THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – February 9, 2018

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“State-level work, long a part of what makes our work as the Conservation Voter Movement unique and effective, is more important than ever as a countervailing force to the Trump administration.”

— LCV’s SVP for Campaigns Pete Maysmith in a memo outlining why we’re planning to double our investment in state and local races

“Communities of color and working families are hit first and worst by the impacts of climate change and uncontrolled pollution. This is unjust  —  it’s a legacy of the deeply rooted racial inequities in this country, the same inequities that are keeping Dreamers in limbo today. This needs to change and it will take all of us to do so.”

— LCV’s VP for Governmental Affairs Sara Chieffo rallying alongside Dreamers to call on Congress to pass a clean Dream Act

 

LCV IN THE NEWS:

Politico Pro: LCV plans to double investment in state races to $20M

E&E News: LCV to double state spending to $20M

New York Times: Trump to Withdraw Nomination of Climate Skeptic as Top Environmental Adviser

Roll Call: White House to Pull Nominee to Head Environment Council

Huffington Post: The Largest Number Of Scientists In Modern U.S. History Are Running For Office In 2018

ThinkProgress: Trump EPA nominee advances after hosting fundraisers for 2 Senate committee members

Nevada Appeal: Petition would mandate renewable energy in Nevada

 

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:

NPR (CO): 2 Trade Shows, 2 Portraits Of The American Conservation Movement

Daily Commercial (FL): Lawmakers seek common ground on Florida Forever

Reno Patch (NV): Election 2018: Group Wants To Ramp Up Renewable Energy By 2030

WCAX (VT): Environmental groups call Scott’s ‘Phosphorus Challenge’ a distraction

AP (VA): Compromise Coal Ash Bill Would Extend Closure Moratorium

South Carolina Radio Network (SC): Bill headed to governor would block ‘nuisance lawsuits’ against factories complying with law

The Daily Astorian (OR): Wolf compensation bill clears initial hurdle

 


 

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING: Republicans briefly shut down the government yet again last night but voted early Friday morning to pass a framework spending deal. This is the first step to finalizing a spending bill that boosts investments in our communities; however, it is long past time for Republican leaders to stop dragging their feet and protect Dreamers, who should not be treated as political pawns to be traded in exchange for the construction of a xenophobic and anti-environmental border wall or other anti-immigrant proposals.

NEXT STEPS: In a statement, LCV’s Tiernan Sittenfeld reinforced the need for a bill that boosts investments in our communities: “It’s critical that the upcoming spending bills reject Trump’s draconian cuts to the EPA and other environmental agencies, provide robust investments to protect our air, water, lands, and wildlife, and are free of anti-environmental and other poison-pill policy riders which have no place in spending bills.”

BIG WIN: After months of pressure and leadership from our environmental champs in the Senate, the Trump administration decided to pull the plug on their embattled nominee to head the Council on Environmental Quality — a significant victory for anyone who values clean air and water in our communities. After an embarrassingly poor performance at her confirmation hearing, the White House had become worried that nominee Kathleen Hartnett White, a climate change skeptic most notable for calling carbon dioxide the “gas of life,” would not have enough support from GOP senators. With a hard line of questioning in which they stood up for our air, water, and lands, Democratic members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have stopped one of Trump’s most dangerous nominees.

BUT WE HAVE TO KEEP UP THE FIGHT: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to advance Andrew Wheeler’s nomination for deputy EPA administrator on Wednesday. After another party-line vote, the former coal lobbyist will see a vote before the full Senate in the near future, thanks to lawmakers who are willing to sell out our environment to corporate polluters.

UH OH — “Floods Are Getting Worse, and 2,500 Chemical Sites Lie in the Water’s Path”: A New York Times analysis has revealed that over 2,500 sites that handle hazardous chemicals are located in flood-prone areas. This means that as sea levels rise and weather volatility increases, the likelihood of a chemical disaster skyrockets. It’s therefore crucial that our leaders act on climate change and prevent skeptics and industry interests from infiltrating our government and dismantling regulations that would make our communities safer from chemical disasters.

AND THERE’S MORE: The Pentagon released a jaw-dropping report that declared that nearly half of our overseas military installations are vulnerable to climate change-related threats. The risks include drought, flooding, and extreme temperatures — all of which scientists agree stem from a changing climate. This report rebukes a previous Trump move last December to remove climate change from the Defense Department’s list of national security threats. General Mattis, the defense secretary, has gone on the record with his belief that climate change impacts global and regional stability. We wish the rest of this administration thought the same way.

