Trump Is Expanding the Koch War On Renewable Energy

America as a world leader in anything other than waging wars and bi-monthly gun massacres is declining rapidly since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration. If it isn’t the Trump administration agencies refuting science on a variety of topics, or an honest-to-dog rush toward an evangelical theocracy, America is devolving and reverting to a by-gone era when fossil fuels were the only source of reliable power on Earth. Part and parcel of that lurch backwards is sating the greed of the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel cabal that demands eliminating any energy sources that are alternatives to fossil fuels. It does not matter one iota how cheap, plentiful, environmentally friendly or beneficial to the people’s health and welfare clean and renewable sources are, Trump and the Koch brothers want them to go away.

Two weeks ago when Trump announced steep tariffs on solar panels he lied and swore the purpose was to save and create a wealth of American jobs. Of course that was pure mendacity because the number of American jobs in manufacturing solar panels is far less than 2,000 in America for two specific reasons. First, the solar cell manufacturing process is highly mechanized and requires hardly any human labor. Second, advanced nations such as China began investing in solar manufacturing at about the same time the Koch brothers tasked Republicans with killing the renewable energy industry. America as a solar cell manufacturing power never took off because there was no urgency in investing in or developing a new technology that did not enrich the fossil fuel industry.

That idiotic lack of action allowed China to take an American invention and develop it into a highly profitable industry that left America behind and elevated China as the world leader in solar panel manufacturing. Trump’s imposition of tariffs was solely to make solar energy more costly for Americans according to the Koch brothers’ demand. The solar industry said Trump will also have killed off a tad over 23,000 good jobs in the solar installation and maintenance industry, and an untold number of related jobs according to conservative estimates released a couple of days ago.

At the time of Trump’s assault on solar, many commenters said Trump was really only preserving “American jobs for Americans” in the renewable energy sector. They also claimed there was no dastardly intent to harm renewable energy, and that Trump was not doing the bidding of the Koch brothers and their fossil fuel cohorts. It should have been enlightening to those commenters that Trump is fossil fuel’s puppet when he sang the praises of something that does not exist during his speech to Congress – “beautiful clean coal.” According to the leading coal industry CEO Trump panders to for support, “there is no such thing as clean coal.”

Now, to verify that Trump is not only targeting solar and that he is on a crusade to kill off renewable energy for the Koch brothers, the White House is proposing to drastically slash Department of Energy (DOE) funding for research and development of renewable energy; regardless if it is solar, wind, geothermal or bioenergy. The Washington Post got a copy of the draft document showing Trump wants to eviscerate any and all DOE programs related to energy efficiency and renewable energy, including drastic Energy Department staffing cuts.

As surrogate for the Koch brothers, Trump wants a 72 percent cut in spending for the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), including a massive cut in the DOE labor force. That labor force is responsible for conducting “research, development, grants and more aimed at developing and deploying energy efficiency and renewable technology.” The DOE has played an important role in “dramatically reducing the costs of solar power” and energy efficiency across the board and it explains why the Koch brothers are not about to allow it to go any farther now that they own the federal government.

The Koch administration also demands, and Trump wants to deliver, an 82 percent cut in research on fuel efficient vehicles, an 82 percent reduction in bioenergy technologies, and a 78 percent cut in solar energy technology research. It is, no matter how one assesses it, an all-out attack on renewable and clean energy for the sole benefit of the Koch brothers and their fossil fuel cohort’s continued profits and monopoly on energy.

Trump also intends on slashing funding for research into other alternative energy sources like wind, hydro and geothermal power because they are clean, cheaper, renewable, create new jobs and industries, and most importantly, they reduce the need and use of dirty fossil fuels. Obviously, those alternatives to fossil fuels also aid in combating anthropogenic climate change and a world of health issues killing off over 200,000 Americans unnecessarily every year.

To get a better grasp on just how far the new Koch-run White House is crusading to profit fossil fuel, the Trump administration is also demanding that Congress “abolish the weatherization program” because it both trained and employed thousands of workers and aided in reducing utility costs for tens-of-thousands of homeowners; mostly elderly and lower income Americans.

One EERE employee who spoke anonymously out of fear of reprisals said Trump’s proposals “show that we’ve made no inroads in terms of convincing the administration of our value, and if anything, our value based on these numbers has dropped.” That is not an accurate depiction of what is transpiring. If anything, it shows that Trump and his fossil fuel masters do indeed see the value of the EERE because better energy efficiency and cheaper renewable energy is cutting into fossil fuel’s profits and monopoly on energy.

As a fair number of commenters noted, Trump will probably not succeed in wiping out renewable energy in America over the long term, and it is just as likely that a few Republicans in Congress will not go along with all of the DOE cuts the Koch brothers want. However, there is no denying that Trump’s tariffs will kill jobs and raise the cost of solar energy, and coupled with any cuts to the EERE, any progress America has made in embracing renewable energy will be retarded to protect fossil fuel’s monopoly on energy.

Possibly worse for this backward nation is that while the rest of the civilized and developing world progress technologically and economically on into the 21st Century, America under Trump and the Kochs is reverting to dirty 20th Century technology to benefit the fossil fuel industry. It is worth mentioning that Trump can never claim the cuts to the DOE’s renewable energy activities are borne of cost-cutting because the fossil fuel industry will still garner tens-of-billions in taxpayer subsidies – partially paid for with cuts to renewable energy programs.