Trump touts 'beautiful, clean coal' and fails to link disasters to climate change


In his first State of the Union address, President Donald Trump nodded to the catastrophic storms and wildfires that killed more than 300 Americans and caused a record $306 billion in damages.  

Yet he made no mention of the planetary warming ― 2017 was the second-hottest year on record ― that worsened the disasters, instead bolstering his administration’s aggressive fossil fuel push. 

“We endured floods and fires and storms,” Trump said. “But through it all, we have seen the beauty of America’s soul, and the steel in America’s spine.” 

The White House made slashing environmental regulations a cornerstone of its agenda over the past year, going as far as to purge government websites of climate data and remove issues like sea-level rise from the administration’s list of security threats. The deregulatory assault came as Trump aggressively aimed to increase fossil fuel production and use.

The speech put a glossy finish on the president’s so-called “energy dominance” agenda, as the United States is poised this year to surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the largest oil producer.

“We have ended the war on American energy,” he said. “We are now very proudly an exporter of energy to the world”

More on the State of the Union address: 

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President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address
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President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address
US President Donald Trump listens to applause before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: First lady Melania Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) looks on as US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (R) , and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin look on before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Jared Kusner and Ivanka Trump attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump holds a glass of water before he delivers the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) points after being acknowledged during U.S. President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald Trump enters the House of Representatives chamber to deliver his first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by the president and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C), backed by US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan claps as he arrives for his State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller is pictured outside of the White House before President Donald Trump departs for Capitol Hill to deliver the 2018 State of the Union Address on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) confers with Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) as they makes their way to the House of Representatives Chamber for President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
(L-R) US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin speak before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: (L-R) U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), U.S. Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA) during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump waves as she arrives for the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: (L-R) U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Senator Cory Booker (L, D-NJ) waves he awaits the start of the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Eric Trump (L) and his wife, Lara, arrive for the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan point as they await U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House to deliver his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington, U.S., January 30 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (C) jokes with other members of Congress on the floor of the House ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
House Oversight Committee Rep. Trey Gowdy (L) talks with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise as they await U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump (C) arrives for his State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (L) talks with U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R) ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R) talks with Senator Ted Cruz (L) and other members of Congress prior to U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump waves during the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: First lady Melania Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner (C-L) and Ivanka Trump clap before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) point during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Rep Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) watch during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Robert Mickens, Elizabeth Alvarado, Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas, parents of children who were murdered by MS-13 are acknowledged as US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Trump attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Trump attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Parents of Otto Warmbier, Fred and Cindy Warmbier are acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Steven Daines (R-MT) take a selfie as they make their way to the House of Representatives Chamber for President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and his wife Marcelle make their way to the House of Representatives Chamber for President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: First lady Melania Trump looks on as Police officer Ryan Holets and his wife are acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck is acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, smiles while delivering a State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Trump sought to connect his presidency to the nation's prosperity in his first State of the Union address, arguing that the U.S. has arrived at a 'new American moment' of wealth and opportunity. Photographer: Win McNamee/Pool via Bloomberg
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (C) watches during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reacts as she sits with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) listens next to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) during U.S. President Donald Trump's his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump's relatives, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, watch during the president's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump takes a sip of water as he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Rep. James Clyburn (L), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi react to U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump's relatives, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, watch during the president's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney talks with members of Congress during President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch talk as they attend U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Elzabeth Alvarado, Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas, parents of children who were murdered by MS-13 watch as U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas, parents of children who were murdered by MS-13 watch as U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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In reality, the U.S. remains a steady importer of crude oil, and likely won’t become a net exporter of energy until the 2020s, according to a forecast this month by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Exports, driven by the boom in shale oil brought on by the rise of hydraulic fracturing, surged under former President Barack Obama. 

The chart on top shows the U.S. remains a major importer of oil, despite increasing exports over the past decade, the second chart documents. 

“The thing about the U.S. energy picture is as of late it’s very much a success story, but that’s a story that obviously began well before Mr. Trump became president,” Ethan Zindler, a Washington, D.C.-based analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said before the speech. “But it also continued last year.”

“We have ended the war on American Energy and we have ended the war on beautiful, clean coal,” he said. 

But the revival fell flat compared to his promises. Coal production and exports increased slightly, but coal-fired plant closures continued apace. 

Trump has repeatedly portrayed himself as the coal industry’s savior, but the federal agency that controls energy infrastructure rejected the administration’s only plan to subsidize coal plants earlier this month. The Washington Post this month debunked the president’s claims about helping coal miners and stoking demand for fuel, and gave the president three and four “Pinocchios” for his statements on those topics, indicating that they were highly inaccurate. 

