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Virginia lawmakers react to President Trump's decision to withdraw from Paris climate accord

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Vice President Mike Pence prior to announcing his decision regarding the United States' participation in the Paris climate agreement at the White House June 1, 2017 (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

ROANOKE, Va. – Politicians are sharing their thoughts after President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe released the following statement:

"The President's dangerous action today will have a devastating impact on our environment, our economy, and our health.  The United States economy is dependent on leadership in the world, yet the President seems inclined to sit back and let other nations pass us by.  Climate change is a threat to our way of life. If President Trump refuses to lead the response, Virginia will.

"Earlier this month I signed an order initiating the process of cutting carbon emissions in our Commonwealth and making Virginia a leader in the clean energy economy. That process will proceed despite this foolish decision by the Trump administration, and I hope states around the country join Virginia in showing Washington the way forward on this critical issue for our nation and our world."

Lt. Governor Ralph Northam released the following statement:

“The President through his actions and rhetoric has set back American leadership on the world stage years. One of the reasons I got into politics was to help lead efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay. This action is dangerous, and will hurt the health, economies, and environments of Virginia communities.

“Climate change is affecting Virginia now - particularly my home region of Hampton Roads. This is one of the reasons I supported Governor McAuliffe’s executive order initiating the process of cutting carbon emissions and promoting clean energy growth in Virginia. If elected, I am committed to continuing that process and fighting the reckless actions of the Trump administration at every turn.”

Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat who represents Virginia, issued the following statement:

“President Trump’s retreat from the Paris Agreement will turn over America’s international leadership role to China and make it harder to deal with the realities of climate change we already see at home in places like Hampton Roads, Virginia. This retreat also reflects an extraordinary lack of faith in American innovation, as the President seems to think that the U.S. commitment to cut about 1/4th of our carbon pollution by 2025 is beyond the grasp of the country that won World War II and put men on the moon. I reject the notion that this nation has to choose between our clean energy and economic goals. I want to tell my grandchildren that the United States met this challenge head-on and triumphed over it, not shrank and cowered from it. I am confident that our nation’s optimistic, can-do spirit will eventually prevail over this short-sighted dereliction of America’s leadership role.”

Sen. Mark Warner, who represents Virginia, issued the following statement:

“President Trump’s disappointing action today places our national security at risk, and it will harm the health and safety of Americans. It is a rejection of settled science and it poses a direct threat to Virginia’s environment, economy and way of life. Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement and abdicating America’s leadership role in the world is a historic mistake.”

Congressman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican who represents Virginia's 6th District, released the following statement:

“Today’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement was the right move. I have had concerns from the beginning that this agreement was never ratified by the Senate, failing to get the scrutiny of the People’s elected representatives and flouting our constitutional treaty approval process. Additionally, the agreement puts significant burdens on the United States while we have already taken substantial steps in reducing CO2 emissions in our country. We all want a healthy environment to pass down to the next generation, and we should continue to work toward this goal on the international front in a way that preserves both the American economy and the environment.”

Congressman Morgan Griffith, a Republican who represents Virginia's 9th District, issued the following statement:

“The Paris Climate Accord is a bad deal for Americans, as I’ve been saying since the deal was announced.  The United States can be the world leader in energy innovation; this symbolic, expensive, and poorly negotiated deal doesn’t change that.  The United States is ALREADY a clean energy and fossil fuel energy leader; we can reduce our emissions and continue to produce American energy without the Paris Accord.  America has already reduced its carbon-dioxide emissions dramatically, beginning before the Accord.”

“I believe that the United States should and can have an energy policy that both improves the environment and protects jobs. The President has made the right choice.”

“President Obama committed $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, which is about 30 percent of the initial funding, without authorization from Congress. With $20 trillion in debt, the U.S. taxpayers should not be paying billions or trillions to subsidize other countries’ energy needs to the detriment of our jobs.”

“United States taxpayers should not be responsible for contributing to a slush fund for the UN’s use.”

“Our country is in a better position today thanks to the President’s actions. I look forward to working with his Administration and my colleagues in Congress to craft and implement an energy policy that allows for the responsible use of our natural resources, improves our environment, and creates jobs.”