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Donald Trump declares himself the 'great environmentalist'

President Donald Trump declared himself the "great environmentalist" today as he highlighted conservation projects in Florida and announced an expansion of a ban on offshore drilling.

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The US President announced an expansion of an offshore drilling ban in Florida. Source: Associated Press

Speaking at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, Trump said his administration is "proving everyday that we can improve our environment while creating millions of high-paying jobs."

He also lambasted his opponent, Joe Biden, and the Democratic party, saying their environmental plans would "destroy America's middle class while giving a free pass to the world's worst foreign polluters."

Trump's announcement of the offshore drilling ban expansion opens the president up to charges of an election-year flip-flop given that he acted in January 2018 to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans.

Still, Trump offered himself as the greatest environmental president since Theodore Roosevelt.

"Who would have thought. Trump is the great environmentalist?" the president said. "You hear that? That's good, and I am. I am. I believe strongly in it."

Trump, though, has rolled back numerous regulations meant to protect the environment, from power plant emissions to auto fuel standards to clean water. He withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Accord, a global agreement to address the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

The Trump administration has made the environment a primary target of his deregulatory push, eliminating or weakening dozens of rules that protect the nation's air and water quality and lands essential for imperiled species while reversing Obama-era initiatives to fight climate change.