President Donald Trump signed a controversial executive order on March 28 to suspend several anti-climate change regulations from President Barack Obama's time in the White House, a move lauded by business groups but criticized by environmentalists.
In an effort to boost job creation in the fossil fuel industry, the Energy Independence Executive Order suspends more than half a dozen Obama-era orders that Trump said were hindering Americans from reaching "energy independence" and halting job creation, reports the BBC.
"My administration is putting an end to the war on coal," Trump said as he signed the order, as coal miners stood around him. "With today's executive action I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion and to cancel job-killing regulations."
Among the regulations ended by the measure is Obama's Clean Power Plan, which required states to cut their carbon emissions to meet the U.S. climate goals under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
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"C'mon fellas," Trump said to the miners, according to The New York Times. "You know what this is? You know what this says? You're going back to work."
The order, which also ends Obama's short-term ban on new coal mining on public land, does not mention the Paris accord, under which the U.S. agreed to cut its harmful emissions by 26 percent between 2005 and 2025.
"We're ending the theft of American prosperity and reviving our beloved economy," said Trump. "The miners told me about the attacks on their jobs. I made them this promise. We will put our miners back to work."
Experts say that under the new regulations, the U.S. would not be able to meet the terms of the Paris deal.
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Some climate change activists, such as NexGen Climate President Tom Steyer have called Trump's new actions "an assault on American values," according to CNN.
"Trump is deliberately destroying programs that create jobs and safeguards that protect our air and water, all for the sake of allowing corporate polluters to profit at our expense," he said in a statement.
Trump's team says the best way to protect the environment is to grow the economy and create jobs for Americans.
"It is an issue that deserves attention," a White House official said of climate change. "But I think the president has been very clear that he is not going to pursue climate change policies that put the U.S. economy at risk. It is very simple."