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Trump vows to lift energy restrictions, put miners back to work at GOP convention

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Trump vows to lift energy restrictions, put miners back to work at GOP convention

DonaldTrump, now the official Republican nominee for U.S. president, took time in hisacceptance speech at the Republican National Convention to bemoan "excessiveregulation" of the energy sector and repeat past promises to put miners "backto work."

Combattingregulations and restoring jobs in the battered U.S. coal sector have been twocentral themes in Trump's energy plan, which he said stands in sharp contrastto presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's energy goals.

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"Myopponent … wants to put the great miners and the great steelworkers of ourcountry out of work and out of business," Trump said July 21 at the conventionin Cleveland. "That will never happen with Donald J. Trump as president.Our steelworkers and our miners are going back to work again."

Hecalled "excessive" regulation "one of the greatest job killersof them all" and promised to ease the country's regulatory burdens,including on energy. "We are going to lift the restrictionson the production of American energy," Trump said. "This will producemore than $20 trillion in job-creating economic activity over the next fourdecades."

Despitea huge jump in U.S. oil and gas output since President Barack Obama took officein 2009, Trump has said the administration is overregulating the energy sectorand standing in the way of the country's energy independence. Trump's energyplan seeks to boostdomestic production of oil, gas and other resources, roll back environmentalrules affecting energy producers and electric generators, and form morebilateral trade deals with other countries as opposed to large multinationalpacts. Many of Trump's energy policies align with the GOP's 2016 electionsplatform, whichsupports all forms of energy that are competitive without "subsidies."

TheGOP also said it wants to throw out the Clean Power Plan and Paris climatedeal, prevent the U.S. EPA from regulating carbon and reform the agency as anindependent bipartisan commission, and approve the proposed Keystone XL crudepipeline, which the Obama administration rejected in November 2015 over climateand other concerns.

Resurrectinglost coal jobs is another big promise from the Trump campaign, but one that maybe difficult to realize. Even with the Clean Power Plan on hold due to courtchallenges, many U.S. utilities are proceeding with plans to lower carbon andother emissions, including through increased reliance on competitively pricednatural gas and renewables and improved efficiency. The head of a major coalcompany, Murray Energy Corp.CEO Bob Murray, has advised Trump to temperhis message on bringing coal miners back to work amid the market headwinds.

Although Trump has said he backs all energy sources, Clintonhas been more explicit in promoting greater reliance on renewable energy. Shehas called for generating at least a thirdof the country's electricity from renewable resources by 2027. The likelyDemocratic nominee is also seeking stricter regulation of hydraulic fracturingand supports implementation of the Clean Power Plan, which is estimated tocut U.S. power sectorcarbon emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030 if the rule survives courtchallenges and final compliance deadlines are upheld.

In terms of coal, Clinton has also focused more on providingeconomic assistance to displaced workers and communities affected by theindustry's downturn rather than restoring demand. The former secretary of statehas proposed a $30 billion planto assist laid-off workers in coal-dependent communities with training and jobplacement and to foster new industries in those areas, including in renewableenergy development. Clinton wants to increaserenewable energy production on public lands and waters by 10-fold within 10years.

Clinton is expected to provide more details on her energyplan at the Democratic National Convention, which is set to take place July25-28 in Philadelphia.