By AMBER ATHEY
The Trump administration touted its record on promoting a clean environment on Monday, providing a counter narrative to Democratic claims that the White House has not appropriately addressed climate change.
President Donald Trump spoke at an event Monday afternoon celebrating his administration’s accomplishments on environmental policy in the White House’s East Room. Attendees included senior policy adviser Jared Kushner, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Andrew Wheeler, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, and Treasury Department secretary Steve Mnuchin.
The administration’s message on the environment is that they’ve successfully promoted a booming economy while protecting the nation’s air, land, and water.
“The United States does not have to sacrifice our own jobs to lead the world on the environment,” the president said during his Monday address. “My administration set the new standard for environmental protections with unprecedented provisions in the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA).”
The president’s speech was accompanied by a White House press release touting various environmental policies enacted by the administration:
- The president signed the Save Our Seas Act in 2018
- Prioritized funding for environmental restoration projects in the Florida Everglades
- The EPA gave $65 million in Brownfields “clean-up” grants to 149 communities
- The EPA completed “cleanup work on all or part of 22 Superfund sites from the National Priorities List, the largest number in any one year since 2005”
EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler told reporters during a press call earlier in the day that “all six criteria air pollutants have decreased under President Trump’s administration. In fact, we’ve had double-digits decreases in both lead and sulfur dioxide over the last two years.”
Wheeler also defended Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, noting that other countries such as China and India had much looser standards under the agreement than the U.S. and adding that the U.S. has continued to decrease CO2 and methane emissions.
“So, 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 U.S. consumer, U.S. manufacturer, and the U.S. economy,” Wheeler said.
The administration’s celebration of its work on the environment comes as Democratic members of Congress and presidential candidates continue to advocate for sweeping environmental reforms that would likely have devastating effects on the economy. (RELATED: 2020 Democrats Eschew Climate Change For ‘Crisis,’ ‘Chaos’ In Debate)
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez again called for serious action on climate change after Washington, D.C. was hit with severe flooding on Monday morning. The first-term congresswoman blamed Republicans, fossil fuels, and climate change for the flooding that took over the city.
2020 Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and more support Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal,” which calls for a massive government takeover that would allegedly combat global warming.