President Donald Trump marked Earth Day on Sunday by sending out a message that a "healthy environment and a strong economy go hand in hand."
Defying critics of his environmental record, the president insisted that "we are making great economic progress in concert with —not in opposition to— protecting our environment."
Acknowledging that "it is impossible for humans to flourish without clean air, land and water," Trump insisted that "a strong, market-driven economy is essential to protecting these resources" and reiterated that his "administration is dedicated to removing unnecessary and harmful regulations that restrain economic growth and make it more difficult for local communities to prosper and to choose the best solutions for their environment."
Environmentalists have harshly criticized Trump for rolling back regulations implemented during the Obama administration and for announcing last year that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, according to the Washington Examiner.
Trump has argued that the agreement puts the U.S. at an economic disadvantage while allowing other countries to continue using fossil fuels, even though the Paris accord permits each nation to set its own goals for reducing carbon emissions and does not have a formal mechanism for enforcement, The Hill reports.
Trump ended his Earth Day message by vowing that his "administration is committed to furthering this rich legacy of conservation, [because] Americans embrace the idea of enjoying nature in a responsible fashion, while preserving the blessings of the land for future generations" and said that he hopes "all Americans will give thanks for the environment we share, protect and call home."
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