Trump and the Renewables Policy Outlook

Trump and the Renewables Policy Outlook

March 06, 2024 | By Keith Martin in Washington, DC

Leaders of the three main renewable energy trade associations and the head of energy and climate policy work for a conservative think tank in Washington talked about what to expect if Donald Trump wins the US presidential election in November at the annual renewable energy law conference at the University of Texas in Austin in late January.   

They also talked about what policy outcomes to expect on a range of issues affecting renewable energy companies that are currently in play in Washington. The following is an edited transcript.

The panelists are Abigail Hopper, CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, JC Sandberg, chief advocacy officer for the American Clean Power Association, Ray Long, CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, and Diana Furchtgott-Roth, director of the Center for Energy, Climate and Environment at the Heritage Foundation and a former acting assistant US Treasury secretary for economic affairs, chief economist at the US Department of Labor, chief of staff of the Council of Economic Advisers and White House aide in the Trump, Bush and Reagan administrations. The moderator is Keith Martin with Norton Rose Fulbright in Washington.

Republican Agenda

MR. MARTIN: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, anyone who wants to know what Trump will do if he is elected only has to read a book called the Mandate for Leadership 2025 that the Heritage Foundation put out last summer. It is a road map for the first 180 days. It was written by 400 former Trump officials and Republican office holders. How has the book been received by the Trump inner circle?

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH:  It was compiled by the Heritage Foundation with the help of 75 other think tanks. It is a guide not just for Republicans. It is a guide for anyone who wants different ideas on economic policy. It is online, and it is free. I recommend it to anybody who wants new ideas and who also wants a guide to thinking from these 75 or so Republican organizations.

MR. MARTIN: How has it been received by the Trump campaign?

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: It is out there.

All of the Republican candidates say the same thing. The Inflation Reduction Act tax credits should be repealed. There should be more production of oil and natural gas. There should not be any subsidies. Renewables should be on an even playing field with oil and natural gas. All of the slowdowns for permitting of pipelines and export terminals should be ended so that not only can we produce more oil and natural gas in the United States, but it can also be exported to our allies abroad who want to buy it.

The decision last Friday by the US energy secretary on LNG terminals and future exports of natural gas is a slap in the face at our European allies at a time when they are in the middle of winter. They will be forced to try to get more natural gas from places like Qatar and countries that are not necessarily friendly to us. We are so fortunate to be the world's largest oil and natural gas producer. We need to produce more. The Trump campaign, the Haley campaign, the Ron DeSantis campaign all said the same thing.

If there is a Republican administration, the biggest change will be in energy policy.

MR. MARTIN: Does that mean promoting use of oil and gas and also coal or just being neutral?

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: It means being neutral and letting the chips fall where they may. Natural gas has been taking over increasingly from oil because it is inexpensive and has the advantage of lower emissions. Carbon emissions in the United States have gone down by a million metric tons over the past 15 years because of the change from oil to natural gas.

MR. MARTIN: Trump sent fossil fuel advocates to the COP climate change talks during his first term in office. Do you think we would see that again?

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: I can predict the past, but I have a lot more trouble with the future.

MR. MARTIN: I read the chapter on energy policy. It calls for facilitating construction of new natural gas pipelines, but not transmission lines. It says basically that transmission line siting should be left to the states. Why are the two different?

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH:  The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are all trying to slow down new pipeline construction. The  SEC is looking at companies that make investments in pipelines and saying that there are climate change effects of these pipelines, and so we should not be building them. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has a climate czar who is looking at bank investments and discouraging banks from lending money to these projects.

At the same time, our allies need this natural gas and the focus on renewables is making the United States weaker and China stronger because a large percentage of wind turbine and solar panel manufacturers are in China. China makes 80% of the world's batteries that are a vital ingredient for electric vehicles. At Heritage, we are pro-choice.

We think people should be able to buy an electric vehicle or a gasoline-powered car. They should be able to buy a natural gas stove or an electric stove, a dishwasher that uses a lot of water or a dishwasher that uses a little water.

The current Democratic administration is focused on electrification, and electrification does not necessarily mean a reduction in emissions because right now the electricity used to charge the batteries generates emissions. An EV is not emissions free.

