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.
“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
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 commentsasking 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.
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 passedthe 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.”
“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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The new EPA chief had a “very cozy” relationship with fossil fuel.
While attorney general of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt took part in 14 lawsuits against major EPA environmental rules, often in coordination with energy companies such as Devon Energy, an Oklahoma oil and gas producer, and American Electric Power, an Ohio-based electric utility. The close relationship between Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and those fossil fuel interests (including the billionaire Koch brothers) has been highlighted in more than 7,500 emails and other records released by the Oklahoma attorney general’s office on Wednesday.
The documents show that Pruitt that he even put his letterhead to a complaint filed by one firm, Devon Energy. This practice was first revealed in 2014, but it now appears that it occurred more than once.
Today, Republicans in Congress have voted to have Scott Pruitt demolish the Environmental Protection Agency and the protections it provides for the PEOPLE of our nation.
Scott Pruitt has made it clear he wants to dismantle the EPA, and now Trump and his merry little band of Trumplicans in the US Senate have put him in charge.
It can’t be emphasized enough, that it is now incumbent upon everyone who cares about protecting our air, water, and land, that we must do everything in our power to minimize the damage. Senator Heller voted for Pruitt. He should be prepared to answer to his Nevada constituents when the next environmental disaster happens not just in Nevada, but across our nation.
Senator Cortez-Masto voted against Pruitt and must continue resisting and holding Pruitt accountable for every step of the way.
We, the millions of people in this country who want a government that works for us — not for fossil fuel companiesor any other company willing to cut costs to their bottom line through pollution — will not stand for this. Scott Pruitt’s legislative history clearly illustrates that he does not place healthy communities, clean air and water, or a safe climate as a high priority. It is up to all of us to still demand those basic rights and fight for them.
We, the people, must RESIST.
We must never stop fighting for a clean, healthy planet — and must continue to peacefully resist Scott Pruitt — and the Trump administration’s — plans to roll back ANY environmental protections.
By appointing Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump is putting America at risk:
As Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt blocked basic protections for clean drinking water.
Pruitt opposed the Clean Power Plan because it would endanger industry profits.
Pruitt made a career suing the EPA to undo environmental protection.
Pruitt pushes fracking and other dirty energy sources over clean energy.
If climate change denial is going to be the default position of the Trump White House, then relentless resistance will be the default position of the American people.
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.
Washington (December 13, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement today after President-elect Donald Trump announced plans to nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State and Ricky Perry to be Secretary of Energy. These announcements come in the wake of the planned nomination of Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the likely nomination of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to be Secretary of the Interior.
“In a Donald Trump administration, America’s foreign policy, energy policy, and environmental policy are all linked by one thing – oil.
“Donald Trump is drafting a cabinet of Big Oil All-Stars with the plan to drag us back to 19th century dirty energy sources and derail our 21st century clean energy future. These nominations are clear confirmation that a Trump administration will doggedly pursue an “oil above all” energy agenda domestically and overseas, at the expense of our economy, national security, and public health. Both Scott Pruitt and Rick Perry have spoken about eliminating the very agencies they are now nominated to lead and have denied the science of climate change. And ExxonMobil’s global drilling interests, especially in Russia and the Ukraine, raise serious questions about conflicts of interest for Mr. Tillerson. Donald Trump doesn’t want to drain the swamp, he wants to drill in it. These nominees’ ties to fossil fuel interests are as deep as an oil well.
“These nominations are a harbinger of what’s to come under a Trump administration – a system where oil and gas profits will be paid for by those who suffer the consequences of war, environmental injustice, and climate change. As the world forges ahead with a global climate accord that will help move us toward an energy system that does not threaten people or the planet, we must recommit to making progress on climate change and defend the bedrock environmental protections that ensure clean air, water, and land.
“The Trump administration should expect a fight on all of these nominations.”
We’re delighted to announce that the conditional use permit (CUP) extension Recology fought so hard for, and even took the county to court over (and won), expired on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, after 5 long frustrating years.
The Jungo dump is no more.
To be honest about it, this is not a great victory for NAG (Nevadans Against Garbage) or the citizens of Humboldt County.
Granted, we all made a lot of noise, gave of our time, money and skills making our views known. We all deserve great credit for that. Thank you each and every one. Recology out-spent, out-lawyered and threatened Humboldt County. There would have been a dump out along Jungo Road had it not been for the self-inflicted wounds and subsequent implosion of Recology itself. Not only did they fail to live up to the terms of the CUP, the details of which are buried somewhere on our Nevadans Against Garbage website, but they never secured a lease or ownership of the land for their proposed dump site. But it didn’t end there. Recology wasn’t even able to secure a single solitary contract to haul California garbage into Nevada from California.
