NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told thousands of conservatives at CPAC on Friday how President Trump’s energy policy is fueling a large part of the U.S. economy’s massive growth and providing a bright future for the nation.
Perry bounded onto the stage to an applauding crowd, many of whom have heard him speak previously, either as the governor of Texas or a presidential contender. The former governor began by praising CPAC attendees as “the heart and soul of the conservative movement.”
“The world has changed so much in the last decade,” said Perry, contrasting America’s mood and outlook on energy with life under President Jimmy Carter, who in the 1970s told America that it was beleaguered by “malaise” in a time when there were long lines at gas stations across the country.
Far from that scene today, Perry contended, private-sector innovation and American resourcefulness, such as extracting oil from shale, has led to an incredible energy renaissance in this nation.
“America became energy independent,” Perry declared, to such an extent that “today the United States of America is the number-one oil and gas producing nation in the world.”
Being in a position to sell that energy to the rest of the planet does more than just keep lights on overseas. “America doesn’t just export American LNG around the world,” said Perry, using the initials for liquid natural gas, “we export freedom.”
Secretary Zinke joined the conversation, speaking about his department’s jurisdiction over energy on federal lands. (By contrast, Perry’s department has jurisdiction mostly over energy resources found on private lands.)
“Nobody does it better than the U.S.,” Zinke began, referring to environment-friendly policies that America uses when extracting energy.
Maintaining energy independence is essential, he continued. The former Navy SEAL focused on the military implications that sometimes accompany a nation’s energy needs. “I don’t want our kids to fight on foreign shores for energy that we have here,” he told the crowd.
Zinke referred to President Trump’s Executive Order 13783, which he characterized as calling for “energy dominance,” more than simply independence. “And that’s what we’re delivering to America and the world,” the former congressman told the audience.
The moderator later went back to Perry, quoting Carter’s 1977 statement Perry initially referenced, where Carter said that we could use up all the proven resouerves of oil in the entire world by the end of the [1980s].
The former governor cited that statement as an example of what happens when “We draw the line to say, ‘This is what we know, and there is nothing else to know.’” Government makes “a big mistake” when it takes that attitude, Perry asserted.
Perry posited that in addition to government’s need to stop assuming that it has all the answers, it should instead focus on providing incentives to private actors to explore new ways to create energy and move the nation forward.
“If you give them the incentives to be innovators, they will find the answers,” he said.
“Government is not the answer to every challenge that we have,” Perry added, invoking a Reaganeque principle of government President Trump is following, adding, “and if we rely upon government, we’re going to have a life that is not as fulfilled.”
“What he has done on the regulatory side is nothing less than world-changing,” Perry said of Trump, “being able to remove the regulations, while still being able to protect our environment.”
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.