PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — President Donald Trump is making his 14th trip to Pennsylvania tomorrow.
Wednesday’s visit to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center is for the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s conference.
His return appearance at the conference in Pittsburgh is an official event, but it is reminiscent of his campaign stop here three years ago.
“They tell me that a Republican can’t carry the state of Pennsylvania. Wait until they see what happens here,” said candidate Trump back then. “Wait’ll you see. I think we’re going to have a big, big victory right here.”
As a political prognosticator, President Trump was clearly right.
He won the state by 44,000 votes out of 6 million, and a lot had to do with his support for local energy like coal and natural gas.
“I am going to lift the restrictions on American energy and allow this wealth to pour into our communities, including right here,” declared candidate Trump back then.
On Wednesday, the President is expected to say he kept his promises, noting in 2016 he was “talking about how he was going to end the war on American energy,” recalled Meghan Burris, a special assistant to the President.
“That’s exactly what he’s done over the past two-and-a-half years. That’s what you’re going to hear about tomorrow,” Burris told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
Delano: “Is the war over, or is there more that can be done?”
Burris: “This is President Trump. There is always more that can be done. He’s not stopped since day one.”
Dave Spigelmyer is president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, which is sponsoring the Shale Insight conference.
Delano: “Has he delivered on those promises?”
Spigelmyer: “I will tell you where his focus has helped. Certainly, we’ve had a number of folks working to shut our industry off at our arteries, primarily through pipeline development. The President has worked to try to make sure that the rules apply fairly and properly permitted pipelines, environmentally responsible development pipelines, is permitted and allowed.”
And Spigelmyer says natural gas development has lowered heating prices locally.
“Consumer natural gas rates here in Pittsburgh, the purchased natural gas costs, are 70 percent or more less than they were a decade ago.”
How much politics gets into the President’s remarks remains to be seen.
In 2016, he attacked Hillary Clinton. This year, just substitute a different name for his opponent.
“Hillary Clinton wants to put the coal miners out of work, ban hydraulic fracking in almost all places, and extensively restrict and ban energy production on public lands and in most offshore areas,” Trump told the conference three years ago.
Watch for the President to attack Democrats who embrace this same agenda, as some opponents have already done, even as the industry claims fracking is safe.
“We’ve got a full body of folks in the environmental section of [the Department of Environmental Protection] that watch our work every day,” said Spigelmyer. “Last year, we drilled a little over 700 wells in Pennsylvania, and there were over 19,000 inspections at those sites.”
WATCH: KDKA’s Jon Delano has more on President Donald Trump’s visit.
In 2016, Trump pledged to free the energy industry so it could grow.
“The permitting process in your industry is a disaster,” he declared.
On Wednesday, watch the President claim his promises have been kept.
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“Through his energy policies and what we’ve seen here in the region, families of four are saving about $2,500 a year just because they have lower electricity bills and lower gas prices,” noted Burris.
No surprise, Democrats dispute that.
“Trump’s record is a story of broken promises, and that’s why we believe that voters will hold him accountable and vote him out of office in 2020,” said David Bergstein with the Democratic National Committee.
While this particular trip to Pittsburgh is billed as official, there’s always a political side when any president travels anywhere.
So the question will be how much politics comes into play when the President speaks at the Convention Center on Wednesday.