We are not holding our breath that President Trump will start backing up his administration’s environmental agenda with scientific facts. But we are holding him accountable for what he says.

President Trump’s torrent of misleading statements and flat-out lies has an army of journalists working 24/7 to set the record straight. To help those who focus, as we do, on climate, energy, and other environmental issues, NRDC will call out Trump whenever he distorts the facts about such matters. Here, we offer our inaugural edition of Trump Lies. We expect to update it regularly.

ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Lie

On his personal Twitter feed, Trump has called climate change, among other things, “a hoax,” “an expensive hoax,” “fictional,” “mythical,” “a canard,” “a con job,” “bullshit” and “laughable.”

Reality

Trump willfully ignores the extensive scientific evidence of climate change compiled by the federal government he now leads.

The earth’s surface temperature last year was the warmest since official records began in 1880, making 2016 the third consecutive year to set a new heat record and the fifth year to break the record since the beginning of the 21st century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Surface temperatures have risen at an average rate of about 0.17 degrees Celsius per decade for the past 45 years. That’s more than twice as fast as the 0.07°C increase observed for the entire period of recorded observations (1880–2015).

Other inescapable indicators, according to NOAA’s Global Climate Dashboard, include a 25 percent increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since 1958 and a roughly 40 percent increase since the Industrial Revolution; an acceleration of sea level rise from a rate of 1.7 mm/year throughout most of the past century to 3.2 mm/year since 1993; and a decrease in the average thickness of 30 well-studied reference glaciers by more than 60 feet since 1980.

Even if Trump thinks climate change is a “hoax,” he’s in the minority. Here’s who does believe it’s a real danger that must be addressed:


Lie

“I have a very open mind about it. We’re going to look at it very carefully. It’s one issue that’s interesting because there are few things where there’s more division than climate change” and “It’s a very complex subject. I’m not sure anybody is ever going to really know.”
—November 23, 2016, interview with the New York Times

Reality

More than 90 percent of publishing climate scientists, according to multiple studies, agree that humans are causing recent climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s conclusions about humans’ role in driving climate change have gotten stronger and more certain since the scientific body was established by the United Nations in 1988.

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ON THE PARIS AGREEMENT

The quotes that follow are taken from Trump’s June 1, 2017, statement withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement, which united 195 countries in a pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally.

Lie

“[T]he United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord . . . but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris accord or a really entirely new transaction.”

Reality

Under international law, the United States can leave the agreement only according to the terms laid out in the agreement. The Paris Agreement prevents countries from withdrawing until “three years from the date on which [it] has entered into force.” The agreement took effect on November 4, 2016, so the United States legally cannot give notice until November 4, 2019―and notification won’t take effect until November 4, 2020, after the next presidential election.

Furthermore, three leading members of the European Union say the agreement is not open to renegotiation. These nations―France, Germany, and Italy―also reaffirmed their “commitment to swiftly implement” the deal in a rare joint statement following Trump’s remarks.

It’s worth noting that the United States does not need to “renegotiate” anything to revise its target for emissions reductions because each country determined its own national targets. American legal experts have made it clear the global community should regard Trump’s claim that the United States is withdrawing as “legally meaningless.”


Lie

“The Paris climate accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers—who I love—and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.”

Reality

The Obama administration negotiated the Paris Agreement in the country’s best interests, winning concessions that: (1) allowed the United States to determine its own emissions reduction targets and plans to meet those targets, (2) made all countries responsible for developing plans to reduce their emissions, and (3) held China and India to the same standards for transparency in reporting their emissions by using a common set of rules for both developed and developing countries. If the United States does not implement the Paris Agreement, it won’t be able to ensure that the common set of rules is enforced.

The lead U.S. negotiator in Paris said, “We got an awful lot of what we wanted” shortly after the historic agreement was announced in December 2015.

Furthermore, Americans stood to benefit from implementation of the Paris Agreement because it would lower the risk of costly climate-driven natural disasters while boosting job creation, investment, and economic growth.


Lie

“Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the nonbinding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”

Reality

A nonbinding agreement, by definition, cannot impose burdens of any kind on a signatory. All national commitments in the Paris accord are voluntary and determined by the individual countries themselves.


Lie

“Compliance with the terms of the Paris Accord . . . could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Economic Research Associates. This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs.”

