Briggs: Trump assembles the oil and gas dream team

The 45th president has officially taken office, and now he begins the task of fulfilling the many promises made during his campaign to put American energy first. Everyone is keeping a close eye on the new administration and what it means for the oil and gas industry. Trump’s first days have offered some sense of confidence as he assembles his cabinet appointments.

If you are involved in the oil and gas industry, the EPA is most likely the first thing to come to mind when you hear about big government regulations. What is Trump’s plan to slash through the red tape? To start, he appointed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Pruitt has spent much of his time in Oklahoma fighting against the countless, burdensome regulations. He sued the EPA to block their Clean Power Plant rule, along with the Waters of the US. Pruitt is also responsible for establishing the Federalism Unit that solely focused on fighting the regulatory war waged by the Obama administration.

Texas, like Louisiana, is known for being an absolute energy producing power house. So who better to lead the U.S. Department of Energy than a former leader of such an energy producing state. According to the Texas Tribune, under Rick Perry’s governance of Texas, oil and gas production rocketed by an estimated 260 percent and 50 percent respectively. His tenure was defined by a tax-friendly environment to producers, regulations that enabled not disabled growth, and he, like Pruitt, fought against the EPA. In Perry’s last days in office, he also called on Washington to develop an all-encompassing energy plan to expedite natural gas imports to bring the US one step closer to energy dependence.

The Department of Interior’s main role within the federal government is to protect and manage our nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage, and for Secretary of that department, Trump has appointed Congressman Ryan Zinke. Zinke, a seasoned veteran that served our country as a Navy SEAL for almost 20 years and an avid outdoorsman, knows what it means to protect our country and understands the true value of our nation’s land. Zinke is a proponent of the Keystone project as well as a supporter of increasing coal mining and oil and gas production.

Lastly, one appointment that you would not think to be of much concern to the oil and gas industry is secretary of state, but with his over four decades of experience in this sector, he must be of note. On Feb. 1, the Senate confirmed former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson. Tillerson is not a stranger to dealing with foreign clients and that expertise, combined with his experience in oil and gas, will bring us one step closer to energy security.

Founding father and author of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson once said, “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” The election of Donald Trump as commander and chief of the United States has reignited a hope in our oil and gas companies across the country and especially in Louisiana. As he continues to pick his cabinet secretaries, what you see time and time again is that these individuals have a track record of putting American energy first and putting an end to big government regulations that waste the labor of the American people.