EPW Democrats Decry President Trump’s Order Reversing U.S. Progress on Climate Change

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Democratic members on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, led by Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), decried President Trump’s executive order that abandons key U.S. climate initiatives, including the historic Clean Power Plan – the nation’s first-ever national standard to reduce dangerous greenhouse gases emitted from power plants. This executive order also calls into question the impacts of climate change and the social costs of greenhouse gases, while abandoning resiliency efforts and doubling down on dirty fossil fuels.

With one stroke of his pen, President Trump has reversed the significant progress made over the last eight years to combat the greatest environmental challenge of our time, jeopardized the health and safety of families and future generations, and called America’s leadership into question all under the guise of creating jobs.

“President Trump didn’t issue an executive order, he issued a declaration of war on America’s global climate leadership and our clean energy future,” said Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). “This executive order is one massive giveaway to big oil and coal corporations at the expense of decades of progress on climate change, clean energy and public health protections. As a nation, we have a choice: We can continue to pump harmful carbon pollution into our skies and foreign oil into our cars, or we can pump new life into our economy, creating clean energy jobs and leading the world in climate solutions. We know that by cutting carbon pollution, we can grow our economy, save American families money and protect the health of children and seniors.”

“This order clearly proves that this administration is not serious about protecting jobs and our environment,” said Senator Carper. “As a West Virginia native, I understand the plight of coal miners in today’s day and age. But the Clean Power Plan isn’t the coal industry’s problem – market forces are. Let’s be perfectly clear: this executive order will not bring back the coal industry. It is an insult to the men and women who voted for him for Donald Trump to say otherwise. Instead of abandoning the Clean Power Plan and other smart climate and clean air protections, we should be continuing to foster new economic opportunities in distressed communities that may be dependent on the old world order.”

“Climate change is a real and intensifying threat to this country and all of humanity, and any action that undercuts the progress we have made to address its damage is patently short-sighted and fundamentally unwise. As such, the president’s actions to undercut the Clean Power Plan create greater uncertainty for electric utilities and the American public alike, and absolutely represents the wrong direction for our country,” said Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.). “Unfortunately, by elevating the extraction of fossil fuels at a time when our renewable energy sector is beginning to realize its vast potential, today’s actions by the Trump administration have compromised America’s energy security interests and our leadership role on climate change in the eyes of the world.”

“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 one of the most important action’s we have taken to fight climate change, just like the big polluters wanted.  Ultimately, litigation will keep these agencies on course, but it is a big waste of time and effort, done to appease a dirty industry and right-wing climate-denial fanatics,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

“By trying to roll back the Clean Power Plan, Donald Trump is tragically pushing our nation backwards—with job losses, sicker kids and wasted tax dollars,” said Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) “The Clean Power Plan set ambitious yet achievable goals to protect our health and our communities by reducing carbon pollution, all while creating jobs in growth industries. The Clean Power Plan is the single most important step America has ever taken to fight climate change. I won’t stop fighting for higher carbon dioxide standards and for the clean and renewable energy future that our health, environment and economy deserve.”

“This Executive Order only makes sense if you think climate change is a hoax created by China and you’re living in a state of denial about the very real harm it is doing to our environment, our economy, and our world,” said Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.). “This order will set back our nation’s progress in combatting the threat of climate change, and hurt the emerging clean energy industry – putting us behind global competitors and costing American jobs in the long run.”