Any executive actions on energy or controversial pipelines were pushed off President Donald Trump’s agenda Monday, though they are likely to remain a priority for his administration.
While Trump signed three executive actions on trade, abortion, and government hiring, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was hesitant to talk energy specifics.
Spicer said he didn’t want to “get in front of the president’s executive actions,” when asked about the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. Trump previously said he supports the completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, which runs from North Dakota to southern Illinois. He also said TransCanada Corp., the company behind the Keystone pipeline, should re-apply for a permit under his administration after having its plans rejected under former President Barack Obama.
“The energy sector and our natural resources are an area where I think the president is very, very keen on maximizing our use of natural resources to America’s benefit,” Spicer said.
Trump was scheduled to meet with several union leaders Monday afternoon, including Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, who had criticized the Obama administration for holding up completion of the Dakota Access pipeline.
Trump is expected to act quickly on energy, with likely moves to repeal the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, reform key White House climate change guidance on the National Environmental Policy Act, and alter the social cost of carbon, Frank Maisano of Bracewell, LLP, an energy lobby firm, told Morning Consult.
A document from the presidential transition team also laid out plans to change the Environmental Protection Agency’s actions on climate change, Axios reported Monday, including cutting all of its funding for scientific research and making scientific data that supports regulations available to the public.
But Maisano said the document appears to be an energy wishlist similar to those proposed by conservative think-tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, and the EPA’s real priorities won’t be fully clear until it gets new leadership. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the EPA is pending Senate approval.