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QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“So, while the celebration over Pruitt’s resignation is understandable, there seems scant reason for optimism that his departure will result in a meaningful change in the direction of EPA’s harmful policies….To the extent Wheeler succeeds, the health of the American people, and the future of the world’s climate, could suffer grave damage that will be difficult to undo.”
–Former EPA Official Joel A. Mintz takes aim at Andrew Wheeler and the consequences of his leadership in a Miami Herald op-ed
“The EPA’s proposal is hypocritical, and the administration’s argument in its favor is incorrect.”
–Professors Ann Carlson and Cara Horowitz challenge Trump’s #CleanerCars rollback in the Washington Post
LCV IN THE NEWS:
Politico: Senators hit brakes on Wheeler drive
Flathead Beacon: Follow the Money in the Senate Race
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:
Petoskey News-Review (MI): Report: Line 5 shutdown would not significantly impact U.P. propane supply
Press of Atlantic City (NJ): State attorney general sues SJ Gas, Duell Fuel, over Atlantic City pollution
GreatLakesNow (MI): Michigan’s PFAS contamination emergency
Santa Fe New Mexican (NM): Conservation scores wins in New Mexico
WABI (ME): Save SCOTUS rally held Saturday in Augusta
HAPPY AUGUST — 95 DAYS UNTIL we hold Trump, Ryan Zinke, Andrew Wheeler, and this entire administration accountable for its failure to preserve environmental protections by electing a new, more environmentally-friendly Congress. Stay tuned as continue to track what’s at stake for voters and where climate, clean air, clean water and public lands are playing at the polls.
BREAKING — TRUMP REVOKES #CLEANERCARS STANDARDS: Yesterday, the Trump administration moved to officially gut Obama-era fuel efficiency standards that fought against climate change, improved air quality, and saved consumers billions of dollars. Although on the chopping block for some time, the administration has finally decided to march forward and is making misleading arguments to justify it’s latest environmental rollback.
HERE COMES CALIFORNIA: A 13-state coalition led by California plans on fighting the rollback in court — arguing that the Clean Air Act allows them to maintain the higher Obama-era standards and protect their own residents, which make up nearly 40% of the auto market.
CHECK THE PAPERS: Wondering how the legacy outlets are reacting to this monumental attack on the environment? Check out the top op-eds:
KAVA-NAH! It’s absolutely critical that we block Brett Kavanaugh’s path to the Supreme Court — and here’s some of the many reasons why:
ALL IN THIS TOGETHER: This week, we were proud to join with eight senators, including Schumer, Gillibrand, and Merkley, as well as leaders of Health Care Voter, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Planned Parenthood, and more at the Capitol for the “Rally to Stop Kavanaugh.”
OUR OWN SVP of government affairs, Tiernan Sittenfeld, spoke at the rally, saying: “Brett Kavanaugh is a massive threat to the rights of all people in this country to breathe clean air, to drink clean water, to enjoy our cherished public lands, to participate equitably in our democracy. Over and over and over again, Brett Kavanaugh sides with big polluters at the expense of the public interest.”
WHEELER WATCH: On Wednesday, Andrew Wheeler testified in front of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for the first time as acting EPA administrator. While he introduced himself to the committee and to the public for the first time in this new role, we can help you get to know the real Andrew Wheeler:
WILL SOMEONE ACTUALLY STAY TRUE TO THIS?: Wheeler is committed, in theory, like many others in this administration, to more transparency. This should allow for a clearer look at the agency’s attacks on our air, water and climate — and hopefully helps us to stop them before it’s too late.
FAST AND FURIOUS: Over at the EPA, a mad rush to deregulate is still underway — with the agency hoping that it can scrap as many regulations as possible so that the Trump administration can fight for its new policies in court.
FIRST ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK: Per E&E News: weakening fuel efficiency standards, writing a diluted replacement for the Clean Power Plan, loosening restrictions on air toxins, and softer rules on methane emissions.
ON THAT LAST POINT: Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is actively contributing to climate change — and Trump’s EPA is taking aim at rules that limit these potent emissions. According to Axios, Wheeler and Co.’s strategy is to incrementally tinker with the rules until the Obama regulations are severely weakened, then they will introduce broader change, likely proposing to scrap methane rules entirely. This will have a big impact on our ability to fight climate change, particularly as methane pollution speeds up warming in the near-term.
THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS: While Trump purports that air quality has never been better, Bloomberg notes that his administration has taken concrete steps to worsen air quality across the country. From rolling back pollution rules to scrapping fuel efficiency standards, Trump’s EPA is launching an all-out assault against our health and safety — despite what the president is claiming.
#FLSEN SLIME ALERT: With Florida’s green algae catastrophe continuing to make headlines, Senate candidate Rick Scott is attempting to pin the blame on everyone except his climate-denying, budget-slashing administration. Classic @RickRollRickSct — but he can’t spin himself out of this one. From editorial boards and cartoonists to Erin Brockovich, people across Florida are calling out Scott for toxic policies that hurt water quality and put industry in charge of keeping pollution in check.
FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE: Veteran reporter Julie Hauserman takes a look at how we got here: “As horrified people watch dead manatees, marine mammals, fish and hundreds of sea turtles wash up on Florida’s southwest coast, politicians are tripping over one another to express concern. But a look back eight years ago shows that three key state leaders – Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, and Attorney General Pam Bondi – fought bitterly against stricter limits for the very pollution now sliming South Florida. And they started with a letter written just 10 days after they were elected.” Worth a read….
ZINKE ON THE ROPES: The New Republic put together one of the best, most succinct arguments against Zinke. Read up on all of Zinke’s efforts to sell out our public lands for industry gain — from expanding offshore drilling to shrinking national monuments to eliminating damage payments for drilling on public land.
STORM A-BREWIN’: The Interior Department Inspector General is looking into whether Zinke colluded with Big Oil firm Halliburton to ease approval of a development project in exchange for ownership of a microbrewery. We hear Zinke’s wanted his very own microbrewery for years, which raises a very important question: is Halliburton bribing Zinke by making his dream come true? If so, what is he giving in return?
FROM THE CENTER FOR WESTERN PRIORITIES: Courtesy of Aaron Weiss: “Why should Westerners care about this development deal, and Zinke’s claims of innocence? … When oil and gas operations expand on American public lands, Halliburton makes money. When the Interior Department undermines safeguards placed on companies like Halliburton — like it did by repealing the 2015 fracking rule which protected land and water from hydraulic fracturing — Halliburton makes money … Secretary Zinke’s unquestioning obedience to oil and gas companies leads directly to new business for Halliburton. When the chairman of Halliburton then steps in with a development deal that will personally benefit Ryan and Lola Zinke, it takes on the appearance of a quid pro quo.”
YOUR WEEKEND READ: This week, the New York Times Magazine published a piece in which author Nathaniel Rich writes about climate change during 1979 and 1989, or as he calls it, “the decade we almost stopped climate change, but didn’t.” The piece has generated a lot of buzz, including many critiques from climate scientists. We all know that action has been stymied in Washington over the last few years, and we know who is behind it. But, that could change as more and more voters are making climate and the environment a priority issue at the ballot box!
FEEL GOOD INC: If you need a pick-me-up after a long week, check out this story about an organization in the UK that encourages members to plant a tree every time Trump tweets about climate change.
NEXT WEEK — Senate and House on recess
AUGUST — Trump administration expected to release their proposal to replace the Clean Water Rule, which will severely rollback Clean Water Act protections for waterways our families and communities depend on
SEPTEMBER 30 — Expiration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the nation’s best parks program
NOVEMBER 6 — Election Day!