Donald Trump's pick for his energy adviser is no fan of President Obama's climate rules for the oil and gas sector and likely would advise a strong regulatory reform agenda for the presumptive Republican nominee.
Trump reportedly chose Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota as his chief energy adviser on Friday. Cramer is called a climate skeptic and fracking advocate, given his state's position as a leading producer of crude oil from shale.
On Thursday, Cramer issued a statement opposing the administration's release of new regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and natural gas industry, targeting reductions of methane from new and modified fracking wells. Methane, although short-lived, is a highly potent greenhouse gas compared to the more prevalent carbon dioxide.
Cramer's comments suggest he would advise Trump on a pro-growth agenda that would roll back many of Obama's greenhouse gas initiatives, which he says pick "winners and losers" instead of building out the country's resources. He likely would be hostile to environmental groups, which he labels as "extreme" in their views.
"We need all our resources to be successful, but this administration, under the direction of extreme environmentalists, continues to pick winners and losers," Cramer said Thursday, after the Environmental Protection Agency rolled out the new rules. "Today's final methane regulations from the EPA are yet another one-size-fits-all sledge hammer on the fossil fuel industry."
He says the regulations make little sense when the industry already has taken steps to capture methane and stop leaks, as part of a smart business strategy.
"Interestingly enough, methane is pretty much natural gas, which is a product this industry sells," Cramer said. "They're not in the business of wasting methane any more than a farmer is interested in wasting his harvest."
"Regulations, when necessary, need to be tailored to the diverse geography across the United States and overseen by the very people living in those communities, not the federal government," he said
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers from North Dakota are critical of the Obama administration's climate agenda, saying it is unfairly hard on their state, forcing it to make the highest cuts to greenhouse gases under the EPA's Clean Power Plan. The plan is the centerpiece of the president's broad climate agenda. Many scientists blame greenhouse gases for driving manmade climate change.
North Dakota is suing the EPA with 29 other states to kill the far-reaching climate plan, calling it illegal. Oral arguments are set for June 2 at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.