Trump says windmills aren’t working too well

At the end of a long press conference after the Group of 7 summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump responded to a question about his climate change skepticism in a way that didn’t sound promising for those trying to build an offshore wind industry in the United States.

“The US has tremendous wealth. The wealth is under its feet. I’ve made that wealth come alive,” Trump said (starting at 1:08), noting that the US has more liquefied natural gas than anybody in the world. “We are the No. 1 energy producer in the world.”

Trump said he’s not going to lose that wealth. “I’m not going to lose it on dreams, on windmills, which, frankly, aren’t working too well,” he said.

The president’s comments have to be concerning for Vineyard Wind, the company trying to build the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts. Vineyard Wind’s project is in jeopardy because federal regulators have indefinitely postponed action on the company’s environmental impact statement while they try to assess the cumulative impact of the many wind farms being proposed along the East Coast.

Officials at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management have insisted they are just being prudent, but Trump’s comments in France suggest the president may not be interested in wind power. It’s the wind industry’s biggest fear, that the federal bureaucracy is just bending to the whims of a president whose first love is fossil fuels.

“When it comes to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Trump administration has cut every corner and moved through the environmental review period at record speed,” said US Rep. Joseph Kennedy III. “But when it comes to the nation’s first major offshore wind project — which has gone through years of extensive study, public comment, and mitigation plans for impacted communities — they are trying to delay it to death. Their double standard on energy infrastructure is putting jobs, manufacturing, and economic activity at risk, from southeastern New England to Texas to Louisiana.”

For Massachusetts, the stakes are high. It’s counting on offshore wind to help the state reach its carbon emission goals. State officials are also hoping offshore wind can develop into a major new industry, spinning off onshore jobs and investment.

The federal government until now has been an active participant, leasing ocean tracts to wind farm companies and laying the foundation for a new industry. No one really knows if Trump’s comments mean a change in course. (A number of other statements he made at the G-7 summit raised eyebrows.) But it’s clear the president’s idea of environmentalism is very different from what is espoused by most politicians in Massachusetts

“In a nutshell, I want the cleanest water on earth. I want the cleanest air on earth. And that’s what we’re doing. I’m an environmentalist. A lot of people don’t understand that. I’ve done more environmental impact statements than anybody,” Trump said. “I think I know more about the environment than most people.”

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka have authorized more than $500,000 in spending on outside counsel services related to issues raised by the #MeToo focus on sexual harassment on Beacon Hill. (Boston Herald)  

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Less than two weeks after the Fall River City Council narrowly voted to cap the number of recreational marijuana licenses at 11, Mayor Jasiel Correia II vetoed the order that would put the ordinance on the books. (Herald News) 

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

The Trump administration is rescinding a program that allowed families without legal status in the US to enter the country, work, and qualify for Medicaid while their children are being treated for illnesses for which there is no treatment in their home countries. Officials say the families have 33 days to leave the country. (CommonWealth) A Globe editorial decries the move. 

President Trump can play hardball on trade with China, or work to expand the US economy, but not both, writes New York Times reporter Peter Goodman. A case in point: American farmers, who are growing increasingly angry over lost sales to China because of new US tariffs. (New York Times

The Washington Post breaks down Trump’s 68-minute press conference at the close of G-7 meetings in France, in which he “offered a lens into his un­or­tho­dox mind, a range of false or dubious statements, and the myriad ways he has changed the presidency in 31 months.”

ELECTIONS

In a Facebook post, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III says he hears the people who say he should wait his turn rather than take on Sen. Edward Markey, but he says, “I’m not sure this is a moment for waiting.” (CommonWealth) Rep. Ayanna Pressley steers clear of questions about Kennedy and Markey, downplaying the role of endorsements. (CommonWealth)

Markey will bring a long legislative record to his reelection campaign, the most recent highlight of which is his cosponsorship of the Green New Deal with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (Boston Globe)

With Congressman Seth Moulton out of the presidential race, national security considerations have virtually disappeared from the discussion among the candidates, writes David Bernstein. (WGBH) The Gloucester Daily Times tells Moulton why others have mounted primary campaigns against him for his congressional seat, writing that his constituents “bristle at the thought of being a consolation prize.”

