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Oppose Trump's Nominees for the EPA and Departments of Energy and Interior

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We are facing severe environmental and social threats due to man-made global warming. Much still needs to be done to offset the worst effects of climate change. Fortunately, increasing numbers of Americans - Democrat, Republican, and Independent - are becoming aware of this phenomenon. They are also expressing growing concerns about it. However, President-elect Donald Trump has nominated several climate skeptics to direct the Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Energy and Interior. Regardless of one's political affiliation, people can surely agree that clean air and water as well as mitigating against floods and drought should be the top priorities of government agencies that deal with environmental issues and land management.

There are several Republicans on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee who generally agree with the science of climate change. It would take just a few to vote with the Democrat committee members in order to reject these nominees in favor of others who are both qualified for their positions and believe the scientific consensus that we and our children are facing dire threats because of man-made climate change. 

Please, urge them to vote against Trump's nominees. Below is a brief synopsis of the nominees' positions and, in some instances, possible conflicts of interest.

1. Rick Perry, former Governor of Texas

Nominee for the Department of Energy

He once proposed abolishing the Department of Energy, the government agency to which he has been nominated.

He is currently a director for the fossil fuel company Energy Transfer Partners which backed the Dakota Access Pipeline. Mr. Perry earned $ 236, 820 in 2015 in his role at ETP.

The former governor received approximately 11 million in campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry over the course of his political career.

Perry is a global warming denier. He claims that the overwhelming scientific evidence for man-made climate change is “all one contrived phony mess.”


2. Ryan Zinke, Congressman from Montana

Nominee for the Department of Interior

Representative Zinke had expressed concern about climate change earlier in his political career, but seems to have reversed his view. He was one of 1,200 government officials who signed a letter to President Obama as well as House and Senate leaders calling on them “to pass comprehensive clean energy jobs and climate change legislation.” The letter emphasized that the development of clean energy can “save hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs,” and is “a bright spot for job creation.” The letter also expressed concern for the environmental, national security, and human costs of global warming.

The Union of Concerned Scientists correctly pointed out that Representative Zinke now opposes a moratorium on coal extraction on public lands and has fought against rules to reduce methane during fossil fuel extraction.

Mr. Zinke said that, “Coal is as clean burning as you can possibly get, which is clean except for CO2.”

In an interview for the Los Angeles Times, he claimed, “The climate is changing.  I don’t think you can deny that. But climate has always changed.”

Regarding climate science, he stated that, “It’s not a hoax, but it’s not proven science either.”


3. Scott Pruitt, Attorney General of Oklahoma

Nominee for the Environmental Protection Agency

 The Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, David Goldston, recently said, “As far as we can tell there’s literally nothing in his [Pruitt’s] record showing any indication of protecting the environment in any way that matters.”

Mr. Pruitt has sued the EPA, the agency to which he has been nominated, 13 times in the last six years. In addition to lawsuits, he has a history of hostile rhetoric about the agency’s mandate.   

Attorney General Pruitt was recently a director for the Republican Attorney Generals Association, a group that files lawsuits against the government essentially on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. The Fund has received 16 million in contributions, much of it from oil companies.

In a 2011 letter, Mr. Pruitt complained to Lisa Jackson, the head of the EPA, that the agency exaggerated its estimates about the amount of methane emitted in natural gas extraction. However, Mr. Pruitt did not write the letter. Instead, it was written on the Office of the Attorney General’s letterhead by lawyers and lobbyists from Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest fossil fuel companies. Pruitt’s office edited it (striking out references about potential losses in profits), and then he signed off on it.

Mr. Pruitt said that climate science is “speculative in nature,” and that “There’s tremendous dispute … about how much this global warming trend … if it’s true or not.”

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