Trump Touts Environmental Record, Says U.S. Can Grow Economy While Cutting Emissions
President Donald Trump touted his environmental record on Monday citing falling emissions and improving air and water quality, all while oil and gas production continues to rise and the economy grows stronger.
In a speech at the White House, Trump laid out his administration’s mission as a dual pursuit of economic growth and environmental protection.
“For years, politicians told Americans that a strong economy and vibrant energy sector were incompatible with a healthy environment. In other words, one thing doesn’t go with the other. And that’s wrong, because we’re proving the exact opposite,” said Trump. “A strong economy is vital to maintaining a healthy environment. When we innovate, produce and grow, we’re able to unleash technologies and processes that make the environment better.”
Trump praised the shale revolution in the United States that’s made the country a leader in natural gas exports, while at the same time helping to lower emissions.
“The United States is now a net exporter of clean, affordable, American natural gas. We’re exporting all over the world,” said Trump. “Particulate matter is six times lower here than the global average. Since 2000, our nation’s energy-related carbon emissions have declined more than any other country on earth. Emissions are projected to drop in 2019 and 2020.”
All of this progress has happened Trump said while six million new jobs have been added in the past two-and-half years and the unemployment rate is the lowest in 50 years.
Trump also noted that the United States has maintained its number one ranking in the world for safe drinking water throughout the expansion of oil and gas development in the country.
Amy Cooke, an executive vice president at the Colorado-based Independence Institute praised the progress made by the Trump Administration.
“Our air is clean. We are number one in the world in access to clean drinking water. We are now the world’s largest producer of oil and gas. Our economy is great again,” said Cooke. “It’s unfortunate that Democrats in Colorado don’t embrace President Trump’s philosophy that we can develop our natural resources responsibly, be excellent stewards of our environment and be energy dominate with a thriving economy. Instead Colorado Democrats embrace an abstinence only energy policy that kills jobs and our economy.”
The Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy group and opponent of oil and gas production blasted the speech.
Michael Burne, the Sierra Club’s Executive Director said, “Donald Trump is resorting to greenhouse gaslighting the public to try and cover-up the fact that he is the worst president in history for the environment, climate and public health. Trump’s relentless attacks on our clean air, clean water, climate and public lands threaten the health and safety of millions of Americans and no speech he gives can ever change the reality of his actions.”
The president did turn his fire to Democrats who have supported the “Green New Deal” in Congress, citing the high cost of the proposal and what he said would, “kill millions of jobs, crush the dreams of the poorest Americans, and disproportionately harm minority communities.”
Joining Trump at the White House was Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, and both gave remarks about the accomplishments in their respective departments.
Wheeler recalled that when he took the job, he was tasked by Trump “to continue to clean up the air, continue to clean up the water, and continue to provide regulatory relief to keep the economy growing. The president knows we can do all three at same time.”
Earlier this year, Congress passed and Trump signed into law the America’s Public Lands Act of 2019 that protected vast tracts of land across the country. Bernhardt praised the law and said his department is also working to protect and expand public access to wildlife conservation.
“We are aggressively implanting this act, which among other things, designated 1.3 million acres as public lands, as wilderness. We are ensuring that future generations receive the benefit of an enduring wilderness system.”
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, commended the president for his dual goals of protecting the environment and boosting the economy.
“The Trump administration has demonstrated that economic growth and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive principles. We can do both,” said Walden.
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), the top Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee echoed Trump and Wheeler in applauding the work to protect public lands.
“President Trump further proves that the Lands Package passed earlier this Congress was a grand slam,” said Bishop. “Thanks to solid leadership within the Trump administration, we have expanded recreational opportunities, promoted conservation, encouraged land stewardship, and this is only the beginning.”