US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to dismantle Obama-era regulations to curb climate change which the new administration says are hindering oil drillers and coal miners.
The decree's main target is former president Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, which required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants - a critical element in helping the US meet its commitments to a global climate change accord reached by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015.
"My administration is putting an end to the war on coal," Trump said before signing the decree surrounded by coal miners. "With today's executive action I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion and to cancel job-killing regulations."
The order also reverses a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, undoes rules to limit methane emissions from the energy sector and reduces the impact of climate change in policy making.
TRT World ’s Zeina Awad reports from Washington DC.
"Assault on American values"
Environmental groups derided Trump's latest order, saying it was dangerous.
"These actions are an assault on American values, and they endanger the health, safety and prosperity of every American," billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer said.
Many organisations plan to fight the order in and out of court. "This order ignores the law and scientific reality," said Trip Van Noppen, president of Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law organisation.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2017
However, Trump and his administration have doubts about climate change. Trump made it a key campaign promise to pull the US out of the Paris accord, which was bolstered by decisions taken by Obama.