The president spoke Thursday about the future of U.S. energy policy, and began by smugly reminiscing about the days when everyone said the U.S. was going to run out of oil and natural gas. “But we now know that was all a big, beautiful myth,” Trump said. Then he proceeded to push one big, beautiful myth after another.
He said America has “extraordinary energy abundance,” which is something “we didn’t know of even five years ago and certainly ten years ago.” That’s not quite true, as the Wall Street Journal’s Russell Gold noted on Twitter. Industry saw the enormity of U.S. natural gas reserves as far back as 2006, and by 2011 the mainstream media was reporting on this abundance of reserves.
“As you all know, I approved the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline in my first week,” he said. “Thousands of jobs.” But Trump did not approve either pipeline. Rather, he signed memos aimed at speeding both approvals. TransCanada’s approval process is still ongoing, and the Dakota Access Pipeline did not receive its final permit until early February. Second, those “thousands of jobs” are temporary—the Dakota Access Pipeline creates only 40 permanent jobs, while Keystone XL creates only 35 permanent jobs.
Trump bragged about how nobody opposed his pipeline decisions. “I though I’d take a lot of heat—I didn’t take any heat,” he said. “I approved them, and that was it. I figured we would have all sorts of protests, we didn’t have anything.” This is hilariously false; more than 200,000 people participated in the People’s Climate March in April, one of the tenets of which was opposition to the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline. Protesters also surrounded the White House the day after Trump issued his pipeline executive orders.
Trump also took credit for an increase liquified natural gas exports, which, as Amy Harder of Axios notes, President Barack Obama was responsible for.
And no Trump energy speech would be complete without coal. “We’ve finally ended the war on coal,” he said, despite most industry analysts claims that coal is still dying and there’s nothing Trump can do to stop it. The president said his new policy of allowing coal leasing on federal lands will be good for the environment, because “the land will be left in better shape than it is right now.” Trump also called out by name the coal magnate Bob Murray, who donated $300,00 to Trump’s inauguration and at least $100,000 to Trump’s campaign.
Most of Trump’s claims were gibberish, but his actions—propping up fossil fuel development with little regard for the climate or environment, or facts in general—are very real. Happy “Energy Week.”