Look Around: The Costs of Not Acting on Climate Are Adding Up Fast

From major hurricanes and flooding to droughts and fires, the refusal to accept the science of global warming is getting very expensive.

— by Common Dreams staff

The La Tuna fire that raged in Los Angeles over the weekend was the largest ever seen in the city. Wildfires in California have been tied to the effects of climate change. (Photo: @climatesignals/Twitter)

As Houston begins a recovery from Hurricane Harvey that is likely to last several years and cost many billions of dollars, the threat of extreme weather events around the country and the globe are illustrating the impact of climate change—and the damage being done by right-wing politicians including President Donald Trump who have refused to heed repeated warnings from scientists and other experts.

Author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben summed up the current state of affairs in a number of major U.S. cities, juxtaposed with Trump’s decision earlier this year to withdraw from the 2016 Paris agreement on climate change:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has warned that the damage done to the country’s fourth-largest city could cost the government $180 billion—more than Hurricane Katrina cost in 2005. Aside from rebuilding costs, Houston-area residents may pay in other ways as well: as Common Dreams reported, the Center for Biological Diversity finds that “Oil refineries and chemical plants across the Texas Gulf coast released more than 1 million pounds of dangerous air pollutants in the week after Harvey struck.

On Monday morning, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said there is an “increasing chance” that the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys will see “some impacts” from the rapidly-approaching Hurricane Irma, and that “rough surf and dangerous marine conditions will begin to affect the southeastern U.S. coast by later this week.”

In Los Angeles, meanwhile, firefighters spent the weekend fighting what Mayor Eric Garcetti called “the largest fire in the history of” the city, covering about 7,000 acres and forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate. The wildfire, known as the La Tuna fire, broke out amid temperatures in the hundreds, and the Union of Concerned Scientists has noted that climate change is “fueling the frequency of wildfires” throughout the state in recent years.

As Andy Rowell, writing for Oil Change Internationalwrote in a column on Monday, Harvey’s damage in Houston and across the region “should also be a wake-up call to the climate-denying president that unless he acts on climate, there will be more Harveys.”

Rowell continues:

It is a wake-up call to the media to accurately report the disaster, including how climate change fuelled its intensity. It is also a wake-up call to the oil industry in so many, many ways.

On a national and international level it shows how our continuing dependence on fossil fuels will drive more extreme weather events. On a regional level it shows how ill-prepared the fossil fuel industry—and wider petrochemical industry—were to an event like this, despite decades of warnings.

Instead the fossil fuel industry’s complacency, malaise, self-regulation and capture of the political system are all to blame too. They have led to a system of peril.

Writing for Common Dreams on Monday, Randall Amster refers to it as the “new normal of destabilization”—a world in which climate-related disasters are happening more often and with escalating costs.

“In just the past week,” he writes, “we’ve seen record-breaking rainfall and wildfires plague parts of the United States. Globally, such extreme events appear to be increasing in frequency and magnitude. Droughts, floods, fires, and more can be seen as warning signs of impending ecosystem collapse at the planetary scale, with impacts felt in locales and regions around the world. While no single event may be able to draw a causal line directly from climate change, the cumulative correlation indicates escalating destabilization.”

Meanwhile, Trump and his cabinet remain reluctant to discuss the causes of disasters like Harvey as they strike. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt declared it was “misplaced” to discuss the storm’s link to climate change last week.

But that view was specifically countered by journalist Naomi Klein who said that it is in the midst of these climate-related disasters when the conversation about global warming and its impacts is most important.

“Talking honestly about what is fueling this era of serial disasters—even while they’re playing out in real time—isn’t disrespectful to the people on the front lines,” argued Klein at The Intercept. “In fact, it is the only way to truly honor their losses, and our last hope for preventing a future littered with countless more victims.”

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NRDC Lawsuit Prompts EPA to Restore Mercury Protection Rule It Illegally Withdrew

The Environmental Protection Agency today, acting in response to a lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council, reinstated a rule that will protect the public from more than five tons of mercury discharges each year from dental offices across the nation.

The following is a statement by Margaret Hsieh, attorney on the Litigation team at NRDC:

“EPA is taking an important step towards safeguarding Americans from a dangerous neurotoxin.  The agency decided to reissue the rule, instead of defending in court the decision to withdraw it.  Protecting the public—and not responding to a lawsuit—should have been motivation enough for this sensible action.”


