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Remarks by Vice President Pence at the 2019 Oil and Gas Association Annual Meeting

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Location: Columbus, OH

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all for that warm welcome. And thank you, John. Thank you for that kind introduction, and congratulations to you and Governor DeWine on delivering a great victory for the people of Ohio last year. (Applause.) We couldn't be more proud.

Your Lieutenant Governor -- I have followed his career for many years. We got to know each other on the campaign trail. And throughout his career in public service. And John and his family have demonstrated a character, a commitment to the values that make Ohio great. Would you all join me in thanking Lieutenant Governor John Husted for a lifetime of service? (Applause.) Thank you, John.

Really, it's great to be with you all. To Speaker Householder, to Senator Obhof, Steve Downey, and to all you pioneers and visionaries of Ohio's oil and gas industry: It is an honor to be here, in the great state of Ohio, at the annual meeting of an organization that is proving every day that you are fostering and promoting and advancing American energy. And American energy is prospering again. Ohio Oil and Gas Association, give yourselves a round of applause. (Applause.) You're making a difference for American energy.

And while you're still clapping, why don't you join me one more time. John was nice enough to mention her, but she's a Marine Corps mom, she's a champion for military families. She's traveling all across this country, all across the world, representing our country with such dignity. My wonderful wife of 33 years, our Second Lady, Karen Pence, is with us today. (Applause.)

Thank you all for that. It really is great to be here. You know, before I got on the plane this morning, I checked in with a friend of mine who loves the state of Ohio and who loves American energy. So as I begin, let me bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)

The President is on his way to Alabama to be with families that were affected in Lee County, Alabama, by those devastating tornadoes that struck earlier this week. But he wanted me to convey his regards, and his great admiration and appreciation, to all you in this extraordinary record of innovation and production that all of you who are members of this great industry and in this great region are delivering for the country.

You know, on the wall of the House of Representatives, where I served for 12 years, there's just a few quotes. Right above the flag, it says, "In God we Trust." On the ceiling, it says, "E pluribus unum." But then just above the flag, near the ceiling, are the words of Daniel Webster. And they read: "Let us develop the resources of our land, [and] call forth its power, build up its institutions, promote all its great interests, and see whether also, in our day…[we] may not perform something worthy to be remembered." "Let us develop the resources of this land and call forth its power…"

Throughout the early days of this nation's history, leaders in America understood that the source of American greatness was our faith and our freedom and our vast natural resources. And I'm here to tell that America, once again, has a leader who understands that our natural resources are at the heart of American greatness. And that leader is President Donald Trump. (Applause.) It's true.

Since early in our administration, the President promised the American people that we were, in his words, going to start a new "energy revolution," one that celebrates American production on American soil. And President Trump delivered.

We approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines; withdrew the United States from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord; eliminated the hydraulic fracking rule; rolled back methane; we're ending the Clean Power Plan; scrapped the Stream Protection Rule; and now, under President Donald Trump, the war on coal is over. American energy is booming. (Applause.)

In fact, it's remarkable to think that the United States of America is now the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world. And you make that happen every day. (Applause.)

And as all the business leaders in here know, it hasn't just been just about energy. This President has been busy getting this economy moving again since the day we walked off that platform on Inauguration Day, back in 2017.

The President promised to roll back the heavy hand of government. In fact, as I stand before you today, President Trump has actually signed more bills repealing federal red tape than any President in American history. (Applause.)

Since Election Day, all told, we've actually delivered more than $33 billion in regulatory savings to business owners and people that are creating jobs all across this country.

And with the strong support of so many of you in this room, before the end of our first year in office, President Trump delivered again when he signed the largest tax cut and tax reform in American history. (Applause.)

We cut taxes for working families, small businesses, and family farms. We slashed the corporate tax rate from the highest in the developed world to below the average. And under this President, with the strong support of Republican majorities in the Congress, we eliminated the death tax for nearly every American small-business owner. Death is no longer a taxable event in the United States. (Applause.)

And to spur growth, we gave businesses, like those gathered here, the ability to deduct 100 percent of the cost of your new equipment for the next five years. And the results have just been remarkable.

His commitment to renewed American energy, to renewed American growth, to less government, less regulation, less taxes, has been truly amazing.

In just over two years, businesses large and small have created 5.3 million new jobs across America. The stock market is soaring, and the unemployment rate is at a nearly 50-year low. (Applause.) In fact, the unemployment rate for African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans has reached the lowest level ever recorded. And as the job report confirmed again today, wages are rising at the fastest pace in nearly a decade, and more Americans are working today than ever before in the history of our country. (Applause.)

