THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – August 25th, 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:
“Governors across the country now have an opportunity – because of the VW settlement – to invest millions of dollars into clean transportation. I urge Nevada Governor Sandoval and governors across the country to put these funds to use to bring clean transportation to communities most impacted by air pollution today. Why not start with clean energy zero-emission school buses?”
-Van Jones, joining LCV’s Chispa program in Nevada to urge states to put the health of kids and communities first by using the $2.7 billion Volkswagen settlement fund allocated to states for electric, zero-emissions school buses
“Secretary Zinke’s so-called review of parks and monuments has been a complete sham, with arbitrary criteria for ‘pardoning’ some national monuments while attacking others. This exercise was nothing more than a pretext for selling out our public lands and waters as a political favor to Big Oil and other special interests who want to pad their profits. We and millions of others across this country who cherish our majestic public lands and waters will fight these changes with everything we’ve got.
-Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, following Secretary Zinke’s recommendation on Thursday to shrink our public lands
LCV IN THE NEWS:
Washington Post: Interior secretary recommends Trump alter at least three national monuments, including Bears Ears
The Hill: Zinke under fire from public lands advocates
Roll Call: Monuments Review Spurs Call to Overhaul Antiquities Act
McClatchy: Fate of 21 national monuments will land on Trump’s desk this week
Mother Jones: Trump Could Shrink Some of Our Most Beautiful National Monuments
Associated Press: Interior Secretary Recommends No Eliminations Of US National Monuments
Hoy: Grijalva alerta de la “amenaza” que supone el cierre de monumentos nacionales
La Opinion: Reevaluación de parques nacionales, un error monumental
OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY, AUGUST RECESS EDITION:
As senators and representatives spend 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:
Public News Service (NM): Should NM Lawsuit Windfall be Spent on Cleaner School Buses?
Brooklyn Eagle (NY): Robert Carroll receives perfect score from conservation voters for environmental commitment
Queens Chronicle (NY): NYLCV rates Queens delegation to Albany
Brooklyn Daily Eagle (NY): Robert Carroll receives perfect score from conservation voters for environmental commitment
Juneau Empire (AK): Assembly passes climate change resolution, but no specific mention of Paris Accord
Glenwood Springs Post Independent (CO): Your Watershed: A Colorado River report card
The Baltimore Sun (MD): Maryland joins 8 other states in carbon emission cuts
Washington Post (MD): East Coast states agree on greater carbon cuts for regional cap-and-trade pact
Naples Daily News (Op-Ed) (FL): Maybe money does grow on trees after all
NJ Spotlight (NJ): Feds Award NJ $70M to Upgrade Wastewater Drinking-Water Systems
Vermont Biz (VT): Hierl: Clean water will take new investments, more protective regulations
Wisconsin Radio Network (WI): GOP bill would allow for mining in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Gazette (WI): Wisconsin Republicans seeks to repeal water-pollution law
SIREN: TRUMP ADMIN ATTACKING PUBLIC LANDS UNDER CLOAK OF SECRECY: On Thursday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued secret recommendations to the White House, following the summer-long sham “review” he conducted on public lands and monuments. Thus far, he has reportedly recommended shrinking three monuments—Bears Ears National Monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. This recommendation shows that this so-called review was nothing more than a pretext to sell out our public lands as a political favor to Big Oil and at the expense of the millions of people who stood up in support of public lands during the comment period. “
OUR TAKE: The Trump administration ignored the nearly 3 million comments that called for the protection of our majestic lands and waters. Secretary Zinke’s ‘review’ was a complete sham, and we’re going to fight tooth and nail against further attempts to sell out our public lands to the highest bidder.
STATES GO GREEN: Despite Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and inaction on climate change at the federal level, states are continuing to take the lead. Read more below:
NEVADA, ARIZONA RALLY FOR CLEAN BUSES: In Nevada and Arizona this week, LCV’s Chispa, along with community members, rallied to put an end to the harmful air pollution that children and communities—particularly low-income and communities of color—face every single day from the toxic emissions of diesel school buses. They’re among several states where communities are urging their governors to dedicate funds from the VW settlement to transforming diesel school bus fleets to electric fleets, which would have an immediate and significant impact on the health and safety of communities.
CALIFORNIA GROWS GREEN ECONOMY: The 9th annual California Green Innovation Index, produced by the group Next 10, finds that since landmark climate legislation was enacted in California in 2006, the state’s GDP has experienced exponential growth at almost twice the rate seen across the rest of the country.
UP IN SMOKE: The man behind the curtain has been revealed—and it’s not the Wizard. A newly released study by Harvard experts reinforces evidence that Exxon Mobil has reportedly been publicly playing down the realities of climate change for decades. According to the study, the company “systematically misled non-scientific audiences about climate change”—in particular, via paid “advertorials” in the op-ed section of the New York Times, from 1972 through 2001. If this rings a bell, that’s because it made headlines in 2015 – and Exxon has been trying to clean up their reputation ever since, to little avail.
HEALTH STUDY? HALT IT: Donald Trump, who has repeatedly declared himself a friend of coal miners, has announced his decision to halt a study investigating the health risks of living near surface coal mining sites in Appalachia. The decision comes about as part of Trump’s plan for $1.6 billion in cuts to the Department of the Interior. Mountaintop removal mining—where peaks of mountains are blasted off and the rubble buries valley streams—is universally considered by scientists to be so harmful to the environment that the government should stop issuing permits immediately. But understanding the potential risks to people who live nearby clearly doesn’t matter to Trump, per his draconian cuts.
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: Daniel Kammen, the science envoy for the State Department, is the latest in a slew of senior environment and science advisors to resign from his post. Kammen cites Donald Trump’s “attacks on the core values of the United States… disregarding the welfare of all Americans, the global community and the planet,” as well as his “decision to abdicate leadership opportunities” in his resignation letter. Kammen now joins the ranks of many advisors, business leaders, and political allies who have left the administration over Trump’s reckless decisions and dangerous rhetoric.
SCRUBBING CLIMATE CHANGE, VOLUME 12: A division of the National Institutes of Health has removed references to climate change from its website. The words “climate change” were changed to simply read “climate,” and links to fact sheets, like those on climate change and human health, were also removed from the site. The changes themselves were brought to light in a report recently, but they mark the latest in a comprehensive effort by the Trump administration to remove references to climate change from public materials.
September 5 – Congress is back in session.
September 27 –The extended date 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.