The climate benefits of this are very limited. The costs to Americans are very large. The costs for mandatory electric vehicles fall disproportionately on lower-income Americans who cannot afford these vehicles and on farmers and small businesses who rely currently on gasoline-powered vehicles to go about their daily business.

MR. MARTIN: Why should natural gas pipeline siting be a federal decision while transmission line siting is a state decision?

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: The Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission has to approve pipelines. I don't know what the exact position of any future Republican administration would be on state power versus federal power in these areas. These are very complicated issues, but it is important not to stand in the way of natural gas operators who just want to produce oil and natural gas and send it out to the coast.

MR. MARTIN: The energy chapter in Mandate for Leadership calls for repealing not only the Inflation Reduction Act, but also the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which passed in 2021. Infrastructure was a priority for both Trump and Biden. Is the call to repeal the infrastructure part of this just a reflection of the desire not to have the government direct how capital is deployed in the market?

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: This is an aspirational document. Just because things are in it does not mean it is practical to expect them to happen. Changing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act would require Congress being Republican and passing a bill. In Washington, if you bet against Congress passing anything, you are more likely to be right. It hardly ever passes anything.

We have a $33 trillion national debt. This year, we have a $2 trillion deficit. Something has to give so that we are not passing on unlimited costs to our children and grandchildren. Focusing on these energy subsidies is a primary way to reduce federal government spending. The government is paying auto companies to build electric vehicle plants. It is paying to build the battery plants. It is giving consumers $7,500 tax credits to buy the electric vehicles. And by the way, they are still not selling.

Compare that to Apple iPhones or Samsung phones. No one paid you to buy them. No one paid Samsung or Apple to make them. They are flying off the shelves. Same with the best-selling vehicle in America, the F-150 pickup truck. No one is paying Ford to make it or someone to buy it. They are flying off the lots. Meanwhile, automobile dealers are complaining to President Biden that they can't sell the EVs that they are mandated to sell.

MR. MARTIN: Should the government simply not encourage electric vehicles or should it actively discourage them?  They seem well on their way to becoming as politicized as the COVID vaccinations.

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: It should just let the chips fall where they may. It should be neutral toward purchases of vehicles. Some of the most emissions-free vehicles over the lifecycle of the vehicle are the non-plug-in hybrids, which are extremely popular. They are so popular that some manufacturers have phased out the pure gasoline-powered versions. The battery is charged through the operation of the braking system in the vehicle. You never have to charge it up, but you get great gas mileage because of the extra battery.

There is no tax credit for these non-plug-in hybrids. We should let consumers choose and then the best products are going to win out because everybody wants clean air and everyone wants to save money on gasoline.

It is very dangerous to have the federal government pick winners and losers. We saw this with Solyndra. We see that some battery companies are now going out of business, and some electric vehicle and autonomous truck companies are going out of business, after federal investments.


MR. MARTIN: You have written that if the US were to stop using fossil fuels today, it would reduce the global temperature by 0.2 degrees centigrade by the end of the century. Trump has resumed calling climate change a hoax. Does this mean that if he is elected, we will not see any attention given to climate change over the next four years?  The focus will shift to energy security?

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: All the Republican candidates have said the same thing. They want to focus on increased production of oil and natural gas, more energy security, greater domestic production, rolling back the different tax credits for renewables, if possible, or redirecting them, if they cannot get rid of them, to clean natural gas.

MR. MARTIN: Some elements of the Republican party want to impose a carbon border adjustment. Trump likes tariffs. Do you think this will get any traction if he is reelected?

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: If Trump is reelected, he has said that he wants additional tariffs, but no one knows what is going to happen in the future. A carbon border adjustment, a carbon tax, would have to be passed by Congress. Tariffs are different. The president does not have to go through Congress to impose those.

A carbon tax is regressive. It falls disproportionately on poor people, small businesses, farmers. I cannot see support for that, just as there has not been support for a value added tax. The effects of these are very similar.

There is carbon in practically everything we use. This would be the equivalent of a massive value added tax or sales tax like the Europeans have. The problem with these taxes is not only are they regressive, but they often also start small like the value added tax started around 5% and then grew to somewhere in the 20% range. They are very burdensome. I cannot see Congress passing a carbon tax.

