March 28, 2017

Whitehouse Statement on Trump Climate Executive Order

Washington, DC – Today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety and Co-Chair of the Senate Climate Action Task Force, released the following statement on President Trump’s executive order to begin dismantling the Clean Power Plan and other climate protections:

“Just a few years ago, Donald Trump and his children supported ‘meaningful and effective measures’ to fight climate change, calling it ‘scientifically irrefutable’ and its consequences ‘catastrophic’ and ‘irreversible’.  Today he began to unravel the Clean Power Plan, one of the most important actions we have taken to fight climate change, just like the big polluters wanted.

“No matter what the fossil fuel industry and its lackeys may claim, it’s cheap natural gas that’s killing coal – not environmental protections.  The Clean Power Plan is a reasonable approach to confronting our carbon problem that gives states flexibility and will save Americans on energy costs.  And meeting our obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement will cement American leadership and credibility on climate change around the world.

“I suspect lawyers will quickly force these agencies back on course.  In the meantime, this delay and distraction serves only the fossil fuel industry and its front groups.

“This ridiculous order actually puts Americans at risk.  I represent Rhode Island, a downwind state prone to air pollution from out-of-state smokestacks.  We are also a coastal state where rising seas driven by climate change threaten our coastal towns.  For us, reducing carbon emissions and other dangerous pollution is part of preserving the state we love and protecting the health of our people.

“So why tear down such important protections?  Because the most voracious and malign special interest in American politics—the fossil fuel industry—has captured the Trump Administration, installed its top henchmen at the EPA, and gone to work trying to unwind any environmental and public health safeguard that gets in the way of its profits.  In fact, Administrator Pruitt, a man who built his career raising money from the industry and a former leader in the legal assault on the Clean Power Plan, was standing with the President today. 

“Ultimately, litigation will keep these agencies on course, but this order is a big waste of time and effort, done to appease a dirty industry and right-wing climate-denial fanatics.”

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