Scott Pruitt On Paris Climate Accord Exit: America’s Interests Go First, Says EPA Boss

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump made the controversial decision to have the United States exit the Paris climate accord, causing outrage among environmentalists in the process. But for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, leaving the Paris accord is the right thing for the U.S. to do at this point, as it could help create more jobs while being in people’s best interests.

Speaking at a media briefing Sunday morning, former Oklahoma attorney general Pruitt expressed his thoughts on the President’s decision, telling Fox News’ Chris Wallace that former President Barack Obama’s decision to join the Paris climate accord was a “bad deal” despite what others had said about the move.

“When we joined Paris, the rest of the world applauded … because it put this country at disadvantage. It’s a bad deal for this country. We’re going to make sure as we make deals we’re going to put the interests of America first.”

The Washington Post noted that Scott Pruitt’s comments on the Paris accord didn’t come as a surprise, as he has long been seen as a “huge influencer” behind Trump’s recent move to pull out of the agreement, and as being instrumental in reversing a lot of the Obama administration’s previous environmental reforms.

A report from Business Insider took a similar look at Pruitt’s comments at Sunday’s media briefing, where Wallace suggested at one point that the EPA head may be “focusing on the wrong thing,” and doing something akin to protecting an outdated business, such as the “horse and buggy business,” just as a newer form of technology, such as automobiles, are becoming in vogue.

When confronted by this analogy, Scott Pruitt defended the Paris pullout, saying that America needs coal and other related materials to address the need for electricity, even if it requires the use of fossil fuels deemed dangerous to our environment.

“If we have peak demand needs you want a diversity of fuels that generate electricity.”

One key aspect of Chris Wallace’s questioning was how the Fox host wanted Pruitt to confirm or deny whether he believes that his boss, the President, is a climate change doubter, as many had insinuated in the past. The Washington Post and Business Insider both hinted that Pruitt seemed to dance around the topic, wanting to focus instead on what he sees are the positive implications of exiting the Paris climate accord, and adding that the U.S. had dramatically reduced carbon emissions over the last two decades.

The EPA head also told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that such questions are “off the point,” and distracting from what he believes is the true issue — as Scott Pruitt sees it, the Paris climate accord cost a lot of Americans their jobs.

“We’ve had over 50,000 … coal jobs, mining jobs created in this country in the last few months. (President Trump’s) deregulation agenda, particularly in the energy space, is making a substantial impact around the country.”

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore was very critical of President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord. [Image by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Times]

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. is leaving the Paris agreement, environmental advocates, including former Vice President Al Gore, have been very vocal about what they feel is a bad move on America’s part. According to Politico, Gore referred to the decision as a “reckless” one, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that it could have broader significance in the world’s quest to solve the climate change problem.

“The decision was a terribly mistaken decision, but in the aftermath of that decision, we need to move forward regardless of what he decides.”

Do you agree or disagree with Scott Pruitt’s Paris climate accord comments? Do you think that the U.S. exiting the deal could stimulate the country’s economy going forward, or are you more concerned about the environmental implications that may follow this decision?

[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

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