tv National Review Institute Ideas Summit Scott Pruitt CSPAN March 22, 2017 8:41am-9:05am EDT
earlier there is a consultation exercise and the department will respond in due course. >> order. [inaudible conversations]. >> here on c-span2 we'll leave the british house of commons and members move on to other business. i've been watching prime minister's question time aired life 7:00 a.m. eastern when parcel plenty is -- parliament
is in session. for more information go to c-span.org and click on series to view every program we've aired from the british house of commons since october of 1989. we invite comments about prime minister's questions on twitter using the hashtag, pmqs. >> next, remarks by epa administrator scott pruitt at "the national review" institute summit. this is half an hour. >> here we are. good. i am pleased to welcome to our stage scott pruitt. [applause] i am routinely assured by my friends on the left that he means to destroy the epa.
[applause] i wish that were true but i don't think it actually is. he is not going to destroy it. quick question for you, so your home state of oklahoma, my home state of texas, pennsylvania where i lived for a while, all these states do a pretty good job of regulating oil and gas industry on their own which is complex piece of environmental regulation. i look at these things say what to the point of epa. i'm sure there is one. tell us what it is. >> kevin and i had a little conversation getting ready to come on stage, from texas, oklahoma, we have this day in october where we're not friends. >> only state we ever tried to give back to the indians. [laughter]. >> but maybe the discussion for another day. but as far as the epa is concerned there is an important role for the agency. there are air quality issues, water quality issues that cross state lines. what we've seen the last several years is a displacement of the partner that the epa has used and worked with over the decades
and those are the states. if you go back to the inception of the epa, the environmental statutes that were passed in the 1970s, clean water act, clean air act and others, there was a very important prescriptive model put in those statutes. the prescriptive model was federalism. empower the states to be enforces an partners along with the federal government with air quality, water quality and land issues. that has largely been pushed to the side over the lasted a administration. states have rightly so in my view started to develop a distrust of their partner here in washington, d.c. i think, i'm so thankful to be working with and for president trump who has said we'll restore that trust. we're going to believe again in the partnership, with respect to these environmental issues and be pro-growth and pro-environment. we can be both. we've been that as a nation for many decades. this old saying you can't have your cake and eat it too,
whoever said that doesn't know what you do with cake. i think as we look at this debate over the last several years, there have been many that say you can't be pro-growth and pro-environment and i reject that you can be both. we'll work at that at epa. >> i live in houston. we have drainage problems. we have a puddles around time covered by the waters of the united states. >> not anymore. >> i understand. >> talk to us about this issue. the president on february 28th, the day of his address to congress did something monumental and very important with respect to this issue, kevin. as you know the previous administration issued a rule in 2015 said dry creekbeds, puddles across the country would be treated as waters of the united states. this is going back a little bit to the history of the clean water act. traditionally waters of the united states were navigable streams and waters. they were waters that traverse state line. and i think that is something clearly within the jurisdiction of the epa but what happened in
2015 was an enlargement of that, reimagining of that authority under the clean water act to say, no, no. what we're going to do is we're going to regulate waters that have nexus a connection to traditionally navigable streams and waters. so that literally meant dry creek beds and puddles in certain parts of the country. that is not an overstatement. the president addressed that on february 28th, issued a executive order giving us direction at epa to fix the problem. i'm glad to tell you within eight minutes of the president signing that executive order i was actually at the signing. he and i walked back to the oval office. i had my team. we had prepared an advance notice of proposed rule making. i sat with him in the oval office and signed advanced notice of proposed rule making kicked off process within eight minutes to undo that wrong in the united states. [applause] >> could you give us examples of way in which those new rules
were interpreted in cumbersome fashion? >> i think what kevin and i were talking about, this is very important, not just in the environmental space, regulatory certainty, when you look at our economic growth over the last several years it has been very discouraging. we've accepted less than what it should be as far as gross domestic product and the economic growth we've seen. in the finance sector, in the health care sector, particularly in the energy and environmental sector, regulatory uncertainty i think has been the greatest impediment to economic growth. as i talk to those in the industry, whether utilities or otherwise, they say that the epa has engaged in something called regulatory pancaking. where they will issue a rule one year that applies to a particular situation and then two or three years later, pass another rule that undermines the previous one. so investments that were made by the company, by the industry to meet the standard two or three years prior are undone within a short amount of time. that is poor planning.
