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Trump Seeks $1 Billion From Big Oil, Vows to Overturn Climate Regulations

Trump promised drilling permits for oil companies on “Day 1” of his presidency if he’s elected, according to a source.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media with attorney Todd Blanche as he attends his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 9, 2024, in New York City.

Last month, former President Donald Trump, now the presumed GOP nominee for president, met with dozens of oil executives at his Mar-a-Lago resort, requesting $1 billion in campaign donations.

In return, Trump told the executives that if he’s elected, he will rescind Biden administration regulations on fossil fuels and make it easier for oil and gas companies to operate in the U.S.

The Washington Post first reported on the offer this week, citing a source with knowledge of the meeting.

Trump claimed that the transaction would amount to a “deal” for fossil fuel executives, vowing that the amount in taxes they would save under his administration — and the savings from his deregulation of the industry — would amount to more than the $1 billion in campaign cash.

Trump pitched the apparent quid pro quo after an oil industry executive at the meeting bemoaned the fact that the Biden administration was regulating oil and gas companies despite the industry’s political donations to him.

According to the source that spoke with the Post, Trump promised the executives myriad benefits, including an end to the current freeze on permits for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports on his “first day” in office if he becomes president. He also vowed to auction off more offshore oil drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico, and reverse recently enacted restrictions on drilling in the Alaskan Arctic.

“You’ve been waiting on a permit for five years; you’ll get it on Day 1,” Trump promised, per the source’s recollection.

The GOP presidential nominee also vowed to end a “mandate” on electric vehicles from the Biden administration, a misrepresentation of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules that encourage a shift but do not require one.

Despite industry complaints about Biden, oil and gas production in the U.S. have hit record levels during his term. Although Biden recently overturned 27 Trump-era actions that benefited oil companies, he has also approved nearly twice the amount of oil and gas permits for wells on federal land that Trump did during his first three years in office; last year, Exxon and Chevron, the largest U.S. energy companies, notched their highest annual profits in a decade.

The news of Trump’s meeting with fossil fuel executives comes on the heels of reports that the GOP nominee’s campaign is receiving other aid from oil executives, including drafts of potential executive orders and policies he can enact if he wins in November.

According to these reports, fossil fuel industry leaders view Trump’s comments on energy-related matters — including his statements to voters on gas prices and oil production — as an indication that he supports their goals, but also as mere campaign fodder. Some have outright stated that they don’t believe Trump or his advisers are capable of formulating specific directives on their own.

“We’re going to have to write exactly what we want, actually spoon feeding the administration,” an anonymous energy sector company’s lawyer told Politico.