11:04 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mike Pence — a really wonderful guy, and my great friend, and a truly great Vice President. He will go down as a truly great Vice President.
Many thanks to Secretaries Wilbur Ross and Ryan Zinke. Very proud of the job they’re doing.
We’re also pleased to welcome many members of Congress and energy industry leaders to the White House. And I want to get them immediately back over there because I know they’re going to be voting on lots of different things, right? So we can’t spend too much time talking about drilling in the Arctic, right? But we’re opening it up.
This is a great day for American workers and families, and today we’re unleashing American energy and clearing the way for thousands and thousands of high-paying American energy jobs. Our country is blessed with incredible natural resources, including abundant offshore oil and natural gas reserves. But the federal government has kept 94 percent of these offshore areas closed for exploration and production. And when they say closed, they mean closed.
This deprives our country of potentially thousands and thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wealth. I pledged to take action, and today I am keeping that promise.
This executive order starts the process of opening offshore areas to job-creating energy exploration. It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban. So hear that: It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban, and directs Secretary Zinke to allow responsible development of offshore areas that will bring revenue to our Treasury and jobs to our workers. (Applause.) In addition, Secretary Zinke will be reconsidering burdensome regulations that slow job creation.
Finally, this order will enable better scientific study of our offshore resources and research that has blocked everything from happening for far too long. You notice it doesn’t get blocked for other nations. It only gets blocked for our nation.
Renewed offshore energy production will reduce the cost of energy, create countless good jobs, and make America more secure and far more energy independent. This action is another historic step toward future development and future — with a future — a real future. And I have to say that’s a real future with greater prosperity and security for all Americans, which is what we want.
So I’m very proud of the people standing behind me. I’m far less proud of the people standing in front of me. (Laughter.) The media. But I have to tell you that this is a very important day, and I want to congratulate Wilbur and Ryan and all of the people that have worked so hard to get this put together so quickly. And it’s going to lead to a lot of great wealth for our country and a lot of great jobs for our country.
So God bless America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
(The executive order is signed.)
Q Mr. President, what’s made this job harder than you thought?
THE PRESIDENT: We’re moving awfully well. We’re getting a lot of things done. I don’t think there’s ever been anything like this. It’s a false standard, 100 days, but I have to tell you, I don’t think anybody has done what we did over the 100 days. So we’re very happy. (Applause.)
11:09 A.M. EDT