President Donald Trump has told automobile industry executives that he believes that environmental regulations have spiraled out of control. The president's remarks arrive on the same day that he signed executive orders expediting the construction of two controversial pipelines in the U.S. Midwest.
On Jan. 24, Trump met with leaders of the automobile industry at the White House to discuss his administration's strategy to increase domestic manufacturing. During the meeting, Trump asserted that U.S. manufacturers were being hobbled by environmental regulations, Politico reports.
"Our friends that wanna build in the United States, they go many, many years and then they can't get the environmental permit over something that nobody ever heard of before," Trump said. "And it's absolutely crazy. I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist. I believe in it. But it's out of control."
The president added that his administration would seek to change regulations to make domestic manufacturing "extremely hospitable."
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"We're gonna make a very short process, and we're going to either give you your permits or we're not gonna give you your permits," Trump told the automobile executives in attendance. "But you're gonna know very quickly."
The meeting was attended by auto executives such as Mark Fields of Ford Motor Company, Mary T. Barra of General Motors Company, and Roger Shane Karr of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Following the meeting, Fields expressed optimism about his industry's relationship with the Trump administration and praised the president for signing an executive order to cancel U.S. participation in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
"We appreciate the president's courage to walk away from a bad trade deal," Fields said. "So I think as an industry, we're excited about working together with the president and his administration on tax policies, on regulation and on trade, to really create a renaissance in American manufacturing."
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That same day, Trump signed two executive orders to expedite the construction of both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, reports USA Today. Both pipelines have been controversial, with former President Barack Obama previously halting construction of Keystone due to environmental concerns while the Dakota Access has been protested by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who assert that the project could contaminate their water supply.
A day beforehand, on Jan. 23, Trump had expressed a similar sentiment about environmental regulations during a meeting with prominent business executives.
During the meeting, Trump stated that his administration would aim to cut regulations by 75 percent or more, which would include dramatic rollbacks of environmental protections.
"I’m a very big person when it comes to the environment. I have received awards on the environment. But some of that stuff makes it impossible to get anything built," Trump said, according to Salon.
That same day, an anonymous employee of the EPA revealed that the agency's officials had ordered staffers to freeze all grants and to keep that directive a secret from the public, The Huffington Post reports.
Critics of Trump's proposed regulatory policies assert that rolling back EPA regulations will help contribute to the severity of climate change. On Jan. 20, shortly after Trump was inaugurated, the new White House website replaced the Obama administration's page on climate change with an outline of the new administration's energy plans, according to Newsweek.
In November 2012, Trump stated through Twitter that climate change science was fabricated by the Chinese.
"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," Trump tweeted out.