QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“The Dirty Water Rule would allow pollutants to flow into our waterways. Clean water is a right. Our streams & wetlands are not corporate polluter sewers. They belong to the people, who shouldn’t have to fear being poisoned when they drink a glass of water.”
-Senator Ed Markey highlighting the real harms of the Trump administration’s rollbacks to the Clean Water Act
“Let’s be very clear: Congress was not confused or uncertain about what it was seeking to protect when it passed the Clean Water Act. […] To cut back important protections for our waters – especially when we have enjoyed and profited from 50 years of strong standards – is nothing short of senseless.”
-Senator Tom Carper slamming the Trump administration for gutting protections for streams and wetlands in its new Dirty Water Rule
LCV IN THE NEWS:
Newsweek: Trump Administration Rollback Could Threaten Clean Drinking Water for Millions of Americans, Environmental Group Says
The Hill: Top Lobbyists of 2018
The Colorado Sun: Cory Gardner’s science award led some to cry foul over climate change. Here’s why that’s notable for 2020.
ThinkProgress: Golf course owners, farmers, property developers greet Trump water protections rollback
E&E News: Greens launch ads to press lawmakers on LWCF
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:
Bozeman Daily Chronicle (MT): Bozeman business and city leaders fighting climate change
The Daily Courier (AZ): Schools will be seeing new school buses, no cost
City & State (NY): Julie Tighe on ditching government to save the environment
Washington Post (VA): Virginia Gov. Northam proposes more money for a cleaner Chesapeake Bay
Petoskey News-Review (MI): Bill limits state agencies from exceeding federal regulations
H2-OH NO: This week, the Trump administration announced a proposed rollback to the scope of the Clean Water Act, attacking safeguards that protect the drinking water of millions of people. This Dirty Water Rule would remove key protections from “tens of thousands of miles of streams,” which are critical for drinking water, “and millions of acres of wetlands,” that filter pollution, protect communities from flooding, and serve as habitat for wildlife.
OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski strongly condemned the attack, saying: “This despicable attack on our clean water from Trump and his corrupt administration comes as no surprise as they have clearly and consistently put the profits of polluters ahead of what’s best for our families. However, with too many communities across the country struggling with health crises related to their water, whether it be lead poisoning in Flint or toxic red tide in Florida or coal ash and hog waste-contaminated rivers in North Carolina, Trump’s Dirty Water Rule is still an appalling rollback of critical safeguards for our waterways. It is crystal clear that we must do more, not less, to ensure every family in this country has access to clean and safe drinking water, and we pledge to fight this dangerous proposal to turn our drinking water sources back into the waste dumps of big polluters.”
WHAT’S NEXT: The EPA is currently allowing for 60 days of public comment, but some elected officials like future Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) are already planning on holding “extensive oversight hearings and exposing how this would harm the majority of the people and interests in this country to favor a few polluting entities and a few rapacious developers.”
NO WALL FUNDING, NO #DIRTYBUDGET: As Trump seemingly pushes for a government shutdown, LCV and our progressive allies are standing strong in our opposition to a xenophobic and environmentally-destructive border wall. A shutdown over such an unnecessary and unpopular proposal would be Trump’s own doing — no contest. We’re also continuing to urge Congress to reject anti-environmental policy riders, like measures that threaten our clean water and wildlife.
SAVE PARKS FOR ALL OUR COMMUNITIES: On Tuesday, LCV hosted a panel discussion with the United for Climate and Environmental Justice Task Force co-chairs — Representatives Donald McEachin, Pramila Jayapal, and Nanette Diaz Barragán — to stress the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and highlight the ways it helps create equitable access to public lands and parks for communities of color and other underserved communities. Despite broad bipartisan support for the program, Republican leaders in Congress allowed LWCF to expire for the second time in three years in September. Here are some highlights:
McEACHIN: “Every single district has a park or public space that’s benefited from LWCF. We need to Save LWCF for all our communities.”
BARRAGÁN: “This program has so many benefits to so many communities. There is no need to have to do this again every few years. We need to permanently reauthorize LWCF.”
JAYAPAL: “It’s important to spell out what LWCF stands for. Our land and water. That’s what this program protects. That’s what we’re fighting for.
WE HAVE A RIGHT: The United for Climate and Environmental Justice Task Force co-chairs also introduced legislation this week that guarantees people’s right to clean water and clean air, and preserves of our environment.
TRUMP RUNS ON OIL: An explosive investigation from the New York Times this week revealed who is actually behind the Trump administration’s efforts to gut clean car standards — Big Oil. The report found that the oil industry ran a comprehensive campaign on social media and in statehouses to fight tougher emissions standards. And once again, the Trump administration sided with corporate polluters and the Koch brothers instead of our health and safety.
TURNING TALK INTO ACTION: A new report out this week from Quorum showed the growing gap in the number of times climate change was mentioned by top Democrats and Republicans — Democrats are talking about climate change more than ever, while Republican mentions of the issue have sunk to a new low. This important illustration underscores why voters elected so many environmental champions this year, and in 2019, we’re looking forward to the House beginning to turn the tide on climate action.
A CLEANER WASHINGTON STATE: Washington Governor Jay Inslee this week announced a bold new plan to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels over the next 15 years. The plan focuses, in part, on clean energy, clean cars, and reducing pollutants, which would accelerate the commitments Inslee has already made to expanding clean energy and combating climate change.
LAUGHED OFF THE STAGE: The international community is in its final week at the U.N. Climate Change Summit in Poland, where world leaders are discussing clean energy, sustainable solutions, and best practices for solving climate change. At the Summit, Trump’s top advisor on energy and climate, Wells Griffith, actually advocated for burning dirty coal as an option for creating a 21st century energy solution…and was audibly laughed at by those in the room.
CLIMATE SILENCED: The Department of the Interior is actively working to suppress scientific findings and intimidate staff that offer science-based evidence for environmental policies. A detailed new report shows that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke opened up public lands for pro-polluting companies and punished scientists who put people before polluters.
LCV ON TOP: The Hill announced their list of the top grassroots lobbyists in 2018, and LCV’s own SVP of Government Affairs, Tiernan Sittenfeld, was recognized as one of “the select few… [who] have demonstrated their ability to wield influence and deliver results on Capitol Hill.”
FROM PARIS TO PITTSBURGH: On Wednesday night, National Geographic premiered a powerful new film on how people across the country are filling the leadership vacuum in Washington by taking action on climate change in bold, meaningful ways. It is now available online.
December 21 – Government funding deadline
January 3 – New Congress begins