Trump’s VP choice cheers en­ergy in­dus­try but dis­mays green ad­vo­cates

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - VA­LERIE VOLCOVICI and GRANT SMITH

WASHINGTON: Pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump has an­nounced via Twit­ter he has set­tled on In­di­ana gov­er­nor Mike Pence to be his vice-pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate.

The choice could help unify a di­vided party be­hind Trump’s White House bid and will cheer the US en­ergy in­dus­try but dis­may green ad­vo­cates, given Pence’s sup­port for coal min­ing and de­fi­ance of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s cli­mate-change agenda. Trump has called cli­mate change a hoax and promised to gut US en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions in or­der to help the ail­ing oil and coal sec­tors. A Trump-Pence ticket would quash any ex­pec­ta­tion that the New York busi­ness­man might soften that stance.

Pence, 57, is listed on Obama’s “call out the cli­mate change de­niers” web­site for ar­gu­ing the sci­ence be­hind cli­mate change has not yet been re­solved.

In June 2015, Pence wrote to Obama say­ing In­di­ana, Amer­ica’s eighth largest coal-pro­duc­ing state, would not com­ply with the Clean Power Plan reg­u­lat­ing power plant emis­sions, call­ing it “ill-ad­vised”. In­di­ana is one of more than 25 states that have chal­lenged the cen­tre­piece of the Demo­cratic pres­i­dent’s en­vi­ron­men­tal agenda.

In 2014, Pence alarmed lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal groups by over­turn­ing an en­ergy ef­fi­ciency pro­gramme en­acted by his Repub­li­can pre­de­ces­sor, Mitch Daniels, say­ing it was too ex­pen­sive for man­u­fac­tur­ers. The In­di­ana Pub­lic Util­ity Com­mis­sion had es­ti­mated the pro­gramme would cre­ate more than 18 600 jobs.

“Gov­er­nor Pence has been a vo­cal op­po­nent of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Clean Power Plan,” said Laura Shee­han, spokes­woman for the Washington-based lobby group Amer­i­can Coun­cil on Clean Coal Elec­tric­ity.

“The choice of Pence shows Trump has lit­tle in­ter­est in ap­peal­ing to any­one out­side of his ex­trem­ist base and big pol­luters,” said Clay Schroers, a direc­tor at the League of Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers en­vi­ron­men­tal group.

Trump has long sig­nalled his sup­port of tra­di­tional en­ergy pro­duc­tion – part of his broader ap­peal to blue-col­lar Amer­i­can vot­ers. He out­lined plans in May to sweep away en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions ush­ered in by Obama, scrap the Paris Cli­mate Accord, and re­vive the Key­stone XL pipe­line pro­posal – moves that would re­verse years of gains by the green move­ment.

Trump’s Demo­cratic ri­val, Hil­lary Clin­ton, in con­trast, has promised more strin­gent reg­u­la­tion of the en­ergy sec­tor. – Reuters

Peo­ple gather out­side the Harare Mag­is­trates court as they at­tend the court case of Evan Mawarire, a jailed pas­tor who called for the mass stay away from work and shut­down last week.

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