Trump’s EPA continues to destroy 45 year legacy of Protection

“Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, stripped a half-dozen scientists and academics of advisory positions Tuesday and issued new rules barring anyone who receives E.P.A. grant money from serving on panels that counsel the agency on scientific decisions.

The move will effectively bar a large number of academic researchers, many of them experts in fields ranging from toxicology to epidemiology, from advising the E.P.A. on scientific matters, since the agency is one of the largest funders of environmental research.

Mr. Pruitt was expected to appoint several industry representatives to the panels. He did not impose any new restrictions to prevent them from offering advice on environmental regulations that may affect their businesses.”

More from the New York Times coverage here.

In addition to the nightmarish cast of nominees for top EPA positions, the Trump Administration has been chipping away at our environmental legacy by trying to subvert the rule making process, and changing internal agency procedures that are not subject to public comment or congressional oversight.

Unfortunately there is little we can do to directly influence some of these steps, but today, we offer a few ideas for effective resistance.

First, call our Members of Congress to voice your disappointment and alarm.

  • Call Mike Turner at 202-225-6465
  • Call Rob Portman at 202-224-3353
  • Call Sherrod Brown at 202-224-2315

Script:  “Hi, my name is [NAME] and i’m calling from [ADDRESS].  I am extremely disappointed with Scott Pruitt’s recent decision to politicize EPA science advisory panel rules, and to inject industry influence into what was once a purely scientific process.  I am concerned that his move to bar scientists and install industry allies will compromise the health and well-being of my family and my neighbors in the Miami Valley.  Please exercise any and all Congressional oversight of Mr. Pruitt’s actions and restore the science to our science advisory panels.”

Next, we all must read up on resisting agency actions, which are different than Congressional actions.

Visit this website and download a guide aimed at equipping all of us to effectively push back against Scott Pruitt’s radical changes to the EPA.  This guide describes the various parts of the rule making process that we can target to slow things down and register our displeasure.

Let us know in the comments what some of your top environmental issues of concern are, and how you would like to see our group mobilize on them!

 

Oppose Michael Dourson’s nomination to the EPA

Michael Dourson, a professor in the Risk Science Center at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, has been nominated to head the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.  He was approved by the Senate Environment Committee on a party line vote, and could be confirmed by the full Senate at any time.

In an alarming op-ed for The Hill, Senator Tammy Duckworth has sounded the alarm that Dr. Dourson is fundamentally unfit to lead the nation’s efforts to regulate toxic chemicals.  Her full piece, which is worth reading (here) details the industry ties and dangerous skewing of research he has been guilty of in the past.

“Dr. Dourson has a long track record of manipulating scientific research for profit to benefit corporate interests at the expense of public safety. He has been paid by companies like Koch Industries to falsely claim that dozens of dangerous chemicals are safe for common usage, most alarmingly chemicals like Perchlorate, Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Trichloroethylene (TCE), and 1,4,-Dioxane.

…How skewed in favor of industry has Dourson’s research been? PFOA, for instance, has been linked to prostate, kidney and testicular cancer. Dr. Dourson recommended a level of 150 parts per billion (ppb) was safe. By contrast, the chemical manufacturer DuPont, which manufactures the chemical, set an internal safety level of 1 ppb and the EPA set a health advisory level even lower at 0.07 ppb…”

We must call our Senators and demand they vote NO on Dr. Dourson’s confirmation.

  • Call Rob Portman at 202-224-3353
  • Call Sherrod Brown at 202-224-2315

Script:

“Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [ADDRESS].  I’m calling today to ask the senator to oppose the nomination of Michael Dourson to the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.  His advocacy for toxic chemicals in the past, and his readiness to expose US service members to them, makes him unfit for a regulatory position.  At a time when the US military is investigating water contamination at bases across the country, we should strive to set toxic exposure standards as low as possible, not as high as industry would like.”

Oppose industry’s practice of influencing environmental policy.

