Trump’s Jab at the Fossil Fuel Industry

In a blow to the fossil fuels industry, Trump is planning to lift a federal ban on sales of higher ethanol blends of gasoline in the summer.

Amid concerns that burning ethanol-rich fuel in summer added to the smog, there was a ban in place that banned the use of renewable blends in hot weather.

The program, Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), sets a minimum level of renewable fuels to be added to the fuel sold at gas stations. Over the years, the minimum level slowly rises, weaning the market off fossil fuels.

The idea is to substitute a portion of the petroleum fuel with renewable fuel so that the greenhouse gas emissions of the renewable fuel would be lower than the fossil fuel it replaced.

Since the renewable-blended fuel meant a reduced sale of fossil fuels to the public, the fossil fuel industry hated the idea from the beginning. And now as Trump plans to lift the ban to allow the year-wide use of the blended gasoline, the American Petroleum Institute, a lobbyist group, has opposed the move.

Today, NYTimes ran 3 pieces discussing climate change amid the release of an alarming report by the IPCC. 2 of those pieces were news articles and the third one was an Op-Ed. There was no mention of the IPCC report in the Science section of the paper.

Interestingly enough, it was the NYTimes that broke the news about Trump’s plan to lift the federal ban on a portion of the RFS on the same day and in the same paper. This is true of the New York version of NYTimes, other versions may differ.

But where the tone of their reporting on IPCC report was somber, activistic, alarming, and ambitious, Lisa Friedman sounded awfully sad when reporting Trump’s ban to lift the ban.

Rather than being elated at the prospect of Trump taking a stand against profit-seeking fossil fuel companies, Lisa gave it a political twist, which might be fair. Trump rarely does the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing.

She quotes political observers who say that since farmers had to face the brunt of Trump’s trade war with China, he is reaching out to them just in time for the midterms. That could well be an accurate analysis but in the light of the IPCC report, it helps rather than hurt us.

But where NYTimes habitually reports Trump’s off-the-head remarks as his policy positions, they look over some of the good things he has done to give them a political look. Lifting the ban on the use of blended-gasoline is one of them. Rather than use that politically, use it as a sign for hope—if for nothing else, to have a consistent tone in the paper.

Contrary to how it ought to be, NYTimes’ news reports are more conflictive with each other than the writers in their Op-Ed section.

The biggest issue I have with Lisa is that nowhere in her piece does she mention one bit of positive impact Trump’s plan would have on the environment. I wouldn’t even have mentioned her in this blog if she hadn’t looked over the most glaring impact of the plan.

Furthermore, Lisa is described as a ‘reporter on the climate desk‘. Nowhere in her bio does it say that she is a political analyst or a political reporter yet her reporting on this important environmental issue focuses solely on the political aspects.

It’s not just Lisa, NYTimes as a whole has grown stonkingly political to the extent that its’ readers remain oblivious to all other aspects of Trump’s actions and policies.

Then Lisa goes into this Chuck Grassley thing implying that his stance on Kavanaugh was in doubt and that lifting the federal ban was Trump’s way of getting close to it. Chuck Grassley does head the judiciary committee but did very little in ‘shepherding’ Kavanaugh through the Senate.

If to anyone, the credit for that should go to Jeff Flake. If not for him, the vote on Kavanaugh would have taken place in the absence of an FBI probe into Dr. Ford’s allegations and thus would have cast doubts about his conduct 36 years ago, enough to have given the likes of Susan Collins a reason to vote no.

I understand that lifting of the federal ban on RFS is not even 1/1000th of what Trump could do to save the planet but anything that puts the fossil fuel industry into a fit deserves praise even if it helps Trump politically.


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