Trump to give speech on 'America's environmental leadership'

Trump to give speech on 'America's environmental leadership'
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Trump to hold outdoor rally in New Hampshire on Saturday Eighty-eight years of debt pieties MORE is slated to give a speech Monday at the White House focusing on his administration's environmental achievements, an event that has drawn criticism from environmentalists who say the president has done more harm than good since taking office.

The White House said Trump is set to deliver remarks on "America's environmental leadership” on Monday afternoon, surrounded by various administration officials, including Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Interior Department chiefs Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerWatchdog: EPA hasn't provided 'sufficient justification' for decision not to recover Pruitt travel spending OVERNIGHT ENERGY: White House threatens veto on Democrats' .5 trillion infrastructure plan | Supreme Court won't hear border wall challenge | Witnesses describe 'excessive force' used by law enforcement in Lafayette Square Stronger pollution standards could save 143k lives: study MORE and David Bernhardt, respectively.

Trump has long promoted his administration’s energy achievements, praising the comeback of “beautiful, clean coal” in his first State of the Union address and the advancement of the U.S. as the top natural gas producer in his second. But this will be his first speech devoted entirely to the environment.

The timing of the event comes as environmental issues, and climate change in particular, are rising in importance among Democratic voters heading into 2020. Polls have shown global warming is now a top voting issue, ranking alongside with health care and the economy.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that Americans disapprove of Trump’s position on many major issues. The lowest-ranking issue in the poll was climate change, with just 29 percent of respondents saying they approved of Trump's position.

During his presidency, Trump has rolled back EPA regulations on methane, pollution from power plants and vehicle fuel standards. He has also proposed lifting a major Obama-era rule protecting water.

Trump has noted that greenhouse gas emissions dropped during his first year in office, according to a 2018 report from the EPA. Some experts have argued that the decrease is largely attributable to the market’s switch to natural gas and away from coal — a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

A new environmental initiative from the Trump administration involves tackling ocean debris. Wheeler laid out the effort at a June meeting of environment ministers from the world’s 20 largest economies.

Critics have already cast doubt on any message Monday from the president, who has said he intends to pull the U.S. out of the landmark Paris climate accords from 2015.

There was a time not long ago that we were continuing to make progress toward having the cleanest air and water on the planet but we have been slipping backwards since the Trump administration decided to place profits over people through their policy actions,” Mustafa Santiago Ali, a former top environmental justice official at EPA who resigned in 2017, said in a statement Monday.