Vice President Mike Pence speaks to the 2019 Ohio Oil and Gas Association 72nd Annual Meeting, Friday, March 8, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo | Phil Long)

Pence Talks Energy, Trump at Ohio Oil and Gas Gathering

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Vice President Mike Pence highlighted curbs in environmental regulations and called energy a “source of prosperity” during a speech in Ohio’s capital city of Columbus.

Pence, speaking Friday at the Ohio Oil and Gas Association convention, also hailed President Donald Trump’s decision to issue an executive order to pay for building a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border. Pence said stopping drug smuggling will save lives in Ohio, a state hard hit by the opioid crisis.

Pence boasted about Trump administration energy policies to include withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, eliminating rules on hydraulic fracturing, scrapping stream protections and rolling back methane regulations.

The former Republican governor from Indiana earned a standing ovation by telling the gathering, “America will never be a socialist country.”