Pay attention to what is happening in our community
Read and investigate Humboldt County Commissioners (HCC) and Regional Planning Commission (RPC) agendas. Show up at commission meetings and participate whenever possible. Get to know your representatives and ask questions. The fight against Recology’s proposed Landfill started AFTER the RPC had approved a very weak conditional use permit (CUP) that did not require even a “basic” environmental impact statement or other items not covered by Nevada law
Demand accountability from Commissioners
Speak up during “public comment periods” raising questions as to whether the HCC and RPC are following up to ensure CUP requirements are being met. Demand that actions be taken when there is evidence some entity is not following through in implementing requirements. We cannot allow entities coming into our county to bully and sue. Require your District Attorney to support the efforts.
Be aware that the State of Nevada has some fairly lax environmental regulations and if President-Elect Trump’s candidate to lead the EPA is confirmed, the same could prove to be true across our entire nation
Compared to regulations in surrounding states, our lax regulations could be an invitation for polluting businesses and industries to locate here. Nevada can be a pretty “cheap date.” If you care about our land, air and water, then you’ll need to be vigilant. Remember, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) did not require an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Jungo Landfill CUP. California, on the other hand, did require an EIS on the rail route between San Francisco and the Recology Yuba County Landfill.
NDEP isn’t always the “end all” of everything environmental.
For example. no consideration was undertaken as to which direction the wind blows off Jungo Road or who it is/was who owned the land Recology wanted to build their dump on. Who owns the land and thus who would be held accountable for issues down the road should problems express themselves are extremely important considerations that weren’t effectively addressed upfront before approving the CUP.
It takes money, strong environmental policies, hired experts, committed citizens and elected/appointed leaders over periods of multiple years to stop deep-pocketed companies intent on getting their way
In the meantime, their activities can and do seriously harm our fragile desert environment and ecosystems. Inconsistency in any of these areas can be detrimental and inhibit effective recovery.
Petition local governmental agencies to make better use of social media.
HCC meetings are conducted during the workday when many members of the community are at work themselves. RPC meetings generally are held once monthly at 5:30 pm on the second Thursday to consider various land use applications. As many from the mining community don’t get back into town until 6:30 pm or later, most if not all of the RPC meeting has already been addressed before they could arrive. Agendas (and meeting packets as appropriate) for various board and commissions are posted, but utilizing various social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn at a minimum) would enhance the ability of citizens to follow activities
Demand that links to the “Agenda Packets” for public meetings be included on the County’s Agenda Page Currently, the inclusion of packet information to be considered (for upcoming meetings) or that was considered (at previously held meetings) are sporadic at best. Packets were made available to the commissioners/board members and should also be available to the public at large.
Currently, one can only subscribe to the Agenda/Minutes RSS feeds using an RSS Reader. Demand that County Boards/Commissions set up a process whereby citizens can “subscribe” to receive email agendas, minutes, packets.
Throughout the activities with associated with the proposed dump, there have been some encouraging things that occurred. Who could have predicted overflowing commission meetings? Similarly, who would have anticipated picketing at the courthouse and lots of letters to the editor? An unwanted mega-dump motivated people to become more involved in their community. Time and the natural flow of events were probably the main factors, but the dump undoubtedly helped. Since the CUP’s original approval, the makeup of the HCC and the RPC has changed. In fact, as of this writing, women now head these bodies. Hopefully, going forward more people will become actively involved and maybe even volunteer to serve on the RPC or run for election to the HCC.
Steve (NAG website) and Tracy (FB and twitter), are kind of the last two standing from when Tami, Annie and Lianne raised the issue. There have been many of you working on this issue and planting sign after sign after sign. Your efforts to improve our community are greatly appreciated. We cannot thank you enough. You know who you are, and we will be happy to work with you again should the opportunity arise.
These days, the news is so unthinkable it almost seems fake … like fodder for The Onion. If only it was funny and not frightening as hell.
Steve Bannon, an extreme-right, white nationalist and Breitbart publisher has been tapped for trump’s chief strategist.
Reince Priebus, former RNC Chairman, has been announced as trump’s Chief of Staff
Michael Flynn, a retired army general who holds an incoherent worldview and virulent Islamophobic conspiracy theorist has been tapped to fill the role of National Security Advisor.