MR. MARTIN: On that theme, the Inflation Reduction Act has many provisions that seem to appeal to the Trump crowd. One is tax credits for manufacturers as an inducement to bring manufacturing jobs home. Another is biofuels tax credits that appeal to the farm belt. Another is tax credits for hydrogen production and carbon capture. The latter allows coal to try to retain some relevance in the US market. Will a Republican Congress repeal the Inflation Reduction Act?

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: As I said, betting against Congress doing anything is always a better bet than betting that something will happen. Congress, when it gets around to passing anything, is very messy. There would be some people who would try to do it and other people who would object. The idea that a Republican Congress would move in sync makes as much sense as the House Republican caucus moving in sync. We have seen how well that works out.

It is very difficult to get anything done in Washington. The system of checks and balances was set up by our very wise founders to prevent Congress from passing bad bills, but it also makes passing good bills hard.

MR. MARTIN: The Mandate for Leadership criticizes the approach regional transmission organizations -- RTOs -- use to set prices for electricity that is bid into their systems. Natural gas is often the market clearing fuel, and so it sets the clearing price. Everybody supplying electricity during each bid period gets the clearing price. The Mandate criticizes this approach because renewables are so heavily subsidized.

Should we expect pressure on RTOs to pay renewables less to offset the subsidy?

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: The general idea is to have all sources of energy on an even playing field. Over the past decade, renewables have had about $6.7 trillion in subsidies globally. They still can't stand on their own. They give the advantage to China. They are not dense energy. The idea that here in the West we are preventing fossil fuel investment in places like Africa and Latin America, which do not have our current lifestyles and are places where three to six billion people do not have running water or electricity, is just fundamentally immoral.

We need to be focusing on clean, dense energy such as natural gas and nuclear power in order to get these countries the Western standards that we all enjoy, and sometimes it means coal-fired power plants. These countries need to have the benefits that we have here in the United States and that means more fossil fuels, not fewer fossil fuels.

If you fly over somewhere after a hurricane or a tornado, you see that the wind turbines look like spaghetti and the solar panels look like tin foil. They are not resilient. They are not reliable. They cannot get emerging economies to the standards of living that they need.

This is placing upward pressure on immigration, where people leave Latin America and Africa for the United States, Canada and Western Europe in search of economic prosperity. Countries cannot have economic prosperity or food security without energy security. It is fundamental, and we cannot achieve that with renewables alone.


MR. MARTIN: Let me bring in the rest of the panelists, starting with Abby Hopper. How do you see the possibility of a Trump victory this year affecting actions in Washington?

MS. HOPPER: Thank you for being here, Diana. I haven't heard that in person in a long time.

The threat of another Trump presidency is already deterring some potential investment. If there were a Trump presidency, there would be a lot of focus on executive action first and foremost. I am mostly concerned about things like trade actions and additional tariffs. You talked about some sort of pressure on RTOs, which is the type of thing that the Department of Energy could do. You talked about a renewed focus on American manufacturing.

It takes longer to get things through Congress, so in a hierarchy of concern, executive action, and particularly around trade, would be my greatest concern.

MR. MARTIN: Ray Long, how do you see the potential for a Trump victory affecting what happens in Washington during the remainder of this year?

MR. LONG: We have the last three years of him as a former president to guide us. I won't make predictions about what he may or may not do going forward.

I have worked in the energy industry for much of the last 30 years. Before taking this gig that I have been in for 50 days now, I worked primarily for independent power companies, and I have represented every technology that is being used today, including nuclear, coal, oil, natural gas and then more recently renewable energy.

When I was representing coal, oil and natural gas, I worked to keep those plants open and competitive in the marketplace. Businesses and customers today want three things. They want affordable prices, they want reliability and they want clean. The problem with all those fossil-fuel technologies, and even nuclear, is they are not competitive anymore. It does not have anything to do with the tax credits. All of those technologies have had tax credits.

Lazard publishes a levelized-cost-of-energy report. It shows over the last five years that the newer technologies that I now represent are competitive with or will beat all of those conventional technologies in a very short period of time.

Encouraging use of conventional technologies would be like pouring money into eight-track tape players when everybody is running around with AirPods and iPhones. It would be a ridiculous thing to do because those things are old and inefficient and don't make sense anymore.

