‘I always look orange’: Trump rails against energy-efficient light bulbs and Democratic environmental policies

President Donald Trump on Thursday evening claimed that energy efficient light bulbs make him look orange, one in a series of bizarre claims about green energy and climate conservation in remarks to Republican House members in Baltimore.

“What’s with the light bulb?” Trump asked introducing one of several environmentally-related rants in his more than hourlong remarks. He described energy efficient light bulbs as “many times more expensive than that old, incandescent bulb that worked very well” and “the light’s no good.”

“The bulb that we’re being forced to use, number one, to me, most importantly, I always look orange,” he said, to laughs from the audience.

Light bulbs have been a common target for the president, who has used them as a symbol to criticize energy and environmental restrictions.

Federal regulators in the Trump administration lifted energy efficiency regulations earlier this month for several common types of light bulbs, which critics believe is the administration’s latest assault on efforts to combat climate change and energy use. The administration said the overturned rules, crafted in the final days of the Obama administration, and which were set to take effect in January, would cause prices for light bulbs to skyrocket to untenable levels.

Trump also railed against the Paris Climate Accords, which he decided the U.S. would pull out of early in his administration.

“How’s that working out for Paris?” Trump asked, pointing to Yellow Vest protesters in France. Trump said the protesters “didn’t like all of that money being sent to people that they’d never heard of the country which they came.” But specifically, the Yellow Vest demonstrators have protested rising fuel taxes in France and have called for an increase to the minimum wage.

Speaking about the Paris agreement, Trump said, “They were going to take away our wealth. They were going to say we can’t do certain businesses. We can’t take the oil and gas. We can’t do anything. This would have been one of the great travesties.”

Trump also said the agreement “would do nothing to improve our environment” but would instead “punish” the United States “while foreign polluters operate with impunity.”

As part of the agreement, the Obama administration pledged to slash carbon emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Trump announced the U.S. would be pulling out of the agreement in June 2017.

Trump claimed during his speech the Clean Waters Act “didn’t give clean waters” — the same day the Environmental Protection Agency announced the repeal of an Obama-era rule that extended federal authority and protections to streams and wetlands. The regulation defined what bodies of water are protected under the federal Clean Water Act but was a favorite punching bag of Republicans, who ridicule it as government overreach. Democrats defended it as necessary to ensure waterways remained pollution-free.

Trump, in his Baltimore speech, bolstered his campaign pillar of “energy dominance” in the United States, also praising the quality of American air and water. He said “today we have the cleanest air. We have the cleanest water that we’ve ever had … in the history of our country for the last 25 years.”

As it relates to drinking water, specifically, the U.S. is tied for first among nine other countries for the best in the world, as CNN has previously reported on this claim by the Trump administration. But it’s incorrect to categorically assert the U.S. has the cleanest air and water in the world.

Trump later said that for “a virtually insignificant amount of energy,” the U.S. would soon be producing cars that are “substantially” less expensive and “much safer” because they will be made of denser materials. He appeared to be referencing new auto industry standards he said would soon be released by the Trump administration.

Trump took to criticizing Democrats’ stance on several environmental issues, becoming frustrated with recent efforts to reduce plastic and reiterating his repeated claims about the Green New Deal.

“Then they talk about plastic straws. I said, ‘What about the plate? What about the wrapper that’s made up of a tougher plastic? What about all the other plastic?'” Trump said, adding that straws are “the only thing we’re worried about” now.

He later told Republicans, “We won’t let Democrats obliterate the plastic industry and cripple working class families with sky-high energy prices.”

He also claimed that the Green New Deal would mean “no more cows. No more planes and I guess no more people, right?”

The resolution looks to overhaul transportation in the U.S. by removing “pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible.” When it comes to cows and farming, the language is similar, looking to “remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible.”

Trump didn’t spare criticism for his former Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, who wanted the country to invest in wind energy and solar energy as part of her 2016 platform.

“Solar is fine, you know, small potatoes compared to what we’re talking about. Doesn’t have the power, what you need,” Trump said.

“The wind is very expensive,” he continued, adding that windmills are imported from Germany and China.

He reiterated his previous claims that windmills devalue real estate, kill birds, are noisy and provide intermittent energy, adding, “Think of the pollutants that go in the air when they make in these massive steel things.”

Several major academic studies have found no statistically significant decrease in the average property value due to wind turbines in the U.S.

And while the Department of Energy has said that wind turbines can be noisy and impact wildlife in their path, it has also described the energy source as “cost effective” and “sustainable.” A 2018 report from DOE also indicates that the U.S. is a net importer of wind turbine equipment, and Germany and China lead the number of wind-specific imports to the U.S.

This story has been updated with additional developments Friday.

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