HOUSTON - Scott Pruitt, the head of the U.S. Environment Protection Agency, said industry and utilities need regulatory certainty and they will get it from the new Trump administration.
"It's a new day," he told an international gathering of energy sector leaders and policymakers here at CERAWeek.
"Process matters. Rule of law matters," he said.
Several times he criticized the Obama administration for attempting to push policies through rule making that were beyond the scope of the mandate of laws passed by Congress.
Pruitt, a lightning rod for criticism from many in the environmental community, said the economy can be protected even while the environment is respected.
"We need to provide regulatory certainty to those in the marketplace," he said.
State agencies are closest to environmental problems and the best situated to resolve them, he said.
"We are going to partner with the states," he said.
Pruitt several time pointedly criticized the fact that the federal government has identified 1,300 highly polluted sites around the country under the Superfund program in need of remediation - and some of those sites have been on the list for up to 40 years.
"There's much work to be done," he said.
Pruitt said that President Donald Trump named him to be on a special infrastructure task force as part of the president's effort to marshall a $1 trillion rebuilding of America. The focus will extend beyond road and bridges, Pruitt said, and include needed utility infrastructure such as in the water sector.
But utilities must also shoulder the responsibility of building the resources they need.
"Utilities, if they make decisions, ought to have flexibility and latitude," he said. "There shouldn't be a war on any sector of the economy."