as kevin and i were talking about a little earlier you need a more long-term view. i really believe those in industry care about the environment and want to grow and want to know what is expected of them. they want to allocate resources. we should celebrate progress we made as country by the way. since 1980, the reduction of air pollutants, ambient air quality standards, the six pollutants, nox, ozone, we had 63% reduction in air pollutants since 1980 at the same time growing our economy. one of the objectives we have, kevin in the short run, working to provide more regulatory certainty to those in the marketplace. know what is expected of them. waters of the united states rule is one of those we don't know what the definition is. statute says one thing. regs say another. case law. there is all kind of confusion. we don't know how to allocate resources to meet objectives that are being set out in air or water and rest.
that is one of the best things we can do in my estimate shun kevin, to provide that certainty. >> say i was building a factory somewhere or there was one dry creek beds or non-november gable waters in what way would be the old set of rules affected me? >> first thing you have to do is seek permission from the epa. you know this, land use decisions historically and now presently, have largely been within province of states and local cities and towns and private property owners and what this rule did, kevin, was say with respect to building subdivisions, with respect to farming an ranching, oil and gas production any use of land that would affect or impact that water of the united states, whether dry creekbed or other wise you had to seek permit authority from the epa it was extensive power issue trying to assert federal jurisdiction in ways that that are not
consistent with the history of the clean water act. so the impact of it would have been delay. the impact of it would be wait. you know this, permitting issue is substantially important. the president is talking about infrastructure package as you know, kevin. roads and bridges, water infrastructure, those types of things. we have something called neba. that you may be familiar with. it's a planning process to determine environmental impact as you do infrastructure. i heard stories, anecdotes of it taking eight to nine to 10 years to get, to get certainty, to get decisions about those kinds of things. that's not a decision. that is just obstructionism. that is a way of using these statutes, we're not going to build or do infrastructure. so these are important matters particularly around the permitting process, kevin. >> yeah. talk to me about c.a.f.e. standards. what do you drive? >> i drive a truck mostly and it
gets good gas mileage. [applause] i kidded with someone this morning i come from a part of the country we like to drive. >> we have no choice. >> when you're in oklahoma city you have a ways to go. you have places that take a little while. >> i love it. >> we were, the president was in detroit. i was with him on wednesday and he announced the decision with respect to the c.a.f.e. standards. you may not be familiar with this process but in 2012 the previous administration and epa worked with industry to say we'll set these emission standards for cars. we're going to set it over a longer period of time which i think is a wise thing to do, 12 to 13 years. there was 2025 window as far as evaluating these standards. there would be a midterm review in april of 2018 and the lasted a administration in december finalized the process.
within 10 days, 16 months early, rendered a decision that those standards were insufficient and need to be enhanced. and so, as i shared with people in detroit, kevin, it would be like your kid is being told you will take a test in april of 2018. and teacher coming alongside saying you know we'll not take the test in 28 teen. we'll take it 16 months early. go take the test. that to me is issue of fairness and equity. we addressed that on wednesday. we addressed that inequity. we told industry keep working towards the standards. we'll review them in due course. process matters. we'll keep our word. not to accelerate it for political ends. that is what we did this wreak. >> can you tell us where the standards are heading? >> that yet to be determined. that is why you have midterm review. what should be the goal with my review with respect to emission control standards, with respect
to mobile sources is to actually take cars that people want to buy and make them more efficient. that sound rather novel perhaps. what happened over last several years is the government will go to industry say, go build a bunch of cars that nobody want to buy and than balance that against the rest of your portfolio that people are wanting to buy, throw it in the mix say we're meeting emission control outcomes. i mean what should be the goal is to work with those in r&d sector with each of these car manufacturers. take trucks. take suvs, do all that we can to meet those outcomes with cars that people want to buy while at the same time, providing safety, there is a d.o.t. partnership there as you know on the safety side. all it is collaborating together, intergovernmental and industry and the benefit of consumers, both the environment as well as safety. so that's principles i think we should live by. >> all right. talk a little bit about the
question of certainty, and uncertainty and one thing i sometimes say that is unpopular, we often have these debates whether a certain tax will be 38% or 35% and sometimes i would be okay giving up a couple of percent an points in the or the direction if we could guarranty it would stay there for the next 30 years. there is similar dynamics with environmental rules where sometimes you're fighting whether it will be x, y, industry wants this and environmentalists want something else. what are the chances for developing something that looks like long-term political consensus on this issue where there isn't any organic consensus where you have a environmental group that is very idealogical, doesn't want any new sources of industry, new sources of energy whether they're clean or not because they're anti-capitalism essentially and industry which has different set of views and sensible people in the middle who understand there are things that have to be done and better and worse ways to do these things, how do you deal with the broader politics with this and