Reality

The clean energy economy that would flourish if the United States remained in the Paris framework could create more than half a million jobs and add $52 billion to GDP by 2030, according to a June 2017 study by Environmental Entrepreneurs. Clean energy jobs are the fastest-growing segment of the energy sector and already employ three million Americans.

Moreover, the report Trump is referring to is rife with exaggerated and deceptive claims that inflate the costs and ignore the benefits of climate action. (It was financed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Council for Capital Formation, both vocal foes of the agreement). The eye-popping numbers Trump cites are derived from a fictional worst-case scenario based on imposing the most stringent GHG emissions limits possible on industries such as oil, cement, and steel, which would face the highest costs per ton of GHG reduction.

This ignores the many strategies that could both reduce carbon emissions and save consumers billions in energy costs over the next decade. These include making homes and other buildings more energy-efficient and investing in more zero-carbon power sources, primarily wind and solar, which are already the cheapest form of new power in the United States without subsidies.

The report also ignores the enormous potential of energy efficiency initiatives to help industry save money, retain manufacturing jobs, and become more competitive in the global marketplace.


Lie

“According to this same study, by 2040, compliance with the commitments put into place by the previous administration would cut production for the following sectors: paper, down 12 percent; cement, down 23 percent; iron and steel, down 38 percent; coal, down 86 percent; natural gas, down 31 percent.”

Reality

The only way to project such draconian production losses is by assuming that industry alone must make a significant chunk of the emissions reductions needed to meet the United States’ target (26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, and at least 80 percent by 2050). The dramatic production drops also assume only limited use of low-cost options to reduce industrial emissions, such as energy efficiency measures. This assumption forces the analysis to project that industries will cut production rather than improve operations in ways that would make them more competitive in the global market.

The scenario also ignores ample opportunities to cut emissions in other economic sectors, such as electric power generation. Smart investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy lower emissions, save consumers money, and create more jobs and economic opportunities for the United States. More to the point, the National Economic Research Associates report included an alternative way to meet the United States’ 2050 target at a relatively low cost.


Lie

“As someone who cares deeply about the environment, which I do, I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States, which is what it does—the world’s leader in environmental protection―while imposing no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters.”

Reality

Setting aside Trump’s questionable assertion that he “cares deeply about the environment,” everything else the president says here is just plain wrong. In fact, the United States is one of the world’s largest polluters, second only to China and well ahead of the European Union, India (which ranks third among individual countries), Russia, and Japan. And while China and India are now significant polluters, their cumulative contributions to climate change are much smaller than those of the United States or the European Union. Historically (from 1850 to 2010), China and India are responsible for only 10 percent and 6 percent of the current level of global warming, respectively. The United States and European Union contributed 23 and 17 percent, respectively. And thanks to the Paris Agreement, emissions rates per person in China are projected to never reach the levels per person reached in the United States.


Lie

“The cost to the economy at this time would be close to $3 trillion in lost GDP and 6.5 million industrial jobs [by 2040], while households would have $7,000 less income and, in many cases, much worse than that.”

Reality

Again, Trump is throwing out wildly misleading figures from a discredited report. To get such overblown estimates, it relies on a fictional scenario that enormously overstates the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while ignoring the economic, social, and environmental benefits of doing so. Check out NRDC’s full fact-check of the report and the polluter-backed sponsors behind this misinformation.

Trump’s statement ignores the main point—that there is a massive cost of not acting to slow climate change. Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions, a division of Citibank, estimates that global GDP will total $260 trillion by 2060 and that ignoring climate change would cost anywhere from $20 trillion to $72 trillion. In addition, curbing greenhouse gas emissions would save $1.8 trillion in global energy expenditures.

A report on the economic risks of climate change by the Risky Business Project details the enormous price of “business as usual” to critical sectors of the economy (agriculture, energy, and coastal infrastructure) and regions of the country, as well as to public health and labor productivity. Among its estimates: hurricanes and coastal storms will wreak $35 billion in damages annually within the next 15 years, and rising energy needs will balloon residential and commercial ratepayers’ bills by as much as $12 billion a year in the next 25 years.


Lie

“China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years—13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us.”

Reality

China committed to reduce its carbon intensity (carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP) by 60 to 65 percent of 2005 levels. This commitment recognizes that China’s economy is still developing and means that China’s carbon dioxide emissions cannot grow faster than the Chinese economy. China’s carbon dioxide emissions must top out by 2030.