I am not saying that we need to flip the switch today. I am saying that it is not a good idea to undermine the IRA tax credits, which merely help balance out the 30+ ways that the government subsidizes things like exploration, extraction, transportation and refining, and that is just on the fuel side.

MR. MARTIN: Let's give Diana a chance to respond quickly. Eight-track players.

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: If wind farms are so great, how come each one needs a backup natural power plant for when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine?  We are going to need fossil fuels in that role for as far as the eye can see.

MR. LONG: That is a dated way of looking at it. You can't look at things now as intermittent versus push-button. You believe in markets. Developers are building the things that I am talking about. They are not building coal and oil. They are building some natural gas. Customers are clamoring to buy renewables. They are not clamoring to buy the old stuff. This is the future.

The reason that I think the IRA will be durable is not because it is the IRA, but because both Republican and Democratic members of Congress are seeing the investments, the jobs, the new factories that are being built in their districts. These investments are driving the economy. 

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: Another factor driving the economy is other countries are buying four trillion cubic feet of our natural gas. And are you telling me that wind farms do not need backup natural gas plants and pipelines?

MR. LONG: Look at what happened during the ice storm Uri two years ago that caused the gas plants to trip off line here in Texas. The freezing temperatures meant the gas pipelines could not get gas to the gas-fired power plants. People died. The wind turbines worked just fine. Time to invest in the future. [Audience applause.]

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: You didn't answer my question. Do we still need gas pipelines as a source of baseload power to backstop intermittent renewables, yes or no?

MR. LONG: It depends. It depends on whether the renewable generators have battery storage nearby. It depends on the makeup of the grid. You cannot ask the question in a vacuum.

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: And if I could just say one response to Abby about the executive order.

You said your greatest concern is the potential for executive orders. Well, on day one, President Biden issued executive orders that ended the Keystone XL pipeline, that extended the bounds of the national monuments and that forbade offshore leases for oil and natural gas exploration. Those are examples of executive orders that affected oil and natural gas from the Biden administration. I don't think that it would be so revolutionary for President Trump to issue equivalent executive orders on his day one.

MS. HOPPER: I am not suggesting he would lack the authority. I am suggesting that the outcomes are a hindrance to everyone who would like to continue to live on this planet. I am very familiar with what President Biden did. He was addressing the climate crisis. [Audience applause.]

MR. MARTIN: We appreciate Diana coming here. It takes courage to face a hostile audience.   

IRA Repeal?

MR. MARTIN: JC Sandberg, we are hearing a lot of anxiety from foreign investors about whether the Inflation Reduction Act will be repealed. Some are holding back on investment. How do you answer the question whether the IRA will be repealed?

MR. SANDBERG: I don't foresee repeal for some of the reasons that both Diana and Ray mentioned.  

It is very hard to have a wholesale repeal of anything. Until people started to see the real benefits of the Affordable Care Act or what became euphemistically known as Obamacare, there were multiple attempts at repeal. When the efforts at repeal stopped, amendments began.

Once Obamacare got its footing, even Democrats were willing to peek under the hood. No legislation is perfect.

What ends up happening is that until the proponents are convinced that the antagonists are not going to take the ax to it, there is a reluctance to make the perfecting amendments that need to happen.

Do I think the IRA will be repealed in the next couple years?  No. Do I think there will be a lot of noise this year into next year?  Yes. Will the noise deter some investment?  Potentially.

Coming back to what Diana said, honestly and not intending to be the least bit combative, there is no difference between pipes and wires. Pipes happen to have an advantage because they have a federal permitting structure that wires don't, but if you have an honest discussion on Capitol Hill, which we frequently do, we need more of both.

And to get anything done, the left has to realize that the right is going to have to get help with pipelines and the right has to realize that the left is going to have to get help with transmission. In doing that, we are making progress as an energy economy.

Again, to answer your question pointedly, I don't foresee repeal. I foresee a lot of noise. Look at what happened last year when the House Republican leadership wanted to repeal the IRA as part of the debt ceiling talks. They did not have the votes.

We have had an unhelpful kind of oversimplification for years that Republicans innovate and invest and Democrats tax and regulate, but that is off the table now. We are all of us just people investing in different parts of an American energy economy and taking the next step of what I think will be clean energy.

Domestic Content

MR. MARTIN: JC, sticking with you, the domestic content bonus credit calculations that Treasury proposed don't work. What are you expecting Treasury to say and when?

