THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – December 15, 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:

 “We know most people believe climate change is real and most people support the transition to a clean energy future. Having someone from a state like Alabama being a voice on that is going to be really impactful in the Senate.”

— LCV PAC and Advocacy Partnerships Director Craig Auster on Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama

“When the refuge was last under serious attack in 2005, pro-environment Republicans in the House stood together and helped ensure that it remained protected. All Republicans in Congress today who care about the environment should do the same.”

— LCV Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld on the tax bill rider to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

“Michael Dourson epitomized putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Dourson has spent his career downplaying the health risks of toxic chemicals to children, pregnant women, and other vulnerable communities.”

— LCV Legislative Representative Madeleine Foote on Michael Dourson withdrawing his nomination to oversee the EPA’s chemical safety programs

 

 

LCV IN THE NEWS:

 New York Times: How Arctic Drilling, Stymied for Decades, Made Surprise Return in Tax Bill

Huffington Post: Democrats Quietly Pumped Resources Into Alabama To Boost Doug Jones

Huffington Post: Doug Jones’ Win Breaks Alabama’s Long Record Of Electing Climate Change Deniers

 ThinkProgress: Alabama’s newest senator isn’t afraid to take a strong stance on science and clean energy

Vox: “African-American communities are turning up, and they are turning out”

BuzzFeed: Another Trump Nominee Drops Out

The Hill: Green group steps up involvement in Texas elections

 

 

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:

Bloomberg BNA (AL): Jones Win Resurrects Extinct Species—Southern Pro-Climate Senator

Alabama Political Reporter (AL): Democrats cheer Doug Jones’ victory

E&E News (NY): Greens target climate caucus members as tax vote nears

NY State of Politics (NY): Upstate Republican Sportsmen Oppose ANWR Drilling In Tax Bill

Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA): Northam announces Cabinet picks for Natural Resources, Agriculture and Forestry

Colorado Politics (CO): Colorado-based uranium company played a role in reducing national monument

 

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 VICTORY FOR CLIMATE IN ALABAMA: LCV is proud to have supported Doug Jones throughout his campaign for Senate in Alabama. Jones’ victory is a huge win for the environment – he’s an advocate for climate science and the Paris Climate Agreement. Across the country – in New Jersey, in Washington, in Virginia, and now in Alabama – voters have spoken loud and clear: the environment is a winning issue that is helping put candidates in office. In 2018 and beyond, candidates should take note; going along with Trump’s attacks on our clean air and water will lose you votes.

SEAT JONES NOW: Respect our democracy. The Senate should delay votes on the tax bill – and drilling in the Arctic Refuge – until Jones is seated.

 DOURSON OUT AT EPA: Michael Dourson’s nomination to oversee the chemical safety programs at the EPA was highly problematic from the start. Dourson spent years as an industry consultant, lobbying on behalf of the very companies he was being tapped to regulate. This week, after Republican senators voiced concerns about Dourson’s very clear conflicts of interest, he withdrew his nomination. LCV opposed Dourson’s nomination from the start – our families deserve better than an industry lobbyist prioritizing the wishes of the chemical industry over public health.

UP NEXT: CEQ nominee Kathleen Hartnett-White is laughably unqualified. With senators continuing to voice opposition, she should be the next to go.

 DRILLING REDUX: HOW REPUBLICANS BROUGHT BACK A DECADES OLD FIGHT: This week, the New York Times examined how the Republicans finally managed to bring back the decades-old fight to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling – a fight that many thought was over after repeated failures in the 1990s and early 2000s. The report notes that the resurgence of the reckless policy can’t be attributed to public opinion – recent polling demonstrates that many still oppose the plan to hand over one of the last untouched wildlife refuges on Earth to Big Oil. Rather, with a White House that constantly prioritizes corporate polluters, congressional Republicans are following suit by using shady, back door legislative methods to jam this provision through Congress.