China already has the most solar and wind power capacity in the world, having installed nearly two times as many solar panels and three times as much wind power in 2016 as the United States. China is the world’s largest investor in renewable energy. It committed $88.2 billion in 2016 to renewables, compared with the U.S. investment of $58.8 billion, and in January 2017, it announced plans to invest $360 billion through 2020 and create 13 million clean energy jobs.

Unlike the United States, China has a comprehensive plan in place to control its greenhouse gas emissions. This plan puts the country on track to exceed its 2030 goals in the Paris deal and continue its transition to low-carbon energy. It includes mandatory caps on total energy consumption, coal consumption, and carbon intensity and establishes specific targets for reducing coal use in 10 regions with significant air pollution.


Lie

“China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to the agreement.”

Reality

The Paris Agreement does not restrict countries from building power plants. Countries decide for themselves how to best reduce emissions―for example, by shutting down dirty coal plants, improving energy efficiency, or switching to renewable energy. China canceled plans for more than 100 coal plants (including some already under construction) last year because of the rapid rise of renewables and lagging energy demand, according to Ecofys. Coal consumption has fallen for the past three years and will likely decline further, Ecofys reports. If the trend continues, hindsight may show that China’s carbon dioxide emissions from energy use actually peaked in 2014, well before its 2030 target under the Paris Agreement.


Lie

“India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it: India can double their coal production. We’re supposed to get rid of ours.”

Reality

Again, the agreement does not tell countries whether they can mine coal or build coal plants. Countries decide for themselves how to reduce their emissions.

More than 200 million of India’s people lack access to reliable electricity, so the country must continue expanding energy capacity. To rein in greenhouse gas emissions at the same time, India committed to cutting the emissions intensity of its economy by 33 percent to 35 percent of 2005 levels by 2030. India also agreed to boost to non-fossil fuels’ share of its installed electric power capacity to 40 percent by 2030. These targets, plus its rapid transition to a low-carbon economy, make it doubtful India would double coal production by 2020.

India’s December 2016 Draft Energy Plan projects that the country won’t need any new coal-fired power plants, aside from those already under construction, after 2022. It also predicts that current policies would significantly slow the growth of carbon dioxide emissions over the next decade. India has already canceled plans for several coal projects. As with China, this trend is at least partially driven by the falling cost of solar energy. India’s energy minister announced in February 2017 the country plans to double the capacity of its solar parks by building 50 new ones and boost solar energy ninefold by 2020.

Bloomberg’s New Energy Outlook for 2017 predicts that from 2030, solar power will begin to “sideline” coal in India as solar capacity is installed twice as fast in the 2030s as in the 2020s. By 2050, India could completely eliminate coal from its energy mix, according to the Energy and Resources Institute in Delhi.


Lie

“India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.”

Reality

India’s commitment that 40 percent of its installed electric power capacity will come from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 does depend on technology assistance and low-cost international financing (including support from the Green Climate Fund). This doesn’t mean developed countries will be forced to donate “billions and billions of dollars” in direct foreign aid to India. It simply means that India will need their help to achieve this goal.

Trump not only gets his facts wrong, but fails to see the potential economic bonanza this creates for U.S. clean energy technology exporters. The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy estimates that meeting the country’s clean energy goals will require $100 billion in investment over the next six years.


Lie

“Even Europe is allowed to continue construction of coal plants.”

Reality

The European Union is going to be retiring coal plants, not building new ones. Coal consumption is expected to plummet through 2040 as the region retires 110 gigawatts of coal capacity, led by Germany (22 GW) and Britain (14 GW), according to Bloomberg New Energy Outlook for 2017. Total investment in renewable energy through 2040 is projected to average $40 billion a year and hit $1 trillion.

The European Union set itself an ambitious target of slashing emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 in the Paris accord. Its Renewable Energy Directive commits the E.U. to a binding target of getting at least 27 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, while its Energy Efficiency Directive sets a mandatory target of 30 percent energy savings by 2030.


Lie

“Further, while the current agreement effectively blocks the development of clean coal in America, which it does, the mines are starting to open up . . . Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, so many places.”

Reality

The only thing blocking the development of so-called clean coal is simple economics. It’s already far cheaper to build natural gas plants than coal plants—leaving electric utilities with little financial incentive to incur the expense of building more coal facilities.