MR. SANDBERG: What is there now is not bankable. The tax equity market is unwilling currently to price the bonus credit into deals.

There are two aspects that need to be fixed. One is the requirement for manufacturers to disclose their costs so that their customers can do the calculations. I don't want to overstate this, but practically every other part of the tax code uses the taxpayer's cost for these types of things. The customer knows what it paid. What it paid is an arm's-length price that is easily audited.

The other aspect that needs to be fixed is we need greater clarity into what pieces and parts count as components and subcomponents. Components help with domestic content if they are US-made. The origin of subcomponents is less important under the construct that Congress adopted.

I think Treasury is working hard to figure out a middle ground between customers who want the calculations to be done at the end of the supply chain and some domestic manufacturers who want them done higher up the supply chain. I think that even inside the Biden administration, there is not unanimous agreement, which is why it is taking so long to fix what they put out originally.

To Diana's point, the market has sent a clear signal that what they put out originally does not work. It is not responding to that piece of the tax credit.


MR. MARTIN: Ray Long, the hydrogen tax credit guidance requires hourly matching by 2028 of the renewable electricity used to produce green hydrogen with the hydrogen output. It also requires the electricity used to make green hydrogen to come from power plants that are no more than 36 months older than the hydrogen plant. What are you hearing from members about this?

MR. LONG: The 2028 cliff that you referred to does not work. The market is holding back on funding for green hydrogen projects.

MR. MARTIN: JC, do you expect any relief from Treasury on this issue?

MR. SANDBERG: I think so. It is fascinating how much emotion there is around something that does not exist currently and probably will not exist for another five to six years.

What we have tried to do is figure out where the sweet spot is between allowing the market to get off its feet and the regulation necessary not to completely obliterate the Biden administration's climate goals.

I think there will be some give, but probably not enough to maximize the early investment. I hope that there will be enough to allow green hydrogen to reach scale. I don't want to suggest that I am working on this every day, but I was on the phone this morning trying to figure out with administration folks where that sweet spot is. People across the spectrum want to find it. The oil companies want it. The clean energy companies want it. Everybody wants a piece of hydrogen. It is a question of how to stand up a market without sabotaging climate goals.

Solar Tariffs

MR. MARTIN: Abby Hopper, 81% of imported solar panels come through Southeast Asia. Many are Chinese-branded equipment that if imported from China would face high tariffs. There is a moratorium on collection of so-called anti-circumvention tariffs that expires on June 6. Do you see any possibility that the moratorium will be extended?

MS. HOPPER: No, I do not expect the moratorium to be extended. When it was put in place and then later as we worked with the administration to repel a Congressional effort to rescind it, it was clear to everyone that it was a two-year moratorium.

MR. MARTIN: US solar panel manufacturer Auxin has asked a federal court to declare the moratorium illegal retroactively to April 2022. What are you hearing from members about the Auxin lawsuit? 

MS. HOPPER: Why did Auxin wait to sue until near the end of the moratorium?  There have been motions to dismiss based on that. We and ACP filed briefs with the court.

MR. MARTIN: Biden has been something of a disappointment to the solar industry. He has continued the section 201 safeguard tariffs on solar panels that Trump put in place, for example, albeit at a lower rate. Such tariffs are collected currently at a 14.5% rate on all imported solar panels. Safeguard tariffs are imposed for up to four years at a time and are subject to review in the middle of the four-year period. We are almost exactly at the midpoint now. Is there any talk of a review?

MS. HOPPER: We had a review. I testified last November at the midterm review. We asked for more cells to be allowed in duty-free to give more supply to US factories that want to manufacture solar panels, but we did not advocate eliminating the tariffs otherwise. They are scheduled to expire in early February 2026.

 Trump originally imposed tariffs on imported cells and modules. They lasted four years. Biden renewed them at a lower rate. Statutorily, they cannot be extended again, but allowing more cells in to help domestic manufacturers is important for the manufacturing renaissance that both political parties want.

MR. MARTIN: One more tariff question. Bifacial solar panels are currently exempted from the safeguard tariffs. Trump granted the exemption and then tried quickly to revoke it. A federal trial court would not let him do that. Now a federal appeals court has said that he had the authority to rescind it. What do you expect to happen to the exemption if he is elected?