A few months ago the House passed a bill intended to give industries more power to nix EPA recommendations, and to dilute scientific guidance on its Science Advisory board.  Its aim is to distort the science used by the EPA to create vital protections, and inject politics into the process of carrying out the scientific mission of the agency.  This House bill has now gone to the Senate for consideration.

Today, we let our senators know we OPPOSE the EPA Science Advisory Reform Act.

  • Call Rob Portman at 202-224-3353
  • Call Sherrod Brown at 202-224-2315

Script:   My name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [ADDRESS].  I was sorry to see the House pass a pro-lobbyist bill, HR1431, which has now been sent to the Senate.  Allowing industry a voice on a scientific advisory board is inappropriate; we need lobbyists to have less power, not more.  I know Senator [NAME] doesn’t want to empower lobbyists and let big money shape environmental policy, so I’m counting on him to vote AGAINST this bill.  Does the Senator have a public statement on this legislation?

 

Thanks to our allies Jen Hofmann  and Calvin’s List

Republicans are using the budget to tee up massive tax cuts for the wealthy

The House budget resolution puts in motion the procedural steps Republicans need to pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations through the Senate with only 51 votes. Just like they used the reconciliation process to try to jam through TrumpCare, they plan to jam through their tax cuts the same way. And in order to pay for these tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, critical programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and food assistance could be cut — either now or in the future. The details are appalling:

  • $1 trillion cut from Medicaid over ten years (that’s 20% of Medicaid’s budget)
  • Over $150 billion cut from SNAP (that’s 22% of SNAP’s budget)
  • Nearly $500 billion cut from Medicare—and it’s turned into a voucher system
  • $3.3 billion cut from Pell grants—and they’d be harder for students to use
  • Untold billions in cuts to education, the environment, housing, and worker training

Our job is to make sure Mike Turner knows these cuts are unacceptable.   He needs to oppose any budget resolution that:

  1. Requires cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, food assistance or any other programs that help families afford the basics.
  2. Allows cuts to critical programs to pay for tax cuts

Use this sample script to tell Mr. Turner how you feel about cutting vital services.  Dial 202-225-6465

Caller: Hello! My name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [ADDRESS]. Can you tell me how Congressman Turner plans to vote on the House budget resolution?

(He is probably in favor of the GOP plan, but his staffers likely “don’t know” how he’s planning to vote.)

Staffer: The Congressman doesn’t have a position on the budget resolution yet.

Caller: That’s terrible. This budget resolution calls for billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid and it turns Medicare into a voucher program. I’m opposed to that and so is the majority of the American people. Congressman Turner should oppose this destructive resolution that makes deep cuts to programs people rely on in order to give tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations.

Staffer: I’ll let the Congressman know your thoughts.

Caller: Yes, please do, and please take down my contact information so you can let me know how the Congressman votes in the end. I’ll be watching this vote closely.

 

Adapted from Indivisible’s “Trump Tax Scam, Step 1: The Budget Resolution”

Oppose the nomination of Sam Clovis to the top USDA science post

Donald Trump has nominated Sam Clovis, his longtime campaign aide, to serve as the USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, a position typically held by people with advanced degrees in science and medicine. As Under Secretary, Clovis would manage the USDA’s $3 billion research and education portfolio and serve as the USDA’s top scientist, coordinating the setup and implementation of the USDA’s policies.

The 2008 Farm Bill specified that nominees to the Under Secretary post should be “distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.” However, Clovis lacks an advanced science degree and has shown blatant disregard for scientific evidence by refusing to acknowledge that humans are causing the majority of climate change. He has called climate science “junk science” and proudly declared himself a climate change “skeptic.” Because one third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agricultural production, it is critical that the USDA’s top scientist acknowledges that climate change is real, human-caused, and a dire threat to our global security (not to mention our global food supply).

In addition, as a talk radio host and blogger from 2011 to 2014, Clovis stoked racist birther conspiracy theories about then-President Obama, made derogatory racist comments about then-Attorney General Eric Holder, and stated homosexuality is a choice and can lead to pedophilia. In light of the white supremacy rallies in Virginia, the appointment of a racist, bigoted birther to a top job in the executive branch is unacceptable. The Senate must take a firm stance against racism, and Trump’s ongoing endorsement of it, by rejecting Clovis’s nomination.

