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National

Texans React To Trump's Decision To Pull Out Of Paris Climate Accord

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

To hear every possible response to President Trump's recent climate decision, go to Texas, which is of course the iconic oil and gas state - also has coal mines, industries that have resisted moves to limit the carbon link to climate change. Then again, Texas has plenty of wind and wind power and solar power. So what are Texans saying about President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord? Mose Buchele from KUT in Austin visited the community of Blue, Texas.

MOSE BUCHELE, BYLINE: Despite the name, Blue is in a politically red part of the state. If you visit, you'll probably end up at Jackson's Store.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOOR CREAKING OPEN)

BUCHELE: It's the only store and only restaurant in town. It's got scuffed wood floors, a humming AC unit, old pictures and posters tacked to the walls. Fhebe Lane runs the place.

FHEBE LANE: There's nothing else out here but a church and lots of cows (laughter).

BUCHELE: Also, just down the road, the last remaining coal mine in this part of Texas. When I ask Lane about the Paris Agreement, she says limiting emissions is a good idea. Global warming is something she's noticed living here.

LANE: It gets hot sooner. It lasts longer. The winters - when it's cold, yes, it can be cold, but it doesn't last as long. But overall, it's hotter and hotter.

BUCHELE: When lunchtime comes, Lane starts working the grill at the back of the store. Some regulars sit down. David Sherril is a watermelon farmer. I ask him what he thinks about climate change.

DAVID SHERRIL: Yeah, it's changed since I was a kid. You know, we've had a lot of cold weather when I was a kid. This winter's the warmest I've - ever can remember.

BUCHELE: But he has no opinions on the Paris Agreement or the president's decision to leave it. He says he used to work at a nearby power plant fed by the coal here.

SHERRIL: Everybody wants the environment to do good, but then, nobody wants to lose their job over it either.

BUCHELE: Sherril's tablemate, Ray Dismujes (ph), is a retiree and Trump supporter. He says he has no opinion about the climate accord either. Of the eight people I talked to, that was the most common response, though nobody doubted the climate is changing. I asked Dismujes if it worried him.

RAY DISMUJES: No, not really. At my age, I don't think it's going to make a whole lot of difference.

BUCHELE: How old are you?

DISMUJES: Seventy.

BUCHELE: In terms of like, you know, the future, do you think it's something that people should be concerned about?

DISMUJES: Oh, yeah. Probably, yeah.

BUCHELE: Back at the register, Fhebe Lane says even though she disagrees with the president on climate, she still supports him.

LANE: Yeah, actually, I do. And I wish they would get off his back. Let him do his job.

BUCHELE: She says she'd heard Trump had backed out of the climate agreement to keep U.S. money at home. She likes that. She just hopes it doesn't mean an end to fighting global warming. For NPR News, I'm Mose Buchele in Austin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.