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Scott Pruitt
  This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  March 26, 2017 8:51am-8:57am PDT

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cars and a relaxation of water regulations. we're joined by the man he's put in charge of the effort, the head of the epa, scott pruitt. mr. pruitt, thank you for joining us this morning. >> george, good morning. >> is the executive order coming this week? what will the president be proposing? >> george, the president is keeping his promise to the american people. this week. with respect to the executive order coming down on tuesday. the energy independence executive order. and as you indicated, this is about making sure we have a pro-growth and pro-environment approach. for too long, we have accepted a narrative that if you're pro-growth, pro-jobs, you're anti-environment. if you're pro environment, you're ant jobs or anti-growth. that's not where we have been as a country. we have made tremendous choices on our environment. the executive order will address the past administration's efforts to kill jobs throughout the country. through the clean power plant. >> this order is likely to face legal challenges.
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could take some time to work through the courts. as you know, coal jobs have been declining for a long time. we heard the president's promise. most of the job loss predates the obama initiative. i want to put up a chart a. the biggest drops came over a decade ago. you have about the same number of coal jobs now as you did a decade ago. are you worried that the president is making a promise to coal country that he just can't keep? >> it's not just the short term, george. it's the long term. and it's clear that the past administration had a very anti-fossil fuel strategy. coal, natural gas, and the rest. so this is a promise he's keeping to the american people. he's saying we can put people back to work and be pro-environment as well. this clean power plant is something hat the supreme court has likely said is unlawful. there's been a stay against it. our action starting on tuesday, shortly after the executive order, will make sure whatever steps we take in the future will be pro-growth, pro-environment. within the framework of the clean air act. it will be legal. >> but will it bring back coal jobs?
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>> i think absolutely it will. it will bring back manufacturing jobs, coal jobs across the country. across the energy sector, we have so much opportunity. the last administration wanted to keep it in the ground. we need to be more independent. less reliant upon foreign energy sources. this is an opportunity. this past week, the president approved the keystone pipeline. it's transportation issues. it's development issues. it's putting people back to work both in the energy sector and the jobs it creates in the manufacturing sector and across the economy. >> if the president follows through on this and the order to reverse vehicle pollution rules, there is no way to stay with the paris climate agreement reached in 2015. here's how one nobel prize-winning expert described the impact. the message they, the trump administration is sending to the rest of the world is that they don't believe climate change is serious. it's shocking to see such a degree of ignorance from the united states. your response?
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>> george, we're actually at pre1994 levels right now with respect to our co 2 footprint. why is that? largely because of innovation and technology in the coal sector and the natural gas sector. horizontal drilling has allowed a conversion to natural gas to electricity. not just jobs will be created. it's lower electricity rates for consumers. when you take coal generation facilities, natural gas facilities, and put them aside, and focus only on certain types of ways to generate electricity, it's causing double-digit increases across the country. as it relates to the consumers. it's not good on the consumer and manufacturing side. >> i was asking about the paris climate agreement. don't these initiatives mean the agreement is a dead letter as for as this administration is concerned? >> the paris accord is something, as you know, that's nonbinding. it was not a treaty, as such. the clean power plan is not tethered to the paris accords.
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this is an effort to undo the unlawful approach the previous administration engaged in and do it right going forward. with the mind set of being pro-growth and pro-environment. >> can we achieve the agreement of the paris climate agreement? can we achieve those commitments. >> let me finish. >> go ahead. >> since 1980, a 65% reduction in those plu tapts that we regulate under ambient air quality standards. we have done great work as a country striking the balance between jobs and our environment. the past administration took steps that were anti-jobs and anti-growth. >> the california acted this week to tighten fuel standards. going in the opposite direction from what president trump is proposing. a headline from yesterday's "new york times." do you intend to let california's actions stand or move to take away their waiver under the clean air act? >> what we should be doing.
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you mentioned the cafe standards. the last week and half, the president and i were in detroit announcing we were going to keep our word as a country to re-evaluate those in april 2018. which was the origin that will promise to the auto industry. we ought to focus on fuel efficiency for cars people want to buy. this process of building cars that no one purchases in order to meet these standards that were previously set is counterhelpful. to the environment. >> but would you let california go forward? >> people don't buy the new cars. they keep older cars. we'll be evaluating that through april of 2018. what this cafe standards combined with the clean power plant and the executive order sends a message to the american people that we're going to do what we can to produce jobs and growth and be sensitive to the environment and reintroduce common sense into the discussion. you mentioned the paris accord. what was wrong with paris was not just that it was failed to be treated as a treaty.
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but china and india got away scot-free. the largest producers of co-2 internationally. they didn't have to take steps until 2030. we penalized ourselves through lost jobs while china and india didn't take steps to address the issue internationally. paris was just a bad deal, in my estimation. but, we're trying to focus on getting things right here domestically. operating within the frame work of the clean air act