Rep. Tom Price( R-GA), a Teapublican and leading critic of Obamacare has been tapped to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Price is also an advocate of privatizing Medicare which leave Seniors to the mercy of the Insurance industry, consuming whatever voucher might be provided and delivering little if any coverage for actual healthcare.
Steven Mnuchin, a billionaire Goldman trader turned hedge fund manager (vulcher capitalist) who made a fortune foreclosing on working families’ homes during the recession and who thinks the “Volker Rule” is just to complicated, is trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary.
Wilbur L Ross, Jr., a billionaire investor in distressed assets (a vulture capitalist), has been chosen to run the Commerce Department. Todd Rickets, owner of the Chicago cubs will be joining Ross as his Deputy Commerce Secretary.
James “Mad Dog” Mattis, a retired marine corps general is his pick for Secretary of Defense, but it will take an law passed by Congress to enable him to even be nominated for a “civilian” post since he’s a retired general.
Elaine Chao (Senator McConnell’s wife and Labor Secy under GWB), who has deep business and political ties to China is his pick for Transportation Secretary (wonder just how much Chinese Steel he plans on having her ship to the US for his special infrastructure projects to “make America great.” Considered a Washington insider, she is also connected to a 90 old seizure of cocaine from one of her father’s shipping vessels. So much for “draining” that swamp — looks more like he’s stocking it up with some serious alligators.
Betsy Devos (former chair of the Michigan Republican Party), a billionaire philanthropist who never attended a public school, who has no experience in education and who ardently believes we should gut and scrap public education in favor of privatized charter schools (via which she could profit) and home schooling, has been tapped to lead the Department of Education. So much for that investment in our children’s and our nation’s future.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who was once rejected for a judicial appointment on racial grounds and who has touted that his approach to immigration reform would prevent people (of color?) from entering this country, is trump’s pick as attorney general. Sessions also has some serious prejudices when it comes to LGBT issues. You can pick almost any LGBT rights issue, and chances are Sessions has voted against it
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), a Teapublican partisan who graduated from West Point and Harvard, is trump’s pick for Director of the CIA, an agency that is supposed to operate above politics. That might prove to be an unsuccessful stretch for Mr. Pompeo given his aggressively partisan attacks on Clinton during the 2016 election. If you’re fond of bulk collection of your phone records, Pompeo is your guy.
Gov. Nikki Haley, who has extremely limited foreign policy experience has been selected as US Ambassador to the United Nations
That’s the people, then there’s his policy positions
Muslim Americans now fear being added to a national registry.
Millions of hardworking immigrant families fear deportation.
trump wants flag burners to be jailed or lose their citizenship — never mind our 1st Amendment protection in the U.S. Constitution.
trump plans to fill the Supreme Court with justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade.
And, anti-choice Republicans are poised to finally defund Planned Parenthood, privatize Medicare, shred Medicaid and advance a federal 20-week abortion ban, that is, if they don’t make abortion illegal altogether making it a criminal act.
It’s just too much. trump’s only getting started, and the kinds of policies he promises to advance would cause grave harm to women and families.
It begs the question: What’s next? Will Michelle Bachmann turn up in his list of nominees?
Secretary of State: Laundry list of candidates being considered includes Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, Bob Corker, Mitt Romney, and David Petraeus (who was convicted of and currently on probation for disseminating Top Secret information to his mistress and who would need to get permission from his probation officer to take the job and move to Washington, D.C. — a bit hypocritical in my book after all the bogus crap we endured about Hillary’s emails)
Secretary of Homeland Security: Michael McCaul and David Clarke are in the running.
Secretary of the Interior: Half-Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK) are believed to be finalists, with Fallon being the frontrunner
Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Half-Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) is also being mentioned for the VA, as is Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX).
Secretary of Agriculture: Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and Sid Miller are believed to be under consideration.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Ben Carson has been offered the position but has not accepted.
Secretary of Agriculture ??
Secretary of Labor ??
Secretary of Energy ?? Expect an appointment leaning more toward developing more production in fossil fuels and hostile toward clean energy technologies.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator ?? Expect an appointment who thinks Climate Changes is a colossal hoax, who is hostile toward President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and who would loosen environmental regulations allowing corporations to frack and pillage at will, polluting not just our water resources, but our air as well. Will Myron Ebell, the head of trump’s EPA transition team be his choice for pillaging our nation’s resources? Only time will tell.
H.R. 2577 is a conglomeration of a number of bills (Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017) that the Senate needs to take action on failed a super-majority vote (60 votes) for cloture (the ability to be considered and voted for/against on the Senate floor). One version of that bill was passed by the House and a different version of that/those bills passed the Senate. Thus, it’s now gone to conference committee to work out the wrinkles between the two versions.
