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(Justin Lane / EPA)

(Justin Lane / EPA)

By Grace Adee, Jones

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past year, it may interest you to know that the 2016 presidential election is less than two months away. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, and Donald Trump is the Republican nominee– perhaps you have heard of them! Whether or not you can vote, it’s your responsibility to be an informed citizen and to form an educated view based on past actions of candidates and their stated views on various issues.
The volume of information out in the world can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you’re just taking the first step into political literacy. But have no fear. This is the first in a series of articles from The Mash to help you evaluate the candidates based on just the facts. We’ll tell you what Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have to say about the issues that you care about.

Issue: The Environment

The environment and how government regulates it is of at least some importance to most Americans. According to a March 2016 Gallup Poll, 64% are worried a great deal or a fair amount about global warming. And it’s safe to assume that Americans who do not believe that global warming is an issue are concerned nonetheless about environmental regulation of business and industry. Unsurprisingly, Trump and Clinton have very different perspectives about the government’s role in the environment.

Donald Trump:

In 2009, Trump was one of dozens of business leaders who signed a full-page ad in the New York Times in support of President Obama’s policies to fight climate change.

He has since changed his view. In 2012, Trump spoke via Twitter: “Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!”

This is to say that Trump’s current stance on the environment essentially echoes the Republican party platform, which states that environmental issues should be addressed with “incentives for human ingenuity….not through top-down, command-and-control regulations.” Trump believes that environmental regulations unreasonably penalize businesses.

His dislike of regulation is illustrated in his desire to cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, as he signaled in an interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace. He’s also a strong supporter of fossil fuel extraction, and he’s not hugely fond of renewable energy: “Windmills are destroying every country they touch– and the energy is unreliable and terrible,” he Tweeted in December 2012.

Trump believes that the controversial practices of offshore drilling and fracking should continue; that the United States should leave the Paris Climate Accord; and that construction should resume on the Keystone XL Pipeline, a proposed 1,179-mile oil pipeline from Canada to Nebraska.

Generally speaking, Trump doesn’t believe that the environment is a big issue. In an interview with the Washington Post editorial board, Trump said that “our biggest form of climate change that we should worry about is nuclear weapons….the biggest risk for this world and this country is nuclear weapons, the power of nuclear weapons.”

Hillary Clinton:

While the environment might not be Clinton’s No. 1 priority, she mirrors the Democratic Party Platform’s view that climate change “poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures,” and proposes ambitious goals regarding the environment.

The Clinton plan would have 500 million solar panels, and an aim to produce enough renewable energy to power every home in America. She has proposes a “Clean Power Challenge,’’ which would set up a competition for grants to fund development of renewable energy products and provide more assistance to states and cities, and more environmentally friendly product choices for consumers. Clinton would ban offshore drilling and supports U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Accord.

Clinton was criticized by environmentalists for taking a long time to weigh in on the Keystone Pipeline, but she appeased them in September 2015 with a Twitter pronouncement: “Time to invest in a clean energy future– not build a pipeline to carry our continent’s dirtiest fuel across the US. I oppose Keystone XL.” She believes current fracking sites should be regulated and further fracking banned.

Clinton argues that green technology supported by government regulation is good not only for the environment but also for the U.S. economy. “I won’t let anyone take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change,” she said in November 2015.

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