Category Archives: Stories/News

Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers on Scott Pruitt

Video: Scott Pruitt Will Make America Great — For Polluters
In this exclusive web essay, Bill Moyers takes on President Trump’s choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has a track record of putting the business interests of the energy sector before the environmental and health interests of the public. He has spent his career fighting the rules and regulations of the agency he is now being nominated to lead. His expected confirmation threatens to make America great for polluters again.

WATCH »   http://billmoyers.com/story/an-epa-nominee-drafted-by-business-interests/

TRANSCRIPT

I’m Bill Moyers, here with a horror story — a story of corruption so daring, so devious and so dangerous it could kill you. It could poison your drinking water, contaminate your neighborhood and make your children very, very sick.

Let’s begin with a television commercial that I chanced to see on CNN during Donald Trump’s inaugural weekend. Take a look.

ADVERTISEMENT:The US Senate will vote to confirm Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. He’s used transparent, smart regulations to protect our air and water without stifling development of America’s abundant natural resources.

BILL MOYERS: That’s an ad sponsored by one of the biggest and most powerful trade associations in the country — the National Association of Manufacturers. The NAM ran three ads like it during inaugural week, all of them aimed at bringing public pressure to bear on the US Senate to confirm Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. And just who, you might ask, is Scott Pruitt?

SCOTT PRUITT: It is an honor and a privilege to be before you today to be considered for the position of EPA administrator.

MOYERS: Pruitt is Oklahoma’s attorney general. His salary of more than $260,000 is paid by taxpayers, but Pruitt really works for the energy industry. He’s a political profiteer whose career in public office is built on taking money from corporations and doing their bidding.

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): It appears that a great deal of your fundraising comes from these organizations who are in the energy sector and devoted to fighting climate change.

MOYERS: At Pruitt’s recent confirmation hearings before Congress, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island tried to unravel the web of corporate influence around Scott Pruitt.

WHITEHOUSE: Devon Energy, Koch Industries, ExxonMobil have all maxed out to that account, at various times.

PRUITT: I’m not aware if they have maxed out or not, Senator, but I’m sure that they have given to that committee.

MOYERS: Now, take a look at this letter. In 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency was trying to limit methane gas leaking from drilling operations like that of Devon Energy, one of those oil and gas companies that donate to him. Pruitt wrote the EPA on behalf of the company. Turns out the letter was drafted, almost to the word, by lawyers for Devon Energy.

PRUITT: That is the letter that is on my letterhead that was sent to the EPA, yes. With respect to the issue —

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): Do you acknowledge that 97 percent of the words in that letter came directly from Devon Energy?

PRUITT: I have not looked at the percentages, sir.

MERKLEY: You used your office as a direct extension of an oil company, rather than a direct extension of the interests of the public health of the people of Oklahoma.

MOYERS: Something else: As attorney general Scott Pruitt has sued the Environmental Protection Agency 14 times. The New York Times found that 13 of those lawsuits included co-parties that had given money to Pruitt’s campaign or to an affiliated PAC. Most of the suits failed. But that didn’t deter Pruitt or his donors. According to the publication Energy and Environment News, the more he sued, the more the energy dollars rolled in.

So why does Donald Trump want a lackey for the big energy companies to run the agency charged with protecting the public from pollution? And why did the National Association of Manufacturers run ads like this for a man so obviously not a defender of the public interest?

Because Trump and the industry can count Pruitt on their side, as his record shows, in preventing the EPA from holding big business accountable for the environment and public safety. After all, when he became attorney general of Oklahoma, he shut down the state’s environmental enforcement unit.

SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA): Honestly, people are going to think that it’s not just the fox guarding the hen house, it’s the fox destroying the hen house because you haven’t distanced yourself from the actual litigation that you have initiated on most of the key issues that you are now going to have responsibility for protecting in terms of the public health of the entire country.

PRUITT: And Senator, I can say to you unequivocally, I will recuse as directed by EPA ethics counsel.

