Trump speech to tout environment record; green groups scoff

Trump speech to tout environment record; green groups scoff”

President Donald Trump praised his administration's leadership on environmental issues and blasted the Democrats' proposal for a Green New Deal on Monday.

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

Trump delivered remarks Monday afternoon in the East Room of the White House alongside Cabinet members such as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

"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.

President Donald Trump speaks during an event about the environment in the East Room of the White House, Monday, July 8, 2019, in Washington.

Wheeler told reporters ahead of the event that key air pollutants have fallen around 70% since the 1970s, including "under Trump's watch". But critics have noted that air and water quality have slipped in recent years after years of improvements following the imposition of stronger environmental regulations.

EPA data, meanwhile, show increases in fine particulate matter emissions - like soot and smoke from the combustion of coal and oil - nationwide since Trump took office, something health officials say can increase the risk of lung disease.

The United States also slipped in the global environmental rankings to No. 27 in 2018 from 26th during the a year ago of the Obama administration, according to the Environmental Performance Index, a project by Yale and Columbia universities to measure national performance on air, water, forestry and other metrics.

"Trump's environmental record is such a toxic disaster it should be declared a Superfund site", said Carol Browner, who led the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration.

They have also criticized the administration for allowing the United States to slip on other basic measures of environmental health such as air pollution and enforcement.

Denouncing what he called "a relentless war on American energy" under the previous administration of Barack Obama, Trump forcefully rejected "radical plans" in the struggle against climate change which, according to him, "would not make the world cleaner".

"We have the cleanest air in the world in the United States, and it's gotten better since I'm President".

Trump's administration has sought to pave the way for even more development by reducing regulatory red tape for the fossil fuels industries and expanding leasing on federal lands.

Trump announced in June 2017 that the United States was pulling out of the Paris agreement, concluded in 2015 with nearly every nation on the planet.

Trump's speech was scheduled in part to mark the EPA's formal completion of the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule to encourage efficiency from coal-fired power plants. It replaces the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, a signature climate change measure that would have forced utilities to shut down coal plants. We need to live in a world that has cleaner air.

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