Trump vows energy independence, slams Hillary Clinton

Story highlights

  • Donald Trump pledged in a speech to make the U.S. energy independent
  • Trump's speech was similar to how he laid out his vision for foreign policy last month

Bismarck, North Dakota (CNN)Donald Trump on Thursday pledged to make the United States fully energy independent as president by reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil and rolling back environmental regulations restricting oil and natural gas exploration.

The billionaire Republican drew a stark contrast with likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's record and proposals on energy, national security and economic issues -- portraying her as "even worse" than President Barack Obama -- giving an extensive speech filled with specific policy promises.
    "Under my presidency, we'll accomplish a complete American energy independence," Trump vowed to hearty applause during the second day of the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference. "Every dollar of energy we don't explore here is a dollar of energy that makes somebody else rich."
    And just as he did in laying out his vision for foreign policy last month, Trump branded his energy proposals as an "America first energy plan."
    Trump promised to approve the Keystone XL pipeline expansion, but said he'd also ask for a "big piece of the profits."
    Trump also vowed to "cancel" the historic Paris climate agreement and cut off all U.S. funding for United Nations initiatives to combat global warming, which would mark a major departure to the U.S.'s international leadership on climate change issues.
    In particular, Trump promised the U.S. would "become and stay independent of any need to import energy from the OPEC cartel or any nations hostile to our interests."
    Throughout his speech, Trump repeatedly contrasted his proposals with Clinton's and accused her of wanting to crush American workers with environmental regulations that he dubbed part of an "extremist agenda." But he did not limit his attacks on Clinton to her energy policies, also leveling a broad critique of her foreign policy record as secretary of state and her economic proposals.
    "It's a choice between sharing in this great energy wealth or sharing in the poverty promised by Hillary Clinton," Trump charged. "If crooked Hillary Clinton is in charge things will get much worse, believe me."
    He further accused Clinton of wanting to "unleash the (Environmental Protection Agency) to control every aspect of our lives and every aspect of energy."
    Clinton has promised to continue Obama's work to tackle climate change and reduce the United States' dependence on fossil fuels by investing in alternative green energy sources.
    Meanwhile, Trump vowed that any future regulations under his presidency would face "a simple test."
    "Is this regulation good for the American worker? If it doesn't pass this test, this rule will not be under any circumstances approved," Trump said.
    The de facto GOP nominee, who on Thursday crossed the 1,237-delegate threshold needed to clinch the nomination, laid out an "action plan" for the first 100 days of his presidency, which includes eliminating Obama's executive actions designed to protect the environment that Trump argued are hurting the U.S. fossil fuel sector.
    Trump insisted that allowing companies to drill into untapped natural gas and oil reserves beneath U.S. land and coastal waters would be a massive economic boon that would create millions of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue.
    Amid his pledges to once again unleash the fossil fuel industry in the United States, Trump did not once acknowledge the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change and its man-made causes, including the carbon emissions produced by the use of fossil fuels.
    Instead, Trump vowed a massive rollback of environmental regulations and international agreements aimed at reducing global carbon emissions.
    "A Trump administration will focus on real environmental challenges, not the phony ones that we've been looking at," he said.