MS. HOPPER: I am a lawyer as are many of us on this panel. I definitely did not know I was going to learn so much about tariff law when I took this job. It was way outside my area of expertise. I have learned a lot in the last seven-plus years.

When the International Trade Commission puts out its report any day now with the results of the mid-term review, we expect to see it provide data on bifacial solar panel imports. We are arguing that revoking the bifacial exemption would be harmful to our industry. The exemption was granted on the premise that bifacial panels are not made in the United States. Nothing has changed. They are still not available from US manufacturers, so the rationale for the exemption remains as valid today as when the exemption was put in place.

Companies have made business decisions based on the exemption. A decision to reverse course and potentially retroactively impose tariffs on imported bifacial panels is the type of regulatory uncertainty that is detrimental to the US economy.

DOE Loan Guarantees

MR. MARTIN: Ray Long going back to you, House Republicans are threatening to subpoena Jigar Shah, the head of the DOE loan guarantee program. They want internal emails showing the deliberations on loan guarantee applications. They are hoping to find another Solyndra.

The last time House Republicans shone a spotlight on the loan guarantee program, some applicants who had gone through the whole process declined to take the loan guarantees for which they qualified. They did not want to be dragged into the middle of a food fight in Congress. What are you hearing from members about loan guarantees?  Any anxiety?

MR. LONG: I don't know what will happen ultimately, but the attention suggests that Jigar is doing his job and he is doing it well because he is becoming a lightning rod for criticism against the broader Biden climate policies.

The loan guarantee program has been around for a long time. It has been maintained through both Republican and Democratic administrations.

MR. MARTIN: It was adopted during the George W. Bush administration in 2005.

MR. LONG: Correct, and it has done some wonderful things. Any time you have a program of that size and scope, there will always be something that goes awry. Unfortunately, with Solyndra, it was something large. We would do better to focus on the good things the program has done rather than remain perpetually fixated on the one bad loan.

Permitting Reform

MR. MARTIN: JC Sandberg, one chit that Joe Manchin collected for supporting the Inflation Reduction Act was a promise by Biden and Chuck Schumer that there would be a vote on a federal permitting bill to make it easier to permit infrastructure projects. No vote has occurred. Are the permitting reform proposals now dead?

MR. SANDBERG:  I would not say they are dead. They are on life support. I think Senator Manchin continues to work with the ranking member, Senator Barrasso, on trying to move a permitting reform bill. There is clearly a need. We are very bad as a country at permitting and building large infrastructure.

They want to put something out. I am not sure they think it will pass this year, but it is important to put down a marker for where the debate can resume after the presidential election cycle. They certainly have not given up, and we have not stopped engaging on this issue.

MS. HOPPER: Most of our members understand that legislation does not get through Congress or state legislatures without compromises. So the idea that any permitting reform will have to help both fossil fuels and renewables is understood. You will not hear my trade association objecting to such a result as that is the only way the process works.

MR. MARTIN: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments earlier this month on Chevron deference, which is the idea that federal agencies should be given deference to fill in details of the statutes that Congress passes. There is a good chance that the conservative majority will get rid of Chevron deference. Abby Hopper, what difference will that make in how Washington functions?

MS. HOPPER: Having served as a head of a federal agency that made a lot of decisions around permitting, I think it would make a huge difference. It will affect renewable energy companies, fossil fuel companies, farmers across the entirety of the federal portfolio. You have heard all of us say many times that it is really hard to get anything passed in Washington. Allowing the agencies that are expert in the subject matter areas to fill in details is a process that has worked. We are anxious that the Chevron case may be overturned. The effects will be felt across the economy.

MR. MARTIN: Ray Long is nodding yes. Ironically, rescinding Chevron deference would deprive any new Trump administration of some executive power.

MR. LONG:  The notion that they are just going to throw out Chevron deference is absurd. We have regulatory agencies for a reason, and that is we do not have people in Congress, or in state legislatures, who are able to get down to the level of detail required to implement statutes. The legislatures set the broad policies. The experts at the agencies then should be guided by what the legislature said, but someone has to fill in the details. That is the role of the executive branch.

MR. MARTIN: Are any of your trade associations engaged on the LNG export permitting issue?  It seems like Biden handed an easy campaign issue to Trump by putting a moratorium on new permits to export US LNG.

