A man with a nasty habit of suing the EPA now leads it, because why not?
Congrats, America: We now have a Senate-confirmed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) again.
Oh, except that administrator is Scott Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general who sued the EPA multiple times over what he sees as its overly aggressive environmental regulations. Plus, he denies the mainstream scientific conclusion that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause of global warming.
Pruitt has also questioned the dangers of mercury contamination and other hazardous substances the EPA is in charge of regulating. His record is so one-sided that the Sierra Club calls him simply, “… The most dangerous EPA Administrator in the history of our country.”
Pruitt’s reputation as an agency foe eager to give states more autonomy in regulating air and water pollution, combined with the EPA transition team’s gag order of the agency, has instilled so much fear among the EPA rank-and-file that agency scientists were among the thousands of people calling their senators on Thursday urging them to vote no on the nomination, a rare step for federal employees to take.
Pruitt, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Energy secretary nominee Rick Perry, all have expressed views doubting climate science findings, and each of them are in charge of agencies deeply involved with the U.S. response to the global issue.
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.
During his confirmation hearing, Pruitt said he does not quite agree with the vast majority of climate scientists whose work has shown that greenhouse gases are causing global warming.
“I believe the ability to measure with precision the degree of human activity’s impact on the climate is subject to more debate on whether the climate is changing or whether human activity contributes to it,” he said.
“If you don’t believe in climate science, you don’t belong at the EPA,“ said May Boeve, executive director of the climate advocacy group 350.org, in a statement on Friday.
What happens now?
Pruitt is expected to try to dismantle large parts of the EPA’s portfolio of regulations and science research put in place under prior presidents, particularly the Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. Without that plan, the U.S. cannot live up to its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.
However, Trump may be poised to pull the U.S. out of that pact entirely, which would make dismantling the Clean Power Plan easier. Trump is also expected to sign executive orders as early as Friday that would begin rolling back the EPA’s climate change work, though it’s easier to order that than it is to actually accomplish it.
Remarkably, Pruitt was confirmed only hours after a judge in Oklahoma ordered the release of nearly 3,000 emails between Pruitt and fossil fuel companies from his time as attorney general.
We’d like to congratulate Mr. Pruitt on his confirmation! We look forward to welcoming him to EPA.
Senators never got a chance to factor those into their decision-making.
Senate Democrats tried in vain to delay the vote to allow senators to see the emails, which stemmed from a state lawsuit filed by the Center for Media and Democracy and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. Those organizations were concerned about Pruitt’s cozy relationship with the oil and gas industry there.
Pruitt’s backers, including mainstream Republican groups like FreedomWorks, see him as an administrator to will try to get red tape off the backs of business owners, despite studies showing that the EPA’s regulations don’t stifle job growth.
A 2014 New York Times investigation already established that Pruitt often did favors for the oil and gas industry, particularly for major donors to the Republican Attorneys General Association. These included writing letters to lawmakers and the EPA seeking regulatory changes.
In the end, Pruitt won confirmation narrowly, on a 52 to 46 vote, garnering the most "no” votes of any EPA nominee since the agency was founded in 1970.
The numbers, in several cases, are astounding. 350.org, a climate action group, saw donations almost triple in the month after Donald Trump’s election. Since Trump’s win, Planned Parenthood told NPR it’s gained over 600,000 new donors and more than 36,000 new volunteers. And the American Civil Liberties Union has raised more than $80 million since Nov. 8.
Key players in what’s being called “The Resistance” — a vocal and growing progressive backlash to the Trump presidency — have been flooded with, and in some cases overwhelmed by an outpouring of money and volunteer support in the last few months. In many cases, these groups are struggling to keep up.
A large (24x36") scratchboard exploring “climate chaos”- extreme weather as a result of climate change, created at the Climate of Change residency at the Blue Mountain Center, Oct. 2012. Sponsored by 350.org.
Today, Trump signed an Executive Order allowing the construction of both Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s going to take a lot more than than that for him to overturn what we and the Army Corps of Engineers have done. But it’s a step in the wrong direction. Join Standing Rock in continuing to fight for a cleaner, safer, and renewable future:
“This debate over the
platform of the Democratic National Committee showed the DNC’s true colors.
Here’s another example. After everyone agreed that America has to get to 100%
clean energy by 2050, to keep alive…Here’s
how the committee responded to actual ways to get there.
A carbon tax. Voted
down 7-6. A ban on fracking. Voted down 7-6. An effort to keep fossil fuels in
the ground. Voted down 7-6. A measure to mandate that federal agencies even weigh
the climate impact of their decisions. Voted down 7-6. A plan to stop fossil
fuel companies from taking private land by eminent domain. Voted down 7-6. And
then Bill McKibben, of 350.org wrote, “We did however reach unanimous consent
on more bike paths.” Yes! Yes! The Revolution is here!!…
point is, the DNC and Hillary Clinton may at times talk a good game. But, they
will lead us off of an ecological cliff. Just like the Republicans will.
