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President Trump’s Budget Prioritizes American Taxpayers

WASHINGTON — American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle has issued the following statement on the White House budget proposal:

“President Trump’s budget, dubbed The New Foundation for American Greatness, has many of the elements required to live up to that ambitious billing. At a fundamental level, this budget reconsiders and aims to restore the appropriate relationship between the government and the American taxpayers. By taking a taxpayer-first approach, the Trump administration signals to the American people that money will no longer be wasted in Washington on the pet projects of bureaucrats and cronies.

The budget requests $28 billion for the Department of Energy—a welcomed reduction of 5.6 percent from 2017’s annualized CR level. This figure ensures the Department’s core functions remain funded while trimming superfluous and uneconomical programs. For example, over the course of the next 10 years, the budget purports to halve the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), which will save $16.5 billion. The SPR is a relic from an era of undue supply concern; we now know, of course, that the United States sits atop billions of barrels of oil waiting to be tapped. One geographic area in particular that is flush with natural petroleum reserves—around the order of 10 billion barrels—is the Alaskan arctic region. Encouragingly, this budget anticipates oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge starting in 2022, which will not only shore up domestic supply, but also fill government coffers with leasing revenue.

Even more promising than the DOE reductions, the 2018 budget request for the Environmental Protection Agency is just $5.7 billion—a whopping 31 percent reduction from the 2017 annualized CR level. The lower budget will prompt EPA to focus its attention on the issues of highest national priority, while releasing power for many regional initiatives back to states and municipalities.

President Trump’s campaign built much of its support by promising to shake things up in the nation’s capital. This budget does just that. For the first time in recent memory, the executive branch is adopting the perspective of the American taxpayers. With that perspective comes a much-needed shrinking of the Washington spending machine.”


Senate Fails to Protect American People from Methane Regulation

WASHINGTON – Today the Senate failed to move forward on a Congressional Review Act resolution to nullify the Bureau of Land Management’s costly methane regulation. American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement:

“The Senate just squandered an opportunity to protect American workers and families from a regulation aimed at making energy more expensive. The evidence against this regulation is overwhelming. Not only does this regulation fall outside of the BLM’s jurisdiction, but the energy sector is already significantly reducing methane emissions without this top-down directive from the federal government. The cost of complying with this regulation will ultimately fall on the shoulders of the American people. Fortunately, the fight isn’t over. It’s now up to the Trump administration to do what the Senate failed to do and protect the American people from this unnecessary and costly regulation.”

Click here to read Tom Pyle’s recent op-ed in Morning Consult.


Coalition Urges Trump to Withdraw from Paris Climate Treaty

WASHINGTON – Today, the American Energy Alliance (AEA) and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), along with 38 free-market and conservative organizations, sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to keep his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all taxpayer funding of United Nations’ global warming programs.

The letter outlines how the agreement is a treaty that commits the U.S. to actions that are contrary to President Trump’s energy agenda and not in the interest of the American people.

“Remaining in the Paris Climate Treaty would undermine the Trump administration’s efforts to protect American families from unnecessary and burdensome climate regulations,” said Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance and former head of Trump’s DOE transition team.

“The treaty is based on the idea that from now on developed nations like the U.S. must live with less and pay more. That is not the American way,” said Pyle. “President Trump’s ‘America First’ energy plan is about making energy more affordable and giving Americans more say over their energy choices. The Paris treaty stands in the way of achieving that goal. It’s time for President Trump to fulfill the promise he made to the American worker and withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Treaty.”

The letter argues the plain language in the Paris treaty does not allow the U.S. to renegotiate or lower our commitment to reducing the usage of fossil fuels, but instead would require more ambitious commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions every five years in perpetuity. Further, failing to withdraw from the Paris treaty exposes key parts of Trump’s deregulatory energy agenda to unnecessary legal risk.

“The Paris Climate Treaty is an all pain for no gain agreement that will produce no measurable climate benefits and exacerbate energy poverty around the globe,” said Myron Ebell, director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment and former head of Trump’s EPA transition team. “The Paris treaty undermines American democracy and allows foreign bureaucrats to determine the direction of U.S. domestic economic and energy policy. Its main goal is to build a green industrial complex on the backs of American consumers and taxpayers.”

Click here to read the full letter.

Click here to read IER’s analysis on why the U.S. should withdraw from the agreement.