14 PHOTOS
Coal mining in West Virginia and Appalachia
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Coal mining in West Virginia and Appalachia
The rocky landscape shows some of the last sections to be mined for coal at the Hobet site in Boone County, West Virginia, U.S. May 12, 2016. To match Special Report USA-COAL/HOBET REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
A Caterpillar Inc. front loader scoops coal from a mound at the Arch Coal Inc. Sentinel Prep Plant in Philippi, West Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. Arch, the St. Louis-based holder of the second-largest reserve of coal in the U.S., filed for creditor protection Monday, with an agreement to erase $4.5 billion in debt. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Coal waits to be among the last shipments to be loaded on train cars to depart the Hobet mine in Boone County, West Virginia, U.S. May 12, 2016. Picture taken May 12, 2016. To match Special Report USA-COAL/HOBET REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Ice patches sit on a mound of coal at the Arch Coal Inc. Sentinel Prep Plant in Philippi, West Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. Arch, the St. Louis-based holder of the second-largest reserve of coal in the U.S., filed for creditor protection Monday, with an agreement to erase $4.5 billion in debt. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Coal spills out from a tower into a large pile at an Alpha Natural Resources Inc. coal preparation plant in Logan County near Yolyn, West Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. Alpha Natural Resources Inc. filed for bankruptcy in Virginia last week, becoming the latest victim of the coal industrys worst downturn in decades. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Radio channel signs are posted beside a large mound of coal at an Alpha Natural Resources Inc. coal preparation plant in Logan County near Yolyn, West Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. Alpha Natural Resources Inc. filed for bankruptcy in Virginia last week, becoming the latest victim of the coal industrys worst downturn in decades. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A mound of coal sits outside an Alpha Natural Resources Inc. coal preparation plant in Logan County near Yolyn, West Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. Alpha Natural Resources Inc. filed for bankruptcy in Virginia last week, becoming the latest victim of the coal industrys worst downturn in decades. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Views of a radically altered natural environment in southern West Virginia due to extensive mountain top removal coal mining and logging. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Views of a radically altered natural environment in southern West Virginia due to extensive mountain top removal coal mining and logging. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
WISE COUNTY, VA - APRIL 16: A & G Coal Corporation surface mining operations continue in the Appalachian Mountains on April 16, 2012 in Wise County, Virginia. Critics refer to this type of mining as 'mountaintop removal mining' which has destroyed 500 mountain peaks and at least 1,200 miles of streams while leading to increased flooding. The Appalachians are some of the oldest mountains on Earth. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
WISE COUNTY, VA - APRIL 16: A & G Coal Corporation surface mining operations are seen in the Appalachian Mountains on April 16, 2012 in Wise County, Virginia. Critics refer to this type of mining as 'mountaintop removal mining' which has destroyed 500 mountain peaks and at least 1,200 miles of streams while leading to increased flooding. The Appalachians are some of the oldest mountains on Earth. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 16 : West Virginia Patriot mining operations at the Guston strip mine just outside of Starcity West Virginia on August 16, 2010. (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 16 : West Virginia Patriot mining operations at the Guston strip mine just outside of Starcity West Virginia on August 16, 2010. Seen here is an example of land that has been reclamed and land that is still being mined. (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call via Getty Images)
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“Clean coal,” meanwhile, remains an oxymoronic myth as experimental projects to capture and contain carbon dioxide emissions at coal-burning plants continue to fail or prove to expensive. 

Along with boosting America’s production of fossil fuels, Trump vowed — as he has before — to rebuild America’s crumbling roads, airports and bridges. But he offered few details about how he plans to pay for it.

“I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve,” Trump said. 

Trump is expected to proposed infrastructure plans that could make it easier to obtain building permits. The fossil fuel industry ― especially pipeline builders ― could gain the most from the potential change, but renewable energy producers could also benefit. 

“That may not please environmentalists, but it’s important not to necessarily conflate the clean-energy industry with the environmental community,” Zindler said before the speech.

“It’s so backward,” John O’Grady, president of American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, which represents more than 8,000 people who work at the Environmental Protection Agency, told HuffPost ahead of the speech. “They’re trying to use 1970 as the starting point and work their way backward.”

A leaked White House document, which Politico and Axios obtained last week, suggested the government would look to sell off, trade or transfer federal assets, including land, to help pay for infrastructure projects. It also outlined the administration’s plans to use mineral and energy revenues to pay for such improvements. Paul Teller, a special assistant to the president for legislative affairs, told Politico the memo does not reflect the final proposal.

A spokeswoman for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also dismissed reports that public land is on the table. “The Secretary’s position is unchanged,” she told the Missoulian. Both Zinke and Trump have repeatedly said they oppose selling off or transferring control of federal lands.

Adding to environmentalists’ worries, The Washington Post reported Friday on a second leaked draft document suggesting the White House aims to scale back environmental requirements to simplify and fast-track its infrastructure efforts. The plan would require government agencies to adhere to strict environmental review deadlines and limit certain agencies’ abilities to  prevent projects from moving forward.

In a call with reporters ahead of Trump’s speech, representatives from several environmental groups slammed the White House proposal.

“It’s a scam that will gut or significantly change at least 10 bedrock environmental laws to make it easier for corporations to bypass critical protections for air, water and wildlife,” said Christy Goldfuss, senior vice president for energy and environment policy at the Center for American Progress.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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