4:07 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.) And one of my all-time favorite governors is right here. Greg, thank you very much. Greg Abbott. (Applause.) Great, great job.
I’m thrilled to be here in Crosby, Texas, with the incredible members of the International Union of Operating Engineers. (Applause.) I know you well. I know you well and I also know who most of you voted for, and I appreciate it. (Laughter.)
When our nation builds and maintains pipelines and pumps, oil rigs and runways, bridges and boilers, operators get the job done with unmatched excellence and skill. There is nobody like you. Nobody. (Applause.)
With the help of the incredible workers in this room, the United States is now the number-one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world, anywhere on the planet. (Applause.) Not even close. Made a lot of progress in the last two and a half years, haven’t we? Huh? Took down a lot of barriers. A lot of barriers to production and to the pumping. So many different things.
I just met some of your folks outside; they gave me a little lesson. I didn’t learn a lot, but I didn’t know they could lay as much pipe as that and so fast, Jim, right? So fast. Incredible.
There’s no — nobody in the world can do what you folks do. (Applause.) We’re going to make it easier for you.
So, in a few moments, I will sign two groundbreaking executive orders to continue the revival of the American energy industry and jobs.
My action today will cut through destructive permitting delays and denials. You know about that? You know about delays — (applause) — where it takes you 20 years to get a permit? Those days are gone. Now, you may not get it at all, but it’s going to take — going to be quick if you don’t. It’ll be quickly missed. You know they say, “Miss it quick.” Do you ever hear that? “Miss it quick.” But that’s not going to happen too often.
So that you can get to work producing the energy and the infrastructure our country needs to thrive and compete and to win. All over the world, we’re winning. Our country is respected again. (Applause.) Respected again.
So we’re pleased to be joined by your great union leadership, General President, a friend of mine, Jim Callahan. He knows all my friends back in New York. (Applause.) Big Jim. And your General Secretary-Treasurer, Brian Hickey. Brian? (Applause.)
As I’ve said from day one, American labor will always have a friend in the White House. You know that. I’ve proven that. Jobs are at an all-time high in the history of our country. Unemployment is at a 51-year low. The unemployment in our country — and we will soon break the all-time record. African American, Asian American, Hispanic American — all-time historic lows. We’re doing well. We’re doing well. And we’re going to keep it going because we believe in two fundamental rules: Buy American and hire American. Okay? (Applause.)
I introduced your great governor, Greg Abbott. And we love Greg. He’s been so incredible. So incredible in so many ways.
And my friend — his friend and my friend, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. What a job he’s done. (Applause.) Dan. Thank you, Dan. Thank you, Dan. And his son is doing a fantastic job, too. Thank him for me, please.
And Texas Attorney General — somebody that wins a lot of lawsuits on your behalf — Ken Paxton. (Applause.) Ken? Thank you, Ken.
And Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. Dan. (Applause.) Dan. Thank you, Dan. Thanks, Dan. Thank you.
As well as Representatives Pete Olson, Randy Weber, and Brian Babin. (Applause.) Thanks, fellas. They help a lot. I’ll tell you, those three guys.
AUDIENCE: (Inaudible), Mr. President!
THE PRESIDENT: (Laughs.) Thanks also to Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush for being here. (Applause.) Where’s George? Where is George? Come here, George! This is the only Bush that likes me. (Laughter.) This is the only one. Can we — come here. I want to meet you. He’s a friend of my son and he’s a great guy. Truly, this is the Bush that got it right. (Laughter and applause.) Good guy. I like him. I like him. He’s going far. He’s going places. Thank you, George.
Here at the IUOE International Training and Education Center, operators are perfecting their skills on cranes and pipelifters, sidebooms, and angle dozers. I just saw them all outside. I’d love to work — I used to work machines. I’d work them — my father would have a job — when I was very young. I won’t say it because they’ll report me. (Laughter.) But I was much too young to work a machine. But I used to work a machine. And then, I used to love the D10s. Now they make D12s. You don’t get too many of them, but they still make them. Right?
Under this administration, we have ended the war on American energy like never before. Nobody believed that this was going to happen. (Applause.) And we put thousands and thousands of patriotic union members like you to work building our energy future.
Since the election, we have created more than 5.5 million new jobs, and more than 60,000 brand new oil and gas pipeline construction jobs. We approved the Keystone Pipeline almost on day one. (Applause.) And we got the Dakota Access Pipeline out of a lot of trouble. They had built it, but they had a little problem. They had a river and they didn’t have that permit. I gave it to them. I gave it to them. (Applause.) So we got that open. That was 40,000 jobs, between the two of them.
