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This Week In Climate (In)Action

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – August 18th, 2017

Aug 18, 2017

Ariana Valderrama, Ariana_valderrama@lcv.org, 202-454-4554

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:

 “Since the last time a total eclipse of the sun crossed our great nation, Americans have fended off several attempts to liquidate our public lands, and we may be on the back end of the latest attempt… If we do our job right, the next time a total eclipse happens in Idaho — in 2169 — our public lands will still be here as legacies of our hard work and determination.”

  • Courtney Washburn, Executive Director of Conservation Voters for Idaho

 “Virginia has made significant progress growing a clean energy economy and safeguarding our state’s precious water and land resources, and this election is pivotal in ensuring continued conservation success.”

  • Michael Town, Executive Director of Virginia LCV PAC, announcing a $1.1 million field campaign supporting Ralph Northam’s campaign for governor

“This order will put people throughout the country at risk by allowing developers to ignore potential hazards while muzzling the public’s ability to weigh in on potentially harmful projects near their homes. Furthermore this executive order lets the government off the hook when it comes to constructing projects that should withstand flooding, putting lives at risk for the sake of speed over safety. Instead of this free pass for billionaires to build whatever they want, we need a forward-looking infrastructure plan that provides good jobs, clean energy, and safer, healthier communities.”

  • Alex Taurel, Deputy Legislative Director of LCV, in response to President Trump’s executive order steamrolling over the environmental review process for infrastructure project permits

 

LCV IN THE NEWS:

 Politico Morning Energy: Greens Launch ‘Final Push’ Against Monument Review

Washington Post: Trump to reverse Obama-era order aimed at planning for climate change

Bloomberg: Trump to Speed Up Public-Works Permits, Drop Climate Order

Colorado Politics: League of Conservation Voters spending big against Lamborn on public lands

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY, AUGUST RECESS EDITION:

 As senators and representatives return to their home states for August recess, 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:

Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA): Va. League of Conservation Voters PAC to announce $1.1 million field effort to boost Northam

Idaho Statesman (ID): Our land, our eclipse, our victories

Associated Press (TX): Timber! Top Texas Republicans look to axe local tree rules

Lincoln Journal Star (NE): Local View: Education key to recycling success

Greeley Tribune (CO): Water report meant to protect resource — Mailbox for Aug. 11

Bennington Banner (VT): Scott creates panel to study management of toxic chemicals

WNPR News (CT): As FDA Testing Resumes Of Herbicide, So Does Local Opposition

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 HEIGHTENED PRESSURE ON THE ADMINISTRATION TO PROTECT PUBLIC LANDS: The deadline is next week for Secretary Ryan Zinke to issue recommendations on his review of public lands and national monuments, and LCV is continuing to pressure the administration to listen to the nearly three million comments that people submitted in support of these special places. As the latest push in the several months-long Our Lands, Our Vote campaign, LCV is encouraging constituents to contact Secretary Zinke and their members of Congress – including Representatives Paul Gosar, Steve Pearce, Doug LaMalfa and Doug Lamborn – who have voiced support for rolling back protections for public lands and waters under review. LCV also has placed animated digital ads on Facebook and Instagram. Keep an eye out for more from the Our Lands, Our Vote campaign next week.

CAN’T STOP NOW: Our national parks and public lands are under unprecedented attack by the Trump administration. Through the Our Lands, Our Vote Campaign, LCV has been fighting to make sure communities’ voices are heard and that these public lands are protected so these treasures are not bought, sold and promptly destroyed by plundering corporate interests.

MIGHTY IS THE PEN: In addition to the nearly three million public comments  in support of public lands and waters during the comment period, Secretary Zinke and the Trump administration are now hearing from over 350 outdoor businesses. This week, outdoor businesses penned a letter to Zinke calling on him to protect the country’s public land and underlining the economic benefits of these places. The outdoor recreation industry employs 7.6 million people, and businesses are keeping pressure on the Trump administration at an all-time high.

