Va. joins growing US Climate Alliance; states react to Trump's 'foolish' Paris accord exit

Protesters gather outside the White House in Washington, Thursday, June 1, 2017, to protest President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the Unites States from the Paris climate change accord. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (ABC7/AP) -- Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday that Virginia is joining a growing list of states in the U.S. Climate Alliance in reaction to President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate agreement.

The U.S. Climate Alliance announced Monday that Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia have all joined the Alliance.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. formed the Alliance to coordinate U.S. states in upholding the Paris Accord and taking aggressive action on climate change.

McAuliffe said in a statement Thursday that Trump's decision was "foolish" because climate change is a "threat to our way of life."

The governors of four New England states, including two Republicans, are also joining the bipartisan coalition of states.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a Mayor's Order reaffirming the city's support for the Paris agreement, saying the order will renew "commitment to the historic agreement to reduce global carbon emissions."

Bowser, a Democrat, is one of dozens of mayors who have committed to upholding the Paris accord.

"The President has already said climate change is a hoax, which is the exact opposite of virtually all scientific and worldwide opinion," California Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr. said. "I don't believe fighting reality is a good strategy – not for America, not for anybody. If the President is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up."

The announcements come after Trump announced he is withdrawing the United States from the agreement, a pact involving nearly 200 nations aimed at slowing the warming of the planet.

Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday he's decided to partner with other states to combat climate change.

Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott is also joining the Alliance. Scott called Vermont a leader in environmental policy and natural resource management.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, both Democrats, are also joining the alliance.

McAuliffe, a Democrat, said Virginia would move forward with its own efforts to combat climate change. Earlier this month, McAuliffe announced his administration would begin formulating regulations to "abate, control, or limit" carbon dioxide emissions from power plants fired by fossil fuels.

Virginia's Hampton Roads region, home to the U.S.'s largest naval base, is threatened by the combination of sinking land and rising seas.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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