QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“If Secretary Zinke is going to travel to southern Nevada, he should at least have the courage to face the overwhelming opposition to his recommendations and answer questions from the monuments defenders.”
— Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Andy Maggi on Secretary Zinke once again refusing to meet with public lands supporters during a trip to Nevada
“It’s without question that Trump is the most anti-environmental president we’ve ever had – if there were anything worse than an ‘F,’ he’d get it…The totality of anti-environmental actions done to benefit special interest polluters in just one year is absolutely staggering.”
— LCV President Gene Karpinski’s assessment of President Trump’s first term in office
“The beer is stronger, the peaks are taller and the recreation is higher.”
— Maria Handley of Conservation Colorado at an event co-hosted by LCV welcoming the Outdoor Retailer Show to Denver
“Scott Pruitt and Donald Trump are gutting public health protections by implementing a fundamental rewrite of the Clean Air Act with the stroke of a pen. This breathtakingly dangerous move will cause a huge rise in hazardous pollutants like lead, mercury, and arsenic, endangering the lives of children, the elderly, and communities of color who already bear the brunt of pollution.”
— LCV Vice President for Government Affairs on the EPA dramatically weakening safeguards against hazardous industrial air pollution
LCV IN THE NEWS:
Politico Morning Energy: LCV HONES IN ON TRUMP’S FIRST YEAR
Cincinnati Enquirer: Why are these lawmakers rejecting climate change?
Orlando Sentinel: Two views on President Trump’s first year: Letters
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:
Vermont Biz (VT): Mixed reactions to Governor Scott’s budget address
Denver Business Journal (CO): ‘First step’ highway funding bill advances in Colorado Senate without Democrats’ support
Colorado Springs Gazette (CO): Colorado College poll: More support for outdoors, little for Trump’s policies
BREAKING — TRUMP EPA STRIKES CRITICAL AIR POLLUTION STANDARDS: Late yesterday, the EPA rolled back a number of decades-old regulations that protected our communities from toxic pollutants. With the elimination of this policy, many major polluters — like power plants and factories — will not be required to utilize technology that can reduce pollution by up to 95 percent, allowing these heavy polluters to backslide on their environmental obligations and put our health at risk. By providing more leniency for what the EPA has previously classified as “major sources” of hazardous air pollution, the Trump administration has proven, once again, that they care only for their industry buddies and will go to great lengths to keep them happy.
OUR TAKE: This is a fundamental rewrite of the Clean Air Act and one of the worst betrayals of the EPA’s public health mission ever. Check out our full response from VP for Government Affairs Sara Chieffo and stay tuned for how LCV’s 2 million members will fight back.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: TRUMP INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN: Earlier this week, a leaked document signaled the White House’s direction for an infrastructure package. This promises to be one of the bigger legislative battles of 2018, with much at stake for the environment. Be sure to look out for proposals to waive environmental reviews, gut our most basic environmental laws, and hand over public lands to private corporations, among other reckless ideas. LCV will fight tooth and nail against any attempts by the Trump administration and Congress to push through reckless policy at the expense of our environment, and the health and safety of our communities.
POP QUIZ: Make sure to take LCV’s interactive quiz to test how much you know about the Trump administration’s many environmental rollbacks.
SIREN: 2017 SECOND HOTTEST YEAR ON RECORD: Both the New York Times and the Washington Post reported that 2017 was the second hottest year on record — following only 2016. This came as a surprise to the scientific community, as many experts expected a tamer year in the absence of the powerful El Niño warming effect. Note: in 2017 alone, the U.S. experienced a stunningly high frequency of devastating storms, wildfires, and other environmental disasters, revealing the dangers of our world’s current trajectory. While the president and his band of disbelievers ignore the clear evidence of climate change and dismantle our nation’s progress toward mitigating its effects, we can expect that temperatures will only continue to rise.
FROM WHERE WE STAND: This nifty interactive feature from the New York Times lets you see how far your local climate diverged from its average in 2017. Here in D.C., we saw temperatures around 2.6° above normal, while precipitation fell four inches below average.
SEVERE EFFECTS: The New York Times is out with a piece on the bigger, faster, and inevitably deadlier avalanches caused by climate change.
