With a lot of the coverage of Election 2016 being about who insulted whose wife and when it is easy to forget that real issues are being decided that will be addressed in vastly difference ways depending on who becomes president. As Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz responded to some questions about their views on energy and environmental policy. Not surprisingly, the two men see eye to eye on a lot, especially eliminating energy subsidies and the undesirability of a carbon tax. But significant differences exist as well.
The main disagreement between the two men concerns the Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates a certain percentage of ethanol be added to gasoline. Cruz would see the RFS phased out, but Trump would like to keep it. The question came up during the Iowa Caucus, which, ironically, Cruz won despite the fact that his opposition to the RFS might hurt that state’s corn farmers.
The two candidates also differ on federal lands and the regulation of natural resources thereon. Cruz would see most federal lands either divested to the states or sold to private companies and individuals. Trump would have an interim step in which the federal government and the states would establish some kind of joint control of federal lands, freeing up more natural resources for exploitation.
The main takeaway is that despite the increasingly bitter personal animosity that exists between the two men, they both view energy and environmental matters from a free market perspective. With the exception of the Renewable Fuel Standard and federal land management, the policies of the two men are remarkably similar.