The 2016 presidential election is behind us and as of now, the U.S. has a Republican Commander-in-Chief. So, how will this new regime change our energy policies? Let’s run through some scenarios.
Currently, cap and trade legislation is simply another form of taxation, and proponents are estimating the receipt of $900 million in cap and trade funds—60% of which will be used to support affordable housing, sustainable communities, high-speed rail, and public transportation.
It’s likely that the new regime will quit trying to sell solar and wind power to us with tax credits, in favor of promoting natural gas from shale, marketing coal to countries that need it, and using our estimated 100 years of natural gas reserves to become totally independent of OPEC. I foresee a reduction in energy prices as a result.
I know this will upset some people in our most liberal states. In my opinion, we will be better off without the regulatory environment forcing technology and its effect on our nation’s energy costs.
Looking at other energy avenues, if President-Elect Trump could theoretically make deals to bring about a revival of nuclear energy. After all, nuclear, geothermal, and hydroelectric energy are some of our nation’s cheapest and least polluting forms of energy.
In terms of infrastructure, I’m betting we will see increased attention to the restoration and improvement of our interstate highway system to stimulate commerce. Online buying seems to be the wave of the future, and trucking will be the least expensive way to deliver these goods to consumers.
Even further, Trump has made some very encouraging statements:
- “We are going fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, hospitals.”
- “Refocus government spending on American infrastructure.”
- “Provide maximum flexibility to states.”
- “Using a deficit-neutral plan of tax credits.”
If he and the Republican congress can accomplish half of what he has talked about, then our economy will be headed for an actual recovery, not a sham recovery.
Additionally, if Trump can enable U.S. steel producers to be competitive with foreign sources, then we will see an uptick in our economy and infrastructure. As an old hard-parts motor head, I would love to see casting plants and foundries come back to our shores. It is currently extremely difficult to find American casting and foundry operations that haven’t been closed due to excessive regulations. Chrome plating facilities have also been closed because of regulatory practices.
We all know that the current dismal state of our infrastructure limits our ability to increase trade both within our borders and with other nations. We need to repair our roads, fix thousands of deficient bridges, and empower someone in the new administration to examine our current infrastructure and develop improvements to render trucking operations less time-consuming.
I’m a bit of a history buff. Have you ever contemplated how the U.S. has won each of the wars it has won since the Civil War? Every time it was accomplished by out-producing the countries it vanquished. How could we possibly do that today? America has lost one-third of its manufacturing jobs and 50,000 factories over the last few years. We need to recover our standing in the world. I’m a big believer in the old quote: “Walk softly, but carry a big stick.”