Campaign 2016

ClimateWire's Lehmann discusses influence of Trump energy adviser on policy proposals

As presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump begins to give more details on his plans for energy and climate policy, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) has emerged as a key voice in Trump's circle of advisers. How influential could Cramer be in shaping an energy and climate platform? On today's The Cutting Edge, ClimateWire Deputy Editor Evan Lehmann discusses the dynamic between Trump and Cramer and previews Trump's scheduled speech next week before a North Dakota oil and gas conference.

Transcript

Monica Trauzzi: Welcome to The Cutting Edge. As presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump begins to give more details on his plans for energy and climate, Congressman Kevin Cramer has emerged as a key voice in Trump's circle of advisers. How influential will Cramer be in shaping Trump's energy and climate platform? Climatewire Deputy Editor Evan Lehmann joins me today. Evan, nice to see you.

Evan Lehmann: Thanks for having me.

Monica Trauzzi: Evan, just how influential is North Dakota's Cramer with Trump, and how does Cramer's record on energy fall in line with what Trump has said?

Evan Lehmann: So he seems to be the Trump campaign's key energy adviser on the Hill right now. He submitted a four-page policy brief on energy to the campaign earlier this week that talks about things like rules on greenhouse gas emissions to the Clean Power Plan and how other rules on methane and things like that could hurt the oil and gas sector. But, you know, it's sort of mysterious how influential he really is. It seems to be mostly a one-way relationship. He hasn't actually talked to Trump about energy for almost two months since appearing on a radio -- television -- radio show in North Dakota in early April.

Monica Trauzzi: So what do you think it is about Cramer that made him attractive to Trump to sort of tap for ideas?

Evan Lehmann: That's a good question. I mean, he's one of the only real energy experts in Congress. He was a member of the North Dakota Public Service Commission for nine years until 2012 when he joined Congress in 2013. So you know, he knows the inside and out of the oil and gas industry really well.

Monica Trauzzi: Trump said this week that he would renegotiate the Paris deal. Is Cramer also giving some insight on international policy dynamics as well?

Evan Lehmann: I don't think he is. You know, I've spoken to other Republicans who have talked about Trump's potential ability to renegotiate the Paris accord to strengthen environmental standards perhaps or workplace standards in different countries, especially China and through different trade agreements. You know, but Obama administration officials dismiss that outright and say they could make the whole thing collapse.

Monica Trauzzi: And you interviewed Cramer recently. Did he give any insight on whether he had been promised a position in a potential Trump administration? What's kind of the level of engagement?

Evan Lehmann: No, he didn't. He didn't say that he was promised anything, but he seems to like the idea. He brightened up when he was asked if, you know, he might be named Energy secretary.

Monica Trauzzi: So Trump is set to speak next week at an oil and gas conference in North Dakota. What can we expect to hear from him?

Evan Lehmann: Yeah, that's a really good question. He's going to speak on Thursday at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, which is a who's who of oil and energy, oil and gas experts, and industry people in the Bakken. You know, it could be a prime place for Trump to talk about how the Clean Power Plan and things like methane rules are affecting the industry there. But it's unclear how sort of policy-driven his speech will be. Perhaps he -- you know, perhaps it's politically, you know, sort of strewn with attacks against Hillary Clinton, about her, you know, progression of Obama's climate initiatives and things like that. So we'll have to sort of see.

Monica Trauzzi: It'll be a really interesting one to watch. Thanks for coming on the show, Evan. Nice to see you.

Evan Lehmann: Thank you.

Monica Trauzzi: The Cutting Edge will return on Friday, June 10th. We will see you then.

[End of Audio]

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