THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – September 1, 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:

“We—the environmental community, the millions of people across the country who love public lands, the outdoor recreation industry, the tribes, the faith and veterans community—we collectively are gonna use every lawful tool at our disposal to resist this assault on our public lands and waters.” 

– Alex Taurel, LCV deputy legislative director speaking to a boisterous crowd following Secretary Zinke’s secret report to shut down swathes of America’s parks and monuments

 

“President Trump’s pardon continues his pattern of morally and politically bereft decision making, which comes as no surprise from an administration unable to rebuke white supremacy while working to build a xenophobic and environmentally dangerous border wall. To give a free pass to someone like Joe Arpaio — who has a long history of corruption, violent and racist practices, and discriminatory policing — is simply sickening.”

                  -Jennifer Allen, League of Conservation Voters’ Arizona-based Senior Vice President of Community & Civic Engagement on Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY, AUGUST RECESS EDITION:

 As senators and representatives spend the last weekend of August recess in their home states, LCV’s state affiliates are hard at work fighting to ensure that constituents’ voices are heard. Across the country, environmental allies and activists are standing up to protect the environment and fight climate change in the states.

 Here’s what our allies and state leagues were up to this week:

 KHPO (AZ): Arizona group wants $57 million Volkswagen settlement to go toward electric school buses

Lake Oswego Review (OR): Profiles: Learn more about the finalists in House District 38

Associated Press (MI): Company finds gaps in underwater oil pipeline’s coating

MLive (MI): Line 5 bare metal exposed in coating gaps, Enbridge confirms

WKZO (MI): Local state house representative talks energy policy

Daily Record (NJ): Frelinghuysen key to saving EPA, environmentalists say

 

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 NOTED CLIMATE DENIER JOINS EPA: Former Wisconsin construction company owner and noted climate denier Cathy Stepp is joining Trump’s EPA. As a reminder, she ordered references to “climate change” to be removed from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website and also claimed she didn’t know Trump thought climate change was a hoax. And as the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters noted, her tenure at the Department of Natural Resources has been marked by “a decline in protections for Wisconsin’s natural resources.” As the Washington Post noted this week, Scott Pruitt is beginning to fill the EPA with appointees who will support his agenda and likely speed up the dismantling of environmental progress made during the Obama administration.

SHAMING TRUMP: President Trump and the “know-littles and do-nothings” of his administration may ignore the harmful impacts of climate change, but leaders in states throughout the country are taking action. Nine states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative “agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants an additional 30 percent by 2030, on top of the 40 percent cut they have already achieved since the program began in 2009.” The initiative has raised $2.7 billion, according to the NYT, while electricity rates are lower, economies in the states are growing and harmful pollution is reduced.

As the NYT opined, the effort “shame[s] President Trump and his appointees.”

With poll after poll showing bipartisan support for action on climate change and protections for our health and environment, Trump would be wise to start following the wishes of those he represents.

 

MAYORS RISE AGAINST: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wrote a Guardian op-ed entitled, “If Donald Trump won’t tackle climate change, then Chicago will.” In the piece, he argues that in response to the White House’s wrong approach on the Paris Climate Agreement, cities are “redoubling [their] efforts to [meet] the landmark accords’ benchmarks. [They] not only have the power to take action, but unlike Washington we have the will to get the job done.” Chicago is hosting the first North American Climate Summit this Fall, bringing leaders from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico to collaborate on sustainability practices.

SHADY SCOTT: EPA PROBING PRUITT TRAVEL: An internal watchdog at the EPA announced in a memo that the agency would launch a probe into Scott Pruitt’s travel to Oklahoma. Since taking over the EPA, Pruitt has traveled frequently to his home state on the taxpayer’s dime, and congressional requests and hotline complaints have now triggered a formal investigation.

ZINKE Raises More Ethical Questions: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is facing questions over the deeply discounted sale of his congressional campaign bus to a friend in the Montana legislature. The motorhome is estimated to be worth $50,000, and yet, Zinke’s campaign committee sold it to state Senator Ed Buttrey for just $25,000. Further complicating the matter, Buttrey is reportedly being considered for a position at the Department of Interior.

 SCRUBBING CLIMATE CHANGE, VOLUME 15: Jennifer Bowen, an ecologist and associate professor at Northwestern University, posted a letter on Facebook showing a Department of Energy official asking her to remove the words “climate change” and “global warming” from a grant proposal. This is just the latest in a slew of instances of the Trump administration scrubbing the words “climate change” from public documents and records. Unfortunately for them, calling it another name doesn’t mean it ceases to be a major global threat.

TILLERSON TAKES U.S. AWAY FROM SEAT AT THE TABLE: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced he would eliminate special envoy positions at the State Department, including the top climate envoy position. The move is unsurprising for an administration that has continued to make decisions on climate and environment that rip the United States from a place of global leadership, and once again, it was met with concern from lawmakers that the United States is ceding leadership on climate issues to countries like Germany and China.

A FINAL NOTE: Our thoughts are with all families and communities in Texas and Louisiana affected by the devastation following Hurricane Harvey.

 

COMING UP:

 September 5 — Congress returns to D.C. after August recess.

 September 18 – 24 – NYC Climate Week: Climate Week will bring together leaders from the business community to showcase the economic cost and opportunity that climate change presents.

September 27 –The extended date by which to submit public comments on the EPA’s attempts to roll back the Clean Water Rule.

 September 29 – The United States government hits the debt ceiling

 October 1 – Government funding expires

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