Southern Company abandoned efforts to generate electricity from “clean coal” at a $7.5 billion plant in Kemper County, Mississippi, in June 2017. The plant now uses natural gas. The clean coal demonstration project was five years behind schedule and more than $4 billion over budget, and state regulators refused to let the company raise rates to keep bankrolling it.

Another troubled clean coal initiative, the Texas Clean Energy Project, had its energy department funding yanked in May 2016 after DOE’s inspector general questioned the project’s viability. And Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget would cut the clean coal research budget 85 percent, from $206 million to $31 million.

As for the new mine in Pennsylvania Trump referenced, the Acosta Mine outside Pittsburgh, it is producing metallurgic (or coking) coal for steel production. It has nothing to do with the continuing decline of thermal coal mines or coal-fired power plants.


Lie

“In short, the agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs; it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States and ships them to foreign countries.”

Reality

The Paris Agreement does not transfer coal jobs abroad. American coal mining jobs are in steep decline because of competition from cheap natural gas, mechanization in the mining industry, flat power demand, and the explosive growth of renewable energy. Industry experts, numerous academic researchers, financial analysts, and even coal company CEOs agree those jobs aren’t coming back, regardless of whether the United States fulfills its Paris targets. These factors have been in play for decades, while the Paris Agreement was finalized only in 2015 and in effect since 2016 and does not set any specific policies regarding coal.

It’s also hard to imagine a boom in coal jobs outside the United States with Bloomberg’s 2017 New Energy Outlook predicting that coal-fired power generation worldwide will peak in 2026, global demand for thermal coal will be 15 percent less in 2040 than today, and just 35 percent of new coal plants being planned will ever be built.


Lie

“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.”

Reality

The financial advantage is the United States’ to lose. Meeting the goals of the Paris pact could fuel a $19 trillion surge in global economic growth and create six million jobs over the next 30 years, according to a new report by two international energy agencies. Perspectives for the Energy Transition: Investment Needs for a Low-Carbon Energy System predicts that the pro-growth policies and ambitious investments (an estimated $29 trillion through 2050) in clean energy needed to move to a low-carbon economy will spur economic growth and boost job creation. By opting out of the Paris Agreement, the United States won’t share in the wealth it would create.

More than 1,100 American companies with at least $3 trillion in revenues (equivalent to more than one-sixth of the U.S. economy) and more than 280 institutional investors with more than $17 trillion in assets see the financial advantages of the Paris Agreement; they have publicly endorsed it and urged Trump not to withdraw.


Lie

“The United States, under the Trump administration, will continue to be the cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on earth. We’ll be the cleanest. We’re going to have the cleanest air. We’re going to have the cleanest water.”

Reality

The United States has made tremendous strides protecting its environment since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970. But compared with Scandinavia and Europe, the United States could do much better. The United States placed 26th on the World Economic Environmental Performance Index for 2016―a far cry from Trump’s claim that the United States is the “cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on earth.” The top five cleanest, most environmentally friendly countries in 2016 were, in order: Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark and Slovenia.


Lie

“The Paris accord includes yet another scheme to redistribute wealth out of the United States through the so-called Green Climate Fund―nice name―which calls for developed countries to send $100 billion to developing countries, all on top of America’s existing and massive foreign aid payments.”

Reality

The Green Climate Fund has $10.3 billion in pledges from 43 countries, $24.3 million from three regional governments in Belgium, and $1.3 million from the city of Paris. The United States has pledged $3 billion and paid $1 billion into the fund so far.

Perhaps Trump has his numbers confused because the Green Climate Fund was established in the Copenhagen Climate Accord of 2009, which calls for developed countries to jointly mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020. That money “will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance.” The $100 billion counts various contributions, including developed countries’ contribution to the GCF, but the GCF and the $100 billion goal are entirely separate, despite having similar aims. The Paris Agreement does not require developed countries to directly contribute $100 billion to the GCF.

As for Trump’s reference to America’s “massive foreign aid payments,” that assistance, defined broadly, came to an estimated $48.6 billion in 2015, or 1.3 percent of the federal budget that year, according to the Congressional Research Service. U.S. foreign aid in 2016 was a meager 0.18 percent of GDP of GDP, well below the United Nations’ target of 0.7 percent, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


Lie

“The Green Fund would likely obligate the United States to commit potentially tens of billions of dollars, of which the United States already handed over $1 billion—nobody else is even close; most of them haven’t even paid anything—including funds raided out of America’s budget for the war against terrorism.”

