They don’t see climate change as a threat and the environment may not be on the top of their agenda, but some Lancaster County residents who voted for Donald Trump are all for more “clean coal,” and less environmental regulations in the way of businesses.
“I don’t believe in climate change. I think it’s a myth that’s perpetuated among the American people,” said Wilson Saunders, 59, of Quarryville, who hopes the president-elect makes good on his vow to pull the United States out of climate change treaties.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and most of the world’s scientists, air and water temperatures are slowly rising around the world because of man-made pollutants. Some scientists disagree on the cause and potential harm of climate change.
Glenn W. Robinson, 34, of Peach Bottom, considers himself a conservative who wants to protect the environment.
“I would say I don’t believe it’s (global warming) a hoax (as Trump has stated). I would say it’s people with ulterior motives that are able to take something that would have a small impact and they’re blowing it up because they have an agenda.”
In 2012, Trump tweeted that the “concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
David Mayer, 67, a Quarryville resident isn’t a “big proponent of climate change,” either. “It wasn’t all that long ago when they were talking about the coming of the second ice age,” he observed.
Bob Marquardt, 80, Lancaster, retired administrator of Lancaster Bible College, also labels himself a skeptic. “I’d like to see it based on factual data of science, not computer models.”
Like the president-elect, his local supporters believe that technology to capture polluting carbon dioxide from the burning of coal exists and that coal can again become a big cog in powering the nation’s energy needs.
“I think there is such a thing as clean coal technology and it needs to be regulated,” said Robinson, whose family runs a small biofuel company in southern Lancaster County.
“Coal does disrupt the ground but the ground can be reclaimed,” said Saunders.
Mayer said he doesn’t “want to hurt the environment either. But the energy problems we have in this country, we have to end up being self-sufficient. Natural gas, coal, oil — it’s all there.”
Dan Becker, 61, Lancaster, who works at Alcoa, thinks clean coal is possible but he cautions that the future president needs to keep an eye on what different fuel sources like coal, natural gas and oil can do to the environment.
“The environment and the ground we walk on has to be a big issue also,” he said.
The residents polled were a little more divided when it comes to accelerating the use of domestic reservoirs of natural gas from fracking, as Trump has campaigned.
“I haven’t seen any hard, factual data that is harmful,” said Marquardt.
But Saunders, who supports the increased use of coal and domestic oil, is not so sure about fracking.
“Fracking, we have no idea of the extent of damage it’s doing to the substrata. There are other forms of natural energy we should be utilizing before we resort to that, like wind, solar, petroleum and coal.”
For Robinson and Amy Snader, 51, of West Lampeter Township, pollution overregulations that hinder small businesses top their wish list for the president elect.
Robinson thinks Trump should end government subsidies for renewable fuels such as ethanol and let the free market prevail.
“I hope he makes it so that it’s not all based on just getting the world clean and canceling everything and making it so many regulations,” added Snader.
“We need to make sure that the small companies are able to be successful without all the rules.”