A new poll suggests the Democratic nomination for president has become a three-way race between Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. (Politico)

State Republican Party leaders have dismantled an elaborate fundraising operation that helped fuel Gov. Charlie Baker’s two winning campaigns, a further sign of the rift between the state party, now helmed by conservative former state rep Jim Lyons, and the moderate governor. (Boston Globe)

At the first mayoral forum in Pittsfield, incumbent Linda Tyer comes under fire from three challengers for rising crime levels and the poor state of the city’s roads. (Berkshire Eagle)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A snarky letter sent by the labor and liberal advocacy coalition Raise Up Massachusetts that takes aim at the state’s business community is creating tension between the two forces that joined together last year to hammer out a so-called “grand bargain” on paid family leave and other issues. (Boston Globe

EDUCATION

Nearly 1,000 UMass Boston students receive a hefty discount on this semester’s T passes courtesy of money supplied through a student activity fee assessed on all of the school’s 10,000 students. (CommonWealth)

Immigration officials in Boston revoke the visa of an incoming Harvard freshman and deport him back to Lebanon. (Harvard Crimson)

Hampshire College in Amherst says its 2019 enrollment will be much higher than previously forecast. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

Special town meetings could soon solidify major changes to the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District’s regional agreement, which for years has been a source of heated legal dispute between the partner towns. (Cape Cod Times) 

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Fairhaven Health Director Mary Freire-Kellogg warns residents to leave dead birds alone, mentioning the town doesn’t have the resources to assess whether animals have Eastern equine encephalitis, a mosquito-borne virus which can be deadly to humans. One Fairhaven woman’s family claims the cause of her recent death was EEE. (Standard-Times) 

ARTS/CULTURE

After complaints about the heat emitted from it, Boston parks officials downgraded the bronze Myrtle the Turtle sculpture from a climbing structure in a sunny spot to a decorative fixture surrounded by a fence, and artist Nancy Schön says it is “knee-jerk reaction pandering to a minority of interests.” (WBUR)

The Petition is an immersive play that gives small roles to the audience at the Old State House and tells the story of Prince Hall, a slave who spoke out for his own liberty in terms the founders would later use to declare independence from Britain. (WBUR)

TRANSPORTATION 

The MBTA releases the contracts the agency negotiated with members of a high-powered safety review panel led by former US transportation secretary Ray LaHood. (CommonWealth

A report from the Mass. Biotechnology Council says the sector enjoyed tremendous growth last year, but will not be able to sustain that expansion unless transportation issues in the state are addressed. (Boston Globe) Gov. Charlie Baker, in an op-ed coauthored with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, says he’s working on it. (Boston Globe) Former governor Michael Dukakis has two words for Baker, Hogan and the Rhode Island and New Hampshire governors joining them today in Boston for an infrastructure summit sponsored by the National Governors Association: “regional rail.” (Boston Globe

CASINOS

Revenue at MGM Springfield has come in well below projections. (Boston Globe)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Prosecutors say Eleanor Maloney, 74, was shot and killed in early April standing on her porch as her grandson engaged in a shootout with another man. Four men in total are being charged. (Dorchester Reporter)

Timothy Grover, a 55-year-old Dracut man well known for founding a substance abuse treatment program and running a security service, was arrested Tuesday after allegedly entering Lowell High School the day before classes start and accosting three women. (Lowell Sun)

After the press was barred from an arraignment, details emerged in the case against Giovanni Lebron, accused of murdering a woman at his Lawrence apartment, and Nelson Gilles, who allegedly helped him dump Nicole Connor’s body in the Spicket River. (Salem News)

Tanmaya Kabra, who created LaunchByte and The Kabra Group, presented himself as a successful venture capitalist, but he allegedly used others’ investments to support a lavish lifestyle and was arrested earlier this month on the tarmac in a plane bound for Italy. (Salem News)

MEDIA

Trump allies are digging into the backgrounds of reporters covering the White House, sometimes uncovering information that can be used to embarrass them. (New York Times)

In an op-ed in the Columbia Journalism Review, Bernie Sanders outlines what he would do to bolster an independent press.