ANYTHING HE CAN DO, I CAN DO WORSE: This week, Donald Trump signed an executive order that aims to eliminate a crucial environmental protection in the process of building infrastructure – a protection that was put in place by President Obama to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change and protect new structures from more severe storms.  Grandstanding from a podium in Trump Tower, Trump claimed this change makes the approval process all the more efficient. What he failed to mention, however, is that the move destroys risk-management and environmentally focused standards that deal realistically with the threats we face from climate change.

DIGGING FOR THE TRUTH: This week, ProPublica is out with a new report on the climate change study that was published by the New York Times earlier this month. The report digs into all the ways the Trump administration can (and likely will try to) bury the report and undermine its findings. The short of it? The report is non-controversial among those who accept the hard science of climate change, but because the Trump administration is full of climate science deniers who will go to great lengths to discredit any information that doesn’t track with their beliefs, there is concern they will go to great lengths to cover it up.

REAL IMPACT: The Washington Post reported the discovery of 91 volcanoes underneath Antarctica’s surface. The biggest risk? Melting ice can trigger eruptions. With the pace of melting quickening due to global warming, these volcanoes pose yet another threat if action on climate change isn’t taken soon.

SHADY SCOTT: PRUITT’S TRANSPARENCY PROBLEMS: It seems that every move Scott Pruitt’s EPA takes is less transparent than the last, but this week was a banner week for Shady Scott. Read more below:

CALIFORNIA TAKES PRUITT TO COURT: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit late last week against the EPA for refusing to provide documents that might show whether Pruitt has a conflict of interest. A recent memo released by the agency suggested that Pruitt might engage in EPA rulemaking on some of the same issues he has litigated in the past. Becerra requested documents through the Freedom of Information Act, but thus far, the EPA has refused to comply and release the appropriate documents.

EPA SHROUDED IN SECRECY: A damning new report on Pruitt’s EPA outlines the lengths the new EPA administrator goes to in order to carry out his reckless agenda in secret. He’s refused to publicly post his appointments calendar, refused to answer oversight questions, moved to curb public information, and allegedly created a secretive work environment among employees. Employees must be escorted to gain access to the floor where Pruitt’s office is, and are often barred from having cellphones or taking notes in meetings. Make no mistake about it – Scott Pruitt knows just how unpopular his dangerous agenda is, so he’s carrying it out under darkness.

HOEVEN CRITICIZES PRUITT: Pruitt visited North Dakota this week, making three stops as part of his tour discussing his agenda. The catch? All three meetings were closed to both media and members of the public. Senator John Hoeven hit back, telling the Bismarck Tribune that the meetings should have been open and public.

 THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE WATER: Scott Pruitt’s EPA is looking to scrap Obama-era limits on industrial wastewater from power plants dumped into U.S. waterways. Like many of the other potential repeals on the table, this reassessment comes at the behest of industry groups claiming to struggle under such standards—even if such standards seek to restrict pollutants like mercury and arsenic that are linked to deformities in fish and cancer in humans.

A FINAL NOTE: LCV mourns the lives that were lost in Charlottesville, stands with the victims, and strongly condemns the white supremacist terror attack that shook our nation last weekend. The intolerant and hateful rhetoric and actions of white supremacist groups should always be dismantled. We will continue to fight against bigotry, racism, and the systems of power and structural inequity that disenfranchise our communities and our planet.

 

COMING UP:

 August 19 – Day of Action ahead of the end of the Department of the Interior national monument review.

August 19 – Van Jones and Vien Truong of Dream Corps join LCV’s Chispa Nevada for a live event in Las Vegas in support of the Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign. LCV’s Chispa is organizing with communities to call on governors across the country to put the health of kids and communities first by using the $2.7 billion VW settlement fund allocated to states for electric, zero-emissions school buses.

 August 24 – The deadline for Secretary Zinke to issue his recommendations on the national monument review.

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