White House Aides to Discuss Paris Climate Deal Next Week

Posted April 18, 2017

President Trump boasts that America is once again open for business, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's dismay regarding the Paris climate agreement reflects those sentiments.

"You might've read in the media that there was much discussion about USA energy policy and the fact that we're undergoing a review of many of those policies", Energy Secretary Rick Perry said to a Texas audience last week according to prepared remarks. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, but sources cautioned that the timing and number of attendees is still in flux. Cloud Peak pitches the Paris agreement as a platform for the U.S.to advocate using carbon capture and other high-efficiency, low-emissions technology to generate electricity from coal.

Environmental groups want Washington to remain in the Paris agreement, even if the new administration weakens USA pledges. Given their apparent support for this agreement, it remains to be seen whether they will push back against Pruitt's remarks, potentially setting the White House up for yet another fight between centrist and conservative elements of the administration.

Last week, Pruitt, a former Oklahoma Attorney General, said the United States should "exit" the agreement because it was a "bad deal" for the country.

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Some argue not pulling out the Paris agreement would be largely symbolic, since Trump's already begun to roll back Obama-era regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Pruitt announced the change this week.

As the Trump administration debates whether to stay in the Paris climate agreement, observers are skeptical that opposing wings of the administration will reach a middle ground. President Trump's recent executive orders have targeted a wide array of Obama policies including regulation of carbon emissions and coal leasing on federal lands. The Clean Power Plan predates the Paris deal and was not legally based on any global commitment.

Politico reported Friday that the meeting is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday at the White House.

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White House officials, led by the National Economic Council, have recently been asking publicly traded energy companies for advice on whether to stay in the agreement.

Among Pruitt's proposals are repealing the Clean Water Rule, which protects tributaries, along with more than half of USA streams, Rumpler noted. That approach has won the endorsement of several major coal companies.

A State Department spokesman did not respond to a request for comment clarifying Tillerson's position. "If Trump allows this deal to go forward, he will unwittingly fulfil Hillary Clinton's arrogant and dastardly promise to put every coal miner in America out of a job".

The administration will decide what to do before late next month, when world leaders gather for the Group of Seven summit in Italy, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.

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