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 Trump5 things to know about Boris Johnson Conservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota 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 WheelerOvernight Energy: Senators push back on EPA's new FOIA rule | Agency digs in on rule change | Watchdog expands ethics probe of former EPA air chief Bipartisan senators fight 'political considerations' in EPA's new FOIA rule Overnight Energy: Historic heat wave is double whammy for climate change | Trump sees 'bigger problems' than plastic straws | House Science chair threatens EPA over 'stonewalled' answers MORE and David Bernhardt, respectively.

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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.