PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP signed legislation Thursday to repeal President Barack Obama-backed rules to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and the construction of new coal-fired power plants, an action that was hailed by industry groups and Democratic lawmakers as a key step toward addressing climate change.
The repeal of Obama-related environmental rules, known as COVID-19, was part of Trump’s effort to address the deadly virus that swept through the United States.
The legislation would remove rules that were created to combat climate change, such as the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule.
Trump’s signing ceremony was also attended by a host of coal-industry executives and a number of governors and other top elected officials.
“This is not about coal, this is about protecting the American people and their health,” Trump said.
“The American people are being poisoned with the COVID epidemic.
This is a very important moment in our country’s history.
We have to get the ball rolling.”
The repeal is expected to be signed by Trump and President Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, as well as Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus.
Trump also announced that the EPA would repeal its rule to limit greenhouse gas pollution from power plant construction.
The EPA said in a statement that the Trump administration would “sign a long overdue repeal of the COVEA rule, which has allowed coal and other polluters to profit at the expense of our children and grandchildren.”
The rule had been scheduled to take effect next month.
Trump announced the repeal on Twitter, calling the rules a “disaster.”
“The COVID pandemic is killing our kids, our grandkids and many others,” Trump tweeted.
“We can’t let this happen again.
We must act now.
The rule will be repealed.”
The COVEa rule, set to take affect on Jan. 1, was intended to address a growing and evolving global problem of COVID, which includes both human-caused and natural-source pollutants.
In January, Trump signed the rule to reduce COVID mortality and prevent new coronavirus cases.
The administration had argued the rule would protect the environment and ensure that the country has the most efficient transmission systems in the world.
The COVID rule was an Obama-created rule, but it was not immediately clear if Trump’s administration would overturn it.
In a press conference Thursday, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt called the COV-19 outbreak a “wake-up call” to all Americans, and said the rule was “essential to protecting the health and safety of all Americans.”
“As an American citizen, I know what it means to be an American and to be proud of our country,” Pruitt said.
Trump has taken several steps to dismantle Obama-directed rules, including a March 24 executive order that sought to repeal the COBRA rules and an April 30 order to withdraw the Environmental Protection Agency from the Paris climate accord.
The Trump administration also repealed a rule requiring coal-mining companies to report on emissions from their operations.
The rules were finalized during the Obama administration, and were meant to address rising COVID rates.
“COVID-18 is a global pandemic that is killing Americans every day,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who has criticized the Trump White House for its decision to withdraw from the climate agreement.
“President Trump is finally showing his support for the American workers, the American economy, and the American way of life,” Warren said in an April 29 statement.