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Sen. Bernie Sanders lashed out at President Donald Trump on Thursday afternoon, calling the executive order Trump signed on Tuesday to repeal the Obama-era Clean Power Plan “nonsensical.”
“That is such a nonsensical, and stupid, and dangerous, approach,” the Vermont senator told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “It’s almost indescribable.”
The Clean Power Plan, negotiated by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama Administration, was designed to put strict limits on carbon emissions from power plants.
Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday – surrounded by coal miners and fossil fuel executives – to direct Scott Pruitt, the new EPA administrator, to begin the process of scrapping the regulations. The fossil fuel industry has long maintained that the regulations have caused job losses and profit contractions throughout the energy industry.
Sanders rejected that notion, and didn’t hold any punches.
“While Trump and his friends may think climate change is a hoax, scientists are telling us it is real, it is caused by human activity, and it is already causing devastating problems,” Sanders said.
Sanders added that “far more” jobs are being created in sustainable energy than in the fossil fuel industry. Reports have shown that clean energy is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the US economy, and a Sierra Club analysis of official jobs data showed that clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel jobs nationally 2.5 to 1.
- AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
“You have the absurdity of Exxon, the largest oil company in America, telling the president he should not withdraw from the Paris agreement,” Sanders said.
Exxon sent a letter to the White House on March 22, urging Trump to keep the agreement, which seeks to limit global carbon emissions. Exxon said the US was “well-positioned to compete” under the terms of the agreement, reports CNN.
“This is very dangerous, because if the United States does not lead the world in transforming our energy system, I worry very very much about the nation and the world that our kids and our grandchildren will be living in,” he added.
Sanders said he will try to do “everything he can do” to reverse Trump’s executive order.
“I think you are seeing states all over this country, cities all over this country, understand how dangerous and absurd his ideas and his actions are, and they’re going to go forward trying to combat climate change,” Sanders said.
Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City and chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors, said in November that he would urge the mayors of the the US’s largest cities to join the Paris agreement if Trump decides to pull the federal government out. As well, the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda wrote a letter to Trump after he signed the executive order saying they would not assist with enforcing the rollback.
In a hypothetical 2020 election match-up, Sanders would beat Trump 52 – 41%, according to recent polls.