President Trump signed a major executive order Tuesday, rolling back many of President Barack Obama’s regulations to combat climate change.
The order mandates a review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan initiative and pulls back on the regulations halting coal mining on federal land. Additionally, CNN reports that it will encourage government agencies to “identify all regulations, all rules, all policies … that serve as obstacles and impediments to American energy.”
The president's action shows a continuing trend of focusing on jobs and manufacturing over climate regulation. An administration official framed the action to CNN as an effort to balance the environment while increasing American energy independence.
“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,” a White House official said.
Trump’s executive order ends six of Obama’s executive orders that sought to hinder climate change and regulate carbon admissions.
Tom Steyer, the president of NexGen Climate and a strong voice in the fight to combat climate change criticized Trump’s actions.
“These actions are an assault on American values and they endanger the health, safety, and prosperity of every American.”
While Trump’s actions are sure to grab headlines, the Washington Post reports that aspects of Trump’s executive order could take years to take effect and may not change overarching economic trends that show Americans switching from coal-based power to natural-gas and renewable energy sources.
The Post continues saying that Trump’s actions will not address the Paris climate agreement negotiated by the Obama administration in 2015 that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 26-28 percent by 2025.
Trump’s order comes after the White House has announced a reconsideration of fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles and approval of major oil pipelines.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told “Fox and Friends” Tuesday that, “for the last serval years we have had an anti-fossil fuels anti-growth, anti-jobs approach to how we do environmental regulation.”
Earlier this month, Pruitt stated that he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. A statement many climate scientists said deeply alarmed them.
All in all, the order is the Trump Administration’s attempt to fulfill the promise of helping the coal industry. Earlier this month, Trump said, “We’re going to put our coal miners back to work.” He continued saying “They haven’t been treated well, but they’re going to be treated well now.”
Editor's Note: This story was updated after publication.