EPA issued the Mercury Effluent Rule on December 15, 2016 and withdrew it after January 20, 2017 in response to a White House memo.

Mercury can disrupt brain function and harm the nervous system.  It is especially harmful to pregnant women, babies and young children, even at tiny levels of exposure.

For more information on the mercury rule, please see this blog by NRDC’s Mae Wu.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

GOP Is In Chaos—and 2018 is just around the corner

70 days in and it’s already been pretty rough for residents of Trumpland.

  • The “Obamacare” repeal? Couldn’t get a vote.
  • The Muslim ban 1.0 and then 2.0? Laughed out of court.
  • The budget? “Dead on arrival,” at least, according to Senator Lindsey Graham.
  • “You’re fired” seems to have taken over as the mode of operation, thus far: every US Ambassador effective upon his inauguration (without a single identified replacement to date),  every high-level State Department employee,
    46 District Attorneys General, Acting US Attorney General, National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh 
  • The president thinks it’s a great idea to threaten and mount primary challenges against ultra conservative Republican Freedom Caucus members who defy his will. (He might want to look back in history.  That tactic didn’t work so well, even for a very popular FDR.)
  • This is supposed to be the presidential “honeymoon” period.  Uh — not with ratings in the mid-thirties and dropping like a rock!
  • House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, who was also a member of the trump transition team, flunked the “smell test” and appears to have completely derailed the House’s efforts to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the trump campaign colluded in any way with the Russians.
  • Then there’s our Internet Privacy? ISPs are now free to sell your browsing history to the highest bidder without our permission.
  • Via executive fiat, climate change is now collectively being ignored across the board in every governmental department and LGBT statistics have been wiped from the 2020 census.
  • And what’s next? Passage of an actual budget and the need to once again raise the debt ceiling to pay for government spending Congress has already authorized.  Is yet another government shutdown on the near horizon? Will that force Democrats to vote for passage of a horrific budget just to keep the United States afloat?

The corruption of this administration is both brazen and incompetent. Case in point: Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is about to sell his debt-laden Manhattan office tower to a bank owned by the Chinese government —> for several billion dollars above fair market value.

And if that’s not bad enough, it appears there might be evidence of Trump’s campaign coordination with Russian intelligence, strong enough that Mike Flynn won’t testify  before Congress without immunity.  Isn’t that the same Flynn who raled about if  one needs immunity, that’s an indication of being guilty?  The same guy who went on an on about that throughout the campaign?

Surprisingly, the Republican congressional delegation continues to insist that the emperor is fully clothed and has all his real hair. They are going to go down with this ship.  Once again, the Republican party is destroying itself.

Now the question is: Are progressives ready with a positive vision of a just society and the policies?  Are you ready to step up and run against the void?  Are you ready to step up to the plate and throw your hat in the ring?  Let us know, we’re listening and ready to step up and support your campaign run.  Need training?  Need folks willing to contribute or provide shoe leather for door-to-door canvassing?  We can help with that!  We just need to know who you are and how we can help.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Gutting Climate Protections Won’t Bring Back Coal Jobs

Trump is using sympathetic out-of-work miners as a cover for what is really just a handout to dirty industry.

— by

Jill Richardson

When Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan, Scientific American used his own words to criticize it for not going far enough.

“There is such a thing as being too late when it comes to climate change,” Obama said. “The science tells us we have to do more.”

Scientific American analyzed the Clean Power Plan and agreed, concluding that Obama’s plan didn’t go far enough, and would fail to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Now, Trump is dismantling even that. Obama’s insufficient effort to address climate change is gone with a stroke of Trump’s pen.

The plan was to go into effect in 2022, reducing pollution in three ways. First, by improving the efficiency of coal-fired power plants. Second, by swapping coal for cleaner natural gas. And third, by replacing fossil fuel energy with clean, renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

Old Man Miner

Trump claims the plan puts coal miners out of work. But it hadn’t even been implemented yet. In reality, cheap natural gas and the use of machines instead of people to mine coal are responsible for putting far more miners out of work.

In other words, Trump is using sympathetic out-of-work miners as a cover for what is really just a handout to dirty industry.

Meanwhile, Trump is cutting job training programs for coal country. Given that, it’s hard to believe he cares at all about jobs for coal miners.

And, with a surge in cases of fatal black lung disease among miners in Appalachia, anyone who truly cared about miners would preserve the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which helps coal miners get black lung benefits.

