The Personal Blog of Stephen Sekula

Signs and Portents: White House Website Energy Policy Sketch

A screen capture of the energy policy page from 1/22/17.

In a continuing effort to collect the signs and portents from the Trump administration that might signal actual science policy, here is a quick look at the White House website [1]. After Friday, the website changed over to the new administration and with that came a set of new issues that Trump’s administration has made the centerpieces of the site. Notable under the energy policy section is this:

President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.


In case you are wondering what the “Climate Action Plan” is, it used to be a page on the White House website but is gone now with the change of administration. Using the internet “Wayback Machine,” you can find this from 1/19/17:

The White House website on the climate action plan prior to the Trump administration.

I downloaded the PDF to preserve it here, to remind us when the Executive Branch used scientific information to make policy frameworks:

President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan (PDF)

It was a series of executive action directions that the White House took, in the absence of action from the Congress in response to scientific information, to try to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s worth noting that Trump has repeatedly stated that policies like this resulted in the collapse of the coal industry, but this claim has been widely and repeatedly debunked. In fact, it’s largly cheap natural gas, the result of hydraulic fracturing, and the emergence of renewal energy sources (like wind energy and solar) that competed with coal and caused the coal industry to have to compete with better fuels (in other words, coal lost the free-market fight). [2]

These are still just words, and Trump’s words are never to be trusted. But since these have now appeared on the White House website it becomes a policy direction, and thus should be a more reliable signal of intended action.


[2] c.f.