THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – August 4th, 2017

Your weekly resource to learn what the environmental movement is saying about the news of the day and the political fight of our generation. Be sure to follow LCV on Facebook and Twitter.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“If the Trump administration can’t reconcile their xenophobic border wall with dozens of environmental safeguards meant to protect our communities, that’s yet another reason Congress should deny funding and prevent construction from going forward,”

  • Sara Chieffo, vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters

“The Trump administration is attacking every environmental and health protection we have…If these legislative proposals get passed, it will make it that much harder for the next administration to restore environmental protections.”

  • Sara Jordan, legislative representative for the League of Conservation Voters, on Congress’ attempts to codify Trump’s regulatory rollbacks into law

“The truth is there is NO war on coal, there is NO economic crisis caused by environmental protection, and climate change IS caused by man’s activities…It may take a few years and even an environmental disaster, but I am confident that Congress and the courts will eventually restore all the environmental protections repealed by this administration because the majority of the American people recognize that this protection of public health and safety is right and it is just.”

  • Elizabeth “Betsy” Southerland, a top EPA official who resigned her post in the Pruitt EPA

LCV IN THE NEWS:

Washington Post: The Energy 202: Trump to waive environmental rules to construct border wall

Inside Climate News: How Congress Is Cementing Trump’s Anti-Climate Orders into Law

Vice: Trump’s border wall is bulldozing environmental laws

El Economista: EU eludirá regulaciones ambientales para construir el muro fronterizo

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

LCV’s state affiliates are hard at work protecting the environment and fighting climate change in the states. Here’s what people are reading across the country:

Las Vegas Sun (NV): Why clean energy is a civil rights issue

The Nevada Independent (NV): National monument supporters blast Zinke for cutting short Nevada trip, call his visit a political stunt

Urban Milwaukee (WI): Unnecessary to Sacrifice Natural Resources for Foxconn

Wisconsin Gazette (WI): Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters on FoxConn: A rollback of such an extreme nature is unnecessary

Madison (WI): Assembly Republicans put Foxconn deal on fast-track, Senate says not so fast

Reno Gazette-Journal (NV): How Trump EPA cuts will affect Nevada: Rudy Zamora

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WE WON’T GO QUIETLY: A top career official at the Office of Water at EPA has stepped down after serving at the agency for more than 30 years. The director for Office of Science and Technology, Elizabeth Southerland, left her post this week citing Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt’s repeated attacks on the environment as the reason. Southerland was “heartbroken” over the new administration’s direction on environmental policies, citing the “temporary triumph of myth over truth” as the tipping point in her decision. Make no mistake — as the administration continues to lose dedicated career employees, they’ll replace them with those who reject actual science and put the interests of corporate polluters ahead of our communities.

BONUS READ: This week, Axios chronicled how Scott Pruitt has quickly become the most dangerous EPA administrator in history. The political conversation surrounding climate change, coupled with an unchecked administrator, have created the perfect storm for an aggressive climate-denier like Pruitt to wreak havoc on our environment.

0% QUALIFIED: This week, Donald Trump named Sam Clovis his nominee for the Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist. There’s just one problem — Clovis isn’t a scientist. Clovis seems to have done everything but study agricultural science or economics. He’s been a fighter pilot and a radio host, but has no background in hard science, and Trump nominated him for a position reserved for “distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education and economics.” This administration has demonstrated a shocking unwillingness to make decisions based on widely accepted, hard scientific facts, and now they’ve taken their reckless and willful ignorance one step further by handing a scientific advisory position to someone who is wildly unqualified.

TRUMP ADMIN ERASES THE EPA: Go before it’s gone! In keeping with their decision to scrub environmental and climate change information from government websites, the Trump Administration is now working on overhauling the exhibit in the Ronald Reagan building that chronicles the EPA’s history. The museum currently chronicles the history of the EPA’s efforts to combat climate change and limit carbon emissions and includes a section dedicated to Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which Trump intends to eliminate.

IT’S A BIRD, A PLANE…IT’S PRUITT FLYING TO OKLAHOMA?: In case the Trump administration didn’t have enough ethical problems to deal with yet, this week, an environmental group filed a complaint requesting an investigation into Pruitt’s use of federal funds after he visited his home state of Oklahoma at least 10 times in the last three months on “official business.” Maybe if Pruitt spent a little more time reading about the science behind climate change and a little less time jetting around on the taxpayer dime, the administration would be doing something to actually tackle the real environmental challenges we face.

TRUMP ADMIN LOSES ON METHANE: The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered the EPA to enforce Obama-era pollution limits for the oil and gas industry, a victory for environmentalists. The news came less than a month after the same court ruled that the EPA’s delay in implementing the regulation was unlawful. Donald Trump and his administration are attempting to systematically dismantle environmental protections left and right, and though this victory is likely short lived, we’ll continue to fight them every step of the way.

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING FOR: While legal challenges to the administration’s environmental attacks mount and courts dismantle some of the tactics the administration has used to jam bad policy through, Trump’s allies in Congress are doing their best to ensure that these environmental rollbacks are here to stay.

PROFILES IN COURAGE: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke cut short his trip to two of Nevada’s monuments this week. After taking a quick aerial tour of the monuments, Zinke left before his meetings with local Pauite tribes, Rep. Dina Titus, and others who oppose changing the monuments’ boundaries. Zinke might be refusing to meet with anyone he doesn’t already agree with, but if he moves forward with rolling back protections on public lands, he’ll have trouble avoiding the nearly 3 million people who submitted comments in support of the monuments during the public comment period.

EPA, CLEAN ENERGY CUTS AS UNPOPULAR AS HEALTHCARE BILL: A new poll conducted for LCV by Global Strategy Group shows that in at least one congressional district, Trump’s proposed cuts to the EPA and clean energy technologies are just as unpopular as his disastrous healthcare bill. Constituents in Virginia’s 10th district say they would be less favorable toward Rep. Barbara Comstock if she supported either of those proposals.

TRUMP ADMIN VS. THE WORLD: Another poll out this week shows just how concerned people are about the threat of climate change. A recent Pew survey found that people rank climate change as the third greatest security threat to the United States, preceded only by ISIS and cyberwarfare. The new poll illustrates yet another example of how the Trump administration’s reckless agenda that rolls back efforts to address the threat of climate change is diametrically opposed to what the people want.

WHY IT MATTERS: A grim study came out this week indicating that we may soon reach a point of no return with the harmful effects of climate change. The study finds that there’s a 95 percent chance that the world will warm by more than 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, which is the threshold scientists have called the “tipping point” where global warming becomes catastrophic. A cacophony of voices called for Trump to remain in the Paris Agreement, and people in this country have, yet again, indicated that they’d like to see progress on climate change. Nevertheless, the Trump administration refuses to take action, even as the window to do so shrinks.

BONUS: A Yale-GMU poll dives into the heated partisanship behind the widely-accepted science of climate change.

COMING UP:

August 7-11 – Nebraska Public Service Commission hearings on Keystone XL pipeline.

August 9 – The comment period ends for EPA’s proposed two-year stay of their rule to reduce methane pollution from new and modified sources in the oil and gas industry.

August 14 — The end of the comment period on the marine monuments review.

August 24 — The deadline for Secretary Zinke to issue his recommendations on the national monument review.

August 28 — The end of the comment period for the Clean Water Rule repeal.

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