President Donald Trump's executive order dismantling most of his predecessor's regulations on the environment and climate change is a "great opportunity" for the United States and for energy independence, Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Scott Pruitt said Tuesday.
"As you know, for the last several years we have had an anti-fossil fuels, anti-growth, anti-jobs type of approach as to how we do environmental regulations," Pruitt told Fox News' "Fox and Friends" program.
"When you look at our history we have always had pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro-environment approach," Pruitt said. "Since 1980 we reduced some key pollutants in our air quality program by 65% across the country. We have made tremendous progress while at the same time growing the economy."
However the Obama administration did not do that, said Pruitt of Trump's order, to be signed at the EPA on Tuesday.
The order will mean opportunity for Americans, said Pruitt, because of the savings to consumers and the creation of jobs.
"When you say you are not going to generate electricity through coal, when you're not going to generate electricity through fossil fuels and shift your entire portfolio or a good portion of that portfolio to renewables, that increases costs," said Pruitt. "We were going to see double digit increases across the country with respect to electricity rates."
Such increases would have affected jobs, as manufacturers have to shrink their operations when costs go up, Pruitt continued.
The move will also mean energy independence, said Pruitt, as it will create jobs in oil and gas while protecting coal.
"For too long over the last several years, you had certain industries, certain sectors of our economy that were within the crosshairs of the EPA," said Pruitt. "These industries like the coal sector were under assault. That is not going to happen anymore."
Meanwhile, Trump's proposed budget would slash a quarter of the EPA's budget, including on climate-change programs, but Pruitt said the action will allow more control to return to the states, which for too long have been displaced and disregarded" when it comes to protecting the environment.
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