Coalition Urges Senate to Pass Methane CRA Resolution

WASHINGTON – Today the American Energy Alliance and a coalition of free-market and conservative organizations sent a letter to the Senate urging them to pass the Congressional Review Act resolution nullifying the Bureau of Land Management’s methane regulation. Below is an excerpt from the letter:

This regulation comes with a high price tag. The American Action Forum estimates that this rule will cost roughly $297 million per year ($1.8 billion in total). The methane rule will decrease energy production on federal lands, leading to fewer revenues from royalties and higher energy costs, not to mention lost jobs. This regulation runs completely counter to the pro-growth agenda many of you ran upon in the 2016 elections.

The rule is entirely unnecessary. The EPA found that methane emissions fell by 13 percent from 2011-2014. The EPA also found that methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing fell 81 percent between 2012 and 2014. This drop in methane emissions occurred even as U.S. oil and gas production has significantly increased due to the shale revolution.

The oil and gas sector has been so successful in reducing methane emissions from venting and flaring, in part, because methane itself is a valuable resource that producers capture and sell. It is in their best interests to reduce methane emissions. Forcing this one-size-fits-all regulation on an industry that is already substantially reducing methane emissions is unnecessary and costly.

Some Senators have voiced concerns that CRA method precludes future regulations. This concern is misplaced. The rule, as written, is meant to regulate methane emissions for air quality. However, BLM only has the authority to regulate waste—the EPA regulates air quality and already has a methane regulation in place. Regardless of your position on the regulation, it is clear that the BLM is far afield from its jurisdiction.

AEA President Thomas Pyle also issued the following statement after reports that Senators Grassley and Thune may hold the resolution hostage over an ethanol waiver:

“The methane CRA resolution would protect American families and workers from an unnecessary and costly regulation. It is irresponsible and a disservice to their constituents for Senators Grassley and Thune to hold this resolution hostage over an ethanol waiver. The House passed this resolution more than two months ago and it’s past time the Senate does the same.”

Click here to read the full coalition letter.

Click here to read Tom Pyle’s recent op-ed in Morning Consult.


AEA President Discusses Fuel Economy Mandates on Voice of America

American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle was recently interviewed by “Voice of America” to discuss federal fuel economy mandates. You can view the full segment below:

AEA’s Tom Pyle Discusses Energy Policy in the Trump Administration

American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle recently joined the show “Devil’s Advocate w/Jon Caldara” to discuss federal energy policy under the Trump administration. You can watch the full interview below:

President Trump’s Energy Executive Order Puts Americans First

WASHINGTON — American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement about President Trump’s executive order on energy and climate policy:

“President Trump’s executive order should be welcome news for America’s middle class and those living in poverty, who would be hardest hit by the previous administration’s harmful climate regulations. Americans depend on affordable, reliable electricity for their livelihood, but regulations like the Clean Power Plan would send electricity prices skyrocketing. Not only would this regulation harm Americans’ pocketbooks, but it would have virtually no impact on global average temperatures.

“On top of being a morally bankrupt regulation, the Clean Power Plan was an unprecedented power grab by the previous administration that was built on a shaky legal foundation. This executive order won’t get rid of the regulation overnight, but it’s an important first step that reaffirms President Trump’s commitment to protecting American families from higher energy costs.

“President Trump is standing up for American coal miners by ordering the Interior Department to lift the arbitrary and unnecessary ban on new federal coal leases. This action is crucial for putting coal miners back to work producing our country’s vast coal resources. It’s clear that the Trump administration is serious about reviving America’s energy sector, awakening our economy, and creating jobs for people who were cast aside by the previous administration.

“The Trump administration’s decision to review the ‘social cost of carbon’ is a victory for anyone who favors sound rulemaking. The social cost of carbon is an arbitrary and speculative metric that should never have been used to shape federal energy policy.

“Missing from this executive order, however, is any mention of the Paris climate agreement or the endangerment finding. We urge the president to fulfill his campaign promises to remove the U.S. from the Paris agreement and to review the endangerment finding. Though more challenging, it is crucial that the Trump administration address these two important issues. Failure to do so could risk the remainder of President Trump’s attempts to rein in the regulatory state and undo the harmful climate policies of the previous administration.

“There is still much more work to be done to reset the Obama administration’s punitive climate policies, but today’s executive order is a critical step forward.”

Click here to read the Institute for Energy Research’s formal comment on the Social Cost of Carbon.

Click here to view President Trump’s responses to AEA’s candidate questionnaire.


ICYMI: There’s Nothing Conservative About a Carbon Tax

Ignore the ‘free market’ bells and whistles: A tax is a tax is a tax.
By Thomas Pyle
Published on March 23, 2017, in National Review Online

Conservatives have long been the voice for limited government, lower taxes, free markets, and individual liberty. But recently, a small but persistent group of Republicans are trying to persuade conservatives to abandon these principles and embrace a national energy tax.