This conference agreement now includes the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, the Zika Response and Preparedness Appropriations Act, 2016, the Zika Vector Control Act, and an unacceptable ‘division’ on funds to be rescinded from programs the Republicans don’t particularly like. That’s what came to the floor for a cloture vote, and it failed miserably — 52-48.
Really, Senator McConnell? It’s too difficult for the general public to understand? I don’t think so.
It’s one thing for Republicans to short-change President Obama’s funding request. It’s another thing to start attaching ‘poison pills’ to the proposed legislation that limit or outright prohibit women’s choices. When you introduce a funding proposal that limits the distribution of contraceptives and that prevents family planning organizations like Planned Parenthood from participating in the effort to help women in Zika-affected areas delay pregnancy, from a disease that not just contracted from a mosquito bite, but from sexual activity with an infected male partner, did you really think that Senate Democrats would just roll over and vote for that?
When you start gutting provisions of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, did you honestly believe that Democrats would just roll over and just vote for that?
SEC. 2. MOSQUITO CONTROL WAIVER. Notwithstanding section 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1342), during the 180 day period following the date of enactment of this Act the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (or a State, in the case of a permit program approved under subsection (b)) shall not require a permit for a discharge from the application by an entity authorized under State or local law, such as a vector control district, of a pesticide in compliance with all relevant requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.) to control mosquitos or mosquito larvae for the prevention or control of the Zika virus.
When you start stripping funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), did you really expect Democrats to just roll over, see the light and vote your way? Or, when you decide to fund your bill by stripping balances from the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, did you really expect Democrats to go “oh yeah, that’s a great idea” and vote in favor of your bill? Or better yet, given that we already know that you stripped a bunch of funding from the State Department for Embassy security that might have made the outcome in Benghazi drastically different, did you really expect the Senate Democrats to let you strip even more funding for the State Department and other Foreign Operations?
Are you nuts? They certainly weren’t and neither am I. It took me hours to sort through all the links on Congress.gov, but here’s what I found:
DIVISION D–RESCISSIONS OF FUNDS
Sec. 101. (a) $543,000,000 of the unobligated amounts made available under section 1323(c)(1) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18043(c)(1)) is rescinded immediately upon enactment of this Act.
Sec. 1323. Community health insurance option. Requires the Secretary to offer a Community Health Insurance Option as a qualified health plan through Exchanges. Allows States to enact a law to opt out of offering the option. Requires the option to cover only essential health benefits; States may require additional benefits, but must defray their cost. Requires the Secretary to set geographically adjusted premium rates that cover expected costs. Requires the Secretary to negotiate provider reimbursement rates, but they must not be higher than average rates paid by private qualified health plans. Subjects the option to State and Federal solvency standards and to State consumer protection laws. Establishes a Start-Up Fund to provide loans for initial operations, to be repaid with interest within 10 years. Authorizes the Secretary to contract with nonprofits for the administration of the option.
(b) $100,000,000 of the unobligated balances available in the Nonrecurring expenses fund established in section 223 of division G of Public Law 110-161 (42 U.S.C. 3514a) from any fiscal year is rescinded immediately upon enactment of this Act.
DIVISION G–DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 Title I–Department of Labor Title II–Department of Health and Human Services Title III–Department of Education Title IV–Related Agencies Title V–General Provisions Title VI–National Commission on Children and Disasters
(c) $107,000,000 of the unobligated balances of appropriations made available under the heading Bilateral Economic Assistance, Funds Appropriated to the President, Economic Support Fund in title IX of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015 (division J of Public Law 113-235) is rescinded immediately upon enactment of this Act: Provided, That such amounts are designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
Personally, I side with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid who declared, “It is unbelievable that somebody would have the audacity to come to the floor and say it’s Democrats’ fault. A significant amount of American women, especially young women, go to Planned Parenthood, and the Republicans want to say, ‘you can’t do that.’” Why indeed would Democrats not just prohibit Planned Parenthood from providing any services, but gut the EPA’s ability to assure clean water and harm HHS’s ability to manage health insurance options for not just Puerto Ricans, but millions of American families across our nation? Apparently Sen. McConnell completely missed the irony of claiming to improve women’s health by prohibiting and defunding health opportunities for women altogether.