Reality

U.S. contributions to the Green Climate Fund come from the U.S. Department of State’s Economic Support Fund, while money for the war on terrorism comes primarily from the Defense and Homeland Security departments.

All contributions to the fund are voluntary, so the United States is not “obligated” to contribute anything. And the United States’ payment of $1 billion so far of the $3 billion it pledged to provide is hardly “tens of billions of dollars.” Further, although the United States contributes the largest amount to the GCF in absolute terms, our pledge of $3 billion ranks 11th on a per capita basis among the 45 contributing countries and 32nd as a percentage of GDP. Per capita, Americans are giving only $9.30 apiece, not much more that the $8.80 per resident of the tiny European principality of Monaco. Sweden is supplying a whopping $60.54 per person, and Norway is kicking in $50.56 a head. As of June 2, more than half (23 of 43) of the countries in the Green Climate Fund had already paid the entire amount they pledged.


Lie

“In 2015, the Green Climate Fund’s executive director reportedly stated that estimated funding needed would increase to $450 billion per year after 2020.”

Reality

Trump is misrepresenting the $450 billion figure, which refers to total investments needed to tackle climate change—not direct contributions to the Green Climate Fund. And as a supposedly savvy businessman, Trump should recognize that investments also offer returns.


Lie

“And nobody even knows where the money is going to. Nobody has been able to say, where is it going to?”

Reality

Since it began operations at the end of 2015, the fund has allocated $6.3 million for 43 projects (out of a total of 58 in the pipeline) in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific, according to the fund’s website. Expenditures include $20.5 million for reforestation in Gambia and $37 million to reinforce glacial lakes, which are created by melting glaciers, in Pakistan, according to Climate Home, a London-based global network of correspondents that reports on the effects of climate change.


Lie

“And exiting the agreement protects the United States from future intrusion on [our] sovereignty and massive future legal liability. Believe me, we have massive legal liability if we stay in.”

Reality

International environmental law experts disagree. The United States could even increase its liability to lawsuits “challenging government inaction,” according to the head of Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. Leaving the Paris Agreement and refusing to take climate action could also open the United States to trade penalties in the form of carbon tariffs.

The agreement addresses loss and damage from climate change, but it contains no liability or compensation mechanism—a provision added specifically to allay U.S. concerns, says UCLA law professor James Salzman. The top U.S. climate negotiator in Paris told reporters in December 2015, “We are not at all supportive of and would not accept the notion of liability and compensation being part of” the section on loss and damage.


Lie

“Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full . . . it would produce a two-tenths of one degree Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100. Tiny, tiny amount. In fact, 14 days of carbon emissions from China alone . . . would totally wipe out the gains from America’s expected reductions in the year 2030.”

Reality

Trump cherry-picked a low number from a 2015 report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and even the study’s author “disagrees completely” with Trump’s assertion that a 0.2 degree cut is a “tiny, tiny” cut not worth pursuing. The report’s intent was to say that although the commitments countries made as part of the Paris deal help to reduce future temperature increases, more, not less, needs to be done.

Moreover, the MIT study assumed no new policies after 2030, even though it projects out to 2100. More accurate calculations by respected analysts indicate the reductions secured by the Paris Agreement would come to 1.75 degrees globally. That’s a reduction of more than 70 percent and a huge share of the reduction necessary to reach the 2-degree Paris goal.

Furthermore, Climate Scoreboard, a collaboration between MIT’s Sloan School of Management and the consulting firm Climate Interactive, shows that full implementation of all Paris pledges and midcentury strategies would reduce expected warming by 2100 by 3.3 degrees Celsius.

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ON THE CLEAN POWER PLAN

Lie

“[The Clean Power Plan] would impose job-killing restrictions on oil, natural gas, coal, and shale energy production.”
—March 28, 2017, remarks about the executive order canceling the Clean Power Plan

Reality

The Clean Power Plan would create more jobs than now exist in the fossil fuel industry. The total number of clean energy jobs in the United States now exceeds 3 million, up from 2.5 million in 2015, according to data compiled by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) in its 2016 “Clean Energy Jobs” fact sheet and 2015 “Clean Jobs America” report.