The idea of taxing carbon isn’t new. Bill Clinton and Al Gore tried to pass a BTU tax in 1993. Its defeat helped usher in a Republican-controlled Congress for the first time in nearly 40 years. In 2009, Barack Obama proposed a cap-and-trade plan that was rejected by a Democratic-controlled Congress. The Democrats ended up losing the House in 2010. More recently, Hillary Clinton’s campaign policy team was reportedly considering a carbon tax.

What is new, however, is that some Republicans are attempting to pass off a carbon tax as a conservative policy. The most recent attempt is from the Climate Leadership Council, a group led by James Baker and George Shultz. The group recently met with the Trump administration to encourage the adoption of a $40-per-ton carbon tax.

My organization, the American Energy Alliance, joined with several conservative leaders in opposition to the Climate Leadership Council’s proposal. In response, Shultz and Ted Halstead, another member of the Council, took to these pages to try to convince conservatives that their proposal is a “free-market” approach to addressing climate change. There is nothing free-market about their massive new tax hike, no matter how they dress it up.

A carbon tax would punish users of natural gas, oil, and coal, which make up 80 percent of the energy we consume. This means that all American families would face higher electricity bills and gasoline prices. In fact, it’s estimated that the Council’s carbon tax would hike gasoline prices by 36 cents per gallon. While everybody will pay more, these hikes would have a disproportionate impact on poor and middle-class families, who spend a higher percentage of their income on energy. It also means Americans would pay more for goods and services across the board.

How does the Climate Leadership Council propose to alleviate this burden? Shultz and Halstead want to offset the tax by redistributing to the American people the $300 billion in anticipated revenue from the carbon tax.

This is not practical in the real world. The idea that Washington politicians would perpetually refund a massive new revenue stream is incredibly naïve, especially coming from a former Treasury secretary. The more likely scenario is that the government would eventually begin to spend the new revenue on federal programs, saddling Americans with yet another new tax while diminishing America’s competitiveness in the process. Sounds like big-government liberalism to me.

The Baker- and Shultz-led council need only look at real-world examples to see the flaws in their proposal. Last year, Washington State soundly defeated a carbon-tax ballot measure, partly because the proponents could never agree on how they wanted to divvy up the expected revenue. British Columbia has also run into problems with its “revenue-neutral” carbon tax. Officials there promised citizens that the tax would be used to reduce other taxes. However, a new study from the Fraser Institute shows that after just a few years, British Columbia’s carbon tax netted $377 million in new revenue.

Carbon taxes make energy more expensive. They also destroy jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector, which President Trump has promised to revive. Shultz and Halstead shrug off this concern by pointing to a “border carbon adjustment” provision in their plan.

Under their plan, U.S. producers would have to pay a carbon tax if they sold their product to American consumers, but not if they sold it to countries without a carbon tax. Likewise, foreign producers would have to pay a carbon tax to sell to American consumers, but not if they sold to other countries. This is a raw deal for both American companies and consumers.

The readers of this publication know that tax hikes hurt business and raise prices for consumers. Shultz and Halstead try to argue that imposing this new tax on imports from China, for example, will somehow be good for American prosperity. However, slapping a new tax on imports just takes away options from American consumers and makes it harder for U.S. companies to export their products.

Finally, the Climate Leadership Council’s proposal would swap out Obama-era climate regulations for a carbon tax. However, President Trump has already vowed (and begun) to undo President Obama’s climate regulations. This raises the question of why they would include this provision in the first place — unless, of course, they had a Hillary Clinton administration in mind when they wrote the proposal.

Shultz and Halstead claim that failing to replace these regulations with a carbon tax would “leave open the door to greater government intervention should Democrats retake power in the future.” This is extremely misleading. Nobody can guarantee that a future administration or Congress won’t pursue some type of regulatory controls on carbon, nor could this plan prevent it from happening. The nearly identical carbon-tax plan considered by the Clinton campaign, for example, would have imposed a carbon tax while maintaining carbon regulations such as the Clean Power Plan. And several environmental groups have already criticized the Council’s proposal, insisting that we need both a carbon tax and regulations.

Simply calling something “conservative” or “free-market” doesn’t make it so. The Climate Leadership Council’s carbon tax is an affront to the principles that conservatives have championed for decades. Most important, a carbon tax would destroy American jobs, encourage more wasteful spending from Washington, and burden consumers with higher energy costs. You’d be hard pressed to find a more damaging policy for American families.

