Washington, DC – During an event in the East Room of the White House today (July 8), US President Donald Trump highlighted his administration’s work on saving the environment while keeping American economy on the growth path. Noticeable in attendance were Ivanka Trump, his daughter and senior advisor; his cabinet members: Energy Secretary. Rick Perry; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler; Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin; and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt among others.
“From day one my administration has made it a top priority to ensure that America is among the very cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet,” Trump announced to a select audience in the East Room, stressing, “We want the cleanest air. We want crystal clean water and that’s what we’re doing and that’s what we’re working on so hard.”
“In addition to clean air and clean water that means being good stewards of our public lands, prioritizing cleanup of our polluted lands that threaten our most vulnerable citizens and threaten them very dearly, and implementing pro-growth policies to implement innovations and new technologies which improve American life and America’s environment,” Trump told the attendees in a long event where he called upon speakers to validate his points.
During his speech, Trump reiterated his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, among other positive efforts of his administration. He repeatedly harped on the role of a strong economy in maintaining a healthy environment.
Reasons for Paris Climate
Earlier in a conference call briefing conducted by EPA Administrator Wheeler and Council of Environmental Quality Chairwoman Mary Neumayr, IAT raised questions on the reasons for Paris Climate Agreement withdrawal and how now the US wanted to play a leadership role in the environmental sector.
Answering the question on Paris Accord, Administrator Wheeler said, “President Trump, when he was running for President, ran on the commitment to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, and that was a promise that he made and a promise that he is keeping.”
Wheeler went into great lengths explaining why Paris Accord was “an unfair treaty, in terms of the US with our trading partners — when you see that China doesn’t have to even begin making reductions; they can continue to increase their emissions, and they are, until 2030,” adding, “And other countries don’t have to make reductions either, such as India and other developing countries. So it was an unfair trade treaty for the United States.”
“Another aspect that a lot of people gloss over is that, under the Clean Air Act — I believe it’s Section 115 of the Clean Air Act — if we enter into an international treaty, such as the Paris Climate Accord — if we fail to meet our targets, those are enforceable under our domestic laws,” Wheeler pointed out, noting, “Most other countries who are signatories to the Paris Climate Accord don’t have that same constraint.”
Calling the Paris Climate Accord “a bad deal for the United States,” Administrator Wheeler said, “It was a bad deal for the American consumer. And President Trump has been very upfront that we are more than willing to renegotiate the Paris Climate Accord if other countries are willing to come to the table and negotiate a better deal.”
Saying that the US was continuing “to reduce our CO2 emissions,” Wheeler claimed, “In fact, we’re one of the few countries — one of the few industrialized countries that has already met their targets for the Paris Climate Accord.” Thus explaining the position of the Trump Administration, EPA chief said, “Regardless of whether we’re in the Paris Climate Accord or not, we continue to make progress on that front. But the Paris Climate Accord is unfair to the US consumer, US manufacturer, and the US economy.”
With the US out of the Paris Climate Accord, the country was still “taking international leadership,” according to the US Environmental agency chief, who said, “We’re taking international leadership on issues such as marine plastic debris. I just returned from the G20 Environmental Ministers’ Meeting and the G7 Environmental Ministers’ Meeting, and we are taking international leadership on this issue.”
Continuing to answer the question from IAT, Council of Environmental Quality Chairwoman Mary Neumayr stressed that the President “is taking leadership, and the President recognizes that a strong economy is critical for technology and innovation, for modern resilient infrastructure, and for environmental protection.”
Neumayr reiterated the point of the Trump Administration “to pursue a strong economy so that we will have the resources to advance technology and innovation, and build more modern and resilient infrastructure, and provide for environmental protection.”