By comparison, jobs extracting coal, oil, and natural gas, transporting these fossil fuels, and using them to generate electricity totaled 1.1 million in June 2016, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Innovations in renewable energy and improvements in energy efficiency are an “important driver of economic growth in America, producing 14 percent of the new jobs in 2016,” according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s second annual “U.S. Energy and Employment Report.”

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ON WATER

Trump told the following series of tall tales when he signed the order to start repealing the Clean Water Rule on February 28, 2017. They made for great applause lines with a sympathetic, anti–U.S. Environmental Protection Agency crowd, but they were all fantasy.

Lie

“The EPA’s so-called Waters of the United States rule is one of the worst examples of federal regulation run amok. It’s been a disaster.”
—February 28, 2017, signing of the resolution rescinding the Clean Water Rule

Reality

The Clean Water Rule has not been in effect as various court challenges play out. It was only briefly implemented, so the president lacks any basis for declaring its implementation “a disaster.”


Lie

“[A] few years ago, the EPA decided that ‘navigable waters’ can mean nearly every puddle or every ditch on a farmer’s land, or anyplace else that they decide, right?”
—February 28, 2017, signing of the resolution rescinding the Clean Water Rule

Reality

The Clean Water Rule, published in the Federal Register on June 29, 2015, explicitly excludes puddles and numerous manmade waters, including a variety of ditches on farms.


Lie

“The EPA’s regulators were putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands, and regulations and permits started treating our wonderful small farmers and small businesses as if they were a major industrial polluter.”
—February 28, 2017, signing of the resolution rescinding the Clean Water Rule

Reality

There is no evidence of people losing jobs or of farms and small businesses being mistreated because of a rule that isn’t being implemented. Furthermore, the rule exempts normal farming operations and agricultural runoff and treats small businesses the same as any other rule does.


Lie

“If you want to build a new home, for example, you have to worry about getting hit with a huge fine if you fill in as much as a puddle, just a puddle, on your lot.”
—February 28, 2017, signing of the resolution rescinding the Clean Water Rule

Reality

The Clean Water Rule does not regulate puddles.


Lie

“In one case in Wyoming, a rancher was fined $37,000 a day by the EPA for digging a small watering hole for his cattle.”
—February 28, 2017, signing of the resolution rescinding the Clean Water Rule

Reality

This case has nothing to do with the Clean Water Rule. It began before the rule was even proposed and involved a landowner creating a dam without obtaining the required permit. When the dam flooded a long stretch of creek, the landowner also didn’t mitigate the damage—but he later agreed to repair it without paying a fine when the case was ultimately settled.

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ON THE AUTO INDUSTRY

Lie

“During my first week in office, I brought American auto companies to the White House . . .And none of them ever got to see the Oval Office before, because nobody took them into the Oval Office.”
—March 15, 2018, remarks about his executive order rolling back new clean vehicle and fuel efficiency standards 

Reality

President George W. Bush hosted a meeting with car company CEOs in the Oval Office in 2006. Democratic predecessors Barack Obama and Bill Clinton also brought industry executives to the White House, in 2009 and 1993, respectively.


Lie

“We announced we’ll be reversing an 11th-hour executive action from the previous administration that was threatening thousands of auto jobs in Michigan and across America.”
—March 18, 2017, weekly address comments on an executive order rolling back new clean vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency standards

Reality

Strong standards have spurred growth and job creation and have driven innovation and investment in the auto industry. Over the past eight years, carmakers have added nearly 700,000 jobs and set sales records. In Michigan alone, nearly 70,000 workers have been employed in more than 200 facilities designing and building advanced vehicle components to meet these standards.

Across the United States, 288,000 workers are building parts to make vehicles cleaner and more fuel efficient. The 1,200 manufacturing and engineering facilities where they work span 48 states. Nine states―Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, California, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina―each count at least 10,000 manufacturing and engineering jobs building fuel-efficient technologies. Half of the nation’s states count fuel-efficient technology jobs in the thousands.

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ON PIPELINES

Lie

“I cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. And it’s looking like that’s going to have about 42,000 jobs involved.”
—April 4, 2017, remarks at the 2017 North America’s Building Trades Unions’ National Legislative Conference

Reality

Trump didn’t clear the way for construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline with his January 24, 2017, executive order. It still must clear significant legal, regulatory, and economic hurdles before work can begin. Moreover, building the U.S. portion of the pipeline would create only 1,950 construction jobs for two years and no more than 50 permanent jobs.

