EPA chief: Trump executive order will roll back 'job-killing' climate protection legislation

James Tennent
Scott Pruitt

The head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that Donald Trump will signal the dismantling of legislation designed to fight global warming with the signing of an executive order on Tuesday.

Scott Pruitt, whose appointment to the EPA in February caused controversy because of his own climate change sceptic credentials, told ABC's This Week that the Energy Independence Executive Order was "about making sure we have a pro-growth and pro-environment approach to how we do regulation in this country".

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"For too long, over the last several years, we've accepted a narrative that if you're pro-growth, pro-jobs, you're anti-environment. We can be both pro-jobs and pro-environment and the executive order is going to address the past administration's effort to kill jobs across this country through the Clean Power Plan."

The Clean Power Plan was a set of rules introduced under the Obama administration that would have seen states pushed to reduce CO2 emissions but which was held up by legal challenges.

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The plan is expected to be scrapped under Trump. Defunding was suggested in the 2018 budget proposals.

Trump campaigned on a platform that Obama-era environmental regulation had led to job losses, particularly in coalmining areas. Critics argued that waning demand and automation were much bigger factors in companies cutting back on jobs.

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In Kentucky last weekend, Trump continued his rhetoric, telling a rally of supporters that the EPA was going to be changed "from a job-killer into a job-creator".

Pruitt said that the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, which the US signed up to, was "non-binding".

"What was wrong with Paris," Pruitt said, "was not just that it failed to be treated as a treaty but [that] China and India, the largest producers of CO2 internationally, got away scot-free. They didn't have to take steps until 2030. Paris was just a bad deal."

Pruitt came under fire earlier in March when he appeared to say that CO2 emissions were not "a primary contributor" to global warming, going against the belief of his own agency and the majority scientific consensus.

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