- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2016

President Obama welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the White House Thursday as they announced an agreement to impose greater regulations on the countries’ oil and gas industries to reduce methane emissions from new and existing sources.

During a formal arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, Mr. Obama noted that it was the first official visit by a Canadian prime minister to Washington in nearly 20 years. Mr. Trudeau is accompanied by his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.

“It’s about time, eh?” Mr. Obama said, praising the 44-year-old prime minister for his “energy and dynamism.”

The president said Canada and the U.S. are “guided by the same values.”

“I’m proud to be the first American president to stand with a Canadian prime minister and be able to say that in both our nations, health care is not a privilege for a few but is now a right for all,” Mr. Obama said.

He also joked about the U.S. being better at hockey, to groans from Canadians in the crowd.

“Where’s the Stanley Cup right now? I’m sorry, is it my hometown with the Chicago Blackhawks?” Mr. Obama asked.

Mr. Trudeau noted that there are several Canadian players on the Blackhawks.

The prime minister said the two nations are “allies, partners and friends as we tackle the world’s great challenges.”

Canada and the United States will always collaborate in partnership and good faith,” Mr. Trudeau said. “There is no relationship in the entire world like the Canada-U.S. relationship.”

As part of Mr. Trudeau’s official state visit to Washington, the leaders are committing to reduce methane emissions by 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025. The Environmental Protection Agency will begin developing regulations “immediately,” the White House said.

“Next month, EPA will start a formal process to require companies operating existing methane emissions sources to provide information to assist in development of comprehensive standards to decrease methane emissions,” the White House said in a statement.

Canada’s environmental agency will move “as expeditiously as possible” to put in place national regulations, publishing a proposal in early 2017.

The Sierra Club said the actions are “key steps along the path to keep dirty fuels in the ground and transition to a 100 percent clean and renewable energy economy.”

Mr. Trudeau, who was elected late last year to replace conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, will be the guest of honor at a state dinner at the White House Thursday night.

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