MOYERS: Scott Pruitt fits right into Trump’s world. In his first week in office Donald Trump has aimed a sledgehammer at the EPA. Within hours of his swearing in, he ordered a freeze on all new environmental rules pending review, suspended all federal environmental grants and contracts, thus stalling billions of dollars that were heading to key operations like air pollution monitoring, water quality testing and environmental research.

Then he ordered all outward communication from the EPA to stop — no social media, no conferences, no meetings between the agency and the public. So if you want to know if there’s work being done to clean up a superfund site, too bad. If you want to know the role of fracking in Oklahoma’s earthquakes, sorry. Whether the emissions of an industry in your hometown comply with federal safety laws? You’ll have to guess.

And there’s more. He’s opposed climate science.

PRUITT: As I indicated in my opening statement, the climate is changing and human activity contributes to that in some manner.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): In some manner? Ninety-seven percent of the scientists who wrote articles in peer-reviewed journals believe that human activity is the fundamental reason we are seeing climate change; you disagree with that?

PRUITT: I believe the ability to measure with precision the degree of human activities’ impact on the climate, is subject to more debate on whether the climate is changing or whether human activity contributes to it.

MOYERS: We should remember that Richard Nixon, a Republican president, signed the legislation creating the Environmental Protection Agency back in l970. It was part of the movement to restore a country that had been despoiled by industrial abuse.

PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON: The environmental agenda before the Congress includes laws to deal with water pollution, pesticide hazards, ocean dumping, excessive noise, careless land development and many other environmental problems. These problems will not stand still for politics or for partisanship.

MOYERS: Trump’s wrecking crew says environmental regulations impede the progress and profits of companies. But if you think those companies and their so-called “free market” will, without safety provisions, make America great again. Well here’s is what turning back the clock could look like:

These are the EPA’s own photographs taken for the record as the agency began its work. Rivers were polluted. Lead gasoline threatened the developing brains of children. Trash choked harbors, and illegal dumping leached into groundwater, agricultural run off suffocated marine waterways. Unfettered industries were running our country to ruin. There, before your eyes, is our past.

It’s no wonder the founders of our government feared corruption in high office. They knew it could lead to bribery, nepotism and the abuse of power by a government aligned with the great monied interests — such as the East India Tea Company. They knew it could enable of public officials to neglect their duty to the public and serve instead the design of wealth.

At the end of the first week of Donald Trump’s first hundred days, those founders must be turning in their graves.

Resolution #02-17, adopting climate planning policy for the city of Port Angeles

It is incumbent on all local government agencies on the Olympic Peninsula to prepare for natural disasters, sea level rise and potential emergencies related to climate change.  In 2015 representatives of the City of Port Angeles participated in a regional effort to consider climate change impacts on the Northern Olympic Peninsula.

In 2016, with input from OCA and dozens of jurisdictions, agencies, businesses and residents across the Northern Olympic Peninsula, the City adopted a new Comprehensive Plan that includes 18 new policies around climate change and adaptation to sea level rise. Areas of the new policies include climatic impact on land use, conservation, capital facilities, and economic development.

The City appreciates the benefits of using the Comprehensive Plan in attracting businesses.

On January 17, 2017 the resolution (#02-17) was finalized after OCA appealed to the City Council for action following up on the climate adaptation plan The City affirms its dedication to planning for climate change and for the needs of our community as we face these changes.  Its planning will be founded on the Comprehensive Plan.  The City will support a regional, co-operative approach and it directs City staff to ensure that new development, both public and private, take into account and  proactively mitigate changing environmental effects.

To read the whole of Resolution 02-17, click here.

Ozias commits to climate action

At Tuesday’s Clallam County Commissioner meeting, Commissioner Mark Ozias committed to taking further steps with his fellow Commissioners in 2017 to prepare for climate change and reduce Clallam County’s climate impact.

“I’m looking forward to moving into next year with a much more firm sense of where we’re at and where we would like to go,” Ozias said.

We thank Commissioner Ozias for his leadership on this vital community issue and look forward to working with the Commissioners and others in 2017.

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/clallam-county-looks-at-climate-change-plans/

POTUS candidates on climate change

from sciencedebate.org

Climate Change

The Earth’s climate is changing and political discussion has become divided over both the science and the best response. What are your views on climate change, and how would your administration act on those views?

