Trump calls himself a 'great environmental president' as he guts protections

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Trump praised his environmental record minutes after reports surfaced that he's opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Donald Trump on Monday touted his environmental record in an interview with Fox News, saying that he hopes he's remembered fondly for his environmental policies.

"I should go down as a great environmental president," Trump said in a rambling interview with "Fox & Friends."

Trump's comments came minutes after media reports that the Trump administration is opening 1.6 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling for the first time in three decades.

Trump said the administration was merely "looking" into oil drilling leases in the wildlife refuge. However, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told the Wall Street Journal it's a done deal and issued a news release on the new drilling.

"Congress gave us a very clear directive here, and we have to carry out that directive consistent with the directive that they gave, and consistent with the procedural statutes," Bernhardt said, referring to the 2017 tax law, which opened up the refuge to drilling. "I have a remarkable degree of confidence that this can be done in a way that is responsible, sustainable and environmentally benign."

Oil companies have been fighting to drill in the refuge for decades, and environmentalists have fought them all the way.

The NRDC said that drilling in the refuge "will hasten climate change and have devastating consequences for people, wildlife, and pristine public lands."

Allowing oil drilling in the Alaska refuge is not Trump's only assault on the environment.

He's either proposed lowering or has lowered water and energy efficiency standards for automobiles, showerheads, washing machines, and lightbulbs.

The Trump administration has also been lax in enforcing environmental laws, allowing for more pollution in the air and water, and has refused to regulate dangerous chemicals that pose risks to humans.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.