And everywhere you look, confidence is back. I sense it in this room. Jobs are coming back. In a word, America is back, and we're just getting started, Ohio. (Applause.)

And the energy revolution President Trump promised is going strong. Today, I'm here to report on that revolution, but mostly to say thank you. Thank you to all of you who are the foot soldiers in that revolution -- the great oil and gas producers of the great state of Ohio.

You're doing the work that's bringing American energy back. And there are too many stories to tell all of them here today, but I'll mention a few of them.

People like David Hill, from Cambridge, Ohio. Where are you, David? Stand up. (Applause.) David is an independent producer and President of David R. Hill, Incorporated. He's a Boy Scout Council Citizen of the Year. He serves on the Cambridge Regional Airport Board. He's the past Chairman of Byesville Community Development Corporation.

And David is an active member of his community, and he's a leader in this industry. In fact, David told us that he used his savings from that recent tax cut to reinvest in his business. And David is hiring more people here in Ohio again. David, congratulations. It's great to have you here. (Applause.)

And then there is Jack Miller, from Wooster, Ohio. Where's Jack at? Jack Miller, stand up. Thank you, Jack. (Applause.) Jack is Chairman of the Board at Ken Miller Supply, a chain of oilfield supply stores you all are very familiar with. Over 50 years they've been providing tubular goods and also production equipment -- port equipment for producers, pipeline contractors, utility companies; everything you need in this industry.

Since the start of our administration, sales across their state operations, David tells us, have increased and grown by 18 percent. David's company is growing again because of the policies that we've been advancing in this administration. (Applause.)

Now, David and Jack are just emblematic of all of you in this room. You're living the American Dream. You're renewing American energy. You're creating jobs and opportunities. So give them another round of applause. (Applause.) Thanks. Thanks for being who you are and being a great example to everybody here.

You know, the truth is, I don't need to tell any of you how innovation can suddenly breathe life into long-forgotten towns. It's amazing to think how much the Appalachian Basin has changed in just over 10 years. It's something the Lieutenant Governor and Steven and I were talking about backstage before I came up.

In 2008, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia produced 2 percent of our nation's natural gas. Today, they produce 27 percent of the natural gas produced in the United States of America. (Applause.) That's an incredible record of success. By 2025, there's one study that says that you'll produce 20 times what you did just five years ago. I'll tell you, that's American ingenuity on display, isn't it?

In just over a decade, thanks to that ingenuity, the Appalachian Basin has gone from being the 32nd to the 3rd largest natural producing regions in the world. Only one country in the world produced more natural gas than the Appalachian Basin. In fact, this region produced more natural gas than entire continents, like Africa and South Africa [America], and even OPEC countries. Give yourselves a round of applause for leading the world in natural gas production. (Applause.)

Ohio itself is home to more than 65,000 wells that pump out 26 million barrels of oil and 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas every year. Those wells, most importantly, support some 200,000 jobs -- good-paying jobs with an average salary of over $88,000 a year. Energy is growing this economy. It's making America stronger, and it's strengthening the foundation under families here in Ohio and all across this nation. (Applause.)

You know, it's a testament to the risk-taking and entrepreneurship represented in this room that a majority of those wells, I'm told -- like nearly 91 percent of the wells across the country -- are drilled by independent operators. And thanks to you, despite all the talk of peak oil and energy shortages of just a few short years ago, the Utica and Marcellus shales are producing such an abundance. It's incredible to watch.

Thanks to your daring and your grit, rather than learning to live with less, next year the United States of America will become a net energy exporter for the first time in nearly 70 years. (Applause.) Incredible.

You all made this happen. And as the President has said, in his words, your "full potential can only be realized when government promotes energy development." And that's exactly what we've been doing. If you want proof, just look at the -- look at the two states to your east.

When the fracking revolution was just beginning, the state of Pennsylvania decided to embrace it, and -- while the state of New York decided to reject it. The Empire State put a moratorium on fracking in 2008 and then banned it outright in 2014. You all know the story.

And the people of New York have suffered as a result. From 2006 to 2017, natural gas production fell by 80 percent. And in those counties that stood to benefit most from energy development -- the most in income, the most in wages, the most in jobs and prosperity, benefitting their entire community in every respect -- the truth is, property values fell by more than 20 percent because of the decisions that were made.

In Pennsylvania, by contrast, natural gas production expanded over 30 times. And in those counties that were allowed to develop their energy potential, jobs went up, wages went up, and now the oil and gas industry is booming like never before. Energy is a source of prosperity for American communities and American families. And you need look no further than those two examples and yours to prove it. (Applause.) It's true.

