QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“Governing by chaos is no way to run our country, and turning the lives of young people who know no other home into political pawns is yet another blatant example of Trump and his allies in Congress refusing to put our communities first.”
— LCV statement on Trump’s potential government shutdown
“Even in this historically destructive administration, Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stands out as especially damaging.”
— LCV’s response to this scathing piece on Zinke in The New Yorker
“Let’s save money for our communities, put this money back into our public schools, and ultimately give our children a healthy environment so they can learn and grow without worrying about these respiratory illnesses.”
— Chispa Maryland Volunteer Tyrese Robinson on why she—a mother and special education teacher—is advocating for clean buses
LCV IN THE NEWS:
NBC News: Nine of 12 National Park System Advisory Board members quit in protest
Politico Pro: Environmentalists shed their doubts about Carper’s green cred
Mother Jones: A Volcano Scientist Is Running for Congress in California
National Journal: Florida Republicans Threaten to Buck Party Over Offshore Drilling
La Opinón: La “otra guerra” de Donald Trump en su primer año de gobierno
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:
Washington Post (CO): Nearly all members of National Park Service advisory panel resign in frustration
NJ Spotlight (NJ): Gov. Murphy Plays to NJ Environmentalists From Day One
Watertown Daily Times (NY): Stefanik lacking courage and independence
WUSF News (FL): Fleming Island Senator Gets Conservation-Spending Bill To Senate Floor; Activists Want Fracking Ban
WiscNews (WI): Democratic win in northwest Wisconsin sends political shock wave
TRUMP SHUTDOWN LOOMS: With President Trump and Republican leadership on the verge of shutting down the government, we’ve reiterated our support for Dreamers and called on Trump to set aside his xenophobic beliefs and come to the table to find a way to protect Dreamers and pass a budget that is free of anti-environmental policy riders, provides disaster relief from the recent devastating hurricanes, fires, and mudslides, and boosts investments in our communities on par with military spending. Governing by chaos is no way to run our country, and turning the lives of young people who know no other home into political pawns is yet another blatant example of Trump and his allies in Congress refusing to put our communities first.
WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT: A government shutdown would close our public lands, furlough EPA staff who protect our clean air and water, and disrupt many other crucial services that the Trump administration has a responsibility to maintain. Zinke’s plan to open national parks without park rangers adds to the confusion and will risk visitor safety – not to mention hygiene.
YEAR IN REVIEW: In case you forgot how much this administration has undermined our environment in only a year, ABC News (echoed by a Pennsylvania State Representative) wrote up a convenient recap of all the biggest energy and climate stories from 2017. By shrinking the EPA, doubting established science, rolling back critical regulations, and withdrawing from the monumental Paris Climate Agreement, the Trump administration has sold out our health and well-being – as well as the world as a whole. That’s why we gave Donald Trump an “F” for his first year in office, and we’ll continue to hold his administration accountable for their shameful attacks on our environment and climate.
WEEKEND READ: It’s not just Trump. He’s filled his administration with lobbyists and industry insiders who want to dismantle the very agencies they’ve been tapped to lead. Don’t miss the New Yorker’s deep dive into the havoc Zinke has wreaked in his first year leading up the Interior Department.
ON THAT NOTE: Zinke is even opposing public lands protections bills sponsored by members of his own party. In a statement, Republican Representative Mark Amodei of Nevada calls out the administration for their rumored opposition to one of the few pro-conservation lands bills to get traction in Congress this year. The bill was the result of many years of bipartisan collaboration.
EXODUS EN MASS: Ten out of twelve members of the National Parks Service Advisory Board abruptly resigned this week, citing their primary motivation as the Trump administration’s blatant disregard for science, rollback of environmental protections, and subversion of efforts to address climate change. The board, established in 1935, provides guidance on the management of national parks and monuments for the Secretary of the Interior. But Zinke has consistently turned a blind eye to these important American treasures. With more than three quarters of the board gone, the National Parks Service is now left without this important avenue for public input.
WHY IT MATTERS: The mass exodus by the National Parks Service Advisory Board is the latest in a long trend of frustrated scientists, environmental experts and policy wonks who are abandoning a tone deaf administration that has consistently refused to act with commonsense on key environmental issues, favoring their friends in industry instead.
