THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – August 10, 2018

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“Let’s be clear, it’s our changing climate that is leading to more severe and destructive fires.”

–Daniel Berlant, assistant Deputy Director of Cal Fire, responding to Trump’s false tweetings about California’s destructive wildfires

“Secretary Zinke is breaking the law in order to barter off America’s public resources to his corporate cronies and shield them from paying a fair value for the privilege.”

— Anne Harkavy, executive director of Democracy Forward, hitting back at Secretary Zinke for his anti-climate corruption

 

LCV IN THE NEWS:

The Atlantic: Trump’s Offshore-Drilling Plan Is Roiling Coastal Elections

ABC News: Environmental group, steelworkers join forces to target key senate races

Roll Call: Conservationists and Steelworkers Partner on Senate Race Investment

Politico: 9 House candidates with genuine energy bona fides

E&E News: 4 House races featuring clean energy candidates

Cleveland Plain-Dealer: Labor and environmental groups to spend $500,000 in Ohio’s U.S. Senate race

Nevada Independent: Super PAC backed by labor, environmental groups getting involved in Nevada Senate race

 

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:

Journal Sentinel (WI): Chemical barrel investigation, Great Lakes book honored with national, local recognition

WEMU (MI): 1st Friday Focus On The Environment: Michigan, Lake Erie And Algal Blooms

Queens Gazette (NY): NYLCV Releases 2018 State Environmental Scorecard

Florida Politics (FL): Bill Nelson ad: Florida’s algae crisis is made by Rick Scott

Dayton Beach News Journal (FL): Aliki Moncrief: Key component missing from Floridian’s hurricane kits

 

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A THANK YOU: The last two years have underscored the importance of the media in  our democracy and the need to protect the free press. We have seen a lot of important reporting that has held the Trump administration accountable, combatted misinformation, and informed the electorate. LCV greatly values the press, and we cannot thank members of the media enough for their diligence — particularly given the challenges of the ever-changing media industry. We respect and appreciate that you also hold us to a high standard that we always aim to meet.

THIS WEEK we wanted to give our appreciation for everyone who fact-checked Trump’s tweets and lies on the wildfires in California, and we want to encourage you to keep holding the line. We also want to shine a spotlight on YouTube, which stepped up this week with a new initiative to combat misinformation about climate change on their platform.

88 DAYS UNTIL the midterms, which we’re expecting to be a referendum on Trump, Ryan Zinke, Andrew Wheeler, and this entire administration’s corrupt behavior,  unethical ties to industry and polluters, and Congress’ dozens of attacks on environmental protections and public health. Given that, we’re ready to elect the most environmentally-friendly Congress this country has ever seen.

CANDIDATES TO WATCH: Candidates across the country are talking about building our clean energy economy on the campaign trail, and some solar and wind entrepreneurs are even running for office themselves. E&E News profiled a handful of candidates with strong renewable creds this week, including Sean Casten running in IL-06, Dan McCready in NC-09 and Mike Levin in CA-49.

STAY TUNED as we continue to track what’s at stake for voters and where climate, clean air, clean water and public lands are playing at the polls.

GOOD JOBS AND CLEAN AIR AND WATER: They aren’t mutually exclusive. That’s why the LCV Victory Fund announced a $3.1 million partnership with United Steelworkers Works this week to hit the doors in four key states. The partnership will focus on key Senate races, specifically helping to elect Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona and Jacky Rosen in Nevada, and to re-elect Sherrod Brown in Ohio and Jon Tester in Montana – all are candidates who support conservation and labor.

KAVANAUGH’S DIRTY DECISIONS: An AP analysis of Brett Kavanaugh’s record discusses the Supreme Court nominee’s particularly “hands-off approach” to HFCs, revealing that he’d likely allow the dangerous chemicals to continue contributing to climate change. LCV and environmental activists across the country won’t stand for it — and that’s why we’re mobilizing our supporters across the country to call their senators and tell them to vote NO on Trump’s nominee.

BREAKING: Late Friday, Senate Republicans announced that Kavanaugh’s hearings will be the week of September 4th — before crucial records will be made public about his years in the Bush administration. LCV judiciary program director Ben Driscoll responded: “Senators and the public as a whole deserve to know the extent of Kavanaugh’s involvement in the Bush administration’s troubling environmental decisions, including the corrupt Cheney Energy Task Force, hiding evidence of climate change, and the opening up of millions of acres of public land for mining and drilling. This is one of the least transparent nominations in modern history. What are they hiding?”

WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE: Seeing the devastation caused by California’s raging wildfires, Trump falsely blamed “bad environmental laws” that he claims lead to water shortages. Zinke, meanwhile, wrongly accused “radical environmentalists” for the carnage. But scientists have another explanation…

IT’S CLIMATE CHANGE… DUH! Scientists all agree that climate change is the culprit behind California’s recent rash of wildfires. While California burns, Trump is hard at work undoing the very regulations that could help us stop climate change in its tracks.

THE BIG QUESTION: How many communities need to suffer before Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress will act on climate change?  

SLINKY ZINKE: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke thought he could get away with stacking a critical regulatory panel with insiders from the oil and gas industries and then install the former leader of his Political Action Committee to chair it — until he was served with a lawsuit for this reckless behavior. This committee, which helps set royalty payments for coal, oil and gas extracted from public lands, is clearly too heavily influenced by those who would benefit from lower payments — another example of Zinke trying to hand over our lands to his dirty energy cronies.

DON’T FORGET: Zinke is still under investigation by the Inspector General of Interior for his land-for-microbrewery exchange with the Big Oil company Halliburton.

WELL SAID! Dan Bucks, a former state official in Montana, penned a scathing op-ed in the Denver Post — calling Zinke out for what he calls: “using federal lands to create a ‘triple threat’ to the public interest.” Here are some highlights:

  1. Granting enormous financial benefits to energy and mining companies at the expense of U.S. taxpayers, states, tribes and communities
  2. Damaging the lands, water and air and accelerating climate change for generations
  3. Blocking or limiting the use of public lands for conservation, recreational, historical, and sustainable economic purposes

HERE COMES CALIFORNIA: In a legal battle that has automakers on edge, California lawyers are fighting back against Trump’s latest assault on emissions and fuel efficiency standards. California and the 13 other states that follow California’s stricter vehicle standard rightfully believe that, by law, they are required to protect their residents from the harmful effects of pollution and climate change. And whatever happened to Republicans supporting states rights?

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR: After demanding looser emissions regulations for years, automakers have been dead silent following Trump’s recent proposal to destroy Clean Car Standards. If the auto industry cares about the environment and truly thinks these rollbacks go too far, they should speak up…now.

ASBESTOS WE CAN? There was a lot of attention this week on an EPA proposal that would leave the door open for companies to resume uses of asbestos, a deadly chemical linked to lung cancer, that had been previously phased out. Back in June, the EPA also decided that in their risk evaluation for asbestos, they would not look at discontinued uses of asbestos even though they’re not technically illegal, nor look at the risks of resuming asbestos mining — meaning that they would do very little meaningful evaluation and very little regulation on the current and future risks of a deadly chemical that contributes to death of almost 15,000 Americans each year. Most uses of asbestos are still legal in this country, and this week it was widely reported that asbestos was found in a popular brand of children’s crayon.

MAKES YOU THINK: Trump has repeatedly called warnings of the dangers of asbestos a conspiracy theory perpetrated by the mob. We have to wonder, are EPA’s actions and Trump’s ridiculous theory related? And if so, where do members of Congress stand? Do they agree that all asbestos should be banned — as they gave EPA the power to do and as it is in 60 other countries? Or do they support the Trump administration again favoring the chemical industry over protecting people from this dangerous chemical with a known body count?  

SCOTT THE “SCIENTIST”: New EPA documents reveal that Scott Pruitt did not use any scientific evidence when he claimed that humans were not a primary contributor to climate change. He made the statement during a 2017 television interview, but none of his preparation materials referenced scientific data. But since there’s absolutely no scientific evidence to support what Pruitt said, he didn’t have much to work with.

CARIBBEAN CLIMATE CRISIS: Terrified by hurricanes and rising sea levels, leaders in the Caribbean are begging Washington to take action to curb greenhouse gas emissions — their only hope to protect their homes and loved ones against the destructive path of climate change.

HEAT IN THE HEARTLAND: Unpredictable weather patterns and catastrophic flooding have destroyed the ability to harvest wild rice in the Midwest, where it is a staple food for Native American communities. This is yet another example of the Trump administration’s failure to act on climate change having an outsized impact on native people and communities of color.

WORTH A WATCH: Jimmy Kimmel informs Trump that climate change affects golf courses, too. Check it out here.

WEEKEND READ: This summer has wreaked havoc on the Northern Hemisphere, bringing drought, wildfires, and heatwaves. Read here about one of the deadliest summers in recorded history.

 

COMING UP:

NEXT WEEK — Senate and House on recess

SEPTEMBER — Trump administration expected to release their proposal to replace the Clean Water Rule, which will severely rollback Clean Water Act protections for waterways our families and communities depend on

SEPTEMBER 30 Expiration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the nation’s best parks program

NOVEMBER 6 — Election Day!

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Paid for by the League of Conservation Voters, www.lcv.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

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