Officials React to Paris Climate Agreement Announcement

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In the wake of President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would eventually withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, a number of elected officials offered their thoughts on the news. The following is a compilation of several statements from leaders in the Southeast region. All statements are listed alphabetically by author.

U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Alabama) 

“I wanted to share my thoughts on President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement. I was not for the United States signing it in the first place because I considered it to be a sham on the basis of two facts. First, each nation got to pick its own goals or targets and as a result many nations targets are far below what they should be doing relative to others. This penalizes the United States as we have ambitious targets. China, for example, will be allowed to take far longer to meet its targets than we would have been. Second, there is no enforcement mechanism so there is no real accountability. Nations acting in good faith like the United States would make the sacrifices and take the economic hit for doing so, while those not acting in good faith can cheat without any consequence.”

Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh (President, Alabama Public Service Commission)

“President Trump put the American people first when he pulled us out of the Paris Accord. Here in Alabama, we do not need our energy decisions being made by liberal climate alarmists in France. I applaud the President for putting our jobs and our families first. This nation sits on enough coal to provide us with energy for two and a half more centuries. We need to be able to use it if we choose.”

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) 

“I appreciated the opportunity to talk with President Trump and his team several times this week about his decision on the Paris climate agreement. The substantive requirements of the agreement are, in fact, non-binding. On the other hand, legitimate concerns have been raised about the likelihood of domestic interest groups using the agreement to file lawsuits in an effort to halt the repeal of regulations which, while being litigated, would stifle economic growth here at home. I appreciate the president’s desire to renegotiate an agreement that is more in line with what is achievable in a manner that promotes an increase in the standard of living of American citizens and protects our environment. I stand ready to work with him toward that end.”

U.S. Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-Florida)

“This is a strategic mistake and something that really sets us back. I don’t know about the people of Pittsburgh, who I have great respect for, but people in South Florida live between the Everglades and the ocean. Most of us live near sea level and near the sea. …We’re already seeing the effects of salt water intrusion into the Everglades, which threatens our drinking water supply. We’re also seeing coastal properties under threat, real estate, billions and billions of dollars. So, down here in South Florida, we understand that the environment and the economy are one in the same, and we understand that pollution and CO2 emissions don’t respect national – and even continental- boundaries. What happens in India, what happens in China, has an impact on all of us.”

U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (D-Florida)

”We are ceding our international leadership to China, and to the European Union on an issue that matters to us so dramatically.”

Tim Echols (Georgia Public Service Commission)

“As an elected regulator, I live every day in a world of energy and the environment, but economics are also an essential part of the equation for customers. My colleagues at the Public Service Commission and I seek to harmonize our energy supply with existing and anticipated environmental regulations, with a keen eye to the harsh reality of economics and how all of these affect doing business in our state. The likely negative economic impact to the U.S. is at the core of my concerns about the Paris Accord.”

U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tennessee)

“If they wanted to do this it should have been done constitutionally through a treaty. It was not, so basically Congress was circumventing by the Obama administration signing up for that. So procedurally I had problems with the way it was set up from the inception. This was a bad deal for America and President Trump got us out of it. I realize some other countries are upset about it, but the reason they are upset about it is getting out of it is going to be good for America. It is going to be good for American energy.”

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)

“It would be taken as a statement that climate change is not a problem; is not real. So that would be bad for the party, bad for the country. I support President Trump’s desire to re-enter the Paris Accord after the agreement becomes a better deal for America and business.”

U.S. Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-Georgia)

“Regardless of how good something may be, government officials are bound by the Constitution, and policies that place restrictions on Americans cannot be unilaterally imposed by one branch of government. The Paris Agreement essentially functions as a treaty, and should have been brought to the Senate for open discussion and consideration. Instead, our former president unilaterally made the decision without lawmakers’ input or support.”

Jeremy Oden (Alabama Public Service Commission)

“In keeping his campaign promise to “Make American Great Again”, President Trump has taken an initial step in removing the USA from the Paris Accord. This financial commitment, done via Executive Order, was unfair and had little influence on the continued trend of cheaper and cleaner fuel sources. While appropriate regulations have beneficial outcomes, this agreement required very little of other countries and did even less to help our nation’s current and future economic viability. I am looking forward to what lies ahead for our country, especially in the field of energy.”

U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) 

“I believe it is possible to set an agenda that aims to protect our environment without hindering our economic growth here at home, and the Paris Climate agreement will make achieving this balance near impossible. Studies show that over the coming years the Paris Agreement could cost 6.5 million jobs and $3 trillion — with the bill falling right on the laps of our American families and businesses.”

U.S. Senator Luther Strange (R-Alabama) 

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement puts the United States one step closer to relief from the burden of anti-growth, job-killing regulations in the Clean Power Plan. The Obama administration’s push to join the Agreement without the advice and consent of the Senate challenged the separation of powers and local economies across the country. After joining my Senate colleagues earlier this month to recommend the withdrawal, I am proud to see the President continue to take a hard stance against this wet blanket of over-regulation.”