The difference is that we’ll go off that cliff,
on a bicycle!
This is why it is that
much more infuriating that this election was stolen from Bernie Sanders. And it
will happen, again, and again, and again. Until we stand up against it.” - Lee Camp @redactedtonight
The City of Sydney council is set to divest from fossil fuels this year, regardless of the outcome of the election on Saturday, after a two-year campaign by members of the anti-fossil fuel group 350.org.
The council has more than $500m under management. At the last meeting before the election, it unanimously passed a motion calling for a new investment policy that would divert those funds away from banks that invest in fossil fuels.
In 2015 the big four banks – Westpac, ANZ, NAB and the Commonwealth Bank – pumped $5.5bn into the fossil fuel sector, supporting coal, oil and liquefied natural gas in Australia and overseas.
After lobbying from members of 350.org, the lord mayor, Clover Moore, moved a minute calling for a new investment policy that would preference sustainable financial institutions and include coal, gas and oil on its list of “environmentally harmful activities” that should be avoided.
“If re-elected as lord mayor, I commit to directing staff to bring the revised investment policy and strategy to the first ordinary council meeting after the election,” Moore said at the meeting.
We are the Canadian Youth Delegation, supported by more than sixty environmental non-profits, labour groups, and youth organizations. We are youth from across Canada who are attending the upcoming UN international climate change negotiations (COP 20) in Lima, Peru. As we prepare for our participation at the negotiations, we realize how important it is for us to introduce ourselves and tell you that we refuse to tolerate the inaction of the Canadian Government when it comes to climate change. We intend to hold you accountable for the decisions you make at COP 20.
We have grown up in a world threatened by the impacts of a changing climate. For our entire lives, world leaders have been aware of the irreversible damage that humans are inflicting on our planet, but have done almost nothing to reverse it. You, the Government of Canada, have made it clear that you are more interested in the profit and power you gain from a fossil fuel based economy than you are in ensuring a sustainable and livable planet for generations to come. Since assuming power you have:
- withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 and continually blocked progress at international climate negotiations; - refused to put meaningful effort into supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts; - lowered and reneged on emissions reductions commitments and zealously lobbied other governments to do the same; - pushed back relentlessly on the Climate Change Accountability Act (Bill C-311) and silenced the young people who protested its failure in October 2009 by dragging them from the House of Commons, where you laughed at them for demanding collective and ambitious climate action and policy; - championed an omnibus bill in 2012 that stripped federal environmental protections and muzzled climate scientists; - systematically audited and threatened organizations that aim to shed light on the disgraceful actions of the government; - and denied the treaty rights of Indigenous peoples in this country.
We, the Canadian Youth Delegation, stand alongside the millions of young people worldwide who refuse to inherit a planet in crisis. We stand beside Indigenous peoples, front-line communities, people of colour and low income populations who are living the frightening realities and injustices of climate change, and who will continue to be disproportionately impacted in the absence of sufficient action.
From coast to coast to coast First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, industry workers, new immigrants, parents, farmers, fishers, unions, students and many more are demanding climate justice. Yet the Government of Canada continues to lead us down a highway of unfettered expansion of the tar sands, paired with unwieldy trade agreements, and a complete lack of respect for Indigenous land and treaty rights. We reject the notion that the environment and the economy are mutually exclusive or pitted against each other. There is no price tag on forests, rivers, wetlands, air, culture, communities, or our lives and livelihoods. We know that it is not for lack of technological advancement, public opinion, or financial resources that we have not stopped climate change in its tracks; the culprit is lack of political will. Along with action on climate change, we demand that the Government of Canada honour the treaties and land rights of Indigenous people in this country.
You have the opportunity to be a leader in creating a just transition to a clean energy future, but you consistently fail to rise to the challenge. By now, any excuses for delay have long expired, yet we anticipate with heavy hearts that you will continue to stall negotiations at COP 20 and promote carbon-intensive projects at home. If this is the case, we will continue to challenge the ongoing development of the single most destructive development anywhere on Earth, and we will not give up until you acknowledge and take urgent and ambitious action to demonstrate that our future is more important to you than the money in your pockets, the oil on your hands, or the power you hold. To us, our future is everything, and we will do all that we can to protect it. Let it echo through the halls and boardrooms of every legislating body and corporate headquarters in this country: we deserve better.
