- The Washington Times - Monday, April 22, 2019

On the 49th anniversary of Earth Day on Monday, President Trump emphasized the pride Americans have for their “God-given treasures” and vowed to protect them. The founder of the annual environmental observance offered a somber message, however.

“Despite that amazing success and decades of environmental progress, we find ourselves facing an even more dire, almost existential, set of global environmental challenges, from loss of biodiversity to climate change to plastic pollution, that call for action at all levels of government,” said Denis Hayes, who organized the first Earth Day in 1970.

Mr. Trump sees it differently.

“Earth Day is a celebration of the abundant beauty and life-sustaining bounty of our natural environment,” the president said in a statement. “On this day, we reaffirm our responsibility to protect God’s wondrous creation for future generations.”

He also cited an economic factor.

“Environmental protection and economic prosperity go hand in hand,” Mr. Trump said. “A strong market economy is essential to protecting our critical natural resources and fostering a legacy of conservation. My administration is committed to being effective stewards of our environment while encouraging opportunities for American workers and their families.

“At the same time that our nation is experiencing historic economic and job growth, our air and water quality ranks among the highest in the world,” the president said. “Under my administration, we are improving the quality of life for communities across America by strengthening the security and reliability of our drinking water and accelerating spending on water infrastructure. Additionally, we have expanded support for conservation of land, water, and wildlife, and we are reforming land management policies to improve the health of our forests and other federal lands.”

Mr. Hayes, meanwhile, appeared Monday at the National Press Club and announced plans for “major global mobilizations” as his organization approaches its 50th anniversary in 2020, plus a “protect our species” initiative, a push to end plastic pollution, and two projects titled “The Great Global Clean Up” and “Vote for the Earth.”

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