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Mixed reviews from Georgia for Trump's climate plan exit

WASHINGTON – Georgia politicians fell along strict partisan lines in their reactions to President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of an international climate agreement that nearly 200 nations signed onto in 2015.

Republicans were quick to commend the president for “stand(ing) up for our own interests,” as U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, put it in a Facebook post.

In a Rose Garden speech Thursday afternoon, Trump argued the accord, known as the Paris agreement, hamstrung U.S. industry while allowing the world’s other polluters to continue at an advantage.

"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh,” Trump said. “Not Paris."

Many Georgia Republicans agreed.

“When other countries are not willing or able to fully adhere to the terms and meet these targets it ultimately puts American companies and workers at a tremendous disadvantage,” said U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who was one of nearly two-dozen Republican senators to urge Trump to exit the agreement in a letter late last month.

Trump's own advisers were said to be split on whether to withdraw from the Paris accord, with some notable business titans such as Apple's Tim Cook and SpaceX's Elon Musk urging the president to keep the country in the agreement.

But Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus was on the other side. He said exiting the agreement would keep electricity costs "reasonable for all businesses."

Democrats, however, weren't so happy with Trump's course of action.

"This decision isolates our country from international partners in shared, global efforts to curb climate change, and at its core is an assault on our future stability and prosperity," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed , who participated in the Paris negotiations in 2015. He said he remained "committed to meeting the goals" of the agreement and that the city would "intensify our efforts" to reduce climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions.

Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate in Georgia's 6th District congressional race, warned that "history will condemn us" for leaving the agreement.

“I agree with our military, our intelligence community, and peer-reviewed science that climate change is a major threat to our prosperity and our security," he said.

Republican Karen Handel, Ossoff's opponent, has yet to weigh in on Trump's decision.

Several GOP lawmakers from the state said the Obama administration had initially overstepped when it agreed to the accord. They argued the deal was akin to a treaty, and because of that the White House should have sought Senate approval.

“Government officials are bound by the Constitution, and policies that place restrictions on Americans cannot be unilaterally imposed by one branch of government,” said U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville.

Read more: 

Ossoff: ‘History will condemn us’ over Trump decision to abandon Paris Agreement

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.