Trump praises his environmental record, doesn't mention rolling back of protections or climate change

Donald Trump.
(Image credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

With a former coal lobbyist standing on one side and a former oil lobbyist on the other, President Trump on Monday touted his record on the environment, praising his policies that experts say will actually cause more pollution and hasten the worst effects of climate change.

Trump, who has rolled back or severely curtailed more than 80 environmental regulations and removed the United States from the Paris climate change accord, gave his speech, titled "America's Environmental Leadership," on the advice of consultants to his re-election campaign, The New York Times reports. One senior White House official said internal polling shows millennials and suburban women do not like his environmental record, and the speech was an attempt to show moderates "he's being responsible."

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, once a lobbyist for the coal industry, and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist, have both come under fire for some of their proposals — the EPA last month finalized a plan to replace an Obama-era rule on coal pollution with one that keeps plants open longer, while Bernhardt wants to drill more in public lands and waters.

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Trump was quick to tout that greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. have dropped about 10 percent over the last few years, but he did not mention that it is primarily due to an increase in the use of natural gas or that under his policies, which promote the use of more coal, emissions are expected to go back up. "It is an utter farce for the president to talk about America's environmental leadership, when he has been a champion of the polluters," presidential historian Douglas Brinkley told the Times. When it comes to environmental stewardship, "Trump is seen around the world as a Darth Vader-like figure."

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