Donald Trump’s speech on energy policy electrified the crowd Thursday at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Trump’s message was simple: America first.
“America’s incredible energy potential remains untapped,” Trump said. “Under my presidency, we’ll accomplish a complete American energy independence.”
In front of about 7,000 people, Trump outlined an energy plan that promotes oil, natural gas and coal for the nation’s future.
The outspoken businessman said that the United States would have no need to import oil from OPEC-affiliated countries or any other nations hostile to American interests. He wants America to make use of its vast energy resources.
“American energy dominance will be declared a strategic, economic and foreign policy goal of the United States,” Trump said.
Trump criticized the Obama administration for setting up policies that make it harder for businesses to turn profits. He said a Hillary Clinton presidency would continue to regulate, destroying more jobs.
The crowd gave a loud chorus of boos at the mention of Clinton’s name.
Last year, President Barack Obama rejected the deal for the proposed international pipeline that would carry oil from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico.
Trump said that he would ask TranCanada to re-file its application to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. He said he would approve the deal as long as the United States gets a share of the profits.
“I want the Keystone pipeline, but the people of the United States should be given a significant piece of the profits,” Trump said. “That’s how we’re going to make our country rich again and that’s how we’re going to make America great again.”
The presumed Republican nominee didn’t limit his energy plan to just fossil fuels. He talked about renewable sources, such as wind and solar energy. However, he did say that they shouldn’t be promoted in favor of cheaper, more effective sources.
Before Trump delivered his keynote address, thousands of people stood in line to view the event. Several protest groups gathered outside the facility. About one quarter of Bismarck’s police force was assigned to the event.
Bismarck resident Darrell Graf is the chief of the Fire Academy in North Dakota, a volunteer group that teaches firefighters in small communities. He said he supports Trump because he’s tired of regulations.
“I lived through the era where Americans could still do things they wanted to do. They could have fun,” Graf said. “Nothing’s fun anymore. Farming isn’t fun anymore. Running a business isn’t fun anymore. Trying to survive isn’t fun anymore, but if we get president that’s a leader, like Donald Trump, things are going to be fun again.”
Chris Filibeck sported a red “Make America Great Again” campaign hat while waiting for the speech to start.
“When I was a kid, I said if Donald Trump would ever run for president, I’d probably vote for him,” Chris Filibeck said. “It came true, actually.”
Earlier this morning, Trump reached the necessary number of 1,237 delegates to secure the Republican presidential nomination. North Dakota delegates sealed the deal, and Trump now sits at 1,239 delegates.
“I’m so honored to hit that number in North Dakota,” Trump said.
Trump will become the official nominee once delegates cast their votes in July. Securing the nomination puts to rest the possibility of a contested convention.