Energy & Environment

GOP mischaracterizes Biden’s energy agenda in convention speeches

United Press

President Trump and his allies mischaracterized Joe Biden’s energy agenda at several points during the Republican National Convention. 

They made statements that included saying the Democratic presidential candidate wanted to end the production of certain types of fossil fuels, to suggesting he wanted to eliminate gas-powered cars, neither of which are part of Biden’s plans 

Their comments came as part of a larger goal of painting the former vice president as extreme and amid attempts to tie the relatively centrist candidate to the farther-left wing of his party. 

Speeches by Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) all contained at least exaggerated suggestions about what Biden wants to do as president. 

Trump, during his speech lasting more than an hour, said that Biden wanted to stop producing several fossil fuels. 

“Biden has promised to abolish the production of American oil, coal, shale and natural gas laying waste to the economies of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico, destroying those states,” he said. 

The Trump campaign pointed The Hill to an instance on the campaign trail where Biden said “we’re going to end fossil fuel,” however, his energy plan does not call for this. 

Instead, he has expressed support for achieving a carbon-free power sector by 2035, but this doesn’t mean he would eliminate the use of fossil fuels in other parts of the economy. 

His plan calls for the government to stop allowing new permits for oil and gas drilling on public lands and in public waters, but wouldn’t stop drilling on private land or get rid of existing permits for public lands drilling. 

His plan also calls for ending government subsidies that boost the fossil fuel industry. 

Pence also claimed that Biden wanted to get rid of fossil fuels and specifically a controversial method for extracting them known as fracking. 

“Where this president achieved energy independence for the United States, Joe Biden would abolish fossil fuels, end fracking and impose a regime of climate change regulations that would drastically increase the cost of living for working families,” he said during the convention’s third night. 

However, Biden doesn’t plan to get rid of fracking, except for new fracking on public lands, as part of his plan to end oil and gas development there. Trump has also repeatedly claimed that Biden wants to ban fracking even though the Democrat has not expressed desire to do this. 

The Trump campaign pointed The Hill to an instance where Biden said he would support “no new fracking” in one of the Democratic debates. Biden’s campaign later walked back that statement, saying that the former vice president was simply referring to his support for no new fracking on public land. 

Oil and gas development could be a key issue in swing states like Pennsylvania, where it plays a big role in the economy. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) suggested that Biden and the Democrats essentially would get rid of gas-fueled cars and farming animals. 

“The Democratic Party of Joe Biden is pushing this so-called ‘Green New Deal.’ If given power, they would essentially ban animal agriculture and eliminate gas-powered cars,” she said in a video played at the convention on Wednesday.

Biden’s plan does not call for an end to gasoline cars, but he does hope to tighten emissions standards and speed up the use of electric vehicles. 

It also calls for decarbonizing the food and agriculture sector and “leveraging agriculture to remove carbon dioxide from the air and store it in the ground” but doesn’t say it will get rid of livestock. 

Asked about these statements, Ernst’s reelection campaign pointed The Hill to the Biden campaign’s praise of the Green New Deal, which aims to mobilize the economy to fight climate change.

In his own climate plan, Biden calls the Green New Deal a “crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face” but he has not endorsed the legislation, according to his campaign. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced a resolution outlining the Green New Deal’s policies. It calls for removing “pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible” and removing “pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible.”

The resolution calls for supporting family farming and building a more sustainable food system, but does not call for the end of animal agriculture. Similarly, it calls for investing in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, public transit and high-speed rail, but does not endorse getting rid of gas-powered vehicles. 


Tags 2020 GOP convention Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Climate change Donald Trump Ed Markey farming Joe Biden Joni Ernst Mike Pence

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