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Scott Pruitt
  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt at the Conservative Political Action...  CSPAN  February 24, 2018 4:51am-5:13am EST

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talks about the political impact of artificial intelligence on politics in washington. matt thorne, president and ceo of out serve on the pentagon's transgender true policy. be sure to watch "washington journal," live at 7:00 eastern on saturday morning. join the discussion. the american conservative union is hosting its annual conservative political action conference this week just outside washington, d.c. we will show some of the speakers from yesterday, getting with epa administrator scott pruitt. >> we had to get that right.
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>> we are all jealous of larry's voice. >> that is exactly right. >> you remember the president's cabinet, come to washington, d.c., but there is a story that goes before that and it has nothing to do with policy. it has to do with baseball. a superstar athlete. baseball and football. a division i scholarship to the university of kentucky, a career that did not go exactly where you would have liked baseball wise, but you became an owner. >> spring has begun, so that is good news. everyone is optimistic this time of year. everyone believes they can win the world series. after all, if the cubs can win it a few years ago, anyone can. i enjoyed my time as the owner of a baseball team. we had an affiliate with the texas rangers, and nolan ryan
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was involved. we are excited about the baseball season beginning. dodgers franchise now, the dodgers and astros, you had it all mixed up. comeame to washington to take over an agency described as being a mess. on day one, what did you find the epa to be structurally and with respect to policy? >> the president did a wonderful job today, and i know you guys did a wonderful job hearing the president. what courage and leadership he has shown this year. it has been outstanding. i was in pennsylvania early in
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my time as administrator, the first to go underground in a mine. as i was at this mine, i was miners. some time with i have a message. the war on coal is over. i think that war on coal is demonstrative of something. it is demonstrative of what was wrong with the past administration. d.c., usinghington, regulative authority -- what we spent the past time doing this year is the weaponize thing. basically saying, what is our goal? what are the fundamentals we should be about as an agency, and recognize we are not in the business of making winners and losers.
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22 significant actions of the past year, equaling about $1 billion in savings to the u.s. economy just in a year. the administration as a whole, $8 billion from a regulatory perspective. partnered with the regulatory reform, you see what is happening across the economy. it has been a busy year. we have plenty to do, but i'm excited about what we have been able to achieve. some of this petition -- specifics, the clean power plant. i love how these things get names like the affordable care act or net neutrality. >> there are so many. >> here is a plan that the president has specifically asked for you to dismantle. the program you are undertaking will save upwards of $35 billion. the on that, why is it so cleanant to appeal the
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power plan? mr. pruitt: this was an agency before the president arrived saying, we will use our authority to act outside the statute. you know this. the past administration did not. it is fifth grade civics that our job is to enforce the law, not make the law. the congress does not give epa the authority to do something, we cannot. that is exactly what happened with the plea -- clean power plan. they said at the agency, what can we do to reimagine authority others the statute does under the statute to regulate an area that we are unsure we can, but we will do it anyway. they acted outside the scope of authority given to them by u.s. congress. that is something we are getting right. that is why the president issued a very strong message. he issued an executive order
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saying we want energy dominance. we have been blessed with substantial national resources -- natural resources, and let's recognize that the agency of the federal government should not be used in a punitive way to address that. the clean power plan is demonstrative -- demonstrative of the violation of a real law. the supreme court intervened in a case to issue a stay against a ruling pending before the court. that never happened before. >> you have been doing it and so many ways. the whole issue of regulatory reform has been at the forefront of this administration, with one of the president's specific charges to you.
