REPORTER NOTEBOOK: Keep track of the Trump administration’s attacks on climate, air, water, energy, public health, and conservation issues
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“In the opening weeks of this new Administration, we are already seeing reckless challenges to this progress and constant threats of more to come. But now is not the time to renege on our obligations as stewards of the environment and guardians of public health. We will not shy away from the hard work of preserving past successes and fighting to continue moving our country forward.”
-Senator Tom Carper, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, on the release of LCV’s 2016 National Environmental Scorecard
“The Scorecard is a powerful tool in the hands of communities because the bills that are voted on affect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the lands where we grow our food and the people that harvest it. Their votes affect the places that tell our histories, reflect our cultures and define our future.”
-Jennifer Allen SVP of Community & Civic Engagement at the League of Conservation Voters on LCV’s 2016 National Environmental Scorecard
“It’s clear that he wants to take the environmental cop off the beat and let Big Polluters have free reign to pollute our air and water, and damage our health and climate. Pruitt has been a shill for the fossil fuel industry his entire career, and there’s no reason to believe he’s going to stop now that he’s the head of the very agency in charge of protecting human health and the environment.”
-LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld on Scott Pruitt’s inaugural address to EPA staff
LCV IN THE NEWS
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD: President Trump Takes Aim at Climate
“President Trump brandished executive pen and fresh hyperbole last week in blessing the coal industry’s decades-old practice of freely dumping tons of debris into the streams and mountain hollows of America’s mining communities … The signing ceremony was not just an insult to the benighted coal hamlets of Appalachia, where the industry’s dumping of debris down the mountainsides has created a wasteland. It also ignored two truths. One is that by official estimates the rules, while helping the environment, would in fact cost very few jobs — 260 on average a year offset by almost the same number of jobs for people hired to comply with the rules. What’s been costing jobs in the industry for years — and this is the second and larger truth — is a shifting global market in which power plants have turned to cleaner natural gas. In cynically promising the resurgence of King Coal, Mr. Trump might as well have been signing a decree that the whaling industry was being restored to Nantucket.”
WEEK IN REVIEW:
ALL OUT ASSAULT: Sen. Carper, Rep. Ruiz Join LCV to Unveil 2016 National Environmental Scorecard
With environmental attacks from the White House and Congress coming fast, LCV this week released the 2016 National Environmental Scorecard – the premier yardstick for rating lawmakers on environmental issues. LCV SVP for Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld noted that votes scored include the “relentless assault on both bedrock environmental protections and recent progress,” from Republicans in the 114th Congress. This previews what we can expect in the year to come, with laws vetoed by the Obama administration set to be the playbook corporate polluters follow.
Joining LCV for the rollout, Sen. Tom Carper reiterated that he was up for the fight. “We will not shy away from the hard work of preserving past successes and fighting to continue moving our country forward,” said Sen. Carper. Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, spoke passionately about the need to “protect our public lands and wildlife, ensure clean air to breathe and water to drink, and fund critical research that will lead to better environmental health.”
BREAKING: Trump Signs Executive Order Introducing Regulatory Rollback Task Forces
Today, President Trump signed an executive order that, under the guise of regulatory reform, would instruct federal agencies to take a sledgehammer to commonsense safeguards that protect Americans from harm to public health and safety. With his actions, the president is “rigging the system so corporate lobbyists can lower standards that protect the public health and safety of all people in this country,” said LCV Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld.
HE’S NOT DONE: Trump, Pruitt Plan Significant Attacks on Clean Power Plan, Water
In the coming days, the administration is expected to announce executive orders targeting clean air and clean water protections put in place under the Obama administration. Undoing the Clean Power Plan, lifting the moratorium on federal coal leasing and tackling the Waters of the United States Rule are all on the agenda.
CONVENIENT TIMING: Pruitt Emails Confirm EPA Administrator Insufficiently Vetted
Released by court order this week, Scott Pruitt’s emails provided further insight into Pruitt and his staff, long accused of extremely cozy ties to the oil and gas industry. The emails’ content and tone only confirm Senate Democrats’ and green groups’ suspicions behind Pruitt’s rushed confirmation vote – that Pruitt is unfit to lead the EPA, and that Republicans rushed to jam through a nominee with unprecedented conflicts of interest. You can read the more than 7,500 pages of emails released here, and give Pruitt the vetting that Senate Republicans did not consider necessary.
FIRST ADDRESS: Pruitt Forgets He’s Working For The Environmental Protection Agency
Pruitt’s first speech as EPA Administrator somehow managed not to mention climate change, and did nothing to address environmentalists concerns over Pruitt’s confirmation, forced through by Senate Republicans last week. “Pruitt has been a shill for the fossil fuel industry his entire career,” said LCV SVP for Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld, “and there’s no reason to believe he’s going to stop now that he’s the head of the very agency in charge of protecting human health and the environment.”
FEET TO THE FIRE: LCV Holds Flake, Heller Accountable for Their Pruitt Vote
LCV this week announced a $580,000 ad buy to ensure constituents know exactly where Sens. Dean Heller and Jeff Flake stand when it comes to renewable energy, clean air, and water. For those lawmakers that choose to vote for nominees like Scott Pruitt, and for legislation that supports President Trump’s dangerous agenda, their actions will not go unnoticed.
The Resistance: “You Cannot Rely on Congress to be the Backstop… We Have to do this Together”
Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto and LCV’s Chispa program voiced their concerns about Scott Pruitt’s dangerous plans for the EPA. Sen. Cortez Masto stressed the need to push back against the administration using all the voices available to us. She said, “All the advocacy groups, everybody who cares about protecting our water, our land and our air. You cannot rely on us in Congress to be the backstop — we have to do this together.” Also discussed during the event: the 20,000 clean energy jobs in Nevada and the room for this industry to grow in the years to come.
EVICTION NOTICE: Trump Administration Kicks The Council on Environmental Quality To The Curb
Looks like old habits die hard for Landlord Trump. Yesterday, the Trump administration forced the Council on Environmental Quality to leave the headquarters they have occupied for four decades. LCV Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld slammed the move as further evidence of the President’s “disdain for protecting public health and the environment.”
NEXT WEEK: LCV, Progressive Community Expect EO’s Attacking Environmental Protections
Next week the administration is expected to announce executive orders attacking the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Act. LCV and environmental groups will push back hard on these dangerous attacks on our clean air,water, and health.
FEBRUARY 28: President Trump to Address Joint Session of Congress
President Trump will appear before Congress next week for his first address to lawmakers since his inauguration. He is expected to discuss campaign promises that he has kept, as well as what to expect in the coming weeks and months.
CONFIRMATIONS: Zinke, Perry Set for Senate Vote
After returning from recess, the Senate is expected to hold confirmation votes on Ryan Zinke and Rick Perry, to lead the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy, respectively.