Trump’s Energy Dominance Crusade Could Harm US Economy and Environment

When the Trump administration announced that it would open up U.S. waters to oil and gas exploration, the country’s “energy dominance” campaign returned to the spotlight — but what does that even mean?

Energy Dominance: An Old Goal Re-branded

During the Trump presidential campaign, the candidate floated a number of talking points about reinvigorating fossil fuel development as a means of supposedly creating jobs and restoring America’s energy independence.

In June of 2017, the Trump administration rolled out a re-branded version of several Obama-era policies, focusing on energy independence via liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales to Europe. However, in a marked turn from the Obama era, the Trump administration declared that it would open key areas — like Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — for resource extraction.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry explained at the time:

An energy dominant America means self-reliant. It means a secure nation, free from the geopolitical turmoil of other nations who seek to use energy as an economic weapon. An energy dominant America will export to markets around the world, increasing our global leadership and our influence.

Europe has grown tired of Russia threatening its energy security in the form of North Sea supplies, while Saudi Arabia has long been a thorn in many a nation’s side given its power to influence oil markets. As China and India look to become major superpowers — China is arguably already there — there’s added interest in energy independence.

U.S. interest intensified after the oil crisis of the 1970s. But no matter how much oil and gas the U.S. produces domestically, analysts continue to predict that the country cannot be totally energy independent – at least not for any sustainable length of time, given U.S. reliance on oil and gas.

The U.S. still requires oil and petroleum imports, with around 38 percent coming from Canada and over 10 percent coming from Saudi Arabia. While that dependency has declined significantly over the years, it’s unlikely to go away in the next few decades.

Energy dominance, however, suggests the U.S. admits it can’t entirely remove its need for imports, but wants to be able to influence markets and shield itself by being a key force in export sales. Is that even possible?

Well, in the short term, it actually could be, considering that demand for fossil fuels is still a reality. But the U.S. is hampered by one key problem: the fact that it remains committed to operating via a free market. Russia and Saudi Arabia are not encumbered by such a system, allowing them to move far more unilaterally than the U.S. Nevertheless, Europe tends to favor the U.S. over Russia and Saudi Arabia, and would likely prefer to weaken its dealings with Russia.

But so-called energy dominance comes at a price.

What does “energy dominance” look like in practice?

At the moment, energy dominance seems to involve tearing up the Obama-era’s green energy initiatives – reflective of the Trump administration’s poor environmental protection track record.

That means fossil fuel exploration in the Arctic’s previously protected coastal plain, slashing the size of National Parks in states like Utah to allow drilling, using the tax overhaul to preserve $15 billion in tax subsidies for fossil fuels while cutting incentives for renewables and more. It means abandoning the Paris Agreement while systematically working to undercut nearly every single one of its key aims.

At its heart, energy dominance is a strategy that may well give the U.S. a boost to its autonomy, but it will end up isolating the U.S. in the long-term and potentially harming its economic prospects as the world divests from coal, oil and gas and favors renewables.

Energy dominance, therefore, looks a lot like energy isolationism — and that will harm both the U.S. economy and global sustainability efforts.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.

39 comments

Sue H
Sue H27 days ago

The Vile one and miscreant sycophants are hell bent on making themselves rich whilst destroying our planet.

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Danuta W
Danuta W2 months ago

Thanks for posting

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R3 months ago

"Could". Thank you for posting your opinions.

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Leanne K
Leanne K5 months ago

Theres not much that man does that doesnt seem disastrous and or ominous

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Marty P
Marty P5 months ago

Once the rest of the world turns green what is this Jurassic wonder going to do with the fossil fuels that nobody else wants?

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cristiano torchio
cristiano torchio5 months ago

trump = Nosferatu = evil = idiot

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Jaime J
Jaime J5 months ago

Thank you!!

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Alice H
Alice H5 months ago

Self reliant should mean sustainable we could be a leader in green technology instead of a backwards sliding polluted country.

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Winn A
Winnie A5 months ago

Impeach him.

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Winn A
Winnie A5 months ago

tRUMPie is a lunatic.

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