President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE boasted about his aggressive environmental deregulatory agenda Tuesday, saying he’s put an end to the “war” on American energy and coal.
“We have ended the war on American energy, and we have ended the war on beautiful, clean coal,” Trump declared in his first State of the Union, eliciting applause from some attendees in the House chamber.
Trump, his Cabinet and his allies have frequently labeled former President Obama’s environmental policies as a war on coal or on American energy.
Thousands of coal-industry workers, for example, lost their jobs under Obama, which was due mainly to competition from cheap energy sources like natural gas and renewables. Some forms of energy, like oil, gas and renewables, thrived under Obama.
Nonetheless, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Interior Department and other agencies have aggressively worked to roll back or change Obama-era rules, in the name of increasing use and production of domestic energy.
That includes the Clean Power Plan, the moratorium on coal-mining leases on federal land, royalty regulations, a rule on mine cleanups and coal ash disposal standards, among others.
Environmentalists see the rollbacks as dangerous to public health and the environment. The League of Conservation Voters, for example, gave Trump an “F” for his first year.
Numerous forms of energy, like oil and coal, have seen production rise during Trump’s first year. But that’s largely due to market forces, like increasing international demand.
Trump also used his State of the Union address Tuesday to boast, “We are now, very proudly, an exporter of energy to the world.”
The United States has exported oil, natural gas, coal and other forms of energy for decades, and exports increased dramatically in the last decade. Obama signed a law in 2015 to lift the ban on exporting oil, and implemented policies to ease natural gas exports.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that around 2026, the United States will become a net exporter of energy. For natural gas specifically, the United States became a net exporter for the first time last year.
Most of Trump's energy policies have been enacted through executive actions, which can be undone by a future administration.