THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – March 23, 2018

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 thank the Democratic leadership for their success in boosting investments for a brighter future for our kids and fighting off a raft of anti-environmental and other nefarious policy riders. At the same time, it is unfortunate that Republican leaders were able to insert some anti-environmental and other harmful policy riders that simply have no place in a spending bill while securing some funding for anti-environmental border fencing and levees and continuing to block protections for Dreamers.”

– LCV President Gene Karpinski on the Omnibus deal

 “I will continue to relentlessly defend our public lands from outside attacks on our Montana way of life so that our kids and grandkids have the same access to Montana’s beauty, clean water, and public lands that we enjoy today”

– Senator Jon Tester on the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund’s Endorsement

“Senator Baldwin is a champion for our environment and for our health. We need Senator Baldwin to continue serving in the Senate, and we are proud to endorse her for re-election.”

– LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld announcing LCV Action Fund’s official endorsement of Senator Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin

 “This an important reminder that the President is not above judicial review of his actions, but it is just the first step. The threat of devastating oil spills associated with Trump’s risky offshore drilling proposal puts coastal economies and ways of life at risk while worsening the consequences of climate change. We look forward to working with our fellow plaintiffs to show in court that the President acted outside his authority when he removed protections for these waters.”

– LCV President Gene Karpinski on an Alaska federal district court’s decision to allow LCV and other groups’ lawsuit challenging Trump’s reversal of the Arctic and Atlantic drilling ban to move forward

 

LCV IN THE NEWS:

Arizona Republic: Your Turn: Want better health, jobs and lower utility bills? Require more renewable energy

E&E News: Winners and losers in the omnibus

E&E News: Court rejects bid to nix enviro suit over offshore expansion

E&E News: Ex-Obama adviser, energy entrepreneur fight to be greener

NBC News: Final battle time for the Democratic civil war in Chicago’s suburbs

Wisconsin Gazette: League of Conservation Voters, Sierra endorse Baldwin’s re-election bid

 

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:

 Colorado Pols (CO): What you can do to fight back this week (March 19)

Florida Politics (FL): The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 3.20.18

WTTW (IL): Foxconn Seeks 7M Gallons of Lake Michigan Water Daily

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OMNI-WHAT?: Democratic congressional leaders scored big wins for the environment with the Omnibus that passed in the early morning hours today.  Thanks to Democrats negotiating willpower, the $1.3 trillion package is a repudiation of President Trump’s extreme budget cuts and dozens of toxic anti-environmental riders were kept out of the final bill.  Unlike Trump, Congress’ negotiated bill recognizes that we need more investments—not fewer—to protect public health, boost our outdoor recreation, and grow clean energy jobs.

TRUMP’S DRACONIAN EPA BUDGET CUTS REJECTED: Congress rejected the administration’s calls to gut the EPA’s budget by up to 30 percent. In fact, the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving funds are slated to get an extra $300 million each, for a total of $2.9 billion in funding. Another $50 million is set aside for new programs created in last year’s water resources bill to focus on basic infrastructure and reducing lead in school drinking water.

RIDERS DIE: Dozens of anti-environmental riders got the axe, including efforts delaying life-saving smog standards, threatening endangered species, logging our most pristine forests, and a plan to shield the administration’s repeal of the Clean Water Rule from legal and public scrutiny.

OUR TAKE: In a statement, LCV President Gene Karpinski said: “Administrator Pruitt’s efforts to dismantle the EPA, Secretary Zinke’s proposal to gut the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and Secretary Perry’s plan to decimate clean energy research are thoroughly rejected in this bill – that’s a win for communities across the country, and we hope this trend continues in the coming years.”

GO WEST, RESISTANCE!:  Conservation and Alaska Native groups have a green light to hold Trump accountable to the rule of law. A federal district court in Alaska this week rebuffed efforts by the Trump administration and the oil industry to dismiss the case, rejecting arguments that public-interest advocates were barred from challenging the decision. The case, League of Conservation Voters vs. Trump, is LCV’s first-ever legal challenge. A coalition of ten groups had sued Trump in May of 2017 over his attempt to jettison a permanent ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

READ MORE: Background on why LCV chose to sue Trump over offshore drilling can be found here.

MARCH MADNE$$: New documents reveal that Pruitt has failed to disclose nearly $68,000 in travel expenses over the past seven months. The costs include first-class flights and pricey hotels — the same expenses that caught our attention earlier this year when it was discovered that Pruitt was living lavishly off taxpayer funds. Pruitt strikes again, continuing to sell out our environment while he misuses taxpayer dollars.

STATE OF PLAY: Earlier this week, the New York Times ran a story about Pruitt’s potential political future. His name has recently been circulated for attorney general, amid rumors that Jeff Sessions is on his way out, and Pruitt is heralded on the far right for his rollback-regulations-at-all-costs approach to his job.

FORMER COAL LOBBYIST ON TAP FOR NO. 2 SPOT AT EPA: Andrew Wheeler, a former aide to climate-change denier Senator Jim Inhofe and subsequently a registered coal lobbyist, is under consideration for deputy administrator of the EPA. As Pruitt’s right-hand man, Wheeler will have much influence over climate change policy — the exact protectionary measures he has fought to eliminate for years on behalf of the fossil fuels industries.

 SCOTT VS. SCIENCE: The EPA plans on restricting the use of scientific studies to guide its policy-making, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. This shift would enable Pruitt’s EPA to revisit and eliminate long-standing safeguards that protect communities’ health from dangerous air pollution, marking yet another effort to discredit the legitimate findings of scientific professionals.  The administration’s war on science shows no signs of letting up.

NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES: We’ll someday look back and realize that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse was right all along. Since April 2012, Whitehouse has delivered a weekly “It’s Time to Wake Up” speech on the Senate floor, sounding the alarm on the danger of climate change. To date, he has given over 200 of these speeches and continues to be an informed and passionate advocate on environmental issues.

IN HIS WORDS:  In his 200th speech, Whitehouse said the following: “The fact that stands out for me, here at number 200, is the persistent failure of Congress to even take up the issue of climate change.  One party won’t even talk about it!  One party is gagging America’s scientists and civil servants and striking even the term ‘climate change’ off government websites.”

THINK 100 PERCENT: This week, LCV Board Chair and former EPA Administrator Carol Browner joined the Hip Hop Caucus’ new radio show and podcast, “Think 100%, Coolest Show on Climate Change,” to talk about the history of the climate movement and how we can use culture to break down the silos between the issues people identify with.

IN HER WORDS:  With host Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Browner discussed the honor of serving people in the U.S. when she was EPA administrator: “You know what, there is nothing better than getting up every day and thinking about how to make our air just a little bit cleaner, our water a little bit safer, and most importantly, a better future for our children. It’s been an honor.”

THE REV.’S RESPONSE: “Man, I wish all EPA administrators had that thought.  I wish they woke up with that feeling in their heart.”

 NO REASONABLE DOUBT: And the interview ended with Browner sampling Jay-Z for her climate change message: “I love Jay-Z.  He has a nice little line about 99 problems, and I pointed out that scientific consensus [on climate change] wasn’t one of them…And to every young person out there, brush your shoulders off, join the movement.” 

COMING UP:

April 1 – Deadline for EPA to issue their final determination on clean car standards

Week of April 9 – Senate vote expected on Andrew Wheeler’s nomination

April 26 – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt testifying before House Energy & Commerce Committee

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