A group of governors from across the United States and from both sides of the political divide have penned an open letter to Donald Trump calling on the newly-elected President to support the development of solar and wind energy. The open letter was penned by the Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition, a bipartisan group of the country’s governors, currently representing twenty states. Specifically, the letter was penned by the governors of Rhode Island and Kansas, on behalf of the Coalition.
Trump’s America First energy plan posted on the White House website calls for increasing coal, oil and natural gas production – making no mention of renewables. He has derided wind and solar power as uneconomical. Despite the president’s lack of enthusiasm for clean power, the industry is a boon in many rural regions that formed that backbone of his electoral support. Rural property owners earn $222 million a year from leasing land to wind farm developers, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Solar companies employed more than 200,000 people last year, and most new installations were in rural areas, according to the letter.
In a Feb. 13 letter to the administration, the group advocates for modernizing the grid and developing more transmission; establishing a bill for offshore wind development in the long term; boosting research and development (R&D) for wind and solar power; and improving the permitting process for wind and solar projects. With the Trump administration’s and Congress’ support of the aforementioned initiatives, the group explains, “the boons of renewable energy can be virtually endless. Members of the coalition have seen the benefits of renewable energy firsthand and agree that expanding renewable energy production is one of the best ways to meet the country’s growing demand for energy,” the letter states.
The Governor’s Wind & Solar Energy Coalition is asking the Trump administration to provide funding for grid modernization, support clean energy research and speed up the permitting process for wind and solar projects. “The boons of renewable energy can be virtually endless with your Administration’s and Congress’ support of the key initiatives detailed here,” the letter, signed by Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, says. “Your support of these initiatives will allow our nation to capitalize on renewable resources, meet the needs of Americans and bolster the economy.”
Strong economic powers like China may take over as the global leaders in renewable energy and leave the U.S. economy depending on Beijing, state governors said. A bipartisan group of state governors working through a wind and solar energy coalition called on President Donald Trump to put his political weight behind the nation’s renewable energy sector. “If the United States does not continue robust federal research and development programs in wind and solar energy, we will cede leadership in these critical technologies to other nations that have demonstrated ongoing high priority commitments to these technologies, such as China,” the letter read.
The message is the latest indication that Trump’s criticism of renewable energy puts him at odds with much of corporate America and members of his own party. Since he was elected, Republican governors in Illinois and Michigan signed legislation backing wind and solar. Last month, more than 600 U.S. companies issued a statement urging Trump not to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, saying it will generate trillions of dollars in investments.
McConnell filed cloture on Monday night for Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to lead the Office of Management and Budget, Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Wilbur Ross to head the Commerce Department, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to be the Interior secretary, Ben Carson to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to be Energy secretary.
The most important thing about a carbon tax plan proposed last week may be the people behind it: prominent Republicans like James Baker III, George Shultz and Henry Paulson Jr. Their endorsement of the idea, variations of which have been suggested before, may be a breakthrough for a party that has closed its eyes to the perils of man-made climate change and done everything in its power to thwart efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This gang of Republican elder statesmen — they call themselves the Climate Leadership Council — is not made up of the usual environmentalists, which is why their proposal might gain traction, though probably not right away.
The party of Lincoln now has the opportunity of a lifetime to bring their ideas that create jobs and inspire the ingenuity of a nation. It’s an extraordinary time to think outside of the box – or rather to look beyond the Beltway – for innovative ideas that fellow Republicans have embraced, such as the promise of clean energy solutions, that have had real results for everyday Americans.
A Pew Research poll showed 65 percent of Americans support expanding clean energy over fossil fuels. Video provided by Newsy Newslook Coal may make a political comeback in Washington, where President Trump is eager to make good on his promise to revive the sagging industry. But politics aside, it’s the greener forms of energy that are changing substantially the way the USA produces, uses and even saves energy, particularly when it comes to electricity.