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one of the reasons he selected you was because of his perceived notion about your ability to carry on real regulatory reform, and you have gone to work. 22 specific actions, and for my understanding, for every 22 going away, only one is coming on board. 22 that have saved $1 billion. how important is it to the economy and the environment, that we have the kinds of regulatory reform you are working with? mr. pruitt: i mentioned earlier about fifth-grade civics and where we are housed in the executive branch, because what happens over the years, not just in our agency, a statute says an agencyand regulation does something quite opposite. if you are regulated, if you are a business across this country and have a static -- statute that says one thing and a regulation that is different, do
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you follow the statute, do you follow the regulation? you do not invest. you do not deploy capital. that causes a paralysis with respect to the economy. we have started with the premise that you start with the statute and ask, what is our authority? then take the regulation from there so that provides regulatory certainty to those who are regulated, so they can invest in capital to achieve good outcomes for the environment and know they are not acting in ways that are unlawful. that is what regulatory certainty achieves for our economy, and it is happening across the full spectrum of the agencies. $8 billion total savings across president trump's administration, $1 billion alone at the epa by focusing on the rule of law, focusing on what the statute requires. get back to the core
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fundamental mission of saying, what is our job, was a tremendous opportunity and it has been playing out throughout the year. >> so many on the environmentalist left want to claim a monopoly in caring about the environment, and suggest that those of us on the right care more about the economy than our environment. critics have been very harsh saying you are rolling back safeguards on air and water. what are the facts about what you are doing to protect air and water quality for us in future generations? mr. pruitt: i have asked rhetorically, it is so great about what the last administration did? air quality, and president obama left office, about 120 million people did not have air quality problems. you had more superfund sites on the list when he left office then when he came in. superfund sites have the most egregious waste.
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we have more sites when he left then when he came in. what is so great about that record? what i have done is spend time with our agency heads, department heads and say, where do we want to be five years from now? let's measure those goals and work for them every single day. it's get accountability. that is what is so great about the president's leadership. it is great because he is about getting results for the american people. we are all focused on the same thing at the epa, what can we do preserve air quality, water quality? let's get back to the basics. i believe if we do that, it is going to produce great results and the economy will grow. we talked about this a little bit before i came in. we have been told we had to choose between jobs and
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protecting the environment, and that is a false choice. we have never done that as a country. since 1980, air pollutants that we regulate, we have reduced those by over 65% since 1980. 65%. [applause] mr. pruitt: we have also grown our gdp. we have always believed we can be about job growth, job creation, stewardship, and taking care of the environment. we can do that collectively. it simply is a false choice to say we must choose between the two. adopt ashat we have to a country and recognize that we have that obligation as we go forward. the president is leaving us in a substantial way. >> we teased a little bit about waters in the united states. mr. pruitt: and the president talked about it. likes for have become regulatory purposes -- links -- lakes for regulatory purposes.
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why is it so significant for you to take action? mr. pruitt: one of the greatest examples of one of the past administrations taking a step for power is the rule. >> for those who may not know, what is the united states water act? mr. pruitt: the clean water act gives us certain authority as an agency, and there is a definition called waters of the united states. the reason that is important is because if you do find that broadly, if you stretch it as far as you can, it gives the federal government more jurisdiction, more say in how you are using land. i was in utah and big part of last year. i was outside a subdivision in salt lake city with an army corps of engineers representative. he pointed to a drainage ditch, and ephemeral drainage ditch and said, scott, that is a water of
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the united states. i said, it is not going to be anymore. [applause] mr. pruitt: the reason that is important is because if that is a water of the united states, the decisions being made on a subdivision in salt lake city, utah, are being made by who? and washington, d.c., called the epa. the president, on five or 28, early in his time -- february 28, early in his time, in the roosevelt room, he signed an executive order instructing me, scott, go fix that. go take care of this waters issue. that is what we are doing. no longer a puddle, a dry creek bread -- bed, will be called a water of the united states. [applause] mr. pruitt: make no mistake about it, it is not about water quality.
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it is not about that. it truly is about power, jurisdiction, and oversight. 1972ou imagine congress in if they wrote out that law ,alled the clean water act looking at that definition and say, if we adopt this law we wanted to be interpreted to include age right creek bed, puddle, or drainage ditch, answer would be, no way. justice scalia, alternate opinion, we are going to be inspired by him as we make a decision on the definition. that definition is coming this year. the president has shown tremendous courage. >> before we get to an overview of what you have accomplished at epa, i want to mention the fact that you have managed to land on the cover of the weekly standard and the national review, two of the great magazines in our nation, and g coolio -- gq.
