‘I’m very open-minded on environment,’ Trump says – Politico

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Donald Trump has previously said climate change, a widely accepted phenomenon within the scientific community, is a hoax created by the Chinese in order to hurt American businesses. | AP Photo

President-elect Donald Trump told “Fox News Sunday” that he is “open-minded” on environmental issues, suggesting that he could greenlight controversial pipeline projects halted by the current administration and at the same time allowing for the possibility that the U.S. could remain part of a landmark international climate-change agreement.

Trump has previously said climate change, a widely accepted phenomenon within the scientific community, is a hoax created by the Chinese in order to hurt American businesses. Last week, he selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a prominent opponent of the Environmental Protection Agency who rejects mainstream climate science, as the next administrator of the EPA.

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But the president-elect also met last week with former Vice President Al Gore and actor-activist Leonardo DiCaprio, men for whom climate change is a pet issue. His daughter, Ivanka Trump, is expected to play an outsize, first lady-type role in the Manhattan billionaire’s administration, and a source close to her told POLITICO that she wants to make climate change one of her signature issues.

Asked for a definitive answer on where he stands on the environment, Trump told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace that the science of climate change remains an open question as far as he is concerned. As president, Trump said he will work to make sure that worries about the environment do not put American businesses at a disadvantage.

“I’m very open-minded. I’m still open-minded. Nobody really knows. Look, I’m somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It’s not something that’s so hard and fast,” Trump said. “I do know this: Other countries are eating our lunch.”

Trump declined to say how he would address the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, a source of massive protests by Native American and other groups at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, which straddles North and South Dakota, telling Wallace that he does not want “to create enemies on one side or the other.”

The Army Corps of Engineers pulled an easement for the controversial section of pipeline earlier this month, and Trump said he expects the controversy to be finished by the time he takes office. If it is not, the president-elect said: “I’ll have it solved very quickly.”

Asked whether “solved very quickly” indicates plans to restart the pipeline project, Trump refused to say. But the president-elect continued, tipping his hand somewhat by telling Wallace that “I’m just saying, something will happen. It’ll be quick. I think it’s very unfair. So, it’ll start, one way or the other.”

Similarly, Trump promised “a decision fairly quickly” on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that President Barack Obama rejected last year. But he said he is “studying” the landmark Paris agreement on climate change, reached earlier this year, and did not say whether he intended to follow through on his campaign pledge to “cancel” American participation in it.

“Now, Paris, I’m studying. I do say this. I don’t want that agreement to put us at a competitive disadvantage with other countries,” Trump said. “And as you know, there are different times and different time limits on that agreement. I don’t want that to give China, or other countries signing agreements, an advantage over us.”

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