President Trump said his administration is committed to protecting the environment as long as it does not harm American workers, as thousands marched across the country to support science in public policy and in part protest his climate agenda.
"My Administration is committed to keeping our air and water clean, to preserving our forests, lakes, and open spaces, and to protecting endangered species," Trump said in a statement marking Earth Day.
"Economic growth enhances environmental protection. We can and must protect our environment without harming America’s working families. That is why my Administration is reducing unnecessary burdens on American workers and American companies, while being mindful that our actions must also protect the environment," he said.
The president stressed that his administration is committed to scientific research and underscored that "rigorous science" depends "not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate."
"Rigorous science is critical to my Administration’s efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection. My Administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks," he said.
Trump made the remarks as activists, scientists and celebrities gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the March for Science, advocating science in public policy.
The march and hundreds of similar protests in other areas were designed to send a message to lawmakers and Trump, whose agenda – including proposed budget cuts to federal research – has been fiercely criticized.