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QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“Despite all of the anguish and suffering these [extreme weather] events are inflicting on communities, President Trump continues to willfully disregard the horrifying dangers of climate change—a response that proves more and more negligent and irresponsible with every day he fails to act.”
—Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters
“This is the time to talk about climate change. This is the time that the president and the EPA and whoever makes decisions needs to talk about climate change.”
“We’re proud to honor the contributions, sacrifices and struggles of the Latino community, this month and every single day of the year. As an immigrant who calls this country home, I see the importance of community organizing, civic engagement, and participation as the key pillars of our democracy – those who have the right to vote, must vote. It’s undeniable that the health effects of the climate crisis are exposing families to the greatest burdens of a warming planet – Chispa is committed to continue working with communities of color, especially Latino communities, to fight for a safe and healthy environment for all.”
–Ernesto Vargas, national director of LCV’s Chispa, on Hispanic Heritage Month
LCV IN THE NEWS:
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:
Times of Trenton (NJ) (Editorial): Trump’s EPA cuts will pollute N.J.’s drinking water
Washington Post (MD): Maryland groups launch campaign for 50 percent renewable energy
Santa Fe New Mexican (NM): Environmental group backs Lujan Grisham for governor
SEISMIC POLITICAL SHIFTS ON CLIMATE: The extreme weather events of the past few weeks could be forcing an ideological shift on climate change. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have inspired bipartisan calls for congressional action, and leaders from Senator Brian Schatz to Senator John McCain to Mayor Tomas Regalado to Pope Francis have spoken out about the very real threat this country and the world are currently facing. What’s more? A recent Gallup survey shows that more people in the U.S. than ever before consider global warming to be a major threat. As people continue to see the effects of our changing climate, it will be increasingly untenable for politicians to refuse to acknowledge the harmful impacts of climate change and global warming.
OUR TAKE: We live in a reality of climate-fueled super storms, but we don’t have to be caught unprepared, and low-income and communities of color ought not be saddled with the greatest burdens of these disasters. Congress has the power to help stitch these communities back together in an empathetic way. And empathy doesn’t just mean sending aid in a moment of crisis — it means taking measures that proactively protect us from what we know is coming. It’s not only time to talk about climate change — it’s also time to act. Read more from LCV president, Gene Karpinski, on Medium.
WORTH A READ: In Bloomberg, Noah Smith argues that conservative values could play a uniquely beneficial role in reducing climate change.
“UNACCEPTABLE AND DANGEROUS”: The House passed an appropriations bill that slashes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, threatening our outdoor recreation economy and critical environmental and health protections for the people of this country. In response, Alex Taurel of LCV said, “Congress should be investing in the EPA to address the devastating environmental and public health impacts of these hurricanes, not slashing its funding to the lowest level in nearly a decade….LCV will continue to fight these woefully inadequate funding levels and dangerous anti-environmental policy riders as negotiations continue.”
SHADY SCOTT’S EMPTY DENIALS: Another week, another ethical dilemma for Shady Scott Pruitt. Pruitt has faced questions over his close relationship with Carl Icahn, a billionaire who holds a majority stake in CVR Energy, a refinery in Texas. This week, Pruitt sent a letter to Senator Whitehouse claiming that Carl Icahn never “wielded excessive influence” over biofuels regulation while serving as an advisor on biofuels regulation to President Trump—an influence, of course, would be a conflict of interest for someone invested in an energy company that is subject to these regulations. At the same time, the CEO of the American Petroleum Institute called for less regulation on the oil industry despite the recent super-hurricanes.
CALIFORNIA & OTHER STATES FIGHT FOR CLEANER AIR, HEALTHIER FAMILIES: This week, California, New York, Vermont, Maryland, and Pennsylvania jointly filed a law suit against the federal government, responding to a Trump administration decision to forgo making scheduled fine increases for poor car gas mileage. The move is bad for families, and bad for public health—more fuel efficient cars leads to less air pollution and greater savings at the gas pump. Yet again, the Trump administration is padding Big Oil’s pockets while ignoring the health and safety of families and communities.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER ROLLBACK: Scott Pruitt’s EPA eliminated yet another protection for our health this week when an appeals court granted the EPA’s request to “halt a plan for new pollution controls at Utah’s oldest coal-fired power plants.” The plan would have reduced “haze near national parks,” and the request was seen by many as another step in the Trump administration’s plan to roll back key environmental and health protections in order to boost corporate interests.
“IT DOESN’T SMELL RIGHT, SO MAYBE AN OFFICIAL PROBE WILL TELL IF IT’S ROTTEN:” The Office of Inspector General at the Interior Department is “examining the extraordinary and politically suspect reassignment” of dozens of high-level career government employees. The investigation comes after a senior employee at Interior spoke out in a Washington Post piece about how he was “retaliated against for speaking out publicly about the dangers that climate change poses to Alaska Native communities.”
STILL SECRET: Communities across the country are still wondering what Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s plan is for the national monuments in their own backyards, but the governor of Utah said Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument might be split into pieces. This is part of Zinke’s still-secret report recommending eliminating protections for reportedly vast swathes of national monuments across the country, which would amount to an unprecedented attack on protected public lands. Never before has the United States eliminated, at a large scale and in a systematic way, permanent protections for national parks, wilderness areas, or national monuments.
September 18-24 – NYC Climate Week.
September 22 – Voting Rights: Engaging Activism Beyond the Ballot Box
September 20 – Senate hearings for four nominees for positions in the EPA.
September 27 – The extended date by which to submit public comments on the EPA’s attempts to roll back the Clean Water Rule.