As for Dakota Access, construction of the pipeline was nearly complete when Trump green-lighted work on the final segment in January, creating few, if any, new jobs.


Lie

“We want American steel, made in America. Right on the box. 100 percent.”
—April 4, 2017, remarks at the 2017 North America’s Building Trades Unions’ National Legislative Conference

Reality

Pipeline manufacturer TransCanada bought most of the pipe for Keystone XL before Trump took office, and only half was made in the United States (by an Indian company).

What’s more, the White House explicitly said in March that it will not require TransCanada to use American steel. The rationale? Keystone XL “is currently in the process of being constructed, so it does not count as a new, retrofitted, repaired or expanded pipeline.” But the U.S. segment hasn’t even been approved for construction yet, so it can’t be “in the process of being built.”

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ON ENERGY POLICY

Lie

“For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry.”
—Statement from “An America First Energy Plan”

Reality

Environmental safeguards have drastically cut pollution over the past 40 years, while the economy has enjoyed tremendous growth. The Clean Air Act helped cut 70 percent of soot and smog from American skies from 1970 to 2015, according to the EPA. During the same period, the economy grew 246 percent. Meanwhile, because of energy efficiency standards, total energy consumption remained flat while GDP increased 30 percent between 2000 and 2015.

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ON COAL

Lie

“The miners told me about the attacks on their jobs and their livelihoods . . . I made them this promise: We will put our miners back to work.”
—March 28, 2017, remarks at a signing ceremony for a resolution killing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan

Reality

Demand for coal is down and miners have lost their jobs chiefly because of competition from cheap natural gas and renewable energy as well as advances in energy efficiency, not because of environmental regulation. Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy found that increased competition from natural gas is responsible for 49 percent of the decline in U.S. coal consumption, lower-than-expected demand is the cause of 26 percent of the decline, and 18 percent is due to greater use of renewable sources. Environmental regulations played a much smaller role, the center found.

Automation in the industry and a slowdown in Chinese demand for coal, which depressed coal prices worldwide and reduced the market for U.S. coal exports, also have contributed to coal’s decline. More than half the drop in American coal companies’ revenues between 2011 and 2015 was due to international factors, the center said.

The coal industry is in structural decline and is expected to continue cutting payrolls. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis projects that derailing Obama administration rules “will provide little or no gain” in the short term because of market dynamics “unrelated to regulation” and “the industry’s long-term model of producing more coal with fewer workers.” There’s nothing Trump can do about this inconvenient but incontrovertible fact.


Lie

“This rule we’re eliminating, it’s a major threat to your jobs, and we’re going to get rid of that threat immediately.”
—February 16, 2017, remarks at a signing ceremony for a resolution overturning the Stream Protection Rule

Reality

Eliminating the Stream Protection Rule won’t save coal miners’ jobs. The industry is projected to lose more than 7,200 full-time jobs from a baseline of 75,000 “due to factors unrelated to the final rule,” including weak electricity demand and greater availability of lower-priced natural gas, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. In fact, the department estimated the rule actually would create 156 jobs. The only thing that eliminating the rule will do is allow coal companies to foul local waterways with mining waste.

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ON WIND POWER

Lie

“[W]e don’t make windmills in the United States.”
—November 23, 2016, interview with the New York Times

Reality

More than 500 manufacturing facilities across 43 states built wind turbines and their components in 2015, according to the American Wind Energy Association, and more than 21,000 manufacturing employees worked in the wind sector supply chain. A typical 250-megawatt wind farm creates about 1,100 direct jobs nationwide over the life of the project, as described in a 2012 report by NRDC.

About 80 percent of wind towers in the United States and 60 percent of blades and hubs contain domestic content, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Wind Technologies Market Report.


Lie

“They’re made in Germany and Japan.”
—November 23, 2016, interview with the New York Times

Reality

Germany and Japan manufacture only a small fraction of wind power components used in the United States, with Germany supplying 4 percent and Japan supplying just 2 percent in 2015.


Lie

“They’re made out of massive amounts of steel, which goes into the atmosphere, whether it’s in our country or not, it goes into the atmosphere.”
—November 23, 2016, interview with the New York Times

Reality

New wind tower designs under development will use significantly less steel than today’s models. And if Trump is saying that manufacturing steel wind turbines contributes to climate change, he is way off the mark. Wind power’s life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions are insignificant compared with those of both coal and natural gas. Wind power produces 23 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt hour, compared with 523 g/kWh for natural gas and 1,205 g/kWh for coal.


