An Overview of the Candidates' Environmental Policies

By AHMET AKDAG
On October 19, 2016

Photo courtesy of Eric Kounce, Wikipedia

In the current election, the discussion of environmental policy has also included discussion of energy policy and the economic impact of both policies. Both candidates have made arguments regarding their environmental policy on the basis of the form of energy they were looking to support.

Donald Trump has taken a stance supporting coal mining, arguing that newer technology has allowed for cleaner coal. He also emphasizes that it would allow coal miners to keep their jobs in the process while minimizing the environmental damage. Hillary Clinton has taken a stance supporting a movement toward more clean and renewable energy. Her emphasis is on creating new jobs via the renewable energy sector while also creating a cleaner country.

“I'm not a big believer in man-made climate change,” said Trump in an Aug. 11 interview with the The Miami Herald. “There could be some impact, but I don't believe it's a devastating impact.”

He continued by stating that he believed that the climate is changing, but that the main concern is that American businesses are suffering from being forced to follow environmental regulations that other countries do not have. Trump has supported clean air and clean water, as he mentioned in a rally speech in North Carolina, but with a focus on ensuring that businesses would not be burdened by regulations that he believes will make them uncompetitive.

“Any regulation that is outdated, unnecessary, bad for workers or contrary to the national interest will be scrapped. We will also eliminate duplication, provide regulatory certainty and trust local officials and local residents,” Trump stated in a press release by his campaign as part of his 100-day action plan.

This clarifies his position of reducing regulations that hinder business or eliminate jobs while balancing the remaining regulations with less federal oversight.

“The EPA is so restrictive that they are putting our energy companies out of business,” Trump said during the second presidential debate. This shows the consistency with Trump’s energy policy, which frequently ties into his views on the environment.

“So I have a comprehensive energy policy, but it really does include fighting climate change, because I think that is a serious problem,” Clinton said during the second presidential debate. “And I support moving toward more clean, renewable energy as quickly as we can.”

She emphasizes in her views that renewable energy, especially solar, would not only help fight for a cleaner environment, but also create new jobs as well. The issue with coal miners has been a major debate point for Clinton, whose stance on environment policy would affect them. She stated that she recognizes that something will have to be done about the coal miners who would lose their jobs, but that a comprehensive look is important in the face of falling coal prices.

“You know, I have laid out a set of actions that build on what President Obama was able to accomplish, building on the clean power plan,” Clinton said during the Democratic debate in Brooklyn.

Her website also supports her plans to build on and continue with Obama’s plans, including delivering on the pledge made at the Paris Climate Change Conference. This stands directly in opposition of Trump’s policy, which looks to rollback on EPA regulations and allow for more local control of the regulations.

Overall, both candidates have taken their positions on environmental concerns by tying much of it to their economic and energy policy. Both have emphasized a concern with the impact their environmental policy will have on jobs and employment. This is evident by the focus on energy policy, which has become an important part of the debate due to growing support for renewable energy along with interest in protecting the coal industry.

Clinton shows a plan to continue existing environmental regulation plans while pushing for more renewable energy like solar power, while Trump stands to protect the coal industry and delegate environmental regulation to state and local governments.

aakdag@ramapo.edu

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