CA M PA I G N U P DAT E
President, Congress Take Aim at Environmental Safeguards W They want to turn back the clock on a half-century or more of hard-won environmental protections.
Alaska’s Bristol Bay wilderness could come under new threat from the proposed Pebble Mine.
What we’re facing is an all-out assault on our bedrock environmental laws by a party in the grips of a radical ideology. the progress made during the eight years of the Obama presidency; they want to turn back the clock on a half-century or more of hard-won environmental protections.” Clear majorities of Americans want action on climate change, believe all citizens have a fundamental right to clean air and drinking water and think our public wildlands should be protected. But all signs point to the Trump Administration and its newly emboldened allies
on Capitol Hill advancing an agenda built on climate-change denial, corporate self-interest and a seething contempt for environmental regulation in almost any form. In response, hundreds of NRDC’s lawyers, scientists and policy and legislative experts are focused on countering the most immediate threats while plotting a long-term course of action to keep environmental progress moving forward, both internationally and at the state and local levels. “We’re leveraging 50 years of successful advocacy — in the courts, in Washington, in statehouses across the country and around the world,” says Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, NRDC’s chief program officer. “We know the stakes couldn’t be higher.” NRDC’s all-hands-on-deck strategy is epitomized by the Stand Strong for Climate campaign. As public outreach teams galvanize
Clean Power Plan in federal court. That plan would slash carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants and is key to reining in U.S. global warming emissions. Our litigators are also preparing to challenge, if necessary, any attempt by the Trump Administration to green-light the Keystone XL pipeline, which would send more than 800,000 barrels a day of climate-wrecking tar sands crude from Canada to refineries in the United States. All the while, we’ll be on the ground in states and cities across the country and around the world — in China, India, Europe and Latin America — building on the momentum that has seen more than 7,000 mayors — representing 600 million people worldwide — commit to cutting climate pollution. Countering the Trump Administration’s dangerous fossil fuel agenda would be challenging enough, yet as Casey-Lefkowitz explains, “We’ve got to do that and so much more.” On Capitol Hill, NRDC is working to shore up a coalition of lawmakers to repel an anticipated fusillade of assaults on federal environmental protections. The Republicancontrolled House wasted no time in firing the first salvo. On January 4, it passed the Midnight Rules Relief Act, which would let Congress
repeal, in one single package, dozens of public safeguards put in place over the past 12 months. Other proposed legislation would make it virtually impossible to put new safeguards in place. There will almost certainly be a move to weaken or rescind the Antiquities Act, the century-old law that has allowed presidents from both parties to preserve millions of acres of ocean wilderness and public wildlands, such as the 1.3-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah, which President Obama recently designated under the act. More ominously, there is a concerted effort afoot — known as “devolution” — to gut the very concept of public lands ownership. Anti-environmental radicals are likewise expected to intensify their war on the Endangered Species Act, which would include rolling back protections for America’s most vulnerable wildlife, like gray wolves, sage grouse and salmon. Lawmakers allied with the oil
Gray wolves and other vulnerable wildlife will suffer if Congress undermines the Endangered Species Act.
and gas industry want to scrap key safeguards that shield imperiled whales and other marine mammals from the dangers of offshore drilling and other industrial activity. “We’re facing countless other major battles in federal agencies now headed by polluter-friendly Trump appointees,” says Casey-Lefkowitz. Those battles are likely to include attempts to [Continued on next page.]
BRISTOL BAY © ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM; WOLVES © JIM KRUGER/ISTOCK
a massive outcry against President Trump’s threat to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord — the landmark agreement reached by more than 190 nations in late 2015 — NRDC attorneys are defending President Obama’s
ith the inauguration of Donald Trump and control of both the House and Senate in the hands of antienvironmental extremists, headlines that just a year ago seemed wildly improbable now loom as all-too-frightening possibilities: “U.S. Abandons Paris Climate Agreement” . . . “Clean Air and Water Protections Repealed” . . . “Trump Administration Approves Keystone XL Pipeline” . . . “Congress Moves to Privatize Public Lands.” “The next four years are likely to bring a more sustained barrage of attacks on our environment than we have ever seen,” says David Goldston, NRDC’s director of government affairs. “We’re not talking about fending off a handful of polluterfriendly bills in Congress or going to court to block drilling or mining on a few public wildlands. What we’re facing is an all-out assault on our bedrock environmental laws by a party in the grips of a radical ideology. Not only do they want to undo
Published on Feb 27, 2017
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