UPDATE FROM THE RESISTANCE: Nine U.S. cities have sued the big oil companies for damages caused by the rising sea levels associated with climate change. The latest, Richmond, CA, targets Chevron specifically for its carbon monoxide emissions, which have increasingly warmed our planet. New York City, the largest city to take similar legal action, filed a multibillion dollar lawsuit earlier this year. Faced with a fossil fuel friendly administration, cities have increasingly stepped up in the fight against climate change — most recently through litigation.
CITIES ARE LEADING THE PACK… A recent survey reveals that our mayors see climate as a primary challenge posed to their cities. Sixty-eight percent of mayoral respondents also see it as their job to push back on an administration that refuses to act on environmental dangers and reduce the effects of climate change in its place.
…BUT THEY AREN’T ALONE: State governments have also picked up the mantle in the fight against climate change. In the federal government’s absence, state and local officials have committed themselves to the goals of the Paris Climate Accord, cracking down on polluters and tightening emission regulations.
VOTERS AGREE: TRUMP ADMIN POLICIES WILDLY UNPOPULAR: The 2018 Conservation in the West poll, measuring the attitudes of voters in eight Western states, was released earlier this week — and the results for the Trump administration don’t look good. One year into Trump’s presidency, and an overwhelming majority of voters in the West disapprove of Trump’s handling of land, water and wildlife issues. And there’s a huge jump in people identifying themselves as “conservationists” in the face of Trump’s attacks – even in Utah, where 19 percent more people say their conservationists after Trump gutted two of the state’s national monuments. See the full results here.
ABOUT CONSERVATION: The Outdoor Retailer Show kicked off in Denver this week after twenty years in Salt Lake City. The show – and its $45 million economic impact – left Utah last year in search of a state with a government friendlier to public lands. Check out pictures on LCV’s Instagram page.
IS IT MY TURN YET?: Both Democratic and Republican governors of coastal states are stuck in limbo and quickly growing frustrated, waiting for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to grant them a meeting to discuss an exemption from the president’s plan to drill for oil off their coasts. Florida has already supposedly received an exemption, due to political considerations with upcoming elections for the Senate and governor this year, though the fact that the president’s winter palace sits near the shoreline certainly doesn’t hurt. Yet the head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, an Interior Department agency, noted that Zinke’s Florida exemption is neither formal nor final. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like this administration cares much for local voices — they’re more concerned with taking care of their own personal interests.
MUST-READ: The Washington Post editorial board this week asks what we’ve all been thinking – “Is Ryan Zinke cynical or incompetent?”
SOMEONE STOP SHADY SCOTT!: After a year under Scott Pruitt’s tenure, the EPA has been set back potentially decades — according to Pruitt’s predecessors. Hacking away at major rules, reducing the scope of regulations, and limiting the number of staff has significantly damaged the effectiveness of the organization in combating climate change and other environmental threats. According to the EPA chief under Clinton, “if the Clean Power Plan were completely repealed, the next administration at the EPA would have to start from square one,” which could take “20 to 30 years.” The Trump administration’s apathy toward climate change and bedfellow relationship with oil and gas interests has been a driving force in the decimation of the EPA. Now we all will have to deal with the consequences and find a way to right the ship.
SCIENTISTS FIGHT BACK: The Union of Concerned Scientists is suing Pruitt for sidelining advisory boards and scientific experts.
DEPARTMENT OF PROPAGANDA: New York Times’ Eric Lipton tweeted a picture this week of posters that are up in the EPA office building celebrating the work Pruitt and some within the agency have done to dismantle the EPA from the inside out.
MARCHING ON: An analysis by Politico offered an uplifting conclusion: clean energy may have advanced too far to be reversed. While conceding that the Trump administration may be able to slow its progress through its policy pivots, Eric Wolff makes the point that the world’s transition from fossil fuels to clean energy is gaining momentum in the marketplace. Costs are falling, job opportunities are growing, and every attempt by the federal government to rollback progress is countered at the state and municipal levels — all signs that point toward a bright future.
WEEKEND READ: Environmental activism is a bipartisan affair! This heartwarming piece in Mother Jones tells the story of the “eco-right,” a movement of conservatives who want to “reclaim climate change as a nonpartisan issue.”
January 30 – Scott Pruitt testifies in front of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
January 30 – House Natural Resource Committee hearing on Rep. John Curtis’ extreme bill to codify Trump’s attack on Bears Ears National Monument
January 30 – State of the Union Address
February 8 – Government funding runs out…again