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Trump vs. the energy 'regulation industry'

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Essential Energy Insights - September 17, 2020

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Trump vs. the energy 'regulation industry'

A weekly recap of SNLEnergy's coverage of major themes in the natural gas industry.

DonaldTrump painted himself as the energy industry's savior as he and his surrogatesmake an anti-regulation play for votes and influence in the heart of shale gas andcoal country.

Speakingat a gas conference in Pittsburgh, Trump promised the energy industry that he would cut taxes andregulations on fossil fuel energy production and infrastructure to unleash whathe called "a treasure trove" of coal, oil and natural gas.

"Youwill like me so much," he told the audience of roughly 1,000 natural gasexecutives and workers at the Shale Insight 2016 conference Sept. 22 — anaudience that seemed inclined to react only when he promised an end toburdensome regulation. "You are going to like Donald Trump."

TheGOP presidential nominee pumped up the crowd further by saying he would cutbusiness taxes to 15% and restrict the reach of the U.S. EPA, returning it toits "core mission" of ensuring clean air and water. He vowed toabandon the Obama administration's Climate Action Plan and Clean Power Plan,labeling them as damaging to consumers without providing any improvement in theenvironment.

His"America First" energy plan, unveiled in late , will be one of the engines of his"America First" economic plan he claimed will drive U.S. GDP growthto 3.5% or higher and create 25 million new jobs over a decade.

"Myplan includes the elimination of all unnecessary regulations and a temporarymoratorium on new regulations not compelled by Congress or public safety,"Trump said to a round of applause. "Over-regulation is costing our economy$2 trillion a year, and I think no other business has been more affected thanyour business."

Trumpframed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's policies as a "war onenergy," warning that she would block development of pipelines and otherenergy infrastructure, while his lifting of heavy-handed regulations wouldbring private investment back to energy projects.

Trump'sregulation-averse pitch has some heads in the energy industry nodding inagreement. Billionaire oilman Harold Hamm said choosing Trump over Clinton inthe coming election is an easychoice. Clinton's election would continue a Democratic campaign toeliminate the fossil fuel industry.

"Wehave a president that came onboard and from day one designed a program to getrid of fossil fuels," Hamm, the CEO of Continental Resources Inc., told a Shale Insight crowdthe day before Trump spoke. "Certainly, Hillary Clinton will do more ofthe same," Hamm said, quoting Clinton as saying she hopes to put more coalcompanies out of business.

"Idon't need to tell you about what's happened in coal. Y'all understand thatbetter than anybody. One thing I do want to tell you is that we don't want towait with oil and gas until we're out of business to try to fight back. It'stoo late then."

Hamm,an economic adviser to Trump who has been spoken of as a potential secretary ofenergy in a Trump Cabinet, spoke to a lukewarm audience, drawing sustainedapplause only when he told them environmental extremists added the"k" to the word "frac." "They made it a badword," Hamm said. "If I'm called a fracker, I'm going home. Nobodyshould be called the 'F' word." He added, "I'm proud of it. I'm proudof what we've done. You should be, too."

Puttingan end to regulatory impediments would be a boon not just for the fuelsindustry, but also for the government as a whole, Trump said. During a speechat the Economic Club of New York on Sept. 15, Trump said on American energyproduction would raise federal, state and local revenues by almost $6 trillionover four decades, in addition to the economic benefits he in August.

Thecandidate also pointed to the Clean Water Rule, which includes streams andwetlands under the definition of "waters of the U.S." for purposes ofEPA protection, as a regulation to be eliminated. He said he would stop theagency's Clean Power Plan, too, which would "shut down most, if not all,coal-powered electricity plans in America."

"Regulationshave grown into a massive, job-killing industry, and the regulation industry isone business I will put an end to," he said.