The Canadian Youth Delegation to COP 20 350.org Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE) Canadian Federation of Students Canadian Labour Congress Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice Canadian Youth Climate Coalition ClimateFast Climate Justice Saskatoon Committee for Future Generations Conservation Council of New Brunswick Council of Canadians Dalhousie Student Union Office of Sustainability Divest Dalhousie Divest McGill Divest Mount Allison Divest UVic Divest York Douglas Channel Watch Ecology Action Centre Ecology North Ecology Ottawa Environmental Studies Student Association, University of Saskatchewan Fossil Fuel Divestment at Grenfell Fossil Free Guelph Fossil Free Kwantlen Fossil Free Lakehead Fossil Free McMaster Fossil Free uOttawa Friends of the Earth Canada Geography, Planning and Environmental Graduate Students of Concordia University Greenpeace Canada Inter-Church Uranium Committee Educational Co-operative Keepers of the Athabasca Leadnow.ca Living Oceans Society Mother Earth Action Co-operative Ltd. Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association Pro Information Pro Environmental United People (PIPE UP) Network Polaris Institute Public Interest Alberta Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change rabble.ca RPIC (Renewable Power - the Intelligent Choice) Saskatoon Peoples’ Climate March Saskatchewan Citizens’ Hearings on Climate Change Organizing Committee Saskatchewan Eco-Network Sierra Club BC Sierra Club Canada Foundation Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group Starfish Canada Stop Energy East Halifax Sustainable SFU Sustainable Trent Student’s Society of McGill University Toronto350.org Transition Initiative Kenora UBCC350 UofT350.org UR Sustainability Vegans and Vegetarians of Alberta West Coast Environmental Law Association Wilderness Committee
International Aotearoa New Zealand Human Rights Lawyers Association Australian Youth Climate Coalition Friends of the Earth Europe Generation Zero New Zealand Youth Delegation P3 Foundation SustainUS: U.S. Youth for Sustainable Development Young
Au gouvernement canadien:
Nous sommes la Délégation jeunesse canadienne, soutenue par plus de soixante organismes à but non lucratif, syndicats et organisations jeunesse. Nous sommes des jeunes de partout au Canada qui seront présents à la Conférence des parties sur le climat (COP 20), à Lima du 1er au 12 décembre. Alors que nous nous préparons à participer à ces négociations, nous avons cru bon de nous présenter et de vous annoncer que nous ne tolérons pas l’inaction du gouvernement canadien en matière de changements climatiques. À COP20, nous avons l’intention de vous tenir responsable des décisions que vous avez prises au courant de la dernière décennie.
Nous avons grandi dans un monde menacé par les impacts d’un climat en changement. Durant l’intégralité de nos vies, les leaders mondiaux ont été au courant des dommages que l’humain inflige à la planète, mais n’ont pas agi pour l’en empêcher. Vous, le gouvernement canadien, avez fait clairement comprendre que vous êtes davantage intéressé par le profit et le pouvoir que vous obtenez d’une économie basée sur les énergies fossiles que vous l’êtes par l’assurance d’un environnement sain pour les générations à venir. Depuis la prise de pouvoir de M. Harper, vous avez:
- retiré le Canada du Protocole de Kyoto en 2012 et continuellement empêché le progrès des négociations internationales sur le climat; - refusé d’investir quelque effort que ce soit au soutien de l’adaptation et de la mitigation des impacts des changements climatiques; - manqué à vos obligations de réduction des émissions tout en encourageant d’autres gouvernements à suivre votre exemple; - réprimé le projet de loi sur la responsabilité en matière de changements climatiques (C-311) et retiré la voix des jeunes manifestant leur désaccord à l’abandon de cette loi en les traînant hors de la Chambre des communes et en riant de leurs demandes d’action concrète; - introduit et adopté le projet de loi C-45 annulant les protections environnementales fédérales tout en muselant les scientifiques; - audité et menacé de manière systématique des organismes tentant de dénoncer les actions douteuses du gouvernement; - renié les droits ancestraux des peuples autochtones du pays.
La Délégation jeunesse canadienne se tient debout avec les millions de jeunes à travers le monde qui refusent d’hériter d’une planète en crise. Nous nous tenons debout avec les Autochtones, les communautés au front des impacts climatiques, les personnes de couleur et les populations à revenu modique qui vivent quotidiennement les réalités et les injustices climatiques, et qui continueront de les vivre de manière disproportionnée si vous maintenez vos positions et restez dans l’inaction.
