During his weekly address, President Donald Trump touted his recent actions to roll back regulations that had been installed during the Obama administration. In Trump's view, environmental regulations largely hamper economic growth for industries such as coal mining.
On Feb. 17, the White House aired Trump's weekly address, streamed on Facebook. The president asserted that his peeling back of regulations would stimulate job growth, the Washington Examiner reports.
"We have taken major steps during the first few weeks of my administration to remove wasteful regulations and get our people back to work," Trump said. "We are not here for the benefits of bureaucrats, consultants or pundits."
On Feb. 16, Trump had signed a bill undoing the Stream Protection Rule, a regulation implemented by former President Barack Obama's Department of the Interior. The regulation was designed to prevent and monitor coal mining pollution of U.S. streams and waterways, but would have cost the industry $81 million annually, The Washington Times reports.
Under the Stream Protection Rule, coal companies would have been required to conduct tests of water quality in any waterways that could be impacted by their mining operations. Now they will not have to meet this requirement.
"In eliminating this rule, I am continuing to keep my promise to the American people to get rid of wasteful regulations that do absolutely nothing but slow down the economy, hamstring companies [and] push jobs to other countries," Trump said during the signing ceremony.
American Rivers president Bob Irvin blasted the legislation as "a significant setback for our country's clean drinking water and the health of our communities."
Trump has made the rollback of federal regulations a top priority for his administration. On Jan. 30, he signed an executive order mandating that two federal regulations must be cut for any new regulation to be implemented, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
On Feb. 17, the Senate voted by 52 to 46 to confirm former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, the BBC reports.
Pruitt's confirmation arrived a day after EPA employees urged Congress to vote against his appointment, citing his opposition to their agency while serving as a state attorney general, The New York Times reports.
Now that Pruitt has been confirmed, sources within the White House have signaled that Trump is set to soon sign several executive orders to roll back the Obama administration's climate change regulations.