Lobbyist: Trump ‘not an energy guy,’ but will ‘build some stuff’

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Bracewell lobbyist Frank Maisano expects that the electric power sector will be able to “build some stuff” during a Donald Trump administration that will focus on job growth.

The lobbyist and media specialist told the PennWell TransForum East conference in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15 that he expects there to be much opportunity for energy infrastructure.

“While Trump is not an energy guy, he is a jobs guy,” Maisano said. With the Republican Party controlling both the White House and Congress, the lobbyist expects the incoming administration will be able to move an energy infrastructure program forward.

Maisano also expects that some Democrats will go along with a pro-infrastructure program so long as it’s a job-creator

While most people think of pipelines when they think of energy infrastructure, new electric transmission is also needed.

While the Obama administration has said good things about energy infrastructure, it has been held back by divisions within the environmental community. Environmental opposition to high-profile infrastructure projects held back development during the Obama administration, Maisano said.

During the incoming Trump administration, Maisano expects that states will stay have a big say on electric transmission infrastructure projects, but won’t be able to fight them “forever.”

On other topics, Maisano does not expect the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan to survive in its current form.

Environmentalists “forgot to win the election” and the CPP would eventually go before a conservative U.S. Supreme Court, Maisano said.

“I don’t think we are going to get an EPA administrator who is a climate denier,” Maisano said in response to a question. He noted that a Bracewell colleague and former high-ranking EPA official Jeff Holmstead was expected to address the conference on Nov. 16.

Maisano also said that Trump will need to move promptly to fill vacancies at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

“I didn’t get much right during the election,” Maisano said. He added that he did not expect Trump to survive the Republican primaries. But Trump’s pro-jobs, insurgent campaign appealed to voters who were willing to forgive the candidate for saying “stupid things,” Maisano said.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 22 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants.

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