WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) today sent a letter to President Trump calling for the United States to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
The letter was also signed by Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Rand Paul (R-Ky), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Luther Strange (R-Ala.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).
In the letter, the Senators applaud President Trump for his executive actions to undo overreaching environmental regulations from the Obama administration, specifically the Clean Power Plan regulations.
The Senators note that remaining in the Paris Agreement will be a serious hindrance to removing these burdensome regulations. “A key risk to fulfilling this objective is remaining in the Paris Agreement. Because of existing provisions within the Clean Air Act and others embedded in the Paris Agreement, remaining in it would subject the United States to significant litigation risk that could upend your administration’s ability to fulfill its goal of rescinding the Clean Power Plan. Accordingly, we strongly encourage you to make a clean break from the Paris Agreement.”
The Senators also emphasize that remaining in the Paris Agreement could lead to continuous litigation regarding air regulations. “It is clear that those advocating for greenhouse gas regulations will use the Paris Agreement as a legal defense against your actions to rescind the Clean Power Plan if you decide to remain in the Paris Agreement. This is why it is so important for you to make a clean exit from the Agreement.”
The letter also highlights the fact that withdrawing from the Paris Agreement will not affect the United States’ ability to negotiate future environmental agreements. “We understand that some officials inside your administration want to remain in the Paris Agreement to keep a seat at the table so that the U.S. continues to have a voice in future discussions. Fortunately, a clean exit from the Paris Agreement will not take this away. The Senate gave its consent to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992; this treaty provides a permanent seat at the table for the United States to engage with other countries each year at the Conferences of Parties (COP). In fact, it was through an annual COP meeting in Paris that the Paris Agreement was signed.”
Read the full letter here.