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The Paris Climate Agreement Is Not the Solution

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Washington, June 2, 2017 | Beth Breeding (202-225-5431) | comments
We all want a healthy environment to pass down to the next generation. There’s no argument there. But costly, flawed policies like the Paris Climate Agreement signed by President Obama last year are not the solution.

President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Agreement was the right move. I have had concerns from the beginning that this agreement was never ratified by the Senate, failing to get the scrutiny of the People’s elected representatives and flouting our constitutional treaty approval process. Additionally, the agreement puts significant burdens on the United States while we have already taken substantial steps in reducing CO2 emissions. Since 2006, CO2 emissions have declined by 12 percent and are expected to continue to decline.

Another concern is the lack of any real way to hold major polluters accountable. Under the agreement, China will still be able to increase emissions for the next 13 years. They have no intention of abiding by the agreement, putting America’s workers and the industrial base of our economy at a direct disadvantage. Additionally, President Obama committed $3 billion to the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund without the authorization of Congress. A U.N. slush fund underwritten by American taxpayer dollars makes little sense when there is a $20 trillion national debt to tackle at home. Re-evaluating our involvement in this agreement and looking for better ways to create a healthier planet is the right decision.

Meanwhile, you have to look no further than a case against John Duarte, a California farmer, to see how the regulatory overreach and flawed understanding of congressional intent, so often seen in the previous Administration, is having a negative impact on the lives of hardworking Americans. Mr. Duarte is facing prosecution for alleged violations under the Clean Water Act for simply plowing his farmland. When the law was written, certain exemptions for farming were made, and many argue that Mr. Duarte’s acts clearly fall within these exemptions.

A few days ago, along with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, I sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting information on the process for prosecuting potential violations of the Clean Water Act. We want to clarify whether a legislative fix will now be needed to correct potential misinterpretations of the law and protect farmers from similar prosecution in the future. Congress made its intentions of how the Clean Water Act was to be applied for the health and safety of Americans, but it was never meant to hamstring normal farming activity.

We have seen the impact poorly designed regulations here at home have on American farmers as well as other industries and private citizens alike. Unfortunately, the Paris Agreement would be more of the same. The United States should continue to work toward the goal of maintaining a healthy environment in a way that preserves both the American economy and the environment. Protecting the environment and growing the economy are not mutually exclusive.
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Tags: Energy