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton (D)

When it comes to climate change, the science is crystal clear. Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time and its impacts are already being felt at home and around the world. That’s why as President, I will work both domestically and internationally to ensure that we build on recent progress and continue to slash greenhouse gas pollution over the coming years as the science clearly tells us we must.

I will set three goals that we will achieve within ten years of taking office and which will make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century:

  • Generate half of our electricity from clean sources, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of my first term.
  • Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
  • Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships, and trucks.

To get there, my administration will implement and build on the range of pollution and efficiency standards and clean energy tax incentives that have made the United States a global leader in the battle against climate change. These standards are also essential for protecting the health of our children, saving American households and businesses billions of dollars in energy costs, and creating thousands of good paying jobs.

These standards set the floor, not the ceiling. As President, I will launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with those states, cities, and rural communities across the country that are ready to take the lead on clean energy and energy efficiency, giving them the flexibility, tools and resources they need to succeed.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump (R)

There is still much that needs to be investigated in the field of “climate change.”  Perhaps the best use of our limited financial resources should be in dealing with making sure that every person in the world has clean water.  Perhaps we should focus on eliminating lingering diseases around the world like malaria.  Perhaps we should focus on efforts to increase food production to keep pace with an ever-growing world population.  Perhaps we should be focused on developing energy sources and power production that alleviates the need for dependence on fossil fuels.  We must decide on how best to proceed so that we can make lives better, safer and more prosperous.

Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson (L)

We accept that climate change is occurring, and that human activity is contributing to it, including through greenhouse gases like methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide.

Unfortunately for policymakers – the very activities that appear to contribute to climate change also contribute to mankind’s health and prosperity, so we view with a skeptical eye any attempts to curtail economic activity. We believe that a motivated and informed market will demand efficiency and reduced greenhouse gases, mitigating at least some of mankind’s effects. It is a virtual certainty that consumer demands and the marketplace will produce tangible benefits. It is not, however, certain that unilateral regulatory approaches by the U.S. will, in fact, produce benefits that are proportionate to costs. Nor is it certain that international treaties will produce benefits as developing nations have the most at stake to continue industrialization.

As other countries industrialize, as they have the right to do, we recognize that environmental trade-offs are inevitable.. As extreme poverty wanes in places like India and China, the poor will stop burning excrement or wood. And that will reduce certain types of pollution, while certain greenhouse gases may temporarily increase. But as countries become more developed, industrialized and automated, we believe the marketplace will facilitate the free exchange of new, efficient, carbon-friendly processes and technologies. And a Johnson-Weld administration will facilitate as much knowledge sharing as possible to speed and spread sustainable, cleaner technology as nations develop.

Jill Stein
Jill Stein (G)

Climate change is the greatest existential threat that humanity has ever faced. Here is how we will act to address it:

Enact an emergency Green New Deal to turn the tide on climate change, revive the economy and make wars for oil obsolete. Initiate a WWII-scale national mobilization to halt climate change, the greatest threat to humanity in our history. Create 20 million jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, conservation and restoration of critical infrastructure, including ecosystems.

• Implement a Just Transition that empowers those communities and workers most impacted by climate change and the transition to a green economy. Ensure that any worker displaced by the shift away from fossil fuels will receive full income and benefits as they transition to alternative work.

• Enact energy democracy based on public, community and worker ownership of our energy system. Treat energy as a human right.

Redirect research funds from fossil fuels into renewable energy and conservation. Build a nationwide smart electricity grid that can pool and store power from a diversity of renewable sources, giving the nation clean, democratically-controlled, energy.

• End destructive energy extraction and associated infrastructure: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, natural gas pipelines, and uranium mines. Halt any investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, including natural gas, and phase out all fossil fuel power plants. Phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies. End all subsidies for fossil fuels and impose a greenhouse gas fee / tax to charge polluters for the damage they have created.

• Support a strong enforceable global climate treaty that limits global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius and provides just financial compensation to developing countries.

• Support organic and regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry.

