THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – November 30th, 2018

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“The climate crisis threatens both our communities & our economy. While @realDonaldTrump ignores his own admin’s report, House Dems are pushing for action w/ select committee on #ClimateChange. We can create millions of good-paying jobs w/ bold, green infrastructure investments!”

– House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted about her plans to make environmental issues a priority at the beginning of next year.

 

“The science is clear: Our climate is already changing. We cannot allow lawmakers to continue ignoring this reality. The threats are too severe – the consequences too catastrophic. We must act now, while we still can.”

– Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted, urging Congress to support an aggressive climate action plan.

 

LCV IN THE NEWS:

Politico: Ocasio-Cortez, progressives wary of Manchin role on energy committee

CNN: A political blockade is colliding with the evidence on climate change

E&E News: Here’s where incoming Republicans stand on climate

Yahoo: Majority of Republicans now recognize reality of climate change: Poll

OpenSecrets: Environmental groups spent millions on “green” midterm candidates

Yahoo: Zinke says environmentalists prefer burning forests to managing them

ThinkProgress: Climate denier Darrell Issa’s successor in Congress supports Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal

US News & World Report: Trump OKs Seismic Tests for Oil in Atlantic

 

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:

Arizona Republic (AZ): What could a Democrat on the Arizona Corporation Commission mean for APS?

West Slope Now (CO): Consequences of Climate Change on Grand Valley

PennLive (PA): If you supported a cleaner environment, you won on Election Day

Portland Press Herald (ME): Energy priorities shift as a new administration takes hold

Associated Press (MI): Whitmer Win Follows Wakeup Call for Dems

MLive (MI): Gov. Snyder seeks $4.5 million in taxpayer funds for Line 5 tunnel

Los Angeles Blade (CA): Equality California’s Rick Zbur honored as an environmentalist

Public News Service (MT): MT Groups Push for Land & Water Conservation Fund in Lame-Duck Congress

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DIRE REPORT: Last week, the Trump administration unsuccessfully tried to bury a dire warning – the National Climate Assessment – which shows that a failure to act now on climate change will take thousands of lives across the country and cost our economy hundreds of billions of dollars. It does not get more serious than this, and that is why millions of people voted for environmental champions in the midterms — with the right leaders in office, we can act on climate change.

BURYING DANGER: This report contradicts everything Trump has said and done, so he predictably tried to bury the report by releasing it on Black Friday and even said he doesn’t believe the findings.

TRUMP DOUBLES DOWN: In an exclusive interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday, Trump doubled down on his climate science denial saying that “one of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers…As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it.”

CLEAR CONSENSUS: Despite Trump’s continued denial, the scientific evidence is clear: multiple studies show that 97 percent or more of climate scientists agree that climate change is a result of human activity. Moreover, the National Climate Assessment came from Trump’s own administration and illustrated the dangerous impacts of climate change that are already happening across the nation. Trump’s denial suggests that he has no interest in listening to experts — even his own experts — but is happy to take his cues from industry polluters.

KICKER: In a press conference at the White House on Tuesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, speaking on behalf of the president, continued sowing a false and dangerous narrative saying that the report was “not based on facts.”

THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN: While Trump continues to deny climate science, more people in this country believe in climate change as compared to three years ago, according to a new poll out this week from Monmouth University. Across the country, nearly 8-in-10 people believe the world’s climate is changing, which is up from 70 percent three years ago. There were increases along party lines as well – nearly two-thirds of Republicans (up from 49 percent three years ago), 92 percent of Democrats (up from 85 percent), and 78 percent of independents (up from 74 percent) now believe in climate change.

IMPACT OF THE ELECTIONS: The headline of this USA Today article from Tuesday says it all: “Once Democrats take charge of the House, addressing climate change will become top priority again.” In January, we will begin to see the new House leadership advance pro-environmental policies and hold the administration accountable for its incessant attacks on our clean air, clean water, clean energy, and public health. This is why LCV Victory Fund and its affiliated entities invested more than it ever has in the midterms to elect environmental champions, including 56 new members of the U.S. House endorsed by LCV Action Fund.

