A golden era of prosperity is at hand as the United States finds new production tools to discover and generate energy. And not only can the nation fill its own needs, but it can generate wealth exporting energy, too.
That was the message President Donald Trump carried to the U.S. Department of Energy on Thursday, speaking to federal employees and businesspersons assembled at the department’s headquarters.
The speech was part of the White House campaign known as “Energy Week,” to highlight Trump’s executive orders and the growth of the nation’s energy industry under this administration.
Trump was introduced by one-time rival Rick Perry, the former Texas governor, now Trump’s energy secretary. Perry said he was having a blast running the department, which he described as the “coolest” job he has ever had.
Perry said the Trump administration was working to change policies left behind by the administration of former President Barack Obama. Obama once told an editorial board, in 2008, that he wanted electricity prices “to necessarily skyrocket” to cut down on the use of coal at power plants.
His administration delayed and then halted TransCanada’s plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to Texas, adding at least 700,000 barrels of oil a day to U.S. supplies. And Obama even delayed the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.
Trump approved allowed the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines to proceed immediately upon taking office in January. He has also promised to put coal miners back to work to help keep electricity costs down.
“The war on your livelihood is over,” Perry told the audience, referring to reversing past energy policies. “But it’s going to be a long recovery.”
Trump then took the podium and said that dropping out of the Paris climate accord, earlier this month, has led other world leaders to think the United States was right to leave the unofficial treaty.
The climate accord would have called for less production of carbon emissions — and could have had major implications for the coal and oil industries. Trump told his audience that the United States was drawn into a bad deal to which Obama agreed in 2015, so he withdrew officially. He said the United States could forge a new climate accord, but not one that disadvantages the U.S.
As for the energy future, Trump went to the department to talk optimism. He linked the nation’s booming energy production — and lower costs — to a more prosperous future.
“The golden era of America is now underway.”
“The golden era of America is now underway,” said Trump. “We will bring new opportunity to the heartland, new prosperity to the inner cities, and new infrastructure all across our nation. When it comes to America’s energy needs, we will find it, we will dream it, and we will build it.”
The nation began to produce more oil than it imported in the fall of 2013, thanks in large part to innovative drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
The nation could soon produce so much energy, it would become a “net energy exporter,” Trump said.
And new areas of exploration could be used soon, such as offshore waters and Alaskan land. Perry said he wanted to see more nuclear power, which emits zero carbon into the atmosphere.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said the United States could become a net energy exporter by 2026, although Trump officials believe it could happen as soon as 2020. Exporting energy products such as refined gasoline could enrich U.S. companies and increase employment.
And old problems — such as dependence on Middle Eastern oil — already on the decline could vanish entirely.
Trump crowed about the potential, saying America will be a “dominant” energy power.
“American hands will bend the steel and pour the concrete that brings this energy into our homes, and that exports this incredible newfound energy all around the world,” he said.