About six minutes into a May 26 energy address he gave in North Dakota, Trump condemned the Environmental Protection Agency’s “use of totalitarian taxes” to force the state’s energy companies “to pay multibillion-dollar fines before a penalty is even confirmed, which is actually rather hard to believe.”

“The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against seven companies for the death of 28 birds while the administration fast-tracked wind projects that kill more than a million birds a year — far more than a million birds, I have to tell you, far more,” he said.
Sounds pretty devastating doesn't it?  Well, it might be, it it were true.  But it's not.  Here's the real deal about Trump's statement:

Those two statements contain two errors and one questionable assertion. Trump named the wrong agency, inflated the amount of the fine at least 133,333 times over and used the highest end of estimates about the number of bird deaths from wind turbines. Moreover, a federal judge tossed the duck case out of court in early 2012. No fine was ever paid.

So right in line with current Republican "views" about the environment, Trump blasted the EPA when in fact it was a United Sates Attorney who filed suit in 2011 against  seven companies who, after repeated citations for not fencing and netting shale oil waste pools to prevent birds from being poisoned as state law required, failed to do so.  The U.S. Attorney did impose fines.  But, on appeal, the Government's case was thrown out and no fines were ever paid.   But had the case stuck, a total of $15,000 per bird would have been the maximum.  And, if I can still do multiplication in our unreal world of reality politics in 2016, that would result in a potential maximum fine of  $15,000 X 28 = $420,000.  And, of course this would be divided among seven fairly large of our corporate partners in life; not exactly a company and jobs killing figure.   
And no, there is not a shred of factual evidence that wind turbines kill a million or more birds a year.
But where does all this nonsense come from, one might ask?  After all, it's unlikely that The Donald did his own research in coming up with his energy policies, right? 
Well, as it turns out, another billionaire tycoon like Trump, is apparently where his "information" comes from.  The dead duck story starts with oil billionaire Harold Hamm, whom Donald Trump has hailed as the “king of energy” and who helped introduce Trump at the North Dakota event at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference. The youngest of 13 children of an Oklahoma sharecropper, Hamm, 70, made much of his fortune in North Dakota’s Bakken shale oil region. He is the chief executive of Continental Resources and owns $12 billion of the company’s stock.
Trump said that Hamm has “been amazing right from the beginning” in his assessment of the market — and may have been on more magazine covers than the presumptive Republican nominee himself.
Hamm has been telling the story about dead ducks for years.  Also, other Trump positions in the North Dakota speech mirrored Hamm’s views, such as giving oil drillers greater access to federal lands and shelving protections for endangered species that lie in the path of drilling.  Buoyed by these numbers, Trump promised “complete American energy independence,” a goal that has eluded presidents since the Arab oil embargo of 1973. The United States imports about half the oil it needs.
The biggest source of U.S. imports is Canada. Trump said that he, unlike President Obama, would approve a construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would secure nearly 800,000 barrels a day of crude-oil supplies from Alberta’s oil sands.
Trump said the project would create 42,000 jobs, a figure commonly cited by oil industry groups. In fact, according to pipeline owner TransCanada’s original estimates, the project would create 6,500 direct construction jobs over two years and 7,000 indirect supply-chain jobs. After construction, the pipeline would require fewer than 100 people to monitor pumping stations.
NOTE:  So I'm not sure I'm understanding Trump's "Making America Great Again" campaign slogan correctly.  Here's what I mean. One of the comments to Trump's mashup of facts and figures in the WashPo article I cited, used the example of China's polluted atmosphere in its cities as examples of where Trump's "energy policies" would lead us.  I guess this person must be a Millennial because we Baby Boomers don't need to look towards China to know the effects of dragging America backwards environmentally as Trump proposes.  I readily recall pics of Pittsburgh, PA, shrouded in clouds of poisons, Cleveland's Cuyahoga River aflame from burning oil slicks, Buffalo's Love Canal making young kids sick from factory wastes, Acid Rain burning the leaves off trees throughout the Northeast, etc. etc. Before the EPA was created in 1970, our corporate life partners were free to dump arsenic, lead, cyanide, dioxin and all sorts of toxic waste products into our lakes, stream and rivers as well as into the ground.  They were, you might say, off-loading their "costs" onto the rest of us one of those Socialist strategies that the right wing so despises.  

Along comes the EPA and the Potomac River is swimmable and fishable today.  Smog in our urban centers has been nearly eliminated.  No lakes, rivers and streams are alight as a result of off-loading of factory wastes.  Acid Rain is a thing of the past.  And our corporate life partners are no longer free to poison our land, our atmosphere and our waters with abandon.

So I ask you, if America is not great now, what is Donald Trump talking about?  


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