Former President Donald Trump revived his his feud with wind turbines, telling Fox News personality Sean Hannity that they are “ruining the atmosphere.”
This claim was particularly absurd coming from Trump, whose own administration was regularly criticized for amplifying climate denialism and giving kickbacks to the fossil fuel industry despite concerns from environmentalists and other politicians about the impact of fossil fuels on anthropogenic global warming.
You can hear what Trump said in the audio below.
Trump went on to say that windmills are destroying the country's "beautiful prairies," to say nothing of other areas:
“You look at what’s happening to these beautiful prairies and plains and these gorgeous areas of our country where they have these rusting hulks put up all over the place that are noisy, they’re killing the birds." ...
He then pivoted to a defense of natural gas and coal, fossil fuels that the Biden administration has pledged to move away from in favor of renewable energy sources:
"It's a very expensive form, probably the most expensive form of energy but you look at what we had... you know, natural gas is very clean. They destroyed the coal miners. You have clean coal and they use coal now for much more than energy."
"They use it for other things also but they destroyed the coal miners."
Trump's odd vendetta against wind turbines has been particularly well documented.
In 2019, he claimed wind turbines are a poor source of electricity, arguing that people would have to turn off their televisions because "the wind isn’t blowing," telling a crowd at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that if the wind doesn't blow, "you can forget about television for that night."
These comments received a sharp rebuke from Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University. Speaking to Newsweek at the time, Mann said the president's remarks amounted to “malicious ignorance."
Trump had previously mocked the Green New Deal's renewable energy policy while addressing the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland, likening it to “a high school term paper written by a poor student" and, referring to wind turbines, stressing that "when the wind stops blowing, that's the end of your electric."
Trump has even asserted that having a wind turbine near a residential area would lower property values, telling Ohio rally attendees that building one would cause "the value of your house go down by 65 percent."
Many have criticized and mocked Trump for his rambling remarks.
While in office, the Trump administration generated controversy for making plans to order grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants in a bid to extend their life, marking an unprecedented federal intervention into energy markets.
These plans drew significant criticism from researchers and policymakers alike whose findings conclude that the coal industry is largely obsolete.
There is an economic incentive for power plants to rely on coal because the fossil fuel is cheaper than oil or natural gas, but, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) notes in one report, “renewables are the world’s fastest-growing energy source, with consumption increasing by an average 2.3%/year between 2015 and 2040.
Trump has previously come under fire for stacking his administration with coal energy veterans and other members of the fossil fuel lobby.
Just why so many of these individuals held such prominent positions in Trump's Washington is obvious: The leading coal mining states of Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Wyoming all voted reliably for Trump and his actions then and since have been largely construed as simple maneuvers to shore up his base.