Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz oppose carbon taxes and President Barack Obama’s climate rules, but disagree on issues like whether federal land should be sold back to states.
The two GOP candidates hashed out their positions on the environment and U.S. energy needs in an American Energy Alliance (AEA) survey. AEA is a free market group that opposes overreaching energy regulations.
Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, who is also running for president, refused to complete the survey.
The survey gives voters a good understanding of where the candidates stand on energy and environmental regulations, Thomas Pyle, the group’s president, said in a press statement on AEA’s website.
Pyle said Trump’s rejection of carbon taxes is striking, especially considering several oil producers such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell have publicly championed the idea of carbon taxes.
“The carbon tax is a legitimate threat, because there are companies that have basically been building it into their books as a liability,” Pyle noted. “They’re all sort of individually picking a number, and I think some of them would love there to be a uniform number that’s lower than they price.”
Both candidates agree Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP) is a burden on energy providers and consumers. They also believe the Environmental Protection Agency, which is tasked with regulating CPP, needs to be scrutinized before it creates a new rule.
“The Obama administration committed an overreach that punishes rather than helps Americans,” Trump said in the survey when asked about his position concerning CPP. “Under my administration, all EPA rules will be reviewed. Any regulation that imposes undue costs on business enterprises will be eliminated.”
Perhaps the most stark disagreement between the two candidates concerns whether federal land should be divested and given back to state institutions and private citizens.
Cruz notched out a strident tone in the survey, arguing the “federal government already owns too much land.” So, instead of moving to gobble up more land, the federal government needs to “divest most of its current land holdings either through transfers to the States or sales to private individuals.”
Trump, on the other hand, believes the federal government needs to enter into shared governance with state governments in order to make sure federally controlled lands are regulated more efficiently.
Former presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio echoed Cruz’s sentiments in January. Rubio told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board he believes the federal government owns too much land. He stopped short of suggesting the federal government should completely divest its land ownership.
“The state of Nevada is an example — it’s almost entirely owned by the federal government. And it goes well beyond the legitimate need of land ownership for defense purposes, for example,” Rubio said.
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