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the fifth most powerful man in washington, d.c. paint a different picture, and i am always reminded of the great protestant to my desk divine, -- great protestant --ine, mr. pruitt: i talked to my team about this quite a bit. these issues ought not be as contentious as they are. republicans and democrats are for clean air and clean water. it is just about, how do we achieve those? when we think about how it has been done over the last seven years -- several years versus how it should be done, partnership with states. states across the country, governors, departments of environmental quality, they have been partners in protecting our water and air. congress has been specific about the industry.
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co2ave reduced our footprint by about 20%. we have led the world in reduction. the paris accord was never about co2 production. i tell our team, let's just get our job done. let's focus on the role of law. let's focus on cooperative federalism. let's do the work before us and let's work together. you know what will happen? i think good outcomes. there is a lot of noise and gets competitive at times, but we have tremendous opportunity. one of the things the president and i talk about, he is excited ad in theressing le
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drinking water. it is very important. look at the infrastructure, and ian the east coast it has aged to the point where lead is leaching into the drinking water. that is the kind of leadership we need to show difference with respect to the environment and not using the weaponized way. also, charlie, we need to ask ourselves what is true about our -- about it. the past administration told us that the we have been blessed with natural resources, tremendous natural resources to feed the world and power the world, they told us to put up fences and do not touch. it was prohibition. that is what they in interpreted environmental to be. i do not think that is where the american people are. let's use them for the betterment of mankind and feed
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and empower the world, but with stewardship mentalities. that is where the american people are. let's advance it and achieve great things together. >> and i should mention, this is not your first time at cpac. you have been a regular attendee and have spoken here several times. it is great to have you here. mr. pruitt: first time at the reagan dinner. >> having this conversation is the highlight of the week. scott: that is very nice. >> i want to ask you, as you look back at a year of incredible activity, staggering amounts of accomplishment, not only in the epa but across this administration, few could ever have anticipated what this administration has accomplished in 365 days. as you look at your particular agency, what is the one thing you reflect on as being the thing you are most proud of?
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mr. pruitt: the president talked about this today. -- paris,on on harris knocked it out of the park. [applause] mr. pruitt: it took so much courage to do what the president did. we exited in 2001. 15 years of this being baked in in the dialogue and discussion, the administration and becoming apologetic, we have reduced our co2 footprint by 20%. we have led the world in reduction. the paris accord was never about co2 production. it was a bumper sticker. if it was about co2 reduction, why do you let china wait until 2030? to take any steps toward reduction? why do you say that you have india until 2030 and qualify on $2.5 trillion in aid. but america, frontload your cost.
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we will wait until 2030. it was all about putting our economy at a disadvantage despite the fact that we are leading the world in co2 production anyway. the president showed tremendous fortitude, tremendous courage to say i will put america first. , i will recognize but we have achieved. we will continue leading through action. we are not going to agree to a deal in paris. it is a bad deal for the country and a bad deal for america. [applause] mr. pruitt: so god bless him for that. charlie: finally, seven more years of a trump administration? mr. pruitt: thumbs up. >> what is your fondest hope, goal, and dream for accomplishment within the environmental protection? mr. pruitt: we are living in a time -- i was 12 years old in 1980. i was a child of the reagan revolution. i will tell you i remember my
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, dad as an entrepreneur in 1977, 1978. what he was facing to grow and economy, and then president reagan came in and the light started shining. i will tell you we are living in a similar time. president trump is leading at a time so consequential for future. think about how you felt november 8, 2016, how you felt after. it's an exciting time. ray nagin to become energized and excited about what is happening. we are on the trajectory to see great things. he is truly about making america great again. >> ladies and gentlemen, please help me in thanking the administrator of the environmental protection agency, the honorable scott pruitt. ♪