Your weekly resource to learn what the environmental movement is saying about the news of the day and the political fight of our generation. Be sure to follow LCV on Facebook and Twitter.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“America’s parks should be protected and celebrated – not sold off to special interests. These lands – and the natural and cultural heritage they hold – belong to all of us and generations to come… This campaign will mobilize the public to hold Trump and members of Congress accountable for putting corporate polluter interests ahead of people.”
-Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters, on the “Our Lands, Our Vote” campaign
“This could be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his money conflicts of interest.”
-Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs for the League of Conservation Voters, on Donald Trump’s fossil fuel interests
“We think of him as public lands enemy Number One….(t)he leader of the anti-parks caucus in congress.”
-Alex Taurel, deputy legislative director for the League of Conservation Voters, on Rep. Rob Bishop (R- UT) and his anti-public lands agenda
LCV IN THE NEWS:
E&E News: Green group rallying support for national monuments
Outside: Environmentalists’ Public-Lands Enemy Number One
Huffington Post: EPA Chief Spent First Weeks Courting Fossil Fuel Execs, Exposing ‘Fatal Flaw’ At Agency
E&E News: LCV Boosts Press Staff
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:
3 News Las Vegas: Solar advocates upset Sandoval rejected community solar, higher renewable standard
The Oregonian (OR): Oregon Governor Signs Bill Protecting Rivers, Salmon From Suction Dredge Mining
LCV AND ALLIES STANDING STRONG AGAINST ADMINISTRATION ATTACKS: As Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke continues to announce his recommendations to downsize or rescind the status of national monuments, the League of Conservation Voters has stepped up to challenge him. This week, LCV launched “Our Lands, Our Vote,” a $600,000 campaign to activate our broad network and mobilize community leaders, activists, public officials and the public to stand up and fight back against the attacks on America’s majestic national parks and monuments. More details on the campaign can be found here.
ZINKE FACES BACKLASH ON THE HILL: On the heels of LCV’s “Our Land, Our Vote” campaign announcement, Secretary Zinke has spent the past week on the Hill defending the Trump budget cuts to the Department of Interior. Zinke faces pressure from both sides of the aisle with both Democrats and Republicans lamenting the enormous proposed cuts to popular programs, including large cuts to wildlife management programs, the Land and Water Conservation fund, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
STATES FIGHT BACK: The proposed cuts sat poorly with those in D.C., but also drew ire from all corners of the US, from Colorado to Maine, including significant criticism from the Montana residents he used to represent in Congress. But don’t just take it from us — check out what just a few of the highlights from state papers across the country. The headlines say it all:
Bangor Daily News (ME): I hope Zinke’s visit showed him the importance of the North Woods monument
WAGM News 8 (ME): King Advocates for Acadia National Park Advisory Commission to Interior Secretary
Billings Gazette (MT): National Parks need Zinke’s support
Billings Gazette (MT): Zinke flip flops on land management pledges
Flathead Beacon (MT): Public Lands Agencies Already at Breaking Point
Glenwood Springs Post Independent (CO): Ryan Zinke’s desire to further privatize federal campgrounds raises concerns
Jackson Hole News (WY): Let Congress know you stand by Bears Ears
La Cruces Sun-News (NM): We join mayors in support of monument
ENVIROS URGE SENATORS TO OPPOSE PLAN TO TAKE HEALTHCARE AWAY FROM THOSE WHO NEED IT MOST: LCV joined over a dozen environmental groups to stand in opposition of the Republican plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Climate change, natural disasters and industrial pollution have devastating health care impacts on people across the country – especially on low-income and communities of color. The Republican plan would take health care away from those who need it most and who are suffering from the impacts of harmful pollution and climate change. Tiernan Sittenfeld said:
“Communities across the country are experiencing the devastating health costs of climate change, natural disasters and industrial pollution – with low-income and communities of color bearing the heaviest burden,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the League of Conservation Voters. “LCV urges all senators to oppose this disastrous bill to take healthcare away from those who need it most.”
SHADY STAFF CHANGES: This Wednesday, news broke that Pruitt gave notice to dozens of scientists that they will not continue in their roles after August, leaving only 5 members on the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors. The Board has five subcommittees, but in another attack on science, 38 of 49 subcommittee positions will not be renewed at the end of the summer. Further, the EPA plans to dismiss over 1,200 employees, shrinking the department that Trump once promised to cut almost entirely.
At the Department of the Interior, things look just as bleak. Ryan Zinke testified to lawmakers that he would like to shrink the Department’s staff by 4,000, almost 8 percent of his full-time staff. The Department has also relocated dozens of senior executives, an unusual move that many interpret as an attempt to force resignations and change out the career staff of the organization.
DEPARTMENT OF CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL: Denying that human activity is the primary driver of climate change is a de facto Trump administration talking point by now. And yet, it’s still shocking when administration officials perpetuate the idea that this well-documented and widely accepted fact is a hoax. This week, Energy Secretary Rick Perry denied that human carbon emissions were a primary cause of climate change. Perry’s statement was met with incredulity across the board — the American Meteorological Society slammed him in an open letter, and independent fact-checkers rated his statement as “false.”
BIG BUSINESS SPEAKS OUT ON CLIMATE CHANGE: Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement was met with disapproval from international allies, foreign policy experts and business leaders alike. The business community has been vocal on the global threat of climate change for the past few weeks. This week, Richard Branson spoke out and indicated that businesses are now more driven than ever to invest in clean energy and commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. With climate change heating up cities so much that flights are being grounded, leading advisory boards have started to invest in climate change data and research to fully understand the threats we face.
LCV TEAM GROWS: This week, we grew our LCV communications team with two new staff! We’re thrilled to announce that Alyssa Roberts has joined as our national press secretary, and Ariana Valderrama has joined as our communications coordinator.
The House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing next Thursday examining access to oil and gas development on federal lands.
EPA head Scott Pruitt will be on the hill next week, testifying on Tuesday for the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies as the committee reviews the budget request for the EPA.