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"You will like me so much," Donald Trump told a conference of fossil fuel executives. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

Trump to Fossil Fuel Execs: 'You Will Like Me So Much'

Republican presidential candidate's comments at industry conference show he "would be a belligerent catalyst of catastrophic climate change if he were elected president."

Andrea Germanos

The same day as a new report highlighted the carbon emissions calamity that would accompany new fossil fuel extraction, Donald Trump promised an audience of fossil fuel executives that is the very agenda he would pursue if elected to the White House.

"Oh, you will like me so much," the Republican presidential candidate said in his address to the Shale Insight conference in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

He promised to lift regulations, open up more federal lands for fossil fuel extraction—including coal and fracking—and ease the way for new fossil fuel infrastructure projects including pipelines.

Trump said he would get rid of "all unnecessary regulations, and [place] a temporary moratorium on new regulations not compelled by Congress or public safety." He also called anti-coal regulations "unfair to our people and our workers."

New fossil fuel projects the executives would like to advance would be no problem under a Trump presidency, he said. "If I'm president, they'll happen quickly. You'll be amazed how quickly," he said.

Reacting on Thursday to Trump's agenda, Rhea Suh, president of Natural Resources Defense Council, called it a "a wish list for big polluters" that "would be a nightmare for our communities and climate."  

Trump "would be a belligerent catalyst of catastrophic climate change if he were elected president."Greenpeace USA spokesperson Cassady Sharp offered scathing remarks following the speech, saying that "Trump proved again that he is an unfit leader with no grasp on reality" who sang "the praises of a dangerous energy extraction process that threatens the health and safety of families and communities all over this country, and promis[ed] to slash critical regulations and the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]."

"This man has no business dealing with America's energy policy, and he would be a belligerent catalyst of catastrophic climate change if he were elected president," Sharp added.

Among those helping to shape that energy policy is fracking billionaire Harold Hamm, whose presence in the audience Trump welcomed.

Mark Floegel, research director with Greenpeace USA, describes Hamm as

a climate-denying serial liar who made his billions at the expense of the Earth and its people. A genuine (as opposed to merely asserted) billionaire, Hamm is the 13th child of a cotton sharecropper who worked his way up through the oil business and whose company—Continental Resources—now controls much of the carbon-rich Bakken Formation in North Dakota.

Trump also boasted in his speech that this energy plan would "make America wealthy again" including boasting GDP by $100 billion and helping to create so many jobs that "All of the workers that are being put to work, they are going to love Donald Trump." CNBC, however, countered his assertions, writing that "the windfalls Trump touts fail to take into account the real reason the coal industry is struggling, and originate from an industry-linked report whose findings rely on a forecasting model that often overstates the economic benefits of drilling, according to economists who study U.S. shale oil and gas."

The White House hopeful last week released his energy agenda, which, as Common Dreams reported, includes "slashing corporate tax rates; scrapping regulations, such as the Waters of the U.S. Rule (pdf) and the Clean Power Plan; lifting restrictions on all sources of American energy, including the dirtiest fossil fuels and offshore deposits; and 'streamlin[ing] the permitting process for all energy infrastructure projects,' like highly-controversial pipelines."

Sierra Club political director Khalid Pitts denounced the policies as amounting to a "dumpster fire," and called the former reality TV star "the worst candidate for our climate and our environment in history."

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