Call Rob Portman to oppose this nomination: (202) 224-3353

Here’s a script you can use:

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from Dayton.

I’m calling to express my opposition to Sam Clovis’s nomination to be USDA Under Secretary. It is unacceptable for the USDA’s top scientist to be a climate change denier with no formal scientific training, and for the Trump administration to continue endorsing racism and bigotry by appointing a birther. I strongly urge Senator Rob Portman to reject Clovis’s nomination.

Thank you for your time and attention.

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]

From our friends at 5calls

Fight the destruction of National Monuments

In April, Donald Trump signed an Executive Order which asked Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to review national monuments set aside by Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama.

After signing his order Trump said: “Tremendously positive things are going to happen on that incredible land, the likes of which there is nothing more beautiful anywhere in the world.”  (Whatever that means.)

Secretary Zinke has spent the last few months taking public comment. It is no surprise that 99% of those who commented were opposed to reducing the size of our federal lands. But Zinke and Trump didn’t listen. Last week Secretary Zinke made his recommendations to Trump, in a memo that ought to be public but has not yet been disclosed. As the New York Times reported, Trump could reduce the size of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah from 1.35 million to 160 thousand acres. Environmental groups, Native American tribes, and corporate leaders like Patagonia did not hesitate to speak up, and neither will we. The fate of these national monuments is being decided upon this week. We must fight for the national lands that belong to all-of-us.

Here’s how:

  1. Watch Patagonia’s first ever TV ad released on August 20th rallying to protect Bears Ears, and share it on your Facebook.
  2. Take action here. Patagonia has resources where you can call, message, or tweet at Secretary Zinke.
  3. Retweet this and thank Patagonia for their corporate leadership

From our allies at Wall-Of-Us.

Protect Lakes, Wetlands, and your Drinking Water

In June, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposal to roll back the Waters of the United States Rule, a 2015 rule that expanded the bodies of water covered by federal environmental protection laws under the Clean Water Act. The rule extended the environmental protections already provided to large, navigable bodies of water to the smaller waters that flow into them, like rivers, streams, and wetlands. The Obama-era rule was designed to clarify conflicting court rulings. Repealing the rule was a Trump campaign promise.

Ending the Waters of the United States Rule removes Clean Water Act protections from water sources that supply drinking water to one in three Americans to provide regulatory breaks to big corporations. As the Environmental Law and Policy Center noted, “Rollback of clean water standards rejects years of work building stakeholder input and scientific data support, and it imperils the progress for safe clean drinking water in the Midwest.” Supporters of the Waters of the United States Rule also worry that this is the first step in a broader attempt to gut the Clean Water Act as part of the Trump Administration’s pro-business, anti-environment agenda.

As we have too frequently seen, state and local jurisdictions do not always adequately protect and maintain water sources, and federal protection is needed to ensure that the water that families, communities, and businesses depend on remains clean and safe from pollution.

Call Mike Turner at 202-225-6465.

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from Dayton.

I’m calling to oppose the EPA’s planned rollback of the Waters of the United States Rule. Ensuring clean water for all Americans is a national priority that requires federal support, and it is irresponsible to end a rule that protects 1 in 3 Americans’ drinking water sources. I urge [SEN/REP NAME] to fight against the elimination of the Waters of the United States Rule.

Thank you for your work answering the phones.

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]

From our friends at 5calls:  goo.gl/X4Vyao

Stop Fracking in Ohio’s Parks and Forests

The Ohio House voted to override several of Governor John Kasich’s budget bill vetoes last week.  Among the items they voted to override was a provision that could open Ohio’s public lands to harmful oil and gas drilling.  Our friends at the Ohio Environmental Council have created a tool we can use to send a message to our state Senators, who also must approve these veto overrides before they can go into effect.

Click the link below and enter your information to generate a message to send to your state Senator.  Tell them to vote against the override and for the health of our public lands.

goo.gl/AnxVdq