PAGING THE PRESIDENT — “Nearly every governor with ocean coastline opposes Trump’s drilling proposal”: The vast majority of coastal governors are opposed to Trump’s irresponsible proposal to drill for oil off the coasts of their states, according to a recent CNN report. To be clear, this reveals bipartisan opposition to this initiative, including economically-grounded and climate-related arguments against drilling. The backlash from governors has been severe, especially after Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida was granted a waiver (read: political favor) from the proposed drilling as he prepares for a potential Senate run in 2018.
EXPOSED: Zinke’s deception was exposed by his own department on Friday when the acting director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management told the House Committee on Natural Resources that Florida remains at risk for offshore drilling — despite Zinke’s supposed reversal last week. This is yet more proof that the supposed Florida exemption was nothing more than a setup to boost Scott.
THE FUTURE IS CLEAN: The International Renewable Energy Agency released a report confirming that prices of renewable energy make these sources a competitive alternative to fossil fuels. A highlight from the report: “Global competition is helping to spread the best project development practices, reducing technology and project risk and making renewables more cost-competitive than ever before.” Many arguments against making a switch to greener energy alternatives suggest that they are too costly – but those arguments may no longer stand. Voters across the country are supporting candidates who pledge to move towards clean energy, and Republicans in Washington should take note.
CHECK IT OUT: According to Vox, Colorado is already moving quickly in the renewable energy direction. Utility company Xcel Energy recently solicited proposals from private developers for its new contract, and what they found was stunning: “an unprecedented number of developers came forward, eager to build renewable energy and eager to couple it with energy storage, all at unprecedented prices.”
LIAR, LIAR: As the arguments against renewable energy lose their merit, Trump continues to make misleading or outright false statements on coal. The Washington Post is out with a fact check on Trump’s numerous lines on coal, earning him “four Pinocchios.”
COZY WITH CHEMICAL COMPANIES? NBC reported that Shady Scott Pruitt and the EPA are eliminating critical safeguards that prevent harmful chemicals from reaching consumers. These protections, under EPA’s new chemicals program, restrict the use of new chemicals under certain conditions, and were supposed to be bolstered under the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which Congress passed in 2016 to reform the broken Toxic Substances Control Act. The EPA’s decision is not only an abdication of the law but also again demonstrates Pruitt and the Trump administration’s prioritization of the profits of the chemical industry ahead of the safety of the chemicals in the products our families use every day.
BACK FROM THE DEAD: As Congress debates reinstating earmarks, Trump and Republican Senator Thad Cochran have resurrected what POLITICO describes as “a controversial flood control project previously vetoed by the EPA during the George W. Bush era.” The $220 million Yazoo Backwater Area Pumps project has been widely criticized for its potential to wreak havoc on wetland populations – a criticism that is shared by environmental groups, budget hawks, and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. However, this hasn’t stopped Trump and his allies in Congress from trying, once again, to hand out political favors at the expense of our environment. LCV is calling on the administration to pass a clean budget free of damaging anti-environmental riders.
WORTH THE READ: Check out this CNN piece by Winston Churchill’s grandson that explores the emerging schism between U.S. and U.K. leadership on environmental issues. Spoiler: he argues his grandfather would be all for action on climate change.
DAILY DOSE OF HOPE: When New Jersey Democrat Phil Murphy was sworn in as governor of New Jersey last weekend, he articulated a reassuring vision for environmental stewardship under his administration. It included setting lofty goals: Murphy wants one hundred percent of the state’s power to come from clean energy by 2050. As the federal government shrugs off its responsibility to protect the American people from climate disaster, Murphy’s ideas join in lock-step with the efforts of other pro-environment governors like Andrew Cuomo of New York and Jerry Brown of California – both of whom have committed to following through on the stipulations of the Paris Climate Agreement.
January 19 – Continuing Resolution to fund the government expires today
January 24 – NIGHT ZERO UNTAMED: A WELCOME PARTY FOR OUTDOOR RETAILER winter show in Denver, co-sponsored by LCV
January 30 – State of the Union Address
January 30 – Scott Pruitt testifies in front of the Committee on Environment and Public Works