THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – September 22, 2017

Betsy Lopez-Wagner, blopez-wagner@lcv.org, 202-454-4570

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – September 22, 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

“President Trump should throw [Secretary Zinke’s] recommendations in the trash and end his administration’s unprecedented assault on lands and waters that drive our outdoor recreation economy, preserve our cultural heritage, and conserve critical wildlife habitat.”

“U.S. Climate Alliance is making real progress toward reducing carbon pollution and building our clean energy future – just look at Colorado, where the state’s largest utility announced a major pivot toward renewables just weeks after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed onto the Alliance.”

  • LCV State Policy Director Bill Holland, responding to a new report showing that states and cities in the U.S. Climate Alliance are on track to meet their goals under the Paris Climate Agreement

“[The Constitution] includes justice, it includes equal protection and equal rights—not for the largest corporations, but for We the People. That means everyone has equal access to clean air and to clean water, no matter their zip code. It means we all can enjoy the public lands that make our country great. It means putting people first—not corporations.”

  • Desiree Tims, LCV Judiciary Program Director, speaking at the We the People Rally: Reclaiming our Constitution

LCV IN THE NEWS:

Colorado Politics: Pete Maysmith moves on from Conservation Colorado to head up national elections effort
Politico Morning Energy: GREEN AD HITS LAWMAKERS OVER SPENDING BILL
E&E News: Air chief nominee ‘not fit for the job’ — enviros
E&E News: Dems, enviros eye major changes to omnibus

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:

NJ.com (NJ): America doesn’t care about climate change because we elected Trump? Hogwash!
Daily Record (NJ): OPINION: In the Highlands, it’s all about the water
Milwaukee Business News (WI): Should Wisconsin repeal the state’s moratorium on sulfide mining?
Seacoast Online (NH): Environmentalists to host screening of ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’

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ALL-OUT ASSAULT ON PUBLIC LANDS: Over the weekend, the Washington Post obtained a copy of Secretary Zinke’s recommendations to President Trump following Zinke’s sham “review” of monuments and public lands. The memo outlines what we already knew to be true—the Trump administration is mounting an all-out attack on our public lands. In what would amount to an unprecedented giveaway to Big Polluters and other special interests that would exceed Trump’s constitutional and statutory authority, the memo reveals the administration’s plans to shrink or modify ten national monuments in an effort to allow commercial logging, fishing, and coal and oil extraction.

OUR TAKE: Secretary Zinke’s recommendations represent the largest attack on protected public lands in our nation’s history. Closing down parts of America’s parks and monuments would open up huge swaths of protected lands to drilling and mining speculators and other special interests. Read more from LCV President Gene Karpinski here.

FUNDING CUTS? NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN: Last Thursday, the House voted to cut funding for the National Park Service, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Environmental Protection Agency, all while advancing anti-environmental policy riders. This week, LCV launched a $50,000 digital ad campaign in response, holding eight members of Congress accountable for their votes on public lands and other environmental priorities.

LCV President Gene Karpinski on the vote: “Members of Congress who refuse to stand up to this radical agenda should know that their constituents are listening and will hold them accountable for putting corporate polluter profits ahead of our families.”

KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE: After President Trump announced his inhumane plan to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in six months—a plan that would leave 800,000 young people living in fear—LCV responded, and we and our members are calling on Congress to pass the Dream Act. While Trump continues to hand our planet over to polluters, young people are taking climate action into their own hands and DREAMers are key to driving this progress. We won’t stand by and watch as the Trump administration devalues a generation of young people who are deeply rooted and invested in this country’s future.

PARIS KERFUFLE: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated on Face the Nation that the Trump administration could stay in the agreement “under the right conditions.” The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. might remain in the agreement. Then the White House vehemently denied both reports. This chain of events sparked confusion in the global community, with French President Macron asserting that the door is always open for the United States to rejoin the agreement but the door is shut to any renegotiations. Make no mistake—the only way the Trump administration could actually be serious is if it stops its full-out assault on climate action, sound science, and protecting communities from climate change’s impacts.

IN GOOD COMPANY? Nicaragua, a country that originally declined to sign the Paris Climate Agreement because they felt it did not go far enough, decided to join the deal as a move of solidarity with countries suffering the impacts of climate change. This leaves only the U.S. and war-torn Syria declining to support the Paris Climate Agreement.

STATE AND LOCAL ACTION: As of Thursday, fifteen U.S. governors and 375 mayors have announced plans to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals. These local elected officials are stepping up to protect our future in the absence of Presidential leadership, and by coordinating their action they can make massive inroads on limiting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

ARCTIC REFUGE DRILLING FACING FULL-ON ASSAULT: An Interior Department memo shows that the Trump administration is recommending lifting restrictions on exploratory studies in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This report comes at the same time as Republican leaders in the House and Senate are preparing to advance 2018 budget resolutions intended to open up the Arctic Refuge to drilling for the first time ever as a rider to so-called tax “reform” legislation.

SCRUBBING CLIMATE CHANGE, VOLUME…HONESTLY, WE LOST TRACK: The Trump administration has deleted or hidden all of the data on climate change from the taxpayer-funded U.S. Geological Survey. In December 2016, the USGS website had 320 links to climate data and 5,271 links to informational webpages. Now, the same website has zero links to either.

WORTH THE READ: After the EPA announced the possibility of rolling back restrictions on coal ash from power plants last week, the New York Times published a forceful  response. The editorial board slammed Scott Pruitt for putting the interests of corporate donors ahead of the safety of communities who will be put at risk from dangerous coal ash pollution.

LCV TEAM GROWS: We’re thrilled to announce that Pete Maysmith, currently the executive director of Conservation Colorado, is joining the LCV team as Senior Vice President of Campaigns. Pete will oversee our electoral work, which totaled $45 million last cycle, as well as our grassroots campaigns focused on advancing policy issues.

MEMBERS OF ARIZONA STATE LEGISLATURE SUPPORT #CLEANRIDE4KIDS, URGE “BOLD ACTION”: Thirty four members of the Arizona state Legislature sent a letter to Governor Ducey to strongly encourage him to use $53 million from the Volkswagen (VW) Mitigation Trust Fund to benefit Arizona’s K-12 public schools and protect Arizona’s environment and community health by purchasing and investing in electric, zero-emissions bus fleets.

COMING UP:

September 24 – LCV Board Member and leader of the Hip Hop Caucus Rev. Lennox Yearwood will join actors Adrien Grenier and Hilton Kelley, and singer Antonique Smith and others to discuss “Frontline Communities: Untold Stories of the Climate Movement” at a People’s Climate Music event in New York City. Click here to learn more and attend.

September 26 – Climate Action North Carolina hosts “Environmental Justice: The Legacy of Thurgood Marshall” in Charlotte, to mark the 50th anniversary of Justice Thurgood Marshall becoming the first African-American on the Supreme Court and discuss how we can fight current attacks on environmental justice.

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

September 28 – LCV’s Chispa will host a congressional briefing at 12:30 p.m. eastern to discuss Clean Buses for Healthy Niños, a campaign to fight diesel pollution and safeguard the health of kids and communities by using VW settlement dollars for electric, zero-emissions bus fleets. Speakers will include Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), and community members and activists pushing for #CleanRide4Kids from Arizona, Connecticut, Nevada and Maryland. Stay tuned for location details. Chispa will also announce the official launch of its campaign website and a new action tool.

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