NEW ANALYSES SHOW DEVASTATING IMPACT OF OPENING ARCTIC REFUGE TO DRILLING: The Center for American Progress released a new report this week that illustrates the irreparable damage that drilling in the Arctic refuge would have for the wildlife in the area. The New York Times also compiled a set of satellite images that show the long-lasting scars the only drilling test in the refuge left on the fragile landscape.

EVEN MORE HANDOUTS TO BIG OIL: It’s not just the Arctic Refuge – the Trump administration is preparing to unveil plans to open the door to drilling in the Atlantic, a move Big Oil has been lobbying for since Trump took office.

OUR TAKE: Don’t miss LCV Senior Vice President Tiernan Sittenfeld’s letter to the editor in the New York Times, which speaks to the shame of opening the Arctic Refuge to drilling and calls on every Republican who cares about the environment to vote no.

INDUSTRY LOBBIED TRUMP ON BEARS EARS: The Washington Post obtained documents showing that uranium industry lobbyists pressed hard on the Trump administration to reduce Bears Ears National Monument, despite  repeated claims that the administration did not consider mining and drilling in their decision to cut back the boundaries of Bears Ears. But the new documents tell a different story – a firm lobbied the administration to limit the monument and allow for easier access to uranium deposits and a nearby processing facility. Once again, Trump and his administration have misled the public about their concerted efforts to hand over our lands to corporate polluters.

THAT’S NOT ALL: The Center for Public Integrity has a new deep dive into Trump’s ties to Big Oil and their influence over policy decisions that favor industry and corporate polluters.

 SIREN: TRUMP’S EPA LOOKING THE OTHER WAY: The New York Times released a new analysis this week that shows that the Trump administration has enforced significantly fewer environmental infractions against corporate polluters than did both the Obama and Bush administrations. The EPA has sought less in civil penalties against polluters and has decreased demands for companies to retrofit their factories and cut pollution. The administration has also rolled back the authority of enforcement officers across the country. EPA officials and environmental allies alike are deeply concerned about the trend – once again, corporate polluters are free to put the health of communities in jeopardy with no impunity.

 PARIS MAKES THE PLANET GREAT AGAIN: In addition to hosting a climate summit with world leaders this week, Macron is making good on his promise to “make the planet great again.” France has awarded research grants to climate scientists, and 13 out of the 18 were awarded to American scientists. Not only has Trump put our communities at risk with his reckless disregard for science, but he’s also driving our best and brightest talent to other countries.

ALASKA HEATS UP: Last week, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were compiling a monthly climate report and noticed that the data for one their monitoring station in Barrow, Alaska was missing. As the northernmost city in the United States, Barrow has warmed so quickly over the past month that algorithms removed the data thinking that it was erroneous.

SAM BEE DOES ZINKE: Following her cheeky call for comments opposing Pruitt’s repeal of the Clean Power Plan, Samantha Bee moved on to another embattled Trump cabinet secretary – Ryan Zinke. “Compared to the other tools Trump has put in place, he doesn’t have the power to hurt that many people – just Native Americans, scientists, Karen Pence, endangered species, the state of Utah and anyone affected by climate change.” Watch here.

SHADY SCOTT IS INVESTIGATED, GOES TO MOROCCO: The EPA inspector general announced this week that it will investigate the decision made by Scott Pruitt to install a $25,000 secure, soundproof phone booth in his office. No previous EPA administrators have ever needed such a phone booth, and to boot, the agency has long had one on a different floor.

SHADY SCOTT GOES PARTISAN WITH TAXPAYER MONEY: Pruitt’s EPA has awarded Republican PR firm Definers Corporation a $120,000 no-bid contract to validate their narrative and provide “war room” style media monitoring.

DREAM ACT NOW: And finally – if you’re in DC, catch LCV’s Chispa tonight at 14th and U Street from 5-7 p.m. joining a coalition of environmental, conservation and progressive groups to project a large-scale visual display onto the Frank D. Reeves Center supporting the passage of a clean Dream Act.

 

COMING UP:

December 22 –Expiration of government funding
December 22 – Deadline to comment on the administration’s proposed increase to National Park entrance fees

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