Forces from the Koch and Trump camps are converging around plans to erase some of the key climate policy gains of the past eight years.
Koch group is hopeful Trump will “use his eraser” on U.S. climate policies
As Mac Zimmerman, vice president of policy for the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity (AFP), said on the latest edition of the group’s Prosperity podcast (emphasis added):
The president’s regulatory agenda. He talked a lot about using his pen and his phone, bypassing Congress over the course of the last few years. You know, everything from his so-called Clean Power Plan… you know, it’s raising power bills and decimating the energy industry… to some of the labor rules. Some of the things like the overtime rules and the joint employer rule. Even things like the Paris Climate Accord that the president’s worked through with… you know… countries like China and other outfits at the UN that has sort of sidestepped the Congressional process. He talked a lot about his pen and his phone. We are looking forward to hopefully seeing Donald Trump use his eraser to get rid of some of those things.
The energy plan that Donald Trump put forth on the campaign trail included pledges to “rescind” the Obama administration’s climate policies, and “cancel” the Paris Climate Agreement.
Key players from the Koch and Trump camps are now working together to put those plans into action.
- Thomas Pyle, a former lobbyist for Koch Industries and clean energy cynic, was reportedly just tapped to lead the Department of Energy transition. Pyle is president of the Institute for Energy Research and American Energy Alliance, which have ties to the Koch brothers and other fossil fuel interests.
- Doug Domenech was also reportedly just picked to helm the Department of Interior transition. Domenech is the director of the Fueling Freedom Project at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which has also received funding from the Koch brothers. The group is known for its attacks on climate science and renewable energy policies.
- Myron Ebell was named earlier to head up Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team. Ebell, a climate change denier, is director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Koch-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Koch and Trump split on pro-climate policy Republican Kelly Ayotte
Zimmerman also confirmed to Ed Dean, who hosts AFP’s podcast, that the group did not support New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte failed bid to retain her U.S. Senate seat in part because Ayotte supported President Obama’s signature climate policy (emphasis added):
Dean: Talk to us about New Hampshire, that race was decided by less than 1,000 votes. The word was out there that Kelly Ayotte, who ran as somewhat of a free market conservative in 2010, kind of abandoned all of her principles there. Is that an accurate statement?
Zimmerman: Yeah, I mean we look… we didn’t engage in that race. That was one of the two sort of quote-unquote more marginal U.S. Senate races that we didn’t look at engaging in. And part of that was because she embraced the President’s green energy agenda, and departed from some of our principles in that respect. That is not one where we were beaten down the doors and.. you know… burning the shoe leather. And I think, well, you know I think the result sort of speaks for itself.
Trump endorsed Ayotte after she announced her support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, despite his campaign pledge to “scrap” the EPA’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants.
Ayotte and her Democratic opponent Governor Maggie Hassan, who narrowly won the race, both supported the Clean Power Plan. Nearly 96% of the Granite State voters backed one of these two U.S. Senate candidates, who offered rare bipartisan support for a key U.S. climate policy – a result that should send a strong message to the leaders of the Koch and Tramp camps.