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06:31, 18 January 2018 Thursday
10:15, 29 March 2017 Wednesday

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Trump deals blow to Obama-era environmental protections
Trump deals blow to Obama-era environmental protections

Move meant to create coal jobs and make 'American wealthy again', US president says

World Bulletin / News Desk

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed a sweeping executive order that rolls back many of his predecessor's environmental protections aimed at curbing climate change.

Speaking at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Trump said the new order seeks to create jobs and make "America wealthy again.

"Our administration is putting an end to the war on coal," he said, flanked by coal miners and government officials including EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

"We’re ending the theft of American prosperity, and rebuilding our beloved country," Trump added.

Trump's order suspends -- or orders a review of -- former President Barack Obama's various efforts to cap greenhouse emissions that don't reflect "this President’s environmental and economic goals", White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters.

At issue is Obama's 2015 Clean Power Plan, which sought to reduce carbon emissions at coal-fired electrical plants while boosting America's reliance on renewable energy sources.

The Obama plan has been met with legal challenges from jurisdictions that benefit economically from fossil fuel production.

Obama's emissions standards amounted to "a de facto ban on new coal plant production in the United States", said Spicer.

Trump's new order "is great news for states like Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and others," Spicer said. The states comprise much of the heartland of eastern U.S. coal production.

Trump has dubbed climate change a "hoax" devised by the Chinese government to benefit it in trade negotiations.

His new measures will likely face legal challenges from environmental groups.

It is unclear if the Trump administration will ultimately withdraw from a landmark international agreement brokered in Paris that sought to establish global standards to curb carbon emissions.

If nothing else, the latest rollback is highly likely to make it difficult for the U.S. to comply with the terms of the deal.

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