Lie

“[T]hey kill all the birds . . .The windmills are devastating to the bird population.”
—November 23, 2016, interview with the New York Times

Reality

Far more birds are killed each year by domestic cats (hundreds of millions); collisions with tall buildings (as many as 976 million), high-tension power lines (at least 130 million), and communications towers (anywhere from 4 million to 50 million); cars (80 million); and environmental toxins (more than 72 million), according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Wind turbines, in contrast, kill fewer than 200,000 birds a year, according to AWEA. The Smithsonian Institution’s SmartNews site reports the number is between 140,000 and 328,000.

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ON REGULATIONS

Lie

“In 2015 alone, regulations cost the American economy more than $2 trillion.”
“Bringing Back Jobs and Growth”

Reality

Trump grossly exaggerates how much rules cost and completely ignores their more valuable benefits. Between 2005 and 2015, federal regulations cost $57 billion to $85 billion (not trillion), according to the Office of Management and Budget. Estimates of their benefits during that period range from $208 billion to $672 billion.

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ON ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITTING

Lie

“[T]his is anywhere from a 10- to 20-year process. You have―is it 17 agencies? You have hundreds and hundreds of permits. Many of them are statutory, where you can’t even apply for the second permit until six months go by.”
—April 4, 2017, remarks at a CEO Town Hall on Unleashing American Business

Reality

When he said this, Trump was pointing to a cartoonishly long, convoluted, multicolored flow chart supposedly depicting the process for approving a federal highway construction permit. “Laundry list” is a more accurate description, however, because what the chart actually showed was every potential review a project might have to undergo, not every stage of review that all projects must go through.

In fact, fewer than 1 percent of projects―only those that could have a significant impact on the local community or the environment―require a detailed environmental review at all, the Government Accountability Office found in 2014. About 95 percent are exempt from the review process entirely, and fewer than 5 percent require a simpler form of review, according to the GAO.

Moreover, the median amount of time to complete an environmental impact statement between fiscal years 2012 and 2016 was 3.6 years, not 10 to 20, according to an analysis of Federal Highway Administration data by the Center for American Progress.

Permitting delays in highway projects are “more often” caused by factors other than the environmental review process, such as lack of funding, local opposition, legal challenges, the complexity of a project, differences in state or local transportation priorities, and late changes in a project’s scope, the Congressional Research Service found in 2012.

And the administration already has ample tools to streamline environmental permitting, courtesy of transportation legislation enacted in 2005, 2012, and 2015 and the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014.

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ON INFRASTRUCTURE

Lie

“[T]here was [a] very large infrastructure bill that was approved during the Obama administration―a trillion dollars―nobody ever saw anything being built.”
—April 4, 2017, remarks at a CEO Town Hall on Unleashing American Business

Reality

No $1 trillion infrastructure bill was enacted during the Obama administration. Congress and President Obama did put together a $787 billion spending and tax cut package in 2009 to stimulate the economy, which was then mired in the Great Recession.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, however, contained just $48.1 billion for transportation infrastructure: $27.5 billion for highway and bridge projects, $8.4 billion for transit projects, $9.3 billion for rail projects, $1.3 billion for airport and air traffic control projects, $100 million for small shipyards, and $1.5 billion in discretionary grants.

The money for roads and bridges supported more than 13,000 projects that improved more than 42,000 miles of roads and more than 27,000 bridges nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s report on the impact of the stimulus on transportation infrastructure. The transit funds were used to build or rehabilitate 850 new facilities and purchase nearly 12,000 new buses and almost 700 new rail cars. And the aviation dollars paid for about 800 airport improvement projects that repaired runways, airport facilities, and air traffic towers.

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ON PUBLIC LANDS

Lie

“I’ve spoken with many state and local leaders―a number of them here today―who care very much about preserving our land and who are gravely concerned about this massive federal land grab.”
—April 26, 2017, remarks at the signing of an executive order requiring the U.S. Department of the Interior to review 27 national monument designations

Reality

The federal government isn’t “grabbing” any land when it creates a national monument, because the government—and therefore the American people—already own it. Under the Antiquities Act, only land owned or controlled by the federal government can be designated a national monument. 

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