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Trump declared presumptive GOP nominee, energy policies still largely unknown


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Trump declared presumptive GOP nominee, energy policies still largely unknown

Celebritybusinessman Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee for president, meaningthat his stance on energy and other lightly mentioned policy areas could take greatershape in the coming months.

RepublicanNational Committee Chairman Reince Priebus pronounced Trump the GOP's presumptivenominee late on May 3 after lead rival Ted Cruz suspended his campaign. Fellow GOPcontender John Kasich halted his bid for the White House a day later. Trump willnot officially be the nominee until he receives the support of at least 1,237 delegatesat the Republican National Convention in July, but "there is really no waymathematically for anybody else to win," RNC Chief Counsel John Phillippe saidat a May 4 briefing in Washington, D.C., hosted by law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer& Feld LLP.

The Trumpcampaign has so far focused on policies related to immigration, trade, tax reformand the economy, and the Republican front-runner gave his first major foreign policyspeech on April 27. While the GOP will decide on a policy platform this July duringits convention, it remains uncertain whether Trump will adhere to the party's stanceon energy or other issues.

"Ithink the [policy] platform is an important document, but one that doesn't necessarilyhave the significance it had several decades ago," Phillippe said. A 112-membercommittee made up of delegates will draft the document. Although the committee cantake the nominee's priorities into account, "it's a very political process,"Phillippe said. "The document doesn't usually 100% reflect the nominee's views."

For themost part, Trump's views on energy have not greatly diverged from those of otherRepublican lawmakers. He has castigated the U.S. EPA for excessive regulations andvowed to throw out anyrules that may impose "undue costs on business enterprises."

Thosesentiments echo other GOP legislators and former presidential hopefuls who mainstream climate scienceand want to undo environmental regulations that could affect the energy sector,including the EPA's Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rule.

Trumphas also voiced broad support for fossil fuel-based energy, saying he "bring the coal industryback" and open up his home state of New York for shale gas production.

Still,few specifics have emerged on how Trump would implement this vision. He has notnamed any seasoned domestic energy experts among his advisers, and energy is notone of the policy positions outlined on his campaign website. That has not stoppedsome Republican donors from offering advice.

"Mr.Trump's presumptive nomination shows that voters are tired of the same old politicsand want a fresh approach," said Jay Faison, a conservative philanthropistand head of the ClearPath Action Fund Super PAC, which supports Republican candidates andpromotes cleaner energy polices to GOP lawmakers. "A conservative clean energyplatform should be part of that fresh Republican platform."

WhileFaison said his group "look[s] forward to sharing" with Trump an alternativeto Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton's energy plan, he added that ClearPath'sfocus "will remain at the Congressional level."

Clintonand her rival for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, have presented moredetailed energy agendas.If elected, Clinton wants to boost installed solar capacity by 70% by 2020 and helpexpand renewables to at least a third of U.S. electricity generation. She has voicedopposition to Arctic drilling and the Keystone XL pipeline and is a $30 billion plan to help communitiesstruggling with the downturn in U.S. coal production and consumption.

wants to cut U.S. greenhousegas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 and transition to a "100%"clean energy system that excludes nuclear energy.