More than 100 House Democrats are urging President Donald Trump to ensure his new North American trade deal will “meaningfully address climate change” by including binding environmental standards and a commitment from the United States to remain in the Paris climate agreement.
The demands are laid out in a new letter House Democrats will send to Trump later this week. Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) is spearheading the letter, a draft of which was obtained by POLITICO.
“To remove these climate threats and support workers and communities, the renegotiated NAFTA deal should include binding climate standards and be paired with a decision for the United States to remain in the Paris Climate Agreement,” the draft letter says.
It adds that the standards Democrats would like to see “will require fundamental changes to the current deal on the table.”
The letter — which organizers say has support from across the party and signatures from more than a dozen committee chairs — portends a clash between Democrats and the Trump administration over the climate issue.
For months, Democrats have been emphasizing a need to make changes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to better reflect their priorities in four core areas, environment among them, and the Trump administration last week sent lawmakers formal proposals for how it would attempt to satisfy their concerns.
But while the administration went some distance toward addressing Democratic demands to use the USMCA as a tool for strengthening the enforcement of seven international environmental agreements, it stopped short of acknowledging climate change or including any commitments on the Paris deal, several people briefed on the responses told POLITICO.
The letter, which is coming after USTR’s responses were sent to Capitol Hill, suggests that more than 40 percent of the Democratic conference believes the administration’s proposals do not go far enough toward addressing the issue, and that more work is left to be done.
The text USTR sent over “failed to address the climate crisis,” said Ben Beachy, a trade expert with the Sierra Club, which is backing the letter. “Trump’s NAFTA deal would not only ignore the climate crisis but contribute to it,” he added.
By MEGAN CASSELLA
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