THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION-July 28, 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:

“Secretary Zinke’s job is to steward the national parks and monuments and not turn them over to the oil and gas industry. No one should believe that this drilling and mining has anything to do with conservation.”

  • Alex Taurel, League of Conservation Voters’ Deputy Legislative Director on the Interior Department prioritizing making money for oil and gas over protecting our public lands

 “With these nominations, President Trump is once again catering to his polluter allies and prioritizing their profits over our kids’ health. While the rest of the world is embracing clean energy innovation, Trump stands alone as the most anti-environmental president we’ve ever had.”

  • Tiernan Sittenfeld, League of Conservation Voters’ Senior Vice President for Government Affairs statement on reported EPA nominees

 “They want to do this in the dark without the public or judges getting a say. It’s pretty radical and extreme.”

  • Madeleine Foote, Legislative Representative for the League of Conservation Voters, on a provision in the House Energy and Water spending bill that aims to exempt Trump’s efforts to repeal the Clean Water Rule from judicial review and public comment

“[The Defense appropriations minibus] includes dangerous public health and environmental policy riders while also cutting critical investments in our renewable energy future… Ultimately, this is more than a disregard of human health and environmental protection: it is irresponsible politics with impacts that will span generations.”

  • LCV President Gene Karpinski on H.R. 3219, a minibus appropriations bill that contains a host of harmful provisions and passed the House late Thursday

 

“Our families deserve a voice in Washington and leadership that reflects the fabric of their being, their cultures, and their desire to protect Mother Nature. Last month, the League of Conservation Voters unveiled a special report, the 2016 National Environmental Scorecard Report on Congressional Caucuses of Color, which, through new analysis of their Scorecard data, shows that members of Congress of color are among the strongest supporters of public health and the environment.”

  • Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, and Cristóbal J. Alex, President of the Latino Victory Fund on the importance of communities of color in the conversation about climate change solutions

 

“[Scott Pruitt] is destroying the mission of the EPA. He is pushing policies that will make poor people poorer and rich people richer. And he is quite literally putting his own political career above the welfare of tens of thousands of people. While the air quality in many parts of America has gotten better in recent decades, air pollution still causes more than 200,000 premature deaths a year; even small increases in pollution mean more deaths.”

 

LCV IN THE NEWS:

Washington Post: The Energy 202: House GOP wants to slick the skids for water rule repeal

Washington Post: Trump to tap longtime coal lobbyist for EPA’s No. 2 spot

Huff Post: House GOP Tries To Slip Through ‘Radical’ Rollback Of Drinking Water Protections

Bloomberg: The U.S. Interior Department Has a New Mission: To Make Money

The New Republic: The GOP’s Sneaky Attack on Clean Water—and on the Public’s Right to Fight Back

The Hill: President Trump: People of color need seat at table on climate change

Think Progress: House spending package contains big cuts to clean energy, Appalachian development programs

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

The Press Enterprise (CA): IE legislators lead on environment, health

In These Times (WI): The Great Midwestern Divide: Why Minnesota and Wisconsin’s Political Schism Matters

North Jersey (NJ): Delaware River featured in contest to promote watershed area

Long Island Business News (NY): Rosengarten: Fighting the anti-green NIMBY machine

Michigan Live (MI): 14 dueling opinions on Enbridge Line 5

 

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ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CAPITOL: With all eyes on the Senate’s healthcare debate this week, the House Republicans quietly snuck a rider into a major appropriations bill that would exempt the administration’s repeal of the Clean Water Rule from “any provision of statute or regulation that establishes a requirement for such withdrawal.” This is an extreme and radical attempt to bypass judicial review and public comment, shielding the EPA’s repeal of drinking water protections for 1 in 3 people from scrutiny. Trump and his administration should not be above the law – when it comes to undermining clean water safeguards or anything else.

 IF IT WALKS LIKE A DUCK… On Monday the Senate confirmed David Bernhardt as the number two at the Department of Interior. Like many officials in the Trump administration, Bernhardt seems to have a questionable sense of ethics. He continued to represent clients after his lobbying registration was deactivated, and because of his industry ties, he’s been called a “walking conflict of interest.” During his lobbying career, he repeatedly fought for corporate polluters and to undermine federal protections for the environment and public health.  And yet, the Trump administration chose to elevate him to the number two spot at the Department of the Interior, proving once again that they care more about padding the pockets of corporate polluters than they do about protecting our treasured public lands and special places.

EARTH TO PRUITT: Top Democrats on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee are challenging EPA Director Scott Pruitt on his proposed “red team-blue team” debates over climate change. Pruitt seems to be living in an alternative reality where climate change isn’t the international scientific consensus. The letter from Democrats said that Pruitt seems to be “divorced from reality.” We couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, in true Trump fashion, the White House is only working with those who already agree with them! They’ve looked to the climate-denying Heartland Institute to work on “new global warming science.”

WORTH THE READ: Rolling Stone just published a scathing, revealing profile on Pruitt that runs through practically every instance he’s put corporate polluters and industry over public health. The more the curtain is pulled back on the Trump administration, the clearer it becomes that their priorities lie with corporate polluters and not our communities.

ZINKE SWAGGERS, STAFF EXECUTES:  Showing up to work on a horse hasn’t distracted people from Sec. Zinke’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations and pack the Department of Interior with former oil and coal lobbyists.  We’ve said it time and time again since January — the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are attacking environmental progress left and right. This week, the New York Times summed up Zinke’s role nicely in this headline:

As Interior Secretary Swaggers Through Parks, His Staff Rolls Back Regulations

Zinke might fancy himself a modern day Teddy Roosevelt, but we’re certain that Teddy would disagree. As Zinke traverses the country, visiting the very national monuments that he’s trying to shrink or abolish, LCV is working in partnership with other environmental groups and outdoor businesses to mobilize people against his efforts. The coalition drove over 2.7 million comments in support of preserving all of our national monuments during the public comment period, including over 350,000 from LCV members as part of the Our Lands, Our Vote campaign.

OUTDOOR INDUSTRY RALLIES FOR PUBLIC LANDS: About 3,000 people turned out for the March for Public Lands in Utah this week, coinciding with the Outdoor Retailer summer trade show. The show will move to Denver next year, in protest of Utah’s anti-public lands rhetoric and policies. LCV spoke with Kirsten Blackburn from the Conservation Alliance at the march about how the outdoor recreation economy depends on our public lands.

AN INCONVENIENT REALITY: An environmentally-minded cartoonist launched a comic strip this week with a dark twist: the characters and the cartoon itself will disappear. The comic features talking penguins, polar bears, and other Arctic creatures who worry together about their impending doom due to climate change. Readers will see the cartoons diminish until Friday, as a cartoon animal remarks that “climate change will lead to habitat loss and the extinction of many species.” The series was inspired by the release of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Sequel” this Friday.

BONUS READ: Coal baron Robert Murray is suing John Oliver to make sure that the episode of Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, which describes Murray as “a geriatric Dr. Evil”, does not re-air. In the episode Oliver criticized Murray’s business practices and anti-environmental positions.

 

COMING UP

July 29 – In Nevada, the Latinx Coalition holds Latinx Congreso to present 2017 Nevada Latinx Legislative Scorecard highlighting laws that impact Latinx community In Nevada.

July 31 — Energy Secretary Rick Perry will visit a uranium plant cleanup site in Ohio.

August 14 — The new deadline for the end of the comment period on the Marine Monuments Review.

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