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President Trump's Energy Independence Policy Guts Obama's 'Clean Power Plan'

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that guts President Barack Obama's so-called "Clean Power Plan." (Video screenshot image)
Tuesday, President Donald Trump took the political equivalent of an ax to his predecessors "climate change" energy regulations, which many have blamed for crippling the economy, inflating energy costs, and stunting job growth.

He signed a new executive order that launches his own energy independence agenda. Noting that President Barack Obama's so-called "Clean Power Plan" was being challenged by 27 states, 24 trade associations, 37 rural electric co-ops and three labor unions in federal court, he said he would remove the up to $39 billion a year burden on the American economy.

Joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and a group of coal miners at EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., before signing the executive order, the president said:

Together, this group is going to do a truly great job for our country. We have a very, very impressive group here to celebrate the start of a new era in American energy and production and job creation. The action I'm taking today will eliminate federal overreach, restore economic freedom and allow our companies and our workers to thrive, compete and succeed on a level playing field for the first time in a long time, fellas. It's been a long time. I'm not just talking about eight years; we're talking about a lot longer than eight years. You people know it maybe better than anybody.

Thanks, as well, to the many distinguished members of Congress who have taken the time to be here. I want to thank all of our industry leaders who are with us and who share our determination to create jobs in America, for Americans. And, Shelley, thank you very much also. I spotted you in the audience. Thank you. 

That is what this is all about: bringing back our jobs, bringing back our dreams—and making America wealthy again.

I also want to thank the dedicated public servants who are with us this afternoon. You're doing important work to protect our health and public resources. So important.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the truly amazing people behind me on this stage: our incredible coal miners. We love our coal miners. Great people. Over the past two years, I've spent time with the miners all over America. They told me about the struggles they've endured. I actually, in one case, I went to a group of miners in West Virginia—you remember, Shelley—and I said, how about this: Why don't we get together, we'll go to another place, and you'll get another job; you won't mine anymore. Do you like that idea? They said, no, we don't like that idea—we love to mine, that's what we want to do. I said, if that's what you want to do, that's what you're going to do.

And I was very impressed. They love the job. That's what their job is. I fully understand that. I grew up in a real estate family, and until this recent little excursion into the world of politics, I could never understand anybody who would not want to be in the world of real estate. Believe me. So I understand it. And we're with you 100 percent, and that's what you're going to do. OK?

The miners told me about the attacks on their jobs and their livelihoods. They told me about the efforts to shut down their mines, their communities and their very way of life. I made them this promise: We will put our miners back to work. We've already eliminated a devastating anti-coal regulation—but that was just the beginning.

Today, I'm taking bold action to follow through on that promise. My administration is putting an end to the war on coal. We're going to have clean coal—really clean coal. With today's executive action, I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion and to cancel job-killing regulations. And, by the way, regulations not only in this industry, but in every industry. We're doing them by the thousands, every industry. And we're going to have safety, we're going to have clean water, we're going to have clear air. But so many are unnecessary, and so many are job-killing. We're getting rid of the bad ones.

One after another, we're keeping our promises and putting power back into the hands of the people. First, today's energy independence action calls for an immediate reevaluation of the so-called Clean Power Plan. Perhaps no single regulation threatens our miners, energy workers, and companies more than this crushing attack on American industry.

Second, we are lifting the ban on federal leasing for coal production.

Third, we are lifting job-killing restrictions on the production of oil, natural gas, clean coal and shale energy.

And finally, we are returning power to the states—where that power belongs. States and local communities know what is best for them. They understand it. They get it. They've been doing it for a long time. It was taken away from them, and not handled well—and they are the ones that we should now, and will now, empower to decide.

My action today is the latest in a series of steps to create American jobs and to grow American wealth. We're ending the theft of American prosperity and rebuilding our beloved country. We approved the permit to finally build the Keystone XL pipeline, and cleared the way to completion of the Dakota Access pipeline—thousands and thousands of jobs.

We've already created a half a million new jobs in the first two jobs reports of my administration. And if you noticed today, Ford—great company—announced massive new spending on three big plants in the state of Michigan—a state which I love very much. Do you remember what happened in Michigan? Remember, November 8th. Oh, that was an exciting Michigan evening. And Ford just made that announcement. That's a great announcement. It's a very important announcement. It means jobs, jobs, jobs.

We are going to continue to expand energy production, and we will also create more jobs in infrastructure, trucking and manufacturing. This will allow the EPA to focus on its primary mission of protecting our air and protecting our water. Together, we are going to start a new energy revolution—one that celebrates American production on American soil.

We want to make our goods here instead of shipping them in from other countries. All over the world, they ship in, ship in—take the Americans' money, take the money, go home; take our jobs, take our companies. No longer, folks. No longer. We believe in those really magnificent words: Made in the USA. Right, fellas?

We will unlock job-producing natural gas, oil and shale energy. We will produce American coal to power American industry. We will transport American energy through American pipelines, made with American steel. Made with American steel. Can you believe somebody would actually say that?

This came up a little bit coincidentally when I was signing the pipelines deals. I'm all signing, I've got them done. And I said, folks, where do we get the steel? And they said, I think it's from foreign lands. And I said, no good. Who makes it? Who makes those beautiful pipes for the pipeline? Sir, they're made outside of this country. I said, no more, no more. So we added a little clause—didn't take much—that you want to build pipelines in this country? You're going to buy your steel, and you're going to have it fabricated here. Makes sense, right? Doesn't it make sense, Bob? Think so. He knows.

Together, we will create millions of good American jobs—also, so many energy jobs—and really lead to unbelievable prosperity all throughout our country. And Rick Perry is going to have a lot to do with that.

I want to just thank everybody in this room. You're all very special people. In particular, I want to thank the miners. You know, my guys, they'll get enough thanks. These people haven't had enough thanks. They've had a hard time for a long time. They're tough-looking guys, too. I'll tell you what—not going to mess around with this group, right?

All right. Thank you, fellas. I made my promise and I keep my promise.

So I want to thank everybody in the room. God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Trump's executive order completes the following objectives:

  • It directs the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend, revise, or rescind four actions related to the Clean Power Plan that would stifle the American energy industry.
  • It directs the attorney general to seek appropriate relief from the courts over pending litigation related to the Clean Power Plan.
  • It rescinds executive and agency actions centered on the previous administration's climate change agenda that have acted as a road block to energy independence by:
    • lifting the ban on federal leasing for coal production, and
    • lifting job-killing restrictions on the production of oil, natural gas and shale energy.
  • It directs all agencies to conduct a review of existing actions that harm domestic energy production and within 180 days finalize plans to suspend, revise or rescind actions that are not mandated by law.
  • It directs agencies to use the best available science and economics in regulatory analysis.
  • It disbands the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases.
  • It restores power of such matters to the states.

The White House said the new order is part of a broader effort by the president to "free America's potential"—its industry and ingenuity—from the constraints of government overreach. It also noted this was yet another campaign promise on which he is following through.

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