your nomination was met with, such not the word would be panic, terror, loathing? >> joy, celebration? [laughter]. [applause] >> i among the people you have to convince, not the people already on board. >> that is interesting, because i think this process of environment and energy over the last several years and what you described, we put on jerseys. we allowed ourselves as a country to buy into a belief that if you're pro-environment, you're anti-energy. if you're pro-energy you're anti-environment. or if you're pro-growth you're anti-environment. that is something we have to reject as a country. we do it better than anybody in the world as far as balancing our economy and our economic growth and being a good steward of our environment. wealthy countries take better care of their environment than non-wealthy countries. so there is a direct correlation
between private property ownership incentives that occur with private property ownership, economic growth as a country and those countries taking care of their environment and natural resources. so we should simply say, and dispel this notion, this notion and narrative that you can't be both. so that is something, big peck ture, kevin i think is important -- picture. the long-term view is very wise. not just the car sector that we talked about. auto industry. it impacts, as we deliver electricity, government shouldn't be in the business of forcing outcomes on the utility sector. the utility sector should make decisions on what is the most stable and reliable form of delivering energy, electricity and what is the most cost effective and making decisions across a cafeteria of options from foss till fuels to renewables to nuclear, et cetera. they ought to be making business decisions. what happened the last several years the government has been
the one trying to force upon that industry those decisions. picking winners and losers. that is not the role of a regulator. i will say something to you very profound this morning. the job of a regulator is to make things regular. [applause] what that means, kevin, is it is to give expectation, here's where we're heading, here is where we want to achieve, after receiving input, comment, voice from all the people that are impacted, then make a decision and then allow the markets, allow those in the industry, allow those in the country, to then get about the business of doing what? meeting those standards, empowering them. the states are very good partners. you mentioned the states and regulatory regime. we have across this country departments of environmental quality that have significant resources, significant expertise, and will work with the epa to achieve good outcomes.
we need to get back in the business of that partnership. and not being seen as an adversary. i hope the epa is received better than the irs in the years ahead and we can, we can be that kind of partner with the state by sending a message to them it is about compliance, it is about assistance. it is not about punishment. get about the business of achieving good out comings to. >> you want to be more popular than the irs? >> yes. >> that someone called that soft bigotry of low expectations. >> do a little and you will get a lot done. >> probably certainly beat colon cancer in terms of popularity. >> i think we're already making good progress, kevin. the epa is good example of what you're talking about here. we talk about the problem of uncertainty which is largely related to the fact that congress delegate too much power to the administrative agencies in a lot of people's views. the epa is often held up as example of that. clean air act, clean water act.
they go all sorts of crazy directions with it. take things further than they probably should. but at the same time do we really think congress has the competency to deal with these things on granular nuts and bolts kind of issue? or are we going to have to continue what amounts to series of enabling acts where congress said we like have cleaner air and you guys need to come up with rules to do that? how do we deal with the expertise which the epa brings allegedly to the table and the problem with -- >> this is huge issue kevin raised. i'm in the camp saying congress needs to be more prescriptive. i'm not one of those individuals who believe as our founding fathers put together this very precious framework we know, where we have horizontal checks and balance between the branches, vertical checks and balances called federalism in the constitution. a lot of problems we have in the constitution we're not living
within the framework the founders established. congress has been very, very good over the years of delegating authority in unconstitutional way of my view. violation of separation of powers to say to the executive branch, as kevin said. we like clean air, so go make clean air. that is not how you should do business. because congress should be directing agencies in the executive branch and every area, finance, health care, the environment to say, here is the framework that you have. co2 issue is great example of that. when you look at carbon issue. we have supreme court case in 2007, mast versus epa. . .
address this issue called carbon. because as you look at the clean air act, if anything was that it did deal with regional air pollutants. it was not set up to do at this global phenomenon that we talk about. this is an important issue that you've raised on where the balance is between delegation and agencies at the federal
level acting. the executive branch exists to enforce the law passed by the legislative branch. at the legislative branch is not doing his job, a job, it creates assumption come uncertainty and way to address that with respect to very important issues. >> we do have an executive right now it seems to be focused on doing things to executive orders and unilateral executive action. at one point you go to congress and to the things legislatively. >> well ,-com,-com ma i would take issue with this in this regard. the issues are to fix the executive order is reached before. i don't think qualitatively as the same. the past administrations at how many times, well, with only issue so many peer >> you can watch the ac administrator remarks on our website, c-span.org and type scott pruitt and the bar. we are going to lay for a hearing for anthony acosta for
the next labor secretary. he's an attorney and dean of the florida picture university college of law. he headed up the boards under president george w. bush for president trump nominated him to be labor secretary at february 17 after andrew puzner withdrew. he would be the first hispanic member of president trump's cabinet. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]