In short, Trump’s killing of the Clean Power Plan is a handout to dirty industry with no regard for the well-being of coal miners. And it’s putting us even further behind in our efforts to leave the next generation a habitable planet.

A better leader would find a way to promote clean forms of energy while simultaneously creating good jobs for Americans. Of course, that’s exactly what Obama’s one-time “green jobs” czar Van Jones called for, and the Republicans hated him.

But the fact of the matter is that climate-smart policies create jobs. They create jobs retrofitting buildings, manufacturing solar panels and wind turbines, innovating to create more efficient batteries, and discovering the best way to upgrade our power grid.

It seems that, if we installed a wind turbine near the White House, Trump could single handedly provide the nation with clean energy from all of the bluster coming out of his mouth.

In the meantime, catastrophic climate change is as much of a crisis as ever, and the clock is ticking.

OtherWords columnist Jill Richardson is the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

‘Sheer Reckless Folly’: Trump Destroys Obama-Era Climate Rules

“Aside from provoking a large-scale nuclear war, it is hard to imagine an American president taking an action more harmful to the U.S. than Trump’s effort to accelerate greenhouse gas emissions”
— by Nika Knight, staff writer at CommonDreams

Smog envelopes the Salt Lake City skyline in November 2016. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/cc)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday set about aggressively dismantling Obama-era climate policies with an executive order decried as “sheer reckless folly,” which will increase U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the climate crisis.

“Aside from provoking a large-scale nuclear war, it is hard to imagine an American president taking an action more harmful to the U.S. than Trump’s effort to accelerate greenhouse gas emissions,” said David J. Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen’s Climate Program, in a statement.

“This day may be remembered as a low point in human history—a time when the world’s preeminent power could have led the world to a better future but instead moved decisively toward catastrophe,” Arkush added.

The order instructs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rewrite former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which would have limited the emissions of coal-powered power plants. It also lifts the moratorium on federal coal leasing, repeals limits on methane emissions from fracking, and directs the agency to reconsider the Social Cost of Carbon and the National Environmental Policy Act guidance on greenhouse gas emissions.

“The EPA’s rollback of basic environmental rules demonstrates that when it comes to the health of our children, our communities, and our climate, this is an administration of lawlessness and disorder,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of the grassroots sustainability group UPROSE, in statement.

“Indigenous peoples will not stand idle as we tell the world the Earth is the source of life to be protected, not merely a resource to be exploited and abused.”
—Tom BK Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network

“For frontline communities, those of us impacted first and worst by the extraction economy, this means an escalation of public health crises, from asthma to cancer. It means an utter disregard for those of us most vulnerable to climate disasters,” Yeampierre added. “It means a world of volatility and exploitation for our children and grandchildren.”

Environmentalists, local and state leaders, and advocacy groups are vowing to resist.

“The best way to fight against these executive orders is to take to the streets,” as 350.org executive director May Boeve put it.

“President Donald Trump tearing apart the CPP is an act of aggression and violence against the sacredness of Mother Earth and Father Sky,” said Tom BK Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, in a statement. “Our indigenous prophecies and teachings tell us that Life as we know it is in danger. The atmosphere and the environment cannot absorb anymore concentration of greenhouse gases. As Indigenous peoples, we still understand our responsibility as guardians and the need to take action as defenders of the Earth. Indigenous peoples will not stand idle as we tell the world the Earth is the source of life to be protected, not merely a resource to be exploited and abused.”

“As a member of the climate justice movement, we stand defiant in the face of these orders and are prepared to hold the line,” Yeampierre said. “We will meet these violent policies with a deeper commitment to a Just Transition away from fossil fuels, toward renewable energy, local resiliency, and a regenerative economy worthy of leaving our children.”

The climate movement has numbers on its side, groups observe. “Millions of Americans have called for strong climate action, submitting more than 8 million comments asking the EPA to take action to cut carbon pollution from power plants,” noted Environment America. Recent polling confirms that a vast majority of Americans support climate action.

Moreover, despite the Trump administration’s dubious claims of job creation, the Department of Energy showed that renewable energy jobs have already overtaken fossil fuel industry jobs, and the trend shows no sign of slowing.

As the federal government gives up its role in the climate fight, many now see local and state leaders taking up the charge.

