U.S. Rep. Bill Foster blasted President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and said it will financially hurt suburban companies.
Those at risk include Argonne National Laboratory near Lemont, which researches long-lasting batteries for electric vehicles to reduce emissions, and Ecolab. Nalco Holding Co., which has operations in Naperville, is a subsidiary of Ecolab and makes technologies for water and food safety and energy efficiency.
They are among the local companies and organizations that deal with technologies that make the environment cleaner, said Foster, a Democrat from Naperville.
"The fact is, there are more jobs in renewable energy and the solar energy industries than there are in fossil fuels now," Foster said. "The damage from this announcement today is not going to take place in large amounts until 2020. So this will play a major role in the election at that time."
The United States will join Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries worldwide not aiming to control emissions or take other measures to help reduce pollution that affects climate change. Trump said during his televised speech Thursday that the accord was a bad deal signed "out of desperation." The international agreement was signed in 2015 during the President Barack Obama administration.
Foster said Trump's remarks lacked scientific and economic analysis and facts.
"The United States is not going to be a leader with products that the rest of the world would want to buy," Foster said. "And that's just going to kill jobs, not add them."
While the national pullout from the accord likely won't start until 2020, when President Trump might seek re-election, the extensive embarrassment, anti-scientific views and reduction in research can only lead to the loss of jobs, Foster said.
"This decision is a global embarrassment for the United States and we've stepped down as a world leader," Foster said.
However, Ecolab did not agree with Foster regarding the impact on its company.
"The decision by President Trump to exit the Paris Climate Agreement does not change Ecolab's climate commitments," said Ecolab spokesman Roman Blahoski. "Ecolab will continue to work to achieve our internal goals and to assist our customers worldwide in reducing their climate impact while sustaining economic growth and competitiveness."
And Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren of Plano mentioned Argonne in his support of Trump's move.
"I will continue supporting our national labs like Argonne that are making energy storage a realistic solution for bringing intermittent renewables online in a modern energy system," Hultgren said in a statement.
An Argonne spokesman did not respond for comment. A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, a Republican from Wheaton, declined to comment.