We withdrew the United States from the one-sided Paris Climate Accord, where you don’t do any more drilling for oil and gas. (Applause.) That was going to cost us a lot of money. No more oil and gas with the Paris Accord. That’s good for Paris, but that’s not good for us. Right?
And we’re replacing the previous administration’s job-crushing Clean Power Plan and putting our miners back to work. And they’re back to work all over the country. It’s incredible what’s happened with the miners and with steel — with steel. (Applause.) Right now, they’re building many, many steel plants. All of them — Nucor, U.S. Steel — they’re building many plants. They hadn’t built a plant in 40 years.
We finally opened ANWR in Alaska. I don’t know if you like that. Yeah, you liked that. You liked that. (Applause.) A little competition. We’ve got to give them — George, we have to give them a little competition here, right?
But that was something — I don’t know if you know — that they’ve been trying to get that approved since Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan tried it. They all tried to get ANWR done. And I had it in a plan; I was close to getting it done. Then I didn’t like somebody or something that somebody did. I said, “Let’s take it out of the plan. Why should we do it?”
Then a friend of mine, who’s in the oil business, called. Unrelated. Didn’t have anything to do with it. He says, “Is it true that you’re going to get ANWR?” And I said, “Yeah, I can get it. I don’t know. I think I’m not going to, though. They don’t appreciate it. They don’t appreciate it at all.” He said, “Aw, that’s too bad because, you know, everybody from Ronald Reagan all the way up to you couldn’t get it done.” I said, “Really? Oh.” I called up, “Put that back in the plan.” (Laughter.) You know, that was just a competitive thing, right? “Put it back.” (Applause.)
So we put ANWR back, and that’s one of the biggest in the world. So it’s going to be something very special. A lot of you folks are going to be there.
We’ve added more than 450 oil and gas rigs nationwide. And that number is going up very substantially and rapidly, right? Rapidly.
Here in Texas, we’ve have nearly doubled the number of land rigs, and crude oil production has reached a record high — highest in the history of Texas. And if I get you the pipelines, which I will — you know, they’ve been trying to get these pipelines — how many years, Governor? Ten, twelve, fifteen — how many?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Too long.
THE PRESIDENT: Too long. And we’re going to try and do it in six months. Is that okay? We’ll try. EPA. (Applause.) And that means jobs, jobs, jobs. And that’s a lot of jobs, and it’s a lot of additional product. It’s a lot of stuff.
At the same time, we’re strongly protecting the environment. We have to protect the environment. The United States has among the very cleanest air and water developments in the world. And also we have the cleanest air and water, they say, in the world. We are the best. And you want that and I want that. I want clean air and beautiful, crystal-clean water. Right? We want that. (Applause.) People don’t understand that about us. They don’t understand that. (Applause.)
And we also have, right now, the strongest, by far, economy anywhere in the world. We’re the envy of the world.
And we’re negotiating deals with China, with Mexico, with Canada. And many of them already negotiated. We have others to go, but we’re doing a great job. The trade deals — we were being taken advantage of. You would not believe. Yeah, you would believe. You guys understood it. You understood it better than the politicians. You understood it better than the people that used to stand here.
But too often, badly needed energy infrastructure is being held back by special interest groups, entrenched bureaucracies, and radical activists. Shocking to hear that, isn’t it? (Laughter.) So true.
For example, this past winter, Americans in New England — New England, great place — paid up to four times more than nearby Pennsylvania to heat their homes.
And also, in New York, they’re paying tremendous amounts of money more for energy to heat their homes because New York State blocked a permit to build the Constitution Pipeline. It’s a pipeline that goes across. And we actually buy a lot of oil from other countries like Russia because we aren’t being permitted to build a pipeline through New York State. How about that? Not too good.
This obstruction does not just hurt families and workers like you; it undermines our independence and national security. The two executive orders that I’ll be signing in just a moment will fix this, dramatically accelerating energy infrastructure approvals. So we’re going to get these approvals done quickly.
We need help with New York. New York is hurting the country because they’re not allowing us to get those pipelines through, and that’s why they’re paying so much for their heating and all of the things that energy and our energy produces. So hopefully they can come on board and get in line with what’s happening.
They also have a lot of energy under their feet, and they refuse to get it. And people are living up there, not doing well with jobs. It’s not a good situation. But it’ll change.
My first order will speed up the process for approving vital infrastructure on our nation’s borders, such as oil pipelines, roads, and railways. It will now take no more than 60 days. That’s a vast improvement. And the President, not the bureaucracy, will have sole authority to make the final decision when we get caught up in problems. (Applause.) We’ll do what’s right.
