Costello, Meehan, Casey rip Trump decision on Paris Agreement

Three of Chester County’s federal elected officials, U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello (R-6), U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan (R-7) and U.S. Senator Bob Casey Jr. (D) took strong issue with President Donald Trump’s decision Thursday to withdraw from the Paris Agreement to limit carbon emissions.

The county’s other two elected officials — U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-16) and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey appear to have offered no specific opinion on the issue.

Costello made it plain that he felt the decision would hurt both the environment — carbon emissions appear to be accelerating global warming — and the business environment, by stifling innovation in the energy sector.

“I am disappointed by the Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” Costello said in a statement. “This decision is a setback to sustainable energy innovation across our country and forfeits an opportunity for the United States to lead on an issue of economic and environmental significance.

“While the Paris Agreement has its flaws, the solution should not be to pack up, walk away, and surrender our position of influence. The solution should be to work with our partners and improve this initiative while championing critical protections for American families and businesses.  As a member of the Climate Solutions Caucus, I am committed to working with my colleagues to encourage greater American ingenuity, innovation, and leadership to reduce carbon emissions and protect our environment.”

Meehan suggested that withdrawing means that the U.S. surrenders a seat at the table in ongoing discussions on the issue.

“If America is going to be a global leader, it needs to have a seat at the table when issues and agreements with global implications are discussed,” Meehan said in a statement. “The Paris Agreement isn’t perfect. But by abandoning it, America is relinquishing that seat at the table. It calls into question our commitment to protecting and preserving the environment. And it forfeits our ability to drive countries like China and India to reduce their carbon footprint and compete on a level playing field. Ultimately, this disappointing decision diminishes America’s leadership role on the world stage.”

Casey was even stronger in stating his opposition, suggesting the move will hurt Pennsylvania’s workers.

“This is a double-barreled blow to both Pennsylvania jobs and our environment,” Casey said in statement. “By pulling out of an agreement to combat climate change, President Trump has put Pennsylvania workers at a disadvantage when it comes to competing for clean energy jobs. Foreign countries will now take the lead in growing an industry that produces jobs with family sustaining incomes. Additionally, pulling out of this climate change agreement will undermine the clean air that every Pennsylvanian has a right to expect. Vulnerable children will be particularly impacted by the lack of action to protect clean air. Without action on climate change, more children will suffer from diseases like asthma and malnutrition. Climate change is a serious challenge which requires action, not retreat.”

Neither Toomey and Smucker issued a statement on the matter.

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