Climate Activists Call on Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to Defeat Climate Deniers Nominated for Trump’s Cabinet
Dozens