MR. SANDBERG: We are not engaged on the issue, but I agree with you. I am scratching my head at the political calculus. Regardless of where you sit, now is not the time.

MR. MARTIN: Abby Hopper is nodding in agreement.

MR. LONG: We are not involved either.

Other Issues

MR. MARTIN: Abby Hopper, starting with you and then going across to JC and Ray, and then I'll give Diana a chance to comment as I have been watching her taking notes, are there any other issues your trade associations are following on which action is possible this year?

MS. HOPPER: The Inflation Reduction Act requires compliance with prevailing wage and apprentice requirements to claim the new tax credits. We are deeply invested in ensuring that there is an adequate supply not only of labor, but also of diverse labor, and a fair wage. That compliance process is taking shape now. It is something that many of us are following and in which we have a keen interest.

MR. MARTIN: JC, other issues?

MR. SANDBERG:  Basel III is real. We are spending a lot of time working with Abby and Ray and their teams on it. The big tax equity investors need a clear signal from the federal bank regulators soon that the government will not require 400% risk weighting for tax equity investments or they will press pause on new investments. We are engaging frequently with the administration on the issue.

I think the heads of the independent bank regulatory bodies have been called up to testify before Congress. They have said basically that the effects on the tax equity market are the law of unintended consequences. The tax equity investor pool is the most risk averse investor pool on the planet. Any kind of blip or hiccup in that process leads to a pause on new investment. Those deals are so big you can't indemnify around that. So the market just seizes. We are working hard to make sure that doesn't happen.

MR. MARTIN: A Brazilian finance minister said years ago that financiers are people who lend you their umbrellas and ask for them back at the first sign of rain. The White House said early on that this is an awkward issue for it to get involved in because it is being asked to lean on what are ostensibly independent federal bank regulatory agencies. What are you hearing about the likelihood of relief?

MR. SANDBERG: We put a solution in front of them. You have experts in these regulatory bodies. First you have to convince the staff that it works before you put something in front of the principals. We are almost to the point where we have convinced the staff and so we will move next to the principal level. There are four agencies involved: the Comptroller of the Currency, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury through the domestic markets group.

MR. MARTIN: Ray Long, are there other issues that ACORE is following?

MR. LONG: The only other issue is the misinformation circulating about a number of clean energy technologies, and that bad information sometimes influences.

More than 90% of all the new renewable and clean energy projects are in red and rural districts, and yet most of the opposition to clean energy is coming from members of Congress from those areas. We are working hard to ensure that folks in those areas understand how clean energy is benefiting them. It brings lower electricity prices. It brings jobs. The electricity is reliable. It is clean. Clean energy is providing energy security here in the United States.

Last Word

MR. MARTIN:  Diana, we have one minute left. The floor is yours.

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: I am the only person on this panel who does not represent any businesses. If we got rid of all fossil fuels in the United States and Western Europe, it would only make a difference of two tenths of one degree centigrade by the year 2100, according to government models.

Because Russia, China, India and the rest of the world are not reducing their emissions and we have not been able to get them to go along with us, what we are doing is unilateral disarmament. We are hurting our own people.

Climate change is a risk that has to be managed, but poverty remains a pressing concern in the United States and we need to focus more on the American people and on their electricity bills and costs of transportation. We should not do things that will impose large costs on the working class and have almost zero effect on the climate. If we want to help reduce global emissions to affect the climate, we need to export our natural gas and our nuclear power equipment in order to reduce global emissions. Moving our energy-intensive manufacturing to China, India and the rest of the world, where manufactured products made with dirtier air and more emissions, does not help the climate.

MR. MARTIN: Ray, you have your hand up. Ten seconds.

MR. LONG:  I just want to ask one question. The memberships of our three trade associations are publicly disclosed. You said you don't represent any businesses. Can you say who is funding your work at the Heritage Foundation?  I have a feeling that quite a few people who are funding you have very specific . . . .

MR. MARTIN: We are out of time.

MS. FURCHTGOTT-ROTH: I just want to say that the Heritage Foundation has hundreds of thousands of donors. No corporation provides more than 1% of our revenue and other foundations and corporations provide no more than 5% in total. I have been writing on what I have been saying throughout my entire career.