Kevin Cramer’s Ideas for Making American Energy Great Again

  • Congressman Cramer on what he’s advised Trump’s campaign
  • Cramer says wind, RFS incentives should be phased out, too

Donald Trump should focus on spurring production of U.S. energy -- be it coal or wind -- to enhance national security, a congressional adviser to the campaign said.

Representative Kevin Cramer, a Republican from North Dakota, said he’s provided the Trump campaign a four-page outline of ideas, including curbing lawsuits from environmentalists, speeding up federal approvals of pipelines and investigating unfair trading practices by OPEC.

"I think the national-security angle is really the richest," Cramer said in an interview at the Capitol in Washington. "We can use the peaceful tools of energy development against the bad guys." 

He said energy security was a focus of his policy paper. Cramer has been tapped to advise Trump ahead of his appearance at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismark, North Dakota, where the Republican presidential candidate is scheduled to speak on May 26. 

The second-term Republican lawmaker said he is backing legislation to set up a U.S. commission to look into whether there is collusion or monopoly pricing by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. It would "send a clear message to the competitors that we’re watching, and we hope everybody plays good in the sandbox," Cramer said. 

There’s also an extensive list of Environmental Protection Agency regulations that Cramer says should be tossed, beginning with the Clean Power Plan and followed by just-issued methane curbs.

"Let’s start with a states-first regulatory regime, roll back a lot of the federal regulations," Cramer said. "Let states handle methane and fracking."

Cramer, who offered an early endorsement of Trump, said he’s told the campaign that it should advocate letting two popular government programs, the Renewable Fuel Standard and production tax credit for wind power, expire. 

“I think the whole thing should be allowed to expire because the market has been created.” he said, referring to the RFS. "Free markets are free markets and they help keep the price down for consumers." The same logic applies to the wind tax credit, which was extended through 2019 in last year’s spending deal. It shouldn’t be extended again, he said.

Cramer also recommended alterations to the requirements for bringing lawsuits under the Endangered Species Act, specifically changes that would "prevent law firms from filing law suits on behalf of plants and animals" too easily. "Let’s make sure there are people filing these lawsuits that can demonstrate some standing," he said.

The self-described climate-change skeptic said he would go further than Trump, and walk away from President Barack Obama’s agreement to sign the Paris climate accord.

"I’m not Donald Trump, but I know that’s a bad deal," he said. "I’d be all for just pulling out."

Trump told Reuters he is "not a big fan" of the Paris climate accord because other countries won’t adhere to it, and "China is spewing into the atmosphere." Trump said that at a minimum he would renegotiate the pact; or he could just "do something else."

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