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Donald vs Hillary: The Energy Policy Debate

07/06/16 | Karyl Patredis

Donald Trump finally spoke about his energy policies. What did he say and how do his ideas compare to Hillary Clinton’s?

Donald Trump, y’all. He might be our next president. I so badly want to share every thought I have about this, but that is not why you clicked on this article. Plus, my job is not to discuss politics, but to discuss MLPs and energy related topics. If you recall, the last time I outlined the policies of the presidential candidates in March, energy was not discussed on his website. This has since changed. So, let’s talk about his policies and how they stack up to Grandma Hillary’s.

To get started, I made a handy chart of some of the “hot topics” and identified the stances of each candidate.


The positions on each of these issues probably come as no surprise as they match the general principles of the two parties. As with most issues, the candidates are on totally opposite sides when it comes to what is best for American energy. Trump argues that the climate standards Clinton plans to develop, defend, and implement will result in “poverty.” What he means by this is that by enforcing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) and other similar regulations, it makes it cost prohibitive for some hydrocarbon based businesses to continue operating. Trump says standards are to blame for killing the coal industry, and it can’t be disputed that many plants were retired in the wake of MATS. Clinton, however, believes that implementing policies that will benefit the environment will not leave families and communities in poverty, but initiate a transition that will create new jobs and industries.

When it comes to fracking, Hillary Clinton said, “By the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.” Trump would work to remove any regulation that he deems “unnecessary” or “bad for workers.” His website states that shale energy production could add as many as two million jobs in seven years. Given this, tight restrictions on fracking would be bad for workers in his opinion.

Those who are unconcerned or do not believe in the effects of climate change have billions of reasons to align their interests with Trump. Clinton intends to spend big time money on climate change programs. Her website states that she’d like to launch a $60 billion initiative called the Clean Energy Challenge to cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy. Furthermore, she would commit an additional $100 billion annually by 2020 to help poor countries with climate change measures. If Trump had it his way, he would “stop all payments of US tax dollars to global warming programs.”

President Obama blocked the building of Keystone XL. The rejection of the pipeline was one of the most notable environmental policy maneuvers of his presidency. The Paris Climate Agreement, which “establishes the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis,” has also been an important feather in the cap of the Obama Administration. The agreement involves 200 nations banding together to fight the effects of climate change. If Donald Trump were to win the election in November, he’d ask TransCanada (TRP) to renew its permit application for Keystone XL and put the kibosh on the Paris Climate Agreement.

Finally, the two candidates have significant differences of opinion on renewable energy. If elected, Clinton will shoot for half a billion solar panels to be installed by the end of her four-year term – enough to power every home in America! She would also seek to reduce US oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and greater efficiency. Trump believes exploring renewable energies is important, but not to the exclusion of other energy. When it comes to renewable vs hydrocarbon energy, the Republican candidate says, “the government should not pick winners and losers.”

There is no doubt that voters have quite a bit to think about when considering these two candidates. Do increased regulations and a strong commitment to renewable energy mean the end of MLPs and traditional energy sources as we know it? Is there a way to transition to cleaner energy sources in a manner that maintains jobs and still promotes energy independence? These are questions that we can’t answer for you, but we certainly encourage you to read more about each candidate’s energy policies (Clinton Policy and Trump Policy). Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, most of us want what is best for our country and world, so please take the time to consider what makes the most sense to you before casting your ballot this fall.