À l’échelle du pays, des Premières Nations, Inuit, Métis, travailleuses et travailleurs, parents, fermières et fermiers, pêcheurs et pêcheuses, syndiqué(e)s, étudiantes et étudiants ainsi que des milliers d’autres personnes demandent la justice pour le climat. Pourtant, le gouvernement canadien maintient ses positions d’industrialisation débridée, d’exploitation de nos ressources naturelles et d’accords d’échange peu fructueux, sans se soucier des impacts sur le territoire ou des droits des Autochtones. Nous rejetons la notion selon laquelle l’environnement et l’économie sont exclusifs ou en opposition. Nos forêts, nos rivières, les milieux humides, l’air, notre culture, nos communautés, nos vies et nos moyens de subsistance n’ont pas de prix. Ce ne sont pourtant pas le manque d’avancées technologiques, l’opinion publique ou le manque de ressources financières qui nous empêchent de contrer les changements climatiques : le manque de volonté politique est le vrai coupable. En plus de l’action concrète sur les changements climatiques, nous exigeons que le gouvernement du Canada respecte les traités et les droits des Autochtones.
Vous avez la chance de devenir des leaders pour un futur propre, mais vous échouez constamment à relever ce défi. Aujourd’hui, le délai pour fournir des excuses a expiré depuis fort longtemps, pourtant nous anticipons avec tristesse que vous continuerez de retarder les négociations à COP 20 et de promouvoir des projets d’extraction sur la scène nationale. Si c’est le cas, nous continuerons de défier le développement des sables bitumineux, soit le projet d’exploitation le plus destructeur au monde. Nous ne cesserons pas jusqu’à ce que vous reconnaissiez que notre futur vaut plus que l’argent dans vos poches, le pétrole sur vos mains ou le pouvoir que vous détenez. Nous exigeons des actions en ce sens. Pour nous, le futur est tout ce que nous possédons et nous ferons tout ce qui est en notre pouvoir pour le protéger. Que notre message résonne à travers les chambres d’assemblées et les sièges sociaux du pays: nous méritons mieux.
La Délégation jeunesse canadienne à COP 20 350.org Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE) Canadian Federation of Students Canadian Labour Congress Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice Canadian Youth Climate Coalition ClimateFast Climate Justice Saskatoon Committee for Future Generations Conservation Council of New Brunswick Council of Canadians Dalhousie Student Union Office of Sustainability Divest Dalhousie Divest McGill Divest Mount Allison Divest UVic Divest York Douglas Channel Watch Ecology Action Centre Ecology North Ecology Ottawa Environmental Studies Student Association, University of Saskatchewan Fossil Fuel Divestment at Grenfell Fossil Free Guelph Fossil Free Kwantlen Fossil Free Lakehead Fossil Free McMaster Fossil Free uOttawa Friends of the Earth Canada Geography, Planning and Environmental Graduate Students of Concordia University Greenpeace Canada Inter-Church Uranium Committee Educational Co-operative Keepers of the Athabasca Leadnow.ca Living Oceans Society Mother Earth Action Co-operative Ltd. Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association Pro Information Pro Environmental United People (PIPE UP) Network Polaris Institute Public Interest Alberta Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change rabble.ca RPIC (Renewable Power - the Intelligent Choice) Saskatoon Peoples’ Climate March Saskatchewan Citizens’ Hearings on Climate Change Organizing Committee Saskatchewan Eco-Network Sierra Club BC Sierra Club Canada Foundation Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group Starfish Canada Stop Energy East Halifax Sustainable SFU Sustainable Trent Student’s Society of McGill University Toronto350.org Transition Initiative Kenora UBCC350 UofT350.org UR Sustainability Vegans and Vegetarians of Alberta West Coast Environmental Law Association Wilderness Committee
Organisations internationales Aotearoa New Zealand Human Rights Lawyers Association Australian Youth Climate Coalition Generation Zero New Zealand Youth Delegation P3 Foundation SustainUS: U.S. Youth for Sustainable Development Young Friends of the Earth Europe
Activists in Houston, Texas stage a ‘people’s eminent domain’ at the home of Les Cherwenuck, project director for the Keystone XL pipeline, as part of the 'Draw the Line’ national day of action against Keystone XL and tar sands development (September 21, 2013).
can’t wait to share photos and just write, hiked 8 hours on friday, 9 on saturday, did a 45 min walk to some awesome waterfalls and back today, 5 hour trip back to dijon, then get home, get on the internet, and find the #noxl success around the white house! got the same chills as when i first saw the sf moving planet aerial photo, even though i haven’t directly contributed to the tar sands action i have so much pride in 350.org, greenpeace, sierra club and all those who were there today. this sounds corny, but they are my people. i know i only interned for 2 months, but i consider 350.org a place that i’m comfortable at. yes, i was hiking instead of doing environmental activism, but i know the fight doesn’t end today. i commend all those there today, and wish i were there. had i been in school or at exeter, i would’ve definitely found a way to go. sometimes it’s not just about fulfilling a desire, being rational, to some extent, is necessary, too. or so i tell myself.