My second order will modernize regulations for LNG export terminals and encourage new infrastructure financing. It will improve access for workers and operators to maintain electrical lines. And finally, it will stop state-level abuse of water quality certifications — they abuse you; when you’re nowhere near water, they abuse you — from blocking the construction of vital pipeline projects as we rebuild our energy infrastructure. And it will be like never before. It’s already — look at what’s happened over the last two years.
Now is also the time to train even more. American workers are going to perform their job better and better. Places like this — what a job you’ve done here, Jim. I just met your people. What a job you’ve done. (Applause.) What a job. Incredible.
And you know what else? I just met them, and they also love what they do. If I say, “I’ll trade places: You can have a beautiful apartment on Fifth Avenue, and I can work teaching pipelines or helping.” You know what? They would not switch with me, would they? (Laughter.)
And as far as the White House is concerned, they definitely wouldn’t switch. (Laughter and applause.) The apartment, maybe close. But the White House, I don’t know. But we’re having a good time. We’re doing better.
The country has never done like it’s doing right now. Never had an economy like it. It’s never done. (Applause.)
And, you know, the world took advantage of us in so many ways, but certainly on trade. And that’s coming to a halt. They understand that. They understand. They understood what was happening, and they don’t even blame me. And I don’t blame them. I don’t blame China for taking out $500 billion a year. Five hundred billion dollars. How about that? That wouldn’t happen if you were negotiating.
You almost say, “Who were these people that were making this whole — letting this happen?” And I said to President Xi of China, “I don’t blame you. I blame the people that were in my position.” But those days are over. I said that. Those days are over. And we’re in the process of doing a reasonable deal. (Applause.)
But this is all why we launched the Pledge to American Workers, and our partners have committed to providing more than 6.7 million training and enhanced career opportunities to their American workforce. We’ve done an incredible job. My daughter, Ivanka, she worked so hard on it. Walmart and all of the big companies have just stepped up, and they’re doing an incredible job hiring people.
So I’m proud to announce that the International Union of Operating Engineers signed the pledge today and committed to train almost 550,000 Americans for the jobs of tomorrow. (Applause.) Big. That’s pretty good, Jim. That’s pretty big. That puts you up there with the biggest companies in the world, Jim. I’m impressed. You’ve come a long way, huh? (Laughter.)
With us today is Brandon Cooper, from the Operating Engineers Local 3. Brandon, come on up. He lost his job a few years ago and came here to learn about pipeline construction. Brandon? Where’s Brandon? Where is Brandon? Come here, Brandon. Say a few words, Brandon. Maybe you’ll be a politician, who knows? (Applause.)
MR. COOPER: I’ve worked in construction for years. I’ve been a member of Local 3 of California for over a decade, doing utility work, grading — a little bit of everything. But I’ve never worked in a pipeline industry and I needed training.
You can fake — you can’t fake your way through things in this industry. You have got to produce or you’re gone. Any contractor will let you go at a drop of a hat if you’re not making money.
It’s funny — the pipeline industry has a totally different language. Despite working in the industry for years, I didn’t know the lingo. Their terminology is different than the rest of the industry. With the union, you have that opportunity to expand your skills. I didn’t used to be proficient on all the equipment until I got in the union.
Union training opportunities have given me a chance to better my operating engineer — making more money, building retirement, security, and having good healthcare. This opportunity at this International Training Center is going to pay my dividends. It has been a great experience.
We appreciate what you’re doing, President Trump, to grow this industry. Thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Good job. Good job, Brandon. Thank you very much.
I also want to introduce the great Larry Kudlow. Please. He wanted to be here today. (Applause.) I said, “You don’t have to come, Larry.” He said, “This is very important.” Larry Kudlow, thank you.
So now, more than ever, our nation needs dedicated operators like all of you. With incredible grit and talent and spirit, you lay the pipes that power our industries, you raise the beams that build our skyscrapers, and you are the men and women who get up every day and make this country run and, frankly, make this country great. You do a great job. (Applause.)
And what you understand better than anyone is you take pride in your work, and our nation will always take pride in you. We have great respect for the work you do, believe me.
To all of the talented operating engineers: Thank you for inviting me here today. It was very special. I know so many in this world, as Jim learned in the plane. He got to be on Air Force One today. He was very proud. (Applause.) We took a couple of pictures with that big plaque behind us. He was very happy. Huh? (Laughs.) Thank you, Jim.
And thank you to the extraordinary devotion of all of you to our country. Together, we are making America stronger and prouder and greater than ever before.
God bless you all. And God bless America. Thank you. (Applause.)
Should I sign it?
(The executive order is signed.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you, folks. (Applause.)