“The West Coast will be allied with the rest of the world that understands science.”
— Washington Gov. Jay Inslee”

[A]s our most successful climate programs face attack on the federal level, it is incumbent on states to double down on their climate commitments,” Environment America wrote. “We are calling on our governors to keep leading the charge and push the progress we need to tackle the climate crisis and get 100 percent renewable energy.”

West Coast politicians are already uniting under the umbrella of the Pacific Coast Collaborative to battle the federal government’s rightward turn on climate.

“As the governors of Washington, Oregon, and California and the mayors of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles, we speak today in support of the Clean Power Plan,” the Pacific Coast Collaborative wrote in advance of the executive order. “We speak in unified opposition to the idea of any decision by the President to limit our region’s economic opportunities or our commitment to doing what’s right to make our cities and states cleaner and healthier for future generations.”

“The West Coast is going to move forward to beat climate change,” said Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state, according to Northwest Public Radio. “The West Coast going to move forward to build clean energy jobs. The West Coast will be allied with the rest of the world that understands science.”

“It is up to the American public to move the nation in the right direction on climate and clean energy despite the worst efforts of the so-called leader in the White House.” — David J. Arkush, Public Citizen

“Many states and cities in the West will continue to lead on clean energy because it makes economic sense, and those states that tie their fate to Scott Pruitt’s doomed strategy of delay and deny face an increasingly risky future,” said Bill Corcoran, Western campaign director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.

And despite the frightening actions of the Trump administration, states and cities are already taking strong action to fight climate change. California last week passed the nation’s strictest methane regulations, and on Monday the Maryland state senate passed a statewide fracking ban. Maryland’s Republican governor has already signaled his support for the ban.

People nationwide are also ready to rise up and march for climate justice.

“Even as Trump dismantles environmental protections to shore up the fossil fuel industry, support for action to stop global warming is at an all-time high,” said 350.org’s Boeve. “Now it’s up to communities to bring our vision of a healthy climate and a just transition to renewable energy to life.”

Those who support climate action and oppose Trump’s fossil fuel-friendly administration will gather for the Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C., on April 29, as well as the March for Science in D.C. and elsewhere on April 22.

“From the upcoming congressional recess through the Peoples Climate March and beyond, we’ll be putting pressure on lawmakers to defend the climate and building power to stop the fossil fuel industry for good,” Boeve said.

“Now is the time to come together and build an economy where investments are made to benefit workers, communities of color, women, and low-income folks, not the fossil fuel industry,” said Rae Breaux, lead climate justice organizer for the People’s Action Institute, in a statement.

Public Citizen’s Arkush added: “It is up to the American public to move the nation in the right direction on climate and clean energy despite the worst efforts of the so-called leader in the White House.”

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Speaker Ryan Announces GOP’s First CRA Repeal—DOI’s Stream Protection Rule

Reps. David McKinley (R-WV), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Evan Jenkins (R-WV), Alex Mooney (R-WV), and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) joined Speaker Ryan as he signed the legislation.

Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) signed H.J. Res. 38, a joint resolution disapproving the Department of Interior’s stream protection rule under the Congressional Review Act. The House passed this CRA on Wednesday and the Senate followed suit on Thursday. Speaker Ryan released the following statement:

“This is the first repeal of President Obama’s policies that Congress is sending to President Trump’s desk. Fittingly, it will bring relief to Americans hurt by years of overreach and over-regulation. We are repealing the Department of Interior’s stream protection rule—a rule the Obama administration pushed through at the last minute that was designed to decimate coal country.

“This is the first in a series of repeal bills that will break the choke-hold of aggressive Obama-era regulations. This is so important because these bills, once signed into law by President Trump, will free up America’s entrepreneurs, create jobs, and get our economy growing again. Congress promised to stand up for American jobs, and today we fulfill that promise.”

The #GOP will be using the CRA extensively over the next month or so to pretty much gut any regulation/rule/act previously enacted to which they’ve taken a dislike.  That was the case with the Stream Protection Rule.  So, why are they using the CRA?  Because, if they use that process they can prevent any filibusters in the Senate and they have the absolute number of votes to do whatever they want without needing a single solitary Democratic vote.  And, now that they have a president with an (R) behind his name with enough working digits to use a pen, they can get him to sign off on what ever wet dream they can imagine.

