by failing to take into account the climate impact of its oil and gas leasing out west,” the Washington Post reports.
“The decision by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Rudolph Contreras marks the first time the Trump administration has been held to account for the climate impact of its energy-dominance agenda, and it could have sweeping implications for the president’s plan to boost fossil fuel production across the country.”
“More U.S. coal-fired power plants were shut in President Trump’s first two years than were retired in the whole of Barack Obama’s first term, despite the Republican’s efforts to prop up the industry to keep a campaign promise to coal-mining states,” Reuters reports.
“Trump has tried to roll back rules on climate change and the environment adopted during the Obama administration to fulfill pledges to voters in states like West Virginia and Wyoming.”
“President Trump twice raised to the Iraqi prime minister the idea of repaying America for its wars with Iraqi oil, a highly controversial ask that runs afoul of international norms and logic,” Axios reports.
“Trump appears to have finally given up on this idea, but until now it hasn’t been revealed that as president he’s raised the concept twice with Iraq’s prime minister and brought it up separately in the Situation Room with his national security team.”
“Top national security figures from both parties condemned Trump’s idea, calling it outrageous and unworkable — a violation of international law that would fuel the propaganda of America’s foes.”
Washington Post: “It was a major defeat for President Trump, who attacked the Obama administration for failing to move ahead in the face of protests based largely on environmental concerns. Trump signed an executive order two days into his presidency setting in motion a course reversal on the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline.”
“The decision, issued by Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, does not permanently block a permit but requires the administration to conduct a more complete review of potential adverse impacts related to climate change, cultural resources and endangered species. It basically ordered a do-over.”
Des Moines Register: “After months of false starts, President Trump will tell Iowans on Tuesday during a campaign rally in Council Bluffs that he’s opening the door to year-round access to gasoline with higher ethanol blends.”
“A senior White House official said Monday that Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rule-making that allows for year-round use of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol or E15. The announcement sets off a review that could make E15 available to consumers as soon as next summer.”
“State-sponsored Russian hackers appear far more interested this year in demonstrating that they can disrupt the American electric utility grid than the midterm elections,” the New York Times reports.
”Despite attempts to infiltrate the online accounts of two Senate Democrats up for re-election, intelligence officials said they have seen little activity by Russian military hackers aimed at either major American political figures or state voter registration systems.”
Vladimir Putin’s former chief of staff has a secret investment in an American energy company, The Guardian reports.
Alexander Voloshin — who worked for Putin between 2000 and 2003 — has an undisclosed stake in American Ethane, a firm based in Houston that has been praised by President Trump as creating jobs for American workers.
Politico: “As Americans head out for traditional Memorial Day weekend road trips, they’ll confront gas prices of nearly $3 a gallon, the highest since 2014 and a 25 percent spike since last year. The increased cost of fuel is already wiping out a big chunk of the benefit Americans received from the GOP tax cuts. And things could get worse as summer approaches following the administration’s standoff with Iran and a move by oil-producing nations to tighten supplies.”
“The result: The economic and political benefits Trump and the GOP hoped to reap from cutting tax rates could be swamped by higher pump prices that Americans face every time they hit the road.”
For those wondering why President Trump is requesting a 72% cut in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, a piece I wrote during the transition is holding up nicely.
“The Trump administration is poised to ask Congress for deep budget cuts in the Energy Department’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, slashing them by 72 percent overall in fiscal 2019,” according to draft budget documents obtained by the Washington Post.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke defended his surprise decision to exempt Florida waters from the Trump administration’s push for new offshore drilling, telling CNN that the state’s coastline is unique.
Said Zinke: “The coastal currents are different, the layout of where the geology is.”
“Critics have called his decision to exempt Florida’s waters from the Trump administration’s plan for new US offshore oil drilling political favoritism to benefit Republican Gov. Rick Scott. It came just days after the proposal for new drilling off most of the US coastline was announced.”
“In the biggest blow he’s dealt to the renewable energy industry yet, President Trump decided on Monday to slap tariffs on imported solar panels,” Bloomberg reports.
“I would also say this, it smacks of what we never want to see in politics which is: Is it self-serving? I mean you can’t say, ‘I don’t want to see an oil rig from Mar-A-Lago’ as you look out from the waters of Palm Beach, but it’s okay to look at an oil rig out from Hilton Head or Charleston, South Carolina.”
— Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), quoted by Business Insider, on President Trump’s decision to exempt Florida from expanded coastal oil drilling.