Trump talks taxes, energy during North Dakota appearance

By Patrick C. Miller | September 11, 2017

President Donald Trump last week used a refinery in North Dakota as the backdrop to talk about his plans to reduce and reform taxes, but he also used the opportunity to discuss his administration’s energy and regulatory policies.

“You’re the hardworking people that provide the energy that makes this country run,” Trump told a crowd of about 700 people at the Andeavor Refinery in Mandan, North Dakota. “We’re finally getting the government out of the way so you can do your job. It’s finally happening.”

Referring to the emergence of the Bakken shale play and North Dakota’s status as the No. 2 oil-producing state in the U.S., Trump said, “North Dakota is an example of what is possible, of the amazing things that can happen when we unleash the genius of American innovators.”

The president introduced Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO of Continental Resources, whose company helped lead the development of unconventional oil and gas. Trump called Hamm “a great American success story.”

Trump also referred to the “North Dakota energy miracle,” noting that the state has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate—nearly half the national average.

“Today, families have new jobs and new hope because of the vast energy wealth you brought to life right here,” he said. “You understand the vital truth: Washington has no right to shut down energy production because America’s energy wealth doesn’t belong to the government; it belongs to the people.”

The president received a rousing cheer and sustained applause from the crowd when he mentioned that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota “is finally open for business.” The completion of the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile-long pipeline that transports half the state’s crude production was blocked last year by the Obama administration.

“Now what other politician—if elected president—would have done that one?” Trump asked after clearing the way for DAPL’s completion within days after taking office. “We opened it despite so many people that were on the other side calling and asking for this not to happen.”

Trump also discussed how his administration has changed the regulatory climate in the U.S. by “getting rid of one job-killing regulation after another.”

“We’ve lifted the restrictions on shale oil. We’ve lifted those restrictions on energy of all types. We’re putting our miners back to work. We’ve cancelled restrictions on oil and natural gas. We’ve ended the EPA intrusion into your jobs and into your lives. And we’ve refocusing the EPA on its core mission—clean air and clean water,” he said.

Trump said his tax plan is designed to “create a new age of American prosperity by reducing the crushing tax burden on our companies and on our workers.”

He added that, “The taxes are crazy—the highest-taxed nation in the world. We’re going to turn that around very quickly. By working together, we’re going to restore America’s competitive edge by passing tax cuts and reform that will make America the best place in the world to hire, invest and to grow.”

Trump called for a tax code that’s simple, easy to understand and reduces waste. He plans to cut taxes for middle-class families and revise the tax code to restore America’s competitive edge by reducing the business tax rate to as low as 15 percent.

“Tax relief is on the way,” he said.

Jack Gerard, chairman and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), welcomed Trump’s commitment tax reform.

“Pro-growth tax reform and economic policies can further strengthen our energy infrastructure and benefit consumers,” he said. “As an industry that invests billions in the U.S. economy each year, pro-growth policies would allow us to accelerate these economic investments while keeping energy affordable.”

Barry Russell, president and CEO of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said the role of reforming the tax code is critical to American energy production.

“Tax reform is essential to keep the U.S. economy growing,” he said. “This effort needs to move in the direction of strengthening businesses of many shapes and sizes, putting our economy on a track for success, and creating new jobs and opportunities along the way for our workforce.”