Trump Seeks to Pollute the Planet
ASK: The American people deserve access to clean air, clean water and healthy neighborhoods. Americans are overwhelmingly supportive of investment in renewables. Americans love our national parks, as they help define the American experience. Congress must take its responsibilities seriously and commit to action on climate, whether that is adopting a carbon tax or investing in new clean technologies. The so-called "America First Energy Plan" by the Trump Administration lacks creativity in that it attempts to roll the clock back 60 years, reopens closed debates, and willfully puts in place plans to destroy our environment for future generations. It also acts under the incorrect assumption that the coal industry is revivable without acknowledging that natural gas has been moving the market away from coal and towards gas, wind and solar for over a decade. Not to mention the price of solar is declining aggressively thanks to investments by the Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative. Therefore, we ask:
- Congress should stand up to corporate interests, especially those which do not want to move forward with climate action.
- Congress should maintain sanctions against Russia which could lead to the development of oil in the arctic
- We must stay in all current international environmental accords, for climate, conservation or otherwise, and we must remain engaged in conversations about keeping oil in the ground.
News Related to Polluting our Planet
Below is a recap of Trump's attacks on the environment, at the expense of the American people. Note also that last year, the renewables sector employed more people than the coal industry, so this is not a story about jobs versus the environment.
December 12, 2016
Source: New York Times
Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon Mobil and official Friend to the Russian Government, and confirmed Secretary of State, has been working on a deal to exploit oil in the Arctic and throughout Russia, valued at over $500Bn. The project is currently on hold due to US Sanctions on Russia; and as soon as Tillerson lifts those sanctions, the company will have clearance to restart the strategic oil extractions to the vast benefit of the oil-run Russian state, effectively turning Putin into an overnight hero. "Exxon Mobil has various projects afoot in Russia that are allowed under American sanctions. But others have been ground to a halt by the sanctions, including a deal with the Russian state oil company to explore and pump in Siberia that could be worth tens of billions of dollars. Russian officials have optimistically called the agreement a $500 billion deal." Authors' note: Would that be worth buying an American president?
Congress must investigate.
Highlights from Article: Trump said that the work of the EPA is a "disgrace." Pruitt, a methodical lawyer and Oklahoma's former attorney general, is in the pocket of oil corporations, is not likely to completely destroy the agency, but rather he will seek ways to cripple it beyond repair. He also denies climate science.
From this author: It is not a disgrace, but an achievement to have improved the air and water quality over the decades. It is not a disgrace, but an achievement to regulate chemicals known to cause birth defects, cancer and neurological conditions. It is not a disgrace to clean up the toxic elements left after corporate polluters abandon their responsibilities. If anything, the EPA should be able to provide more guidance to regulate chemicals and conduct toxicology studies, and should be allowed to tighten control on emissions and water quality using an economic tool, the social cost of carbon, currently valued at $36/ton.
Highlights from Article: Trump promised to roll back the Clean Power Plan, a commitment to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from electricity 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and the "Waters of the US" Rule, which sought to modernize the Clean Water Act to recognize that sources of water pollution may also infiltrate groundwater systems through streams, rivers and lakes. His new Administrator, Scott Pruitt, has shown detest for the EPA, and will be aiming to eliminate protections for the American people, as he did when he was attorney general in Oklahoma.
Highlights from Article: The House decided to kick off the 115th Congress by first trying to do away with the Congressional ethics office. That didn't go over so well. When that failed, the Republicans in the House then passed a provision that eliminates the requirement to account for the cost of turning over federal lands to state or local governments. Basically public lands, which create billions in tourist revenue, are considered worthless to these Republicans. Surprisingly, Trump has said he's not interested in turning over Federal lands to states, and Interior Secretary Nominee Ryan Zinke, though he has other problems, may also protect Federal lands, but time will tell. Some corporate lobbyists have a lot of money, and are really interested in exploiting National Parks.
The American People love our parks system, and Congress MUST defend it.