QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“It’s not a political event.”
— Heather Swift, spokeswoman for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, on an ethically dubious campaign event Zinke and Vice President Mike Pence attended on behalf of anti-public lands Montana Senate candidate Matt Rosendale
“Kavanaugh’s 12-year record of skepticism toward such agency actions puts the landmark decision and other environmental protections at risk. Environmentalists fear that if Kavanaugh joins the court, he would vote to block anti-pollution regulations for decades, long after President Trump has departed.”
— David Savage of the LA Times criticizes Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for the destructive impact he would have on environmental protections if confirmed
LCV IN THE NEWS:
Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: Guv to Congress: Fund program for conservation
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:
Las Vegas Sun (NV): Op-ed: Nominee poses threat to side with polluters, undermine public health
New Jersey Hills (NJ): EDITORIAL: Fresh face for Highlands Council
WORT 899 (WI): A Conservation Conversation – Environmental Issues And The Upcoming Election
Montana Right Now (MT): Ways Missoulians can remain resilient during flood season
TRUMP V. CALIFORNIA: A brewing conflict between the Trump administration and the state of California dominated headlines this week. The Clean Car Standards, which Trump has been itching to gut for months now, are on the chopping block — but California and other states have vowed to fight the rollback.
THAT WAS THEN: In early April, Trump and Pruitt devised a plan to eliminate the Obama-era rule requiring automakers to produce cars that average 50 MPG by 2025. Since, we’ve been dreading this administration’s long expected official action.
THIS IS NOW: We now know that within days, Trump will impose a freeze on fuel efficiency standards while challenging California’s right under the Clean Air Act to set its own higher standards — leaving us with just a 35 MPG standard for the foreseeable future.
OUR TAKE: Former EPA Administrator and current LCV Board Chair Carol Browner spoke out ahead of the imminent rollback: “Gutting the Clean Car Standards will cost consumers money at the gas pump, make our air dirtier and delay our transition to a clean energy economy. By reportedly challenging state authority under the Clean Air Act, Trump is proving once again that his EPA only cares about protecting profits for Big Oil – depriving more than 113 million people of commonsense pollution limits their states have already enacted. This is nothing more than a transparent sellout to fossil fuels and we’ll fight it with everything we’ve got.”
ANOTHER HOT TAKE: Vox’s David Roberts breaks down why there isn’t even a conservative case to be made justifying the rollback. Conservatives believe in states’ rights to regulate their own affairs as well as regulatory certainty that ensures a consistent long-term business environment — two principles egregiously violated by Trump’s sudden elimination of fuel efficiency rules.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR CALI: Trump’s plan is to revoke the state’s ability to regulate its own greenhouse gas emissions — a decision that will almost certainly result in a court challenge.
YOU GUESSED IT — THE SUPREME COURT will be absolutely critical in protecting important climate-saving regulations like this. In case we haven’t been clear enough, WE ADAMANTLY OPPOSE KAVANAUGH’S NOMINATION — and this week we sent a letter to the Senate, highlighting his anti-environmental record and a number of dirty decisions.
ANSWER: WE DO! The Times-Picayune of New Orleans ran a column denouncing Kavanaugh as an environmental threat — especially for southern Louisiana, which is experiencing rapid sea level rise.
INSIDE INTERIOR: This week, the Washington Post uncovered a quiet effort at Interior to bury evidence of the many benefits of national monuments in favor of promoting the lands’ energy and development potential. By dismissing the benefits of protecting national monuments—and the millions of people across the country who weighed in with their support of parks and public lands—Secretary Ryan Zinke and his aides made it clear that the goal of their sham review was to sell out places like Bears Ears to the highest bidder at all costs.
ET TU, ZINKE?: Zinke is certainly filling the scandal void in the Trump administration left by Pruitt. From MAGA socks to Halliburton real estate deals and secret calendars to ludicrous policy proposals, the San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board hits the nail on the head: Zinke is nothing but a “swamp creature”.
ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT UNDER ATTACK: The landmark law protecting fragile wildlife and ecosystems is under full-frontal assault from Republicans in Congress, the White House, and industry interests. According to the New York Times, “In the past two weeks, more than two dozen pieces of legislation, policy initiatives and amendments designed to weaken the law have been either introduced or voted on in Congress or proposed by the Trump administration.” We strongly oppose any attempt to undermine the Endangered Species Act and put our nation’s wildlife at greater risk.
CLEAN WATER WANTED: Two years after the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, the EPA’s inspector general demanded better oversight of state regulatory agencies by EPA leadership. It’s the agency’s job to preserve clean water across the nation, and the failure to do so means there are much-needed changes at the EPA.
BREAK IT, YOU (DON’T) BUY IT: A new Trump policy will no longer require oil, coal and gas companies that damage public lands to pay for mitigation to address the negative consequences on wildlife and the environment. Defeating this Obama-era policy is a big win for polluters, who can now feel free to use and abuse federal lands with very little accountability.
ELECTION DAY COUNTDOWN: This weekend marks 100 days until November’s elections, where people across the country will have a chance to replace dozens of anti-environmental members of Congress with new champs who will fight for our clean air, clean water, public lands and climate action. We’ll be out in force to ensure voters know what’s at stake — stay tuned!
NEXT WEEK — Trump administration expected to announce official rollback of the Clean Car Standards
AUGUST 1 — Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler testifies before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
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