May 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. president needs to pull the country out of the Paris climate agreement in order to stimulate the oil and gas sector, a trade group said.
The Western Energy Alliance, a trade group representing the business interests of the exploration and production sector in several western states, said President Donald Trump should pull out of the multilateral climate agreement for the sake of oil and gas industries.
"With an end to the regulatory overreach that has been stifling the oil and natural gas and many other industries, we can get on with the business of helping the president create thousands of new jobs," it said in a recent statement.
By its estimate, independent oil and natural gas explorers support about 3 percent of the total U.S workforce and account for about 4 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. On Friday, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that GDP grew 0.7 percent in the first quarter, after a 2.1 percent gain in the fourth quarter, for the slowest quarterly performance in three years.
Trump has adopted an energy policy that's more in favor of the oil and gas industry than his predecessor. Last week, the White House introduced an executive order that could open up parts of the Arctic, the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico for more drilling.
Many of those basins were placed off limits by former President Barack Obama or covered under state bans, as is the case with Florida and its maritime territory.
From the campaign trail last year, Trump said he doubted climate change was the result of human activity and vowed to pull the United States out of the Paris climate deal once in office. In a late November interview with The New York Times, he said he had an "open mind" on the pact. Whether some of the warming trends were human-induced, he said "there is some connectivity."
Overseas, Miguel Arias Canete, the European commissioner for climate action, said that, while other major economies roll back, the commitment to a low-carbon economy was steadfast. From the shale-rich state of Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper said he would help retool the state economy in a way that would help offset "the harmful consequences of a changing climate."