Icahn Says EPA, Bank Regulations Hamper U.S. economy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
FILE PHOTO – Billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn gives an interview on FOX Business Network’s Neil Cavuto show in New York, U.S. on February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Billionaire investor Carl& Icahn& targeted environmental and banking regulations on Thursday as big drags on U.S. corporate investment and said revamping them would be a top priority in his role as adviser to President-elect Donald Trump.

Icahn, tapped by Trump on Wednesday as a special adviser for regulatory reform, also said in an interview on CNBC he was surprised at criticism that his vast business dealings would pose conflicts of interest with his advisory role.

“I honestly am sort of surprised that so much is being made of my being named to that,”& Icahn& said in the wide-ranging interview, in which he also voiced concern about U.S. stock market levels. He said he owns companies in every sector and has no specific duties outlined in his role for Trump.

Icahn& refused to speculate on candidates he would recommend to lead the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission, but said the SEC chair should be able to hold U.S. corporate executives and their boards of directors accountable.

He said overregulation has strangled corporate investment in the United States and that corporations see themselves as being “at war” with the federal government.

“I do think it’s extremely important for this country that this absurd regulatory environment is toned down somewhat,” he told CNBC. “I’m not against regulations at all. In fact I sort of believe that you need a rule of law. But it’s become literally absurd in many areas.”

Immediate areas he would advise Trump to target would be banking regulations and Environmental Protection Agency regulations.