President Trump continued his drive to promote an “energy dominance” policy Wednesday by meeting with state and tribal leaders and energy industry association heads on the subject.
“I’m confident that, working together, we can usher in a golden age of American energy dominance and the extraordinary financial and security benefits that it brings to our citizens, not only the Native Americans, but all over the country,” Trump said during brief remarks in front of reporters before the meeting.
In his prepared remarks, Trump spoke repeatedly about the need to end restrictions on drilling, mining and other energy production activities. Trump also promoted his administration’s roll back on environmental regulations that he said got in the way.
“Many of your lands have rich natural resources that stand to benefit your people immensely,” Trump said to the American Indian leaders assembled at the White House for a discussion.
“These untapped resources of wealth can help you build new schools, fix roads, improve your communities and create jobs, jobs like you’ve never seen before. All you want is the freedom to use them, and that’s been the problem. It’s been very difficult, hasn’t it? It’ll be a lot easier now, under the Trump administration.”
Turning to the mostly Republican group of governors and other state government representatives present at the meeting, Trump said they have confronted similar issues.
“Many of our states have also been denied access to the abundant energy resources on their lands that could bring greater wealth to the people and benefit to our whole nation,” Trump said.
“We’re becoming more and more energy dominant. I don’t want to be energy free; we want to be energy dominant in terms of the world.”
He thanked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and other administration officials, saying they’ve “taken swift action to lift the crushing restrictions on American energy.”
“Scott Pruitt has done an amazing job, an incredible job, in a very short period of time. And most people love him; there are a couple that don’t, but that’s OK, right?” Trump said to laughter from the room.
A reporter asked Trump at the end of the speech whether he believes in climate change, following up on recent statements from Energy Secretary Rick Perry, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and others who said they have not discussed Trump’s climate beliefs with him.
Trump listened to the question, but did not answer. Instead, Trump thanked the journalists as they were escorted out of the room.
The event was organized as part of the administration’s “Energy Week,” which is meant to promote Trump’s energy agenda.
–The Hill, Timothy Cama