No matter how many bells and whistles Shultz and Halstead throw onto their proposal, it still ends up being a new and incredibly regressive tax on working-class Americans. Yet Secretary Baker was so bold as to suggest that it would have had Ronald Reagan’s blessing. I’d like to think that President Reagan, who once said “simple fairness dictates that government must not raise taxes on families struggling to pay their bills,” would probably feel otherwise.

— Thomas Pyle is the president of the American Energy Alliance and the Institute for Energy Research.

AEA Praises President Trump’s Budget Proposal

The Trump Budget:
A Commitment to Restoring America’s Promise, Returning Power to the People

WASHINGTON — American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle issued the following statements on President Trump’s budget proposal:

“President Trump has put forth the most significant budget blueprint in generations. The Trump budget offers a much-needed resetting of the relationship between the federal government, the states, and the American people. In particular, the DOE, EPA, Interior, NOAA, NASA, and the State Department budgets eliminate the architecture of President Obama’s politically motivated climate action plan and reemphasize the core mission at each of these agencies.

“While this is just an early step in the budget process, President Trump’s plan sets the tone for reining in wasteful spending and costly, duplicative regulations. Let’s just hope that Congress follows the President’s lead and enacts these much-needed reforms.”

The Department of Energy

“The Department of Energy has veered way off course, wasting billions of dollars on politically preferred energy sources and subsidizing their commercialization and deployment, which has hampered true energy innovation in the private sector. This is a far cry from agency’s core function of protecting our nuclear arsenal and conducting groundbreaking research and development. With this proposal, the president is protecting and strengthening our nuclear weapons, getting our nuclear waste program back on track, and sending a clear message that DOE should get out of the business of making loans and instead refocus on its core capabilities in science and energy research.”

The Environmental Protection Agency

“The Environmental Protection Agency is no longer in the business of protecting our air and water. It has become one of the most politicized agencies in the federal government, pursuing job-destroying and poverty-inducing regulations and programs. The American people have been forced to pay twice for EPA’s costly climate policies: first in their taxes, then through higher electricity rates.

“President Trump is sending a clear message that the EPA will no longer waste taxpayer dollars to carry out the previous administration’s climate action plan. The argument that this proposal would keep EPA from doing its job holds no water. President Trump’s budget blueprint will not only eliminate wasteful spending at EPA, but will also allow the agency to return to a more constructive relationship with states and the private sector in ensuring that our air is pure and our water is clean and safe.”

The Interior Department

“The Interior Department has an obligation to ensure that the American people enjoy the full benefits of their public lands, whether it be from recreation or resource development. Under the previous administration, the Interior Department adopted a ‘keep-it-in-the-ground’ approach that prevented the responsible development of our energy resources, especially natural gas, oil, and coal. On top of this, the Interior Department has wasted precious time and resources to acquire even more federal lands or put existing lands further and further off limits. President Trump’s Interior proposal will address the backlog of maintenance needs at our national parks and streamline the process for responsible energy development on multiple-use lands, both onshore and offshore.”

The State Department

“The State Department faces many great challenges abroad. Cutting checks to the United Nations’ climate slush fund and putting the threat of a changing climate ahead of combating terrorism distracts from the State Department’s mission. President Trump is fulfilling his campaign promise of untangling the U.S. from U.N. climate programs and focusing our foreign policy and diplomacy efforts towards addressing the true threats to our security and safety.”​


Key Vote: BLM Planning 2.0 CRA

The Senate is set to consider H.J. Res. 44, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the Bureau of Land Management’s “Planning 2.0” rule. This regulation would redefine the “multiple use” concept for federal lands laid out in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA). It would also diminish state and local officials’ roles in managing lands within their communities by consolidating more power in the federal government. We urge Senators to vote YES to overturn this unnecessary Obama-era regulation.

The FLPMA mandates that federal lands be managed for “multiple use and sustained yield.” The law also provides that “the public lands be managed in a manner which recognizes the Nation’s need for domestic sources of minerals, food, timber, and fiber from the public lands.”

The BLM Planning 2.0″ rule redefines this “multiple use” concept, which could impede responsible development of America’s oil, gas, and coal resources on federal lands. This would deny the American people the economic benefits of developing these resources, such as jobs, higher wages, and more state and local revenue. The Institute for Energy Research has evaluated the economic benefits of opening federal lands for energy production in this study.

This regulation also diminishes the role of regional, state, and local officials by weakening local authority over resource- and land-use decisions and centralizing more power in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.

Senators should oppose this bureaucratic overreach and vote YES on the CRA resolution repealing the BLM “Planning 2.0” rule.