A STEP TOO FARR: Thursday, the Senate rejected the nomination of Thomas Farr to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. With all 49 Senate Democrats united in opposition, the defeat for the Trump Administration was ultimately the result of Senators Jeff Flake and Tim Scott refusing to confirm the nominee who has spent his career restricting voting rights and specifically targeting African American communities. LCV opposed the nomination, the second time this year an LCV-opposed nominee has failed on the Senate floor.

OTHER CONGRESSIONAL UPDATES: As the 115th Congress rounds out the year, there are a few pieces of environmental legislation that ought to be passed to help protect our most vital resources. LCV is lobbying Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that supports a variety of public lands in every single state — ranging from campgrounds to national parks to local baseball fields.

LOBBYING FOR OUR PARKS: LCV and a number of our state affiliates, from Alabama to Wisconsin, were on Capitol Hill this week meeting with senators and representatives, urging them to save LWCF – our nation’s best parks program, which Congress shamefully let expire on September 30.

DEMOCRACY ON DAY ONE: Today we applauded incoming House leadership and newly elected members of Congress for the rollout of the democracy and elections reform package that will be H.R. 1 next year. We share the belief that increasing transparency, accountability, and voting rights will lead to a stronger democracy and environmental policies that protect people’s health and safety instead of padding the profits of corporate polluters.

WATCH OUT FOR WHEELER: Before the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump said that he intends to nominate former coal lobbyist and friend to polluters Andrew Wheeler as EPA administrator. LCV has already called on the Senate to reject his nomination, noting that he “is clearly the wrong person for the job.” At the Washington Post’s Energy 202 Live this week, Wheeler continued to show us exactly why he is wrong for the position. Here are just some of the lowlights:

ON THE NATIONAL CLIMATE ASSESSMENT… Wheeler admitted that he didn’t even read the report before it was released, and yet he still criticized its findings.

ON REDUCING POLLUTION… Wheeler falsely tried to claim that the administration has been working to decrease air and water pollution. At every turn, this administration has rolled back key environmental safeguards necessary to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink.

SLINKY ZINKE: Once again, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke showed zero backbone and denied science in an effort to please Trump. This week, he shamefully blamed the deadly and destructive California wildfires on environmental protections rather than accepting the science of climate change. And now he’s personally attacking House Committee on Natural Resources Chair Raul Grijalva for calling out his scandals.

#BAILOUTBERNARD: Trump’s nominee to head up Federal Energy Regulation Commission, Bernard McNamee, is an ardent supporter of the fossil fuel industry and shouldn’t be confirmed. In the past, McNamee supported a coal bailout plan and suggested he may refuse to recuse himself if coal companies were to receive a bailout by the government.

PATAGONIA DOES IT AGAIN: Patagonia is leading the way once again on corporate social responsibility. This week, the company announced it would donate the $10 million they received from Trump’s tax cuts to environmental organizations. Patagonia continues to show how we are all impacted by environmental issues and taking a stand politically is the right thing to do.

SIREN IN VIRGINIA: Governor Ralph Northam found himself at the center of controversy after replacing two members of a state air pollution control board right before a vote on approval of a compressor needed for the destructive Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The Dominion-backed project would be built in the heart of a historic black community in Virginia. While Northam has subsequently delayed the seating of the new members, the move to replace the board members was met with sharp criticism, including from Virginia League of Conservation Voters, who fear the move was intended to affect the upcoming vote.

PUTTING THE “LAME” IN LAME DUCK: In addition to defending against threats to clean water and the Great Lakes, Michigan LCV is also sounding the alarm on the lame duck legislature’s attempts to limit the powers of the incoming progressive leaders. The Detroit News reports: “With Democrats set to take over top statewide offices next year, Michigan Republicans are considering proposals that would allow the Legislature to intervene in legal battles and shift oversight of the state’s campaign finance law to a new commission. The lame-duck power plays would limit the power of Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Democrats have not held all three posts since 1990.” Our North Carolina partner witnessed an eerily similar playbook during a 2016 lame duck session after Roy Cooper unseated incumbent governor Pat McCrory.

 

COMING UP:

December 4 – LCV Victory Fund and EDF Action press briefing on new research from Global Strategy Group showing how environmental messages helped swing tight 2018 races

December 7 – Government funding deadline

January 3 – New Congress begins

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