ASSOCIATED PRESS – Chicago — Environmental groups that have hired scores of new lawyers in recent months are prepared to go to court to fight a sweeping executive order from President Donald Trump that eliminates many restrictions on fossil fuel production and would roll back his predecessor’s plans to curb global warming. But they said they’ll take their first battle to the court of public opinion.
Advocates said they plan to work together to mobilize a public backlash against an executive order signed by Trump on Tuesday that includes initiating a review of former President Barack Obama’s signature plan to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants and lifting a 14-month-old moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands.
Trump, who has called global warming a “hoax” invented by the Chinese, said during his campaign that he would kill Obama’s climate plans and bring back coal jobs. Even so, “this is not what most people elected Trump to do; people support climate action,” said David Goldston, director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, who said Trump’s actions are short-sighted and won’t bring back the jobs he promised.
The White House did not immediately respond to an Associated Press email looking for comment.
While Republicans have blamed Obama-era environmental regulations for the loss of coal jobs, federal data shows that U.S. mines have been shedding jobs for decades under presidents from both parties because of automation and competition from natural gas and because of solar panels and wind turbines, which now can produce emissions-free electricity cheaper than burning coal.
But many people in coal country are counting on the jobs that Trump has promised, and industry advocates praised his orders.
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