Today, President Obama will unveil the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan—a historic step to cut the carbon pollution driving climate change. Here are six key things every American should know:
IT SLASHES THE CARBON POLLUTION FUELING CLIMATE CHANGE. Carbon pollution from power plants is our nation’s biggest driver of climate change—and it threatens what matters most – the health of our kids, the safety of our neighborhoods, and the ability of Americans to earn a living. The Clean Power Plan sets common sense, achievable state-by-state goals to cut carbon pollution from power plants across the country. Building on proven local and state efforts, the Plan puts our nation on track to cut carbon pollution from the power sector 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, all while keeping energy reliable and affordable.
IT PROTECTS FAMILIES’ HEALTH. The transition to clean energy is happening even faster than we expected—and that’s a good thing. It means carbon and air pollution are already decreasing, improving public health each and every year. The Clean Power Plan accelerates this momentum, putting us on pace to cut this dangerous pollution to historically low levels. Our transition to cleaner energy will better protect Americans from other kinds of harmful air pollution, too. By 2030, we’ll see major reductions of pollutants that can create dangerous soot and smog, translating to significant health benefits for the American people. In 2030, we’ll avoid up to 3,600 fewer premature deaths; 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children; 1,700 fewer hospital admissions; and avoid 300,000 missed days of school and work. The Clean Power Plan is a historic step forward to give our kids and grandkids the cleaner, safer future they deserve.
IT PUTS STATES IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT. The Clean Power Plan sets uniform carbon pollution standards for power plants across the country—but sets individual state goals based on states’ current energy mix and where they have opportunities to cut pollution. States then customize plans to meet their goals in ways that make sense for their communities, businesses, and utilities. Statescan run their more efficient plants more often, switch to cleaner fuels, use more renewable energy, and take advantage of emissions trading and energy efficiency options.Because states requested it, EPA is also proposing a model rule states can adopt right away–one that’s cost-effective, guarantees they meet EPA’s requirements, and will let their power plants use interstate trading right away. But states don’t have to use our plan—they can cut carbon pollution in whatever way makes the most sense for them.
The uniform national rates in the Clean Power Plan are reasonable and achievable, because no plant has to meet them alone or all at once. Instead, they have to meet them as part of the grid and over time. In short, the Clean Power Plan puts states in the driver’s seat.
IT’S BUILT ON INPUT FROM MILLIONS OF AMERICANS. The Clean Power Plan reflects unprecedented input from the American people, including 4.3 million comments on the draft plan and input from hundreds of meetings with states, utilities, communities, and others. When folks raised questions about equity and fairness, we listened. That’s why EPA is setting uniform standards to make sure similar plants are treated the same across the country.
When states and utilities expressed concern about how fast states would need to cut emissions under the draft Plan, we listened. That’s why the Clean Power Plan extends the timeframe for mandatory emissions reductions to begin by two years, until 2022, so utilities will have time to make the upgrades and investments they need to.
But to encourage states to stay ahead of the curve and not delay planned investments, or delay starting programs that need time to pay off, we’re creating a Clean Energy Incentive Program to help states transition to clean energy faster.
It’s a voluntary matching fund program states can use to encourage early investment in wind and solar power projects, as well as energy efficiency projects in low-income communities. Thanks to the valuable input we heard from the public, the final rule is even more fair and more flexible, while cutting more pollution.
IT WILL SAVE US BILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR. With the Clean Power Plan, America is leading by example—showing the world that climate action is an incredible economic opportunity. By 2030, the net public health and climate-related benefits from the Clean Power Plan are estimated to be worth $45 billion every year. And, by design, the Clean Power Plan is projected to cut the average American’s monthly electricity bill by 7% in 2030. We’ll get these savings by cutting energy waste and beefing up energy efficiency across the board—steps that make sense for our health, our future, and our wallets.
IT PUTS THE U.S. IN A POSITION TO LEAD ON CLIMATE ACTION. Today, the U.S. is generating three times more wind energy and 20 times more solar power than when President Obama took office. And the solar industry is adding jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy. For the first time in nearly three decades, we’re importing less foreign oil than we’re producing domestically—and using less overall.Our country’s clean energy transition is happening faster than anyone anticipated—even as of last year when we proposed this rule. The accelerating trend toward clean power, and the growing success of energy efficiency efforts, mean carbon emissions are already going down, and the pace is picking up. The Clean Power Plan will secure and accelerate these trends, building momentum for a cleaner energy future.
Climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution. With the Clean Power Plan, we’re putting America in a position to lead. Since the Plan was proposed last year, the U.S., China and Brazil – three of the world’s largest economies – have announced commitments to significantly reduce carbon pollution. We’re confident other nations will come to the table ready to reach an international climate agreement in Paris later this year.
Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone’s rights or obligations.
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