U.S. ELECTIONS -- TRUMP CHOOSES CLIMATE CHANGE SKEPTIC TO ADVISE HIM ON ENERGY

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13 may 2016

Trump taps climate change skeptic as energy adviser...

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK | By Valerie Volcovici and Emily Flitter, Reuters, May 13, 2016

Donald Trump on Friday picked a prominent climate change skeptic to help him craft his energy policy and pushed back against renewed calls that he release his income tax returns - saying his tax rate is "none of your business."

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee is seeking to build out his policy proposals as he pivots from campaigning for his party's nomination to a likely general election matchup with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Among those he has asked for help is U.S. Republican Representative Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, one of the country's most ardent oil and gas drilling advocates and climate change skeptics. North Dakota has been at the forefront of the U.S. shale oil and gas boom.

Trump's team asked Cramer, who has endorsed Trump, to write a white paper, or detailed report, on his energy policy ideas, according to Cramer and sources familiar with the matter.

Cramer said in an interview that his white paper would emphasize the dangers of foreign ownership of U.S. energy assets, as well as what he characterized as burdensome taxes and over-regulation. Trump will have an opportunity to float some of the ideas at an energy summit in Bismarck, North Dakota on May 26, Cramer said.

The senator was also among a group of Trump advisers who recently met with lawmakers from Western energy states, who hope Trump will open more federal land for drilling, a lawmaker who took part in the meeting said.

A spokeswoman for Trump's campaign did not comment.

Environmental groups, and Clinton's campaign, quickly attacked Trump for tapping Cramer.

"Kevin Cramer has consistently backed reckless and dangerous schemes to put the profits of fossil fuel executives before the health of the public, so he and Trump are a match made in polluter heaven," Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce said in an emailed statement.

The Clinton campaign also criticized the move.

“Donald Trump’s choice of outspoken climate (change) denier Kevin Cramer to advise him on energy policy is just the latest piece of evidence that letting him get near the White House would put our children’s health and futures at risk," said campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson.

Trump has been light on the details of his energy policy, though he recently told supporters in West Virginia that the coal industry would thrive if he were president. He has also claimed global warming is a concept "created by and for the Chinese" to hurt U.S. business.

Clinton, meanwhile, has advocated shifting the country to 50 percent clean energy by 2030, promised heavy regulation of fracking, and said her prospective administration would put coal companies "out of business."


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