Energy Transitions in the Trump Administration and Beyond

26 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2021

Date Written: April 24, 2021


This Essay evaluates U.S. transitions in the energy sector between 2016 and 2020 against the backdrop of the Trump administration’s stated priorities regarding energy policy and the administration’s successes and failures in implementing those policies. Specifically, this Essay details President Trump’s policies and regulatory actions with regard to the electricity sector, the transportation sector, energy development on public lands, and federal approvals of energy infrastructure projects. It ends on a somewhat hopeful note, recognizing that while the Trump administration certainly slowed the pace of a U.S. clean energy transition, the transition continued to make forward progress as a result of countervailing trends in economics, technological advances, private sector preferences, and policy development at the state and local levels. Thus, a foundation exists for the Biden administration to accelerate that transition, hopefully in time to minimize U.S. contributions to global climate change and create the clean energy economy we urgently need.

Keywords: energy transition, Trump Administration, Biden Administration, public lands, clean energy, pipelines, renewable energy, fuel economy standards, vehicle emission standards

JEL Classification: K32, K11, Q2, Q3, Q4, Q5

Suggested Citation

Klass, Alexandra B., Energy Transitions in the Trump Administration and Beyond (April 24, 2021). 51 Envtl. L. 241 (2021) , Available at SSRN:

Alexandra B. Klass (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

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