This Week in Climate (In)Action: February 3, 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:

“With communities across the country increasingly alarmed by contaminants like lead, flame-retardant chemicals, and many other pollutants showing up in their drinking water, shredding safeguards for clean water is the exact opposite of what Congress should do.”

  • LCV President Gene Karpiniski, on the Senate vote to repeal the Stream Protection Rule, February 2, 2017

“It’s all too fitting that on Groundhog Day we’d wake up to the same egregiously irresponsible tactics by Senate Republicans to ram through an EPA nominee who refuses to answer vitally important questions.”

  • LCV SVP of Government Affairs, Tiernan Sittenfeld, on the Senate EPW’s decision to suspend committee rules and approve Scott Pruitt’s nomination, February 2, 2017

LCV IN THE NEWS

Washington Post: Senate Republicans suspend committee rules to approve Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA nominee

USA Today: Congress Passes First Rollback of Obama Environmental Rule

The Hill: Congress Must Not Roll Back Clean Water Protections

Roll Call: In Age of Trump, Chaos Reigns in The Senate

The Hill: Battle Over EPA Pick Is Big Business

Washington Post: This Lawmaker Wants To Ease Rules On Drilling In National Parks, And Conservationists Aren’t Happy

Grist: There’s An Environmental Argument Against Trump’s Border Wall, Too

BREAKING: Voting to Block Methane Rule, Republicans Continue Assault on Environment

The Republican-led House of Representatives voted Friday morning to permanently block the Bureau of Land Management’s Rule on Methane waste – a regulation that reduces methane leaks from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal lands. “This rollback is like an early Valentine’s Day gift from the Republican led House to the oil and gas industry,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski, “showing that they love them more than their constituents.”  A vote on this legislation could come up in the Senate as early as next week, where 24 Democratic Senators recently came out forcefully against the measure.

WEEK IN REVIEW:

WHAT’S HE HIDING? In Irresponsible Move, EPW Republicans Change Rules To Push Scott Pruitt to Senate Floor

With no Democrats present for the second day in a row in the committee chamber, Senate Republicans suspended the rules and pushed Scott Pruitt through for a full Senate vote without bipartisan approval. EPW Committee Democrats would not vote on Pruitt’s nomination due to his misrepresentation and evasion of his record throughout the confirmation process. “Nothing has changed since yesterday,” said LCV SVP for Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld, “we still don’t know what Scott Pruitt is hiding.” Everything about Pruitt’s record is antithetical to the vitally important mission of the EPA, and the League of Conservation Voters recently sent a letter to Senators stating unequivocally that we would score the vote on his confirmation in the 2017 National Environmental Scorecard—a step beyond our normal protocol of communicating our intention to “strongly consider” scoring a given vote.   

WE WON’T LET UP: LCV & Environmental Groups Protest Pruitt at Sen. Barrasso’s Office

LCV and other prominent environmental organizations protested at Senate EPW Committee Chair John Barrasso’s office Tuesday, demanding a delay of the committee’s vote on Scott Pruitt’s nomination until he provides essential information about his record. “The fact that Pruitt vigorously denies climate change and consistently acts on behalf of corporate polluters,” warned LCV SVP for Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld, “including suing the EPA 14 times over critical public health protections, shows he has no business leading this agency.”

DIFFICULT ROAD AHEAD: Tillerson Confirmed As Secretary of State Despite Record-Breaking Opposition

Rex Tillerson was sworn in Wednesday as John Kerry’s successor as Secretary of State with a 56-43 vote that confirms two things: Rex Tillerson is now the poster boy of Donald Trump’s rigged, polluter friendly cabinet and the most opposed Secretary of State nominee of the past five decades. The League of Conservation Voters is all in to ensure that the United States continues to meet its international climate commitments. With a record as disturbing as the former ExxonMobil CEO has – LCV will be watching Tillerson closely every step of the way.

HERE WE GO: Congress Rolled Back Obama clean water safeguard: Stream Protection Rule

Republicans used the Congressional Review Act to repeal commonsense safeguards for drinking water and public health. Eight years in the making, the Stream Protection Rule helps to protect clean water, combat mountaintop removal mining, and deter other serious environmental tragedies. Now, it’s the victim of unnecessary partisan attack as President Trump and Congressional Republicans pursue their anti-regulatory, polluter friendly agenda. LCV President Gene Karpinski criticized the shredding of the regulation, warning “this is simply the first step in President Trump’s war on clean water and the environment more broadly.”

CARBON-COPY OF SCALIA: Trump Nominates Gorsuch To Fill Merrick Garland’s SCOTUS Seat

Previously showcasing his disagreement with the doctrine of agency deference from the 1984 Chevron decision, Gorsuch disagrees with giving agencies “wide latitude in deciding how to interpret their responsibilities.” This anti-agency mentality could cause serious harm to departments under Trump’s watch, especially the EPA, that protect the public from all manner of harm. According to LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld, “Neil Gorsuch is a pitch-perfect President Trump nominee for the Supreme Court – a carbon-copy of Scalia who is both radical and dangerous…His extreme views should disqualify him from sitting on the Supreme Court, and we strongly urge the Senate to reject his nomination.”

SHOT: Trump Confidant Myron Ebell’s Ideal “Energy Stimulus”

Trump EPA transition head Myron Ebell outlined his vision for environmental policy in Trump’s America and it’s more clear than ever that President Trump will prioritize polluters’ profits over our health. He wants to stop funding international environmental commitments; fire thousands of agency employees, specifically at the EPA; and become the “World’s Dominant Energy Producer” through increased oil and natural gas development and “abolishing restrictions on power plants, making it easier to lease federal lands, approving more pipelines and boosting liquefied natural gas exports.”

CHASER: Ebell Says to Kiss the Paris Climate Deal Goodbye

What’s worse is that Ebell believes that Trump has firm plans to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, as the “U.S. will clearly change its course on climate policy.” This move would be sorely out of step with the majority of Americans who support action on climate change through this historic agreement.

COMING UP:

NEXT WEEK: FULL SENATE VOTE ON SCOTT PRUITT FOR EPA

The Senate chamber will vote on Scott Pruitt’s nomination for EPA Administrator in the coming days, and LCV is urging all Americans to contact their Senators to reject this unqualified nominee. With phone lines on Capitol Hill at their most flooded in recent history, direct advocacy is working: just look at the Betsy Devos nomination for proof. Constituents looking for next steps on how to contact their legislator can find all the information needed here.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Science March on Washington to be on Earth Day

On April 22nd, scientists and citizens alike will protest against the climate denial in the White House and host their own march in DC. The group, now hundreds of thousands of followers strong on social media, seeks to champion support and funding for science, science-based policy and diversity – each at risk in the Trump administration.

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