On Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order on energy independence that House took a major swipe at President Barack Obama’s climate change legacy
Rolling back regulation:
The Environmental Protection Agency is asked by the order to review Obama’s Clean Power Plan which pursued reducing carbon pollution from power plants and is considered one of the past administration’s signature pieces of climate policy.
In February of 2016, the plan’s implementation was put on hold by the Supreme Court.
Obama called climate change a national security threat while Trump mocked the sentiment on the campaign trail, which makes the reversal in U.S. environmental policy no surprise.
Trump announced an end to the freeze on coal production, with miners lined up behind him at EPA, showing his kept campaign promise to coal miners. Although the mining industry doubts that Trump can reverse the market forces working against it.
Trump’s executive order also reduced restrictions on the production of oil, natural gas, clean coal and shale further lessening regulations. Trump said that the action was the “latest in a series of steps to create American jobs and grow American wealth.”
On Monday evening, as a senior administration official was briefing reporters on the environmental executive order, they stressed the priority of growing the economy. According to the official, the new policy keeps workers front of mind.
They agreed that economic factors were the main drivers of the administration’s energy policy, but disagreed that workers were more important than the environment. The official said “We’re saying we can do both.”
On Tuesday the president echoed that sentiment promising “safety,” as well as “clean water and clean air” while lessening regulations on what emissions can be put into the environment saying we’re “getting rid of the bad” regulations.
Trump’s move was hailed by groups that criticized previous the administration’s regulations as overly-burdensome.
Consumer Energy Alliance, a group which supports the energy industry wrote in a statement that the executive order “is a positive step forward in providing American families and businesses with affordable supplies of energy.”
Trump has called global warming a “very expensive form of tax” and said that terms like global warming and climate change have been efforts of branding.
On Tuesday, Sean Spicer did not directly answer if the president believes in man-made climate change, he told reporters that Trump understands there’s not a “binary choice” between economic growth and caring about the environment.
Climate change advocates are worried about the administrations’ moves.
Chief executive officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Rush Holt, wrote in a statement on Tuesday “The scientific evidence is clear: climate change is happening, primarily due to human activities, and already impacting people and our environment. We encourage the White House and Congress to support the evidence on climate change, and welcome opportunities to bring scientists to meet with policymakers to discuss the state of the science, the degree of scientific understanding on climate change, and other areas of concern and interest.”
Attorney generals from California, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia, and the chief legal officers from Boulder, Chicago, New York city, Philadelphia, South Miami and Broward County have all vowed to oppose the plan.
The officials wrote in a joint statement on Tuesday “We won’t hesitate to protect those we serve, including by aggressively opposing in court President Trump’s actions that ignore both the law and the critical importance of confronting the very real threat of climate change.”
Vice President Al Gore, an environmentalist activist, called the order “misguided”. He issued a statement saying: “No matter how discouraging this executive order may be, we must, we can, and we will solve the climate crisis. No one man or group can stop the encouraging and escalating momentum we are experiencing in the fight to protect our planet.”