And the oil and gas industry, I want to promise you, has no greater friend than President Donald Trump. And as the President said, in his words, our administration will not only seek American energy independence but will seek American energy dominance. He promised to "eliminate the barriers to domestic energy production, like never before." And that's exactly what we've done. Because we've streamlined liquefied natural gas terminal permitting in the first year of our administration, the United States became a net natural gas exporter.

And just last month, I had the honor, on the President's behalf, to visit Poland. Karen and I traveled over there to attend a national conference, but we're directly benefitting -- Poland is directly benefiting, rather -- and we are -- from the energy revolution. Since last October, Poland has actually signed three separate agreements with American energy companies, which, in four years' time, will allow it to import more than 7 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year. (Applause.)

So our ally in Poland is benefitting by your innovation, and American jobs are benefiting by your exports. Your work is not only strengthening economic opportunities here at home, but it's strengthening the ties that bind us freedom-loving nations around the world.

So American energy is soaring, and the American economy is booming. But to ensure continued growth, we all know that we've gotten to strengthen the foundations of our prosperity. And nothing is more important to this President or to the American people than the safety and security of our families and our communities.

You know, the President said it many times: If you don't have a border, you don't have a country. And the truth is, as I stand before you today, my fellow Americans, it's important for you to know, despite what you may hear from many voices in the national media, that we have crisis on our southern border. It's a crisis that sees the flow of illegal immigrants, drugs, dangerous criminals, human trafficking across the border.

And most importantly, you deserve to know, it's a crisis like we've never seen before. For the first time ever, a majority of people attempting to come into our country illegally are families and unaccompanied minors that are being enticed by drug cartels and human traffickers to make the long and dangerous journey north to take advantage of our porous border and loopholes in our immigration laws.

As the President has said, "These are heartbreaking realities that are hurting innocent, precious human beings every day on both sides of the border."

Seventy percent of illegal immigrants report being victims of violence on that long journey north. According to Doctors Without Borders, nearly one-third of women traveling to our southern border from Central America are sexually assaulted on the journey.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security announced that, in the last five months, Customs and Border Protection has seen a more than 300 percent increase in the number apprehended at our border compared to the same period a year before.

Every day we don't secure our border, we're allowing the crisis to worsen and lives to be endangered and exploited.

Just a few days ago, I saw firsthand at the Phoenix Field Division of the DEA that, despite the incredible work our men and women of law enforcement are doing every day, drug cartels and smugglers are exploiting this humanitarian crisis to flood more drugs into our country, harming our children and our families and our communities.

The Lieutenant Governor knows well: Mexican and Central American drug cartels are the principal wholesale sources for street-level gangs and dealers across this country, here in Ohio and all across America. They've brought untold suffering to millions of families.

It's amazing to think drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for adults under the age of 55. Let me say that again: Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for adults under the age of 55. In 2016, some 174 people lost their lives to drug overdose every single day. And the numbers don't really tell the tale. But I can see from the look on your faces, and the quiet nods as I speak, that you know it's about families.

There isn't a community in Ohio, there isn't a community in America, that hasn't been impacted by the flood of drugs into our streets, the enormous majority of which come across our southern border.

I had a senator from the northwest say just last week say to me -- he said, "Mike, the President is right. We don't…" But he said, "We don't just have a crisis on our southern border. We have a crisis in all 50 states because of what's happening on our southern border, and it's time for America to act." (Applause.) It's true.

The scourge of opioid abuse and addiction is tearing families apart and tearing communities apart. I saw it in Indiana when I was governor; I see it across the country. It's happening here in Ohio. And the people of the Buckeye State have seen it firsthand.

And I want to take the opportunity to thank Senator Rob Portman for his extraordinary leadership in the national effort to combat opioid abuse and addiction. Senator Rob Portman has made a difference. (Applause.)

Because the truth of the matter is, you can see the statistics of the enormous flow of drugs that come across our southern border. We'll continue to support law enforcement at the local level. We'll continue to support treatment and remedies. But, men and women, it's also why this President has taken such a strong stand for border security. It's why President Trump declared a national emergency on our southern border, to gain the resources that we need to construct a wall on our southern border and provide all of our personnel with resources and the support they need.

But despite the fact the President had clear statutory authority under the National Emergencies Act, as I stand before you today, some in Congress, next week, are going to make an effort to try and stop the President from exercising the authority that the Congress actually gave the President to confront this undeniable humanitarian crisis.

So let me be clear: A vote against the President's emergency declaration is a vote against border security. A vote against the President's emergency declaration is a vote to deny the real humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.

So we call on every member of the United States Senate. We call on Senator Sherrod Brown and every member of the United States Senate: Stand up for border security. Stand with this President. Put the safety and security of the American people first. (Applause.) It's an urgent crisis and one that we all need to be attending to.