THE DEALMAKER STRIKES AGAIN: In a fiery op-ed submitted to The Hill, the EPA workers’ representative, John O’Grady, decries Trump’s latest attempts to con us — this time in the form of Trump’s laughable infrastructure plan. O’Grady points out that Trump’s discussion of infrastructure in the State of the Union hinted that it will be “a proposal to allow corporations to exploit our natural resources by gutting vital environmental protections under the pretext of short-term jobs.” He’s right — this infrastructure proposal, set to be released on Monday, will be another scam, prioritizing the profits of Trump’s corporate buddies over environmental safeguards and the crucial infrastructure updates that the federal government should be investing in to move our country into the clean energy economy of the 21st century and truly prepare for a changing climate.

A LITTLE PICK-ME-UP: Frustrated by this administration’s insistence on moving us backwards on climate change policy? It turns out that a record number of scientists are, too — and they’re running for office to stop the madness. The Huffington Post reported that over 60 scientific researchers and technologists are running for federal office in the 2018 cycle, alongside over 200 candidates from STEM backgrounds seeking state legislature seats. This groundswell of political activism from the scientific community is incredibly heartening, hopefully a harbinger of electoral success this fall.

WEEKEND READ: A feature story in The Atlantic describes the first American climate museum, a project meant to illuminate the climate conversation in physical and emotional ways. The artwork is intended to inspire visitors to imagine the relationship between the people and the environment in which we live — communicating the interdependence and vulnerability of each at the hands of the other. With a climate-denying president, we need more creative ways to communicate the urgency with which we must confront this crisis.

TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL, VOL. 2: Ahead of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s testimony on the Hill last week, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse unearthed an interview from last year in which Pruitt said he believed that “Donald Trump in the White House would be… abusive to the Constitution…” When asked, Pruitt claimed he didn’t remember making the comments, but maybe he remembers the ones that came to light this week – CNN reported that in another 2016 interview, Pruitt said that Trump was “an empty vessel when it comes to things like the Constitution and rule of law.”

SAY WHAT?: Pruitt put his foot in his mouth a second time this week when he asked if global warming “necessarily is a bad thing.” And then he continued to make extremely concerning and out of touch remarks calling into question the scientific consensus on human contributions to global warming trends. Pruitt’s distain for climate science is part of a calculated attempt to undermine efforts to combat global warming and build a clean energy future.

STATE AGs FIGHT BACK AGAINST ZINKE: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is causing nothing but trouble with his proposal to allow drilling off all our country’s coasts. The move was wildly unpopular among both Democratic and Republican governors, who have made economic and climate-related arguments against it. This week, twelve state attorneys general from both coasts sent a letter that called on Zinke to call off the proposal and they promised to do everything in their power to fight back. Some key quotes:

“Once again you see a department that hasn’t provided any reasoning for its decision that makes sense.” Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General

“It’s outrageous. Maryland has everything Florida’s got except Mar-a-Lago.” Brian Frosh, Maryland Attorney General

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sent a separate letter to Zinke, calling the proposal “unlawful, unsafe and harmful to the economy,” and he threatened to sue the federal government should Zinke move any further on it. And in California, CNBC reported that the state’s land commission voted to block the permits offshore drillers would need to transport their oil into the state.

STEP ASIDE, PRUITT: Four Democratic senators have called on Polluting Pruitt to recuse himself from rulemaking on the Clean Power Plan — an Obama-era initiative to limit carbon dioxide emissions and curb the harmful impacts of climate change — because of extensive financial ties to the fossil fuel industry and past history of fighting the plan. Hats off to Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Brian Schatz and Ed Markey for calling out Pruitt for his corrupt practices inside the EPA.

WE STAND WITH DREAMERS: You won’t want to miss these remarks by our very own Sara Chieffo, Vice President of Government Affairs, at a recent rally in support of a clean Dream Act. She makes the case by referring to the link between racial and environmental justice: “I’m fighting for a more just world – a world where power and privilege no longer fill our air and water with pollution or prop up the systemic drivers of racial inequity in this country.”

 

COMING UP:

February 12 – The anticipated release of Trump’s budget and infrastructure plans

February 14 – House Natural Resource Committee mark-up, which may include legislation codifying Trump’s rollbacks of the Bears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments

February 16 – Zinke is the keynote speaker at the Miami Boat Show, at a time when he’s proposing a radical offshore drilling plan opening virtually all our coasts to potential oil spills

February 19 – House and Senate begin weeklong recess

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