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