As I close, let me just say thank you again and also leave you with a charge and a challenge. Thank you for all you've done to renew the prosperity not just of the energy industry in America, but the prosperity of this country as a whole. The strength of this country is derived, I will always believe, from our faith, our freedom, and our vast natural resources. And as this industry prospers and grows strong, America grows strong.

But know this: In the days and weeks ahead, we're going to continue to work to ensure that our nation's energy producers grow and thrive, because we know that when you succeed, America succeeds. But the stakes in the days ahead could not be higher.

And as you watch the headlines and the debates taking place on cable television, it's probably becoming obvious to you too that the choice we face could not be clearer. As I said a few short days ago, it is remarkable to think that as we gather today, many liberals in Washington, D.C. are openly advocating an economic system that has impoverished millions around the world.

Under the guise of what's called Medicare for All or the Green New Deal, liberals in Washington, D.C. and in the national debate are embracing the same tired economic theories that have impoverished nations and have stifled the liberties of millions. And that system is socialism.

What they're actually offering is just more of the same: it's more taxes, more spending, and more government, and less freedom. But I say from my heart what Americans have known for generations:

It was freedom, not socialism, that gave us the most prosperous economy in the history of the world. (Applause.)

It was freedom, not socialism, that ended slavery, won two world wars, and stands today as a beacon of hope for all the world.

It was freedom, not socialism, that's moving us beyond the prejudices of the past to create a more perfect union and extend the blessings of liberty to every American.

And it was freedom, not socialism, that gave us the highest quality of life, the cleanest environment on Earth, and improved the health and wellbeing of millions around the world.

So we must say, as the President has said, America will never be a socialist country. (Applause.)

The truth is, what Medicare for All really means is quality healthcare for none. And the only thing green about the Green New Deal is how much green it's going to cost all of us if they ever pass it into law. (Laughter.)

You know, the truth is, Margaret Thatcher said it best, "The trouble with Socialism is [you] eventually run out of other people's money." (Laughter and applause.)

So in the days ahead, I want to challenge each and every one of you in this room to do two things.

Number one, keep growing and keep prospering. Keep taking risks. And know that, from the Oval Office on down, in this administration, we're going to keep fighting every day to give you the freedom and the flexibility to continue to develop the resources of this land in a responsible way, to benefit our nation, to strengthen the foundations of our country, and to prosper the communities across Ohio and across this region.

Just keep doing what you're doing. We don't often talk enough about -- simply growing a business and raising a family is a civic contribution. So grow your business. Work with one another. Compete with one another. And stay on this fast track to American -- not just American energy independence, but as the President said, "American energy dominance" in the days ahead. Because I know Ohio is going to lead the way. Ohio is going to lead the way.

And the second thing I'd leave you with is simply this: And that is, as we look at that choice that we face in the next 20 months -- and I see the response that each of you have to all of the -- what we've laid before you today -- the progress that we've made not just in energy, but in advancing freedom, lowering taxes, rolling back regulations, negotiating free and fair and reciprocal trade deals that are benefitting American jobs and American workers, is just go out and tell somebody.

Recognize that you're leaders in your communities, not just in your industry. Give voice to the progress that we have made. I mean, the truth of the matter is that the choice the American people are going to face in the next 20 months -- as I said before, I'll say again -- could not be clearer.

And Ohio has always played an outsized role in decisions this nation has made. Ohio chose this President, this administration, and a new direction for America in 2016. And we need all of you to stand with us and make sure Ohio chooses four more years of freedom and prosperity and President Donald Trump. (Applause.)

But I leave here today with just a thankful heart. Karen and I are on our way to Kentucky and then on to Georgia before the day is gone. As the poet wrote, "We have miles to go before we sleep." But I have to tell you, it's great to be with all of you today and, really, to celebrate what you all are accomplishing not just for your families and your businesses, but I want you to know what you're accomplishing, you're accomplishing for America.

And I leave here today with renewed confidence that each and every one of you are doing -- doing more than just growing a business. It's -- you're doing what those words Daniel Webster spoke on the floor of the Congress more than a century ago. You're developing the resources of the land, yes, but you're calling forth its power. You're supporting its great institutions. And I just want to assure you all, you're doing something worthy of your time, worthy to be remembered.

And as you continue to do all that you do to strengthen the foundations of this country, grow this economy, and support the ideals and the principles, I promise you we'll stand with you. We'll keep fighting with you.

And with your continued support, with this great leadership at the state level in the great state of Ohio, with renewed conservative majorities at every level of government, with President Donald Trump in the White House, and with God's help, the best days for Ohio and America are yet to come.

Thank you very much. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)


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