• Enact stronger environmental justice laws and measures to ensure that low-income and communities of color are not disproportionately impacted.

Sequim adopts sustainability resolution

Belated kudos to the City of Sequim!  This is a far-sighted resolution unanimously adopted on July 25 calling for incorporating climate into all planning instruments, working with other regional parties, learning and educating, and monitoring and evaluating.  Thanks to OCA members Bob Sextro and Brian Grad, who testified before the City Council.

Here is the resolution:  sequim-sustainability-resolution-2016

“Occupy” endorses I-732

Occupy.com has posted a story about “6 ballot initiatives to watch in 2016.” Author Matt Stannard calls I-732 “absolutely the most important initiative in the country.”

From the story: “At the top of the list is the first and only carbon tax and rebate initiative in the United States, an idea championed by a variety of advocates across a wide ideological spectrum. Over a two-year period, Initiative 732 would institute a $25 per metric ton of CO2 consumed in the state. The proposal also reduces state sales taxes across the board by 1 percent; this makes sense because sales taxes are regressive for no socially defensible reason, while the carbon tax at least has a purpose. Even better, the proposal provides up to $1,500 per year in the form of a tax rebate to 400,000 of the lowest-income Washingtonians – the people most likely to fear a post-carbon transition for legitimate economic reasons.”

http://www.occupy.com/article/climate-justice-ground-6-ballot-initiatives-watch-2016

I-732 will benefit Clallam County $$$

In a presentation to the Dungeness River Management Team, CarbonWA executive board member Mike Massa made the case for the I-732 revenue-neutral carbon tax and refuted the statements that the Clallam County PUD had made opposing the initiative at a previous DRMT meeting.  Here are his slides in Powerpoint and PDF format.

Note the projected economic impacts:

$226 annual net benefit to a median-income Clallam County family, based on the sales tax reduction and where our power comes from.

$1500 annual benefit to low-income families from the Working Families Tax Rebate, passed by the state legislature in 2008 but never funded.

Also, a recent letter to the Peninsula Daily News describes the ways in which I-732 may advantage the operations of Port Angeles’s biggest mill, Nippon Paper.

Furthermore, an even-handed analysis of I-732 has been produced by the Sightline Institute, and their conclusions are quite positive:

  • “We find I-732 a worthy policy to put Washington on a path to cutting pollution and encouraging clean energy while also helping low-income families by making Washington State taxes less regressive.”
  • “I-732 would give Washington the continent’s, if not the world’s, most potent, persistent, and comprehensive incentive to move swiftly beyond dirty fossil fuels and to a carbon-free future.”
  • I-732 is revenue-neutral, to the best of anyone’s ability to forecast it… [The argument to the contrary] is a red herring… I-732 is likely to be much closer to revenue-neutral than the [Department of Revenue’s] forecast suggests… Even if the Department’s estimates are correct, I-732 will still be a rounding error… I-732 will likely have less than a 1 percent impact on state tax revenue for decades.”
  • Initiative 732 does exactly what the scientists and economists prescribe: it sets a science-based, steadily rising price on pollution. The citizens’ initiative covers most of the state’s climate pollution, makes the tax code more progressive, and is administratively elegant.”
  • “I-732 would be the biggest improvement in the progressivity of Washington’s state tax system in 40 years.”

You’ve heard this stuff from us for months, but these quotes are from an independent in-depth 3-part analysis of I-732 from Sightline Institute. Go read the analysis yourself (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). And then here are four things you can do right now to get the word out and support the campaign!

  1. Share these quotes and articles with everyone you know via email, Facebook, Twitter, in-person, etc.
  2. Share them with lots of people you don’t know by writing a Letter to the Editor of your local paper.
  3. Get energized to spend the next 95 days participating in our history-making grassroots campaign by emailing kyle@carbonwa.org to get plugged in with the campaign by making phone calls and coming to an event and knocking on doors.
  4. And of course they need your donations to keep rolling until November 8. (Twenty bucks will get you a yard sign! And if your employer provides matching funds to 501(c)(3) nonprofits then you can double your impact by donating to Better World Credits; email duncan@carbonwa.org for details.)