Trump touts environmental leadership in speech

James Marshall
July 10, 2019

In remarks widely panned by environmental organizations, U.S. President Donald Trump defended his record on the environment in a White House speech Monday.

"Punishing Americans is never the right way to produce a better environment or a better economy", he said.

Gore, co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his activism on climate change, said that "American voters aren't fooled by the President's attempts to cover up his failed environmental record".

Asked why the President chose to hold the remarks and whether the Democrats' Green New Deal would be brought up during remarks, Neumayr said it was discussed when Trump spoke to his advisers about his administration's environmental actions.

"We're acknowledging, and I think the American public needs to understand that they believe if they listen to the news every night they'd think the air's gotten worse over the last 49 years when actually the air's gotten better", Wheeler said. "And I always say I want crystal clean water and air", Trump said last month in Ireland, adding, "We're setting records, environmentally".

The U.S. ranking for "access to clean drinking water" is now No. 1 globally, he noted. "We want the cleanest air".

Trump received credit from his interior secretary, David Bernhardt, who is a former oil industry lobbyist, for repairing frayed federal-state relations on wildlife conservation.

Trump then called up the owner of a Florida bait-and-tackle shop who lauded the Everglades efforts, and he ended his talk with a shout of "Trump 2020!"

"You bring my heart to warmth for everything you're doing", Hrobak said. Streets and sidewalks along the National Mall also flooded, as did the White House basement.

As Trump rolled out his presentation, a long list of environmental groups issued indictments of the president's record, from promotion of oil and gas drilling on public lands to deregulation of energy companies. The Trump administration's rollbacks of protections necessary to address the climate crisis threaten Midwesterners and the Great Lakes which millions depend on for safe drinking water, recreation and tourism, and economic opportunities.

On the debate over climate change, Perry agreed the phenomenon is occurring but left open possible reasons for it.

Samantha Gross, a fellow with the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate, is bothered by Trump's assertion that previous administrations had to choose between protecting the environment and growing the economy. The 2008 recession also led to a sharp slowdown in economic growth and demand for electricity.

Environmental advocates criticized the White House event ahead of Trump's speech.

"The Sierra Club is ignoring all the environmental progress this country has made", Wheeler responded when VOA asked him about the 127-year-old organization's criticism.

President Trump used the pomp and circumstance of the East Room, complete with an entrance to "Hail to the Chief" and a bevy of supportive Cabinet members, to tout "America's Environmental Leadership" on Monday.

For example, Wheeler points out, the United States has "doubled our natural gas productions since 2000 but at the same time reduced our methane emissions by 16%".

But environmental groups took issue with Trump's self-evaluation.

Mr Wheeler told reporters ahead of the event that key air pollutants have fallen around 70 per cent since the 1970s, including "under Trump's watch".

"We continue to clean up the air". He's claimed windmills cause cancer and repeatedly said the United States has the cleanest water and air.

But these assertions ring hollow to many environmentalists.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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