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.
DON’T MISS: LCV’s Senior VP Tiernan Sittenfeld talking Paris Agreement with Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls.
ICYMI: Check Out LCV’s Video Capturing the Momentum of the Enviro Resistance Movement.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“This is one of the worst decisions ever made by any president ever. Period.”
-Gene Karpinski, President of League of Conservation Voters
“Any Republican members of Congress who stand with Trump do so at their peril… [Trump’s decision] is bad for public health, bad for the environment, bad for the U.S.’s standing in the world, and cedes the clean energy economy to China and others.”
-Tiernan Sittenfeld, League of Conservation Voters’ Senior Vice President for Policy on Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement
“President Trump has turned his back on America’s thriving clean energy industry and our health with this shortsighted decision. He must not realize that this is more about Paris, TX than Paris, France. The impacts of this politically-motivated decision will be felt in every American community, across the American economy and by every American child. Failure to act on climate change threatens our health, our security and our economy. This decision cedes American leadership and innovation to China, India and other countries who will take advantage of American workers by reaping the benefits of the clean energy economy while the United States stands idle.”
-Carol M. Browner, Former EPA Administrator, Former Director of White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy and LCV Board Chair
“With or without U.S. leadership, other countries, businesses, states, cities and citizens are continuing the unstoppable march toward the clean energy economy. The League of Conservation Voters stands with the majority of voters who want climate action and will continue holding this administration accountable, fighting back, and making progress in cities and states across the country.”
-Gene Karpinski, President of League of Conservation Voters, as a response to reports that Trump may withdraw from the Paris Agreement
LCV IN THE NEWS:
Huffington Post: Trump Pulled The U.S. Out of The Paris Deal. Now Greens Want The GOP To Pay.
Morning Consult: Paris Supporters raise alarm ahead of Trump’s Decision
FiveThirtyEight: The Paris Agreement Would Have Been Less Partisan 30 Years Ago
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:
Culver City News (CA): Polystyrene law may get closure with Senate Bill
Watertown Daily Times (NY): State DEC commissioner defends Plan 2014, calls out IJC for shipping focus
Las Vegas Weekly (NV): A ‘Postcard Party’ Helps Break The Seal Of Political Action
Citizen-Times (NC): Who made the grade? This week’s editorial report card
NorthJersey.com (NJ): Governor’s race 2017: Front-runners holding as primary nears
AMERICA LAST: TRUMP WITHDRAWS FROM PARIS: Yesterday, Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, delivering a devastating blow to America’s global leadership on climate change. The reckless decision has drawn sharp criticisms abroad and at home. While the White House tries to make the argument that this is an “America First” decision, U.S. businesses, states, cities, as well as foreign leaders and policy experts alike beg to differ.
FOREIGN POLICY FAILURE: Trump’s move has built alliances between leaders abroad, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Indian PM Narendra Modi, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reaffirming their firm commitment to the agreement. The withdrawal of the U.S. from the agreement severely damages the Trump administration’s clout abroad, and will likely have lasting, detrimental effects on U.S. foreign policy. American diplomats have also slammed the decision. R. Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and under secretary of state during the Bush administration, called the decision “a colossal mistake – an abdication of American leadership.”
BAD FOR BIZ: The Trump administration has trumpeted this as an “America First” decision, but a strong coalition of American businesses have been urging the administration to stay in the agreement for months. A wide range of companies — from Exxon to Facebook — have expressed their support for the agreement, and business leaders across the country have expressed their strong disapproval with the decision to exit. Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Disney CEO Bob Iger both left White House advisory councils in reaction to Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement.
UNLIKELY ALLIANCES: Trump’s reckless decision has inspired a bipartisan chorus urging him to remain in the agreement. Senator John McCain and former Governor Mitt Romney have both spoken in support of staying in, while Energy Secretary Rick Perry has encouraged Trump to renegotiate rather than abandon the deal. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also advised Trump to stay in the agreement. Seventeen Governors expressed disappointment with the decision, including Republican governors John Kasich (OH), Charlie Baker (MA), Larry Hogan (MD) and Phil Scott (VT). Democrats in the House and Senate have been vocal supporters of the agreement since its inception, as well as environmental groups across the country.
PITTSBURGH: THANKS, BUT NO THANKS: Trump touted his decision as placing American cities ahead of foreign countries, saying he was elected to serve Pittsburgh and not Paris. Pittsburgh immediately took issue, with Mayor Bill Peduto tweeting that the city would be following the guidelines of the Paris Agreement despite the reckless decision. In fact, Mayor Peduto went one step further and announced Pittsburgh is joining the Mayors for 100 percent Clean Energy coalition. American cities from Miami to Des Moines to Toledo are severely impacted by the effects of climate change, and will have to take the lead while the Trump administration continues to ignore the threat of climate change. One-hundred-and-fifty Mayors signed a statement agreeing to uphold the Paris agreement, a growing list that more than doubled since Trump’s press conference.
BOTTOM LINE: With such a broad, bipartisan coalition of business leaders and elected officials at home and abroad speaking in favor of staying in the agreement, it’s hard to see how this decision is anything other than reckless, irresponsible pandering to special interests.
DRILL, BABY, DRILL: Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke visited Alaska this past week and signed an order that opens the process of drilling in Alaska. The order covers two areas in Alaska: the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which is the largest block of federally managed land in the country, and the coastal region of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Arctic Refuge is one of America’s greatest environmental treasures and should be permanently protected from Big Oil.
NO JUSTICE AT EPA: Trump’s proposed budget included massive cuts to the EPA and would entirely eliminate a host of important programs, including the critical environmental justice program, which works to combat higher rates of pollution in communities of color and offers support to residents dealing with local hazards. On Thursday, Democratic Representatives Donald McEachin, Nanette Diaz Barragán, and Pramila Jayapal sent a letter to Scott Pruitt urging him to build and strengthen the program, which was signed by 43 other members of Congress.
ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT FIGHTS BACK: On Thursday night, climate activists rallied outside of the White House to protest Trump’s withdrawal from the deal. Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters, spoke at the rally alongside leaders of environmental organizations, unions, environmental justice groups, and progressive groups.
CLEAN WATER: The Trump administration is likely to move towards reversing the Clean Water Rule. The League of Conservation Voters testified before the Office of Management and Budget in support of upholding the rule, which protects clean drinking water for 1 in 3 Americans. LCV will be holding the administration and lawmakers accountable for putting clean drinking water in peril if they reverse this critical protection.
MONUMENTS MANIA: June 8 is the anniversary of the signing of the Antiquities Act, the law used by presidents of both parties to first protect nearly half of our national parks including the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Acadia. Interior Secretary Zinke is testifying that day before the House Interior-EPA Appropriations Subcommittee, which comes just ahead of the June 10 deadline for him to make recommendations to President Trump on the fate of Utah’s tribal-supported Bears Ears National Monument as part of his “review” of existing national monuments. This review is nothing more than an attack on national parks, monuments, and other public lands. No president has ever attempted to abolish a national monument—one reason this review has already generated an outpouring of opposition from the public, including more than 685,000 comments in support of Bears Ears during its short, 15-day comment period.