  • HOUSE Vote HJRes38:  228-194 (4 Ds voted to overturn; 9 Rs voted against overturning it)
    AYE:  Amodei |  NAY:  Kihuen, Rosen, Titus
  • SENATE Vote HJRes38:  54-45 [D AYE votes: Donnelly (D-IN), Heitkamp (D-ND), McCaskill (D-MO)] AYE: Heller | NAY:  Cortez Masto

What is the Congressional Review Act (CRA)?

The CRA is a complex statute that involves varying time limits, carryover provisions for changes in sessions of Congress, procedures for expediting legislative consideration of the joint resolution, and some important limitations. 

Under the CRA, the effective dates of all “major” rules are delayed for 60 calendar days after they are submitted to Congress or after they are published in the Federal Register, whichever date is later. In contrast, the effective dates of “non-major” rules are determined by the Administrative Procedure Act, which generally requires that the effective dates for new rules be at least 30 calendar days after the rule is published in the Federal Register. The purpose of the delay in effective dates is to allow Congress to review the regulation before it goes into effect.  If Congress adopts a joint resolution of disapproval, it must then submit to the president for consideration. If the president vetoes the joint resolution, the regulation will become effective unless Congress can override the veto within 30 session days after receiving the president’s veto.

Okay, but why use the CRA process?  Well, because it expedites the process by sending it directly to the Senate calendar for a vote and by limiting debate and prohibiting procedural hurdles, like filibusters by the party in the minority, as well as motions, points of order, and amendments.  You can find a primer explaining the CRA process HERE.

So what is the Stream Protection Rule?

The Stream Protection Rule covers waterways near surface coal mining operations like mountaintop-removal mines. When the tops of mountains are blown up to get at the coal below, the resultant rubble is dumped into valleys, often leading to pollution of rivers and streams with dangerous heavy metals like selenium, mercury, and arsenic.  It says that coal mines must not damage the “hydrologic balance” outside their permit area, and established a 100-foot buffer around streams to preserve native species. The rule also called for restoration of streams that had been damaged.

And why is it that they wanted to get rid of it?

According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,  “It’s just one example of the former administration’s attack on coal communities like those in my home state of Kentucky.”  Rep. David McKinley described it this way, “Fortunately with President Trump, we now have a partner in the White House who understands how irresponsible and harmful these bureaucratic overreaches can be.”  Translated into English:  That nasty ole Stream Protection Rule reduces (our benefactor) coal company profits.  So, if you live near any of those polluted streams compliments of this repeal, you might want to have that game you just shot for your freezer tested before you put it in the oven and then on your family’s dinner table.

Congress’s Repeal of Obama Methane Rule Will Cost Taxpayers Hundreds of Millions

Repealing the methane rule will waste $330 million in taxpayer-owned natural gas and cost “all of us” in terms of direct payments to the public, increase in greenhouse gases, climate and air quality.

A gas flare is seen at a natural gas processing facility near Williston, N.D. CREDIT: AP Photo/Matthew Brown

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday to pass a resolution to undo a measure that would cut air pollution, prevent the waste of taxpayer dollars, and curb climate change-causing pollution.

The Bureau of Land Management’s methane waste prevention rule aims to limit venting, flaring, and leaking of methane — the main component in natural gas — from oil and gas operations on public lands. The House is seeking to use the Congressional Review Act to repeal the rule, in what many see as a continued escalation of the most significant congressional attack on environmental rules and standards in American history.

Repealing the rule is expected to result in the waste of $330 million in taxpayer-owned gas annually, and reduce direct payments to the public by $800 million over the next decade, analysis shows.

“Those in Congress working to overturn guidelines that will reduce methane pollution would be taking money away from American taxpayers and removing protections for Americans’ health and the environment,” Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, said in a statement.

“More than $1.5 billion in natural gas has been pointlessly burned and sent into the air since 2013,” Williams said. “It defies common sense for Congress to allow companies to waste our resources and ditch basic safeguards limiting the release of harmful methane pollution.”

Between 2009 and 2015, oil and gas producers on public and Indian lands vented, flared, or leaked an estimated 462 billion cubic feet of natural gas. An ICF International report calculated the value of the lost federal and tribal natural gas resources at an estimated $330 million per year.

In addition, a report by the Western Values Project found that without the rule, taxpayers could conservatively lose almost $800 million in royalties over the next decade from the venting and flaring of natural gas on public lands. These revenues are crucial tax dollars that fund local governments, education programs, and infrastructure projects.

Repeal of the rule could also have significant consequences for public health. When natural gas leaks during production, methane and toxic air pollutants like benzene and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released. By reducing venting and flaring, the rule was expected to reduce VOC emissions by 250,000 to 267,000 tons per year as well. VOC’s are a precursor to ground level ozone, which poses a real threat to children who suffer from asthma and can affect Americans’ daily lives. Nationally, there are more than 750,000 summertime asthma attacks in children under the age of 18 due to ozone smog resulting from oil and gas pollution.

“The Methane Rule will reduce hazardous air pollutants that damage the health of local communities by contributing to increased smog, asthma attacks, and other respiratory ailments,” Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, wrote in a letter to members of the House. “Methane pollution is also a potent greenhouse gas, and the rule is an important step in reducing our contributions to a changing climate that threatens our health, communities, ecosystems, economy, security, and way of life.”

As a greenhouse gas, methane traps 86 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. BLM estimates that the methane waste prevention rule could avoid an estimated 164,000 to 169,000 tons of methane emissions per year — a reduction of about 35 percent, equivalent to eliminating the emissions of at least 924,000 vehicles.

BLM received over 300,000 comments on the rule. which is supported by a wide range of stakeholders, including conservation groups, sportsmen and women, tribal leaders, western congressional delegations, and consumer watchdog groups.

But, the oil and gas industry has long fought against this rule as being “unnecessary” and lacking real benefits. According to a report from Public Citizen, oil and gas opponents of the rule spent over $130 million to influence Congress in the past year.

“Opposition to a particular government regulation should not mean overlooking potential waste, fraud, and abuse at the expense of taxpayers,” said Ryan Alexander, President of Taxpayers for Common Sense in an op-ed. “The oil and gas industry argues that companies, not the BLM, should decide when to pay a royalty on gas that is lost during drilling. Taxpayers own this resource, and it is insulting and irresponsible that we would defer to the oil and gas industry to tell us when it will pay for it.”

The House is using a rare measure to repeal this rule called the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to revoke rules issued by the executive branch within 60 legislative days of their finalization. Before this month, only one rule had ever been overturned using the CRA — a workplace safety rule that was implemented in 2000 by the Clinton Administration and overturned in 2001.

“We applaud the House of Representatives’ attention to this important matter and ask that all members of the House support this resolution when it is considered on the floor,” American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerrard wrote in a letter to Congress. “We know that the exploration and production of federal oil and natural gas will further enhance U.S. economic and national security, and that a forward-thinking energy policy that prioritizes and grows federal production will benefit all Americans.”

CRA resolutions cannot be filibustered and require only a simple majority to pass in both chambers. If a rule is disapproved using the Congressional Review Act, a “substantially similar” rule cannot be issued unless Congress passes new legislation.

Go to the profile of Jenny Rowland Jenny Rowland
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Buckle Up–It’s Gonna Be a Bumpy Ride!

Buckle up folks, we’re screwed…

On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for

  • the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.

On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for

  • the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
  • the Minority Business Development Agency.
  • the Economic Development Administration.
  • the International Trade Administration.
  • the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
  • the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
  • the Legal Services Corporation.
  • the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
  • the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
  • the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
  • the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
  • the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
  • for the Office of Fossil Energy.

On January 20th, 2017,

  • DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
  • DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
  • roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics. Their cell phones were harvested for all contacts and messages (including those of reporters).
  • a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.

On January 21st, 2017,

  • DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.
  • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”

On January 22nd, 2017,

  • White House advisor Kellyanne
    Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
  • DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.

On January 23rd, 2017,

  • DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
    On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
  • DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
  • it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.

On January 24th, 2017,

  • Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
  • DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration (in sepia tone) and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
  • the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
  • HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to ANY insurance coverage, including Medicaid and employer healthcare plans, from providing abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
  • Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”
  • DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
  • DT ordered the construction of the KXL pipeline which will be built atop a major aquifer utilized by the breadbasket of our nation. And on that same day, dual leaks let loose in the existing pipeline with two major spills.
  • it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.

In case you hadn’t realized it yet, elections do have serious consequences.  This last one was exceptional and NOT in a good way! The carnage continues.

On Day One, Trump’s WhiteHouse.gov Scrubs Every Mention of Combating Climate Change

New administration’s official site offers ‘America First Energy Plan’ which boasts ‘direct obstacle to a livable future’ by promoting fracking and coal

Trump’s America First Energy Plan isn’t a plan at all, said Sierra Club head Michael Brune, but “a polluter wishlist that will make our air and water dirtier, our climate and international relations more unstable, and our kids sicker.” (Photo: Julia DeSantis via Climate J20/flickr/cc)

Soon after Donald Trump took his oath as the 45th President of the United States, the new White House web page for his administration went up. Among the key differences from the previous administration’s—the lack of any reference to the threat of climate change.

While climate change was listed as a top issue on the Obama White House official site, the new page now lists ‘America First Energy Plan’ as among the top six issues.

The new page states: “For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule” That is the only use of “climate” on the page.

WH Energy page just minutes before new Administration took office

Screenshot from the new Trump administration's White House site

Screenshot from the new Trump administration’s White House site The Climate Action Plan refers to Obama-era climate regulations, and the Waters of the U.S. rule, as the Washington Post explains, “is an EPA action to protect not only the nation’s largest waterways but smaller tributaries that critics think should fall under the jurisdiction of states rather than the federal government,” a rollback of which could “end up benefiting some Trump-related businesses.”

The “energy plan” page adds that the new administration “will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution” and is “committed to clean coal technology,” referring to carbon capture and storage—a costly technological process that has so far proven a failure.

The page adds: “President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water”—though it stands to be “every polluter’s ally” if Trump’s pick to head the agency, Scott Pruitt, is confirmed.

The Obama White House site, in contrast, listed climate change as a top issue, stating: “President Obama believes that no challenge poses a greater threat to our children, our planet, and future generations than climate change.”

Addressing that magnitude, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said, “Minutes after he was sworn in, any illusion that Trump would act in the best interests of families in this country as President were wiped away by a statement of priorities that constitute an historic mistake on one of the key crises facing our planet and an assault on public health.”

Rather than a plan, Brune said it’s a “polluter wishlist that will make our air and water dirtier, our climate and international relations more unstable, and our kids sicker.”

At the same time, the pledges for more fossil fuel extraction are not at all surprising, said 350.org executive director May Boeve. “Trump’s energy plan is par for the course of the President’s climate denial, but it’s nonetheless alarming for the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

“Fulfilling this plan would not only set back years of progress we’ve made towards protecting the climate, but would undoubtedly worsen the devastating impacts of the climate crisis, from rising sea levels to extreme weather. This is not a plan for a brighter future—it’s a direct obstacle to a livable future, and we will do everything we can to resist it,” she said.

As New York magazine notes, also missing from the new White House site are sections on LGBTQ equality, civil rights, and healthcare.

That Didn’t Take Long — #ClimateChange No Longer Exists for Republicans

Here’s what the Energy page on WhiteHouse.gov looked like minutes before our new president was inaugurated:

WH Energy page just minutes before new Administration took office


As soon as our new president said his “I do” … that page and all of it’s program data went dark and was later replaced as an “issues” statement containing nothing but the drivel spewed forth during the campaign:

An America First Energy Plan

Energy is an essential part of American life and a staple of the world economy. The Trump Administration is committed to energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.

For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.

Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well.

The Trump Administration is also committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long.

In addition to being good for our economy, boosting domestic energy production is in America’s national security interest. President Trump is committed to achieving energy independence from the OPEC cartel and any nations hostile to our interests. At the same time, we will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy.

Lastly, our need for energy must go hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship of the environment. Protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources will remain a high priority. President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water.

A brighter future depends on energy policies that stimulate our economy, ensure our security, and protect our health. Under the Trump Administration’s energy policies, that future can become a reality.

I have but one question, how exactly does on drill-baby-drill every possible square inch of drillable land while protecting our air and water?  Have you driven through west Texas lately.  Entire towns no longer have drinkable water because of all the fracking contamination.  The air itself has a retched stench that assaults one’s nostrils.  Oklahoma now has man-made earthquakes sending home-owner’s insurance policy costs through the roof. And legislators in Wyoming just introduced a bill to make their public utilities dismantle 100s of windmills that have been erected across the state and make selling of such generation illegal across their state.

For those who were looking forward to a “drill-baby-drill, pollute our lands and waters all you want corporate entitlement economy,” I guess they’re gonna finally get what they’ve always wanted. But, they should have been much more careful in what they wished for.  I hope they have a good explanation for their kids and grandkids when the planet upon which we now reside no longer supports life, for not just humans, but all the wildlife both on land and sea, and there’s no Planet B for them to pillage next.