Trump has a vested interest in killing clean energy

From time to time, I’ve written here about Donald Trump’s disastrous environmental policies. That’s because the intersection between American politics and the ecology is a critical one. Indeed, the election of the Republican presidential nominee would be a game changer for the planet. Trump has spoken repeatedly on the campaign trail about his passion for bringing back the U.S. coal industry, thus pandering to blue-collar voters while promoting the dirtiest fuel around. Most of his limited ideas — quashing most government regulations and backing away from the Paris accords on climate change — would promote Big Energy at the expense of public health.

Still, there are some political leaders who support oil exploration but also see the value of promoting alternative energies such as wind and solar. Arguably, President Obama is such a figure with his so-called “all of the above” energy strategy; his administration has increased offshore oil leasing in the Gulf of Mexico while also spending millions on developing America’s solar industry. But Trump is not such a leader. To the contrary, he has mocked clean power that could create thousands of new jobs while reducing greenhouse-gas pollution:

When it comes to renewable energy, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is just really concerned about the eagles.

“[Wind power] kills all the birds,” Trump told 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain on the latter’s radio show Tuesday. “Thousands of birds are lying on the ground. And the eagle. You know, certain parts of California?—they’ve killed so many eagles. You know, they put you in jail if you kill an eagle. And yet these windmills [kill] them by the hundreds.”

Trump also told Cain that solar and wind are “very, very expensive” and “not working on a large-scale.” And he criticized the way wind turbines look, calling the windmills in Palm Springs, California a “junkyard.” (This is not the case, as Grist points out in their fact-check of Trump’s claims.)”

“They have all these different companies and each one is made by a different group from, all from China and from Germany, by the way?—?not from here,” said Trump, who often sells products made in other countries. “And you look at all these windmills. Half of them are broken. They’re rusting and rotting. You know, you’re driving into Palm Springs, California, and it looks like a poor man’s version of Disneyland. It’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen.”

Like many of Trump rants, this one was largely fact-free, and dismissive of a sound policy. Now, we learn of one more reason why the Republican presidential candidate is such a big fan of fossil fuels at the expense of clean energy. It turns out that Trump has a personal stake in Big Oil:

Donald Trump has money invested in the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, and he has received campaign contributions from the company’s top executive, according to recent campaign disclosure forms.

The Republican presidential nominee’s monthly filings to the Federal Election Commission show Trump has invested between $500,000 and a million dollars in Energy Transfer Partners, which owns Dakota Access, LLC. The company’s sole project, the Dakota Access pipeline, has been the subject of protests across the country.

The Guardian, which first reported the story Wednesday, said the Trump campaign has also received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company’s chief executive officer, Kelcy Warren. In the past four months, Warren has given some $103,000 to elect Trump. Three thousand dollars went directly to the campaign, and $100,000 went to the Trump Victory Fund, the joint effort between the candidate’s campaign and the Republican Party.

This isn’t particularly surprising news. It’s pretty obvious that Donald Trump’s environmental policies — and those of most Republicans who are running on the ticket beside him — are not driven by what’s good for the planet. They are based on billionaire connections and what’s good for Donald Trump’s bank account That’s something that every voters should consider when he or she goes to the polls on Nov. 8.

Find out more about Trump’s clean energy rant: https://thinkprogress.org/donald-trump-wind-kills-all-the-eagles-bd4acf3264d#.19lgry28v

Read more about Trump’s investment in the Dakota Pipeline from ThinkProgress: https://thinkprogress.org/dakota-access-and-trump-have-deep-ties-5771cc7b63c7#.bd6ytnq3a

Learn more about the need for worldwide action on fossil fuels in my new book, Crude Justice: How I Fought Big Oil and Won, and What You Should Know About the New Environmental Attack on Americahttp://shop.benbellabooks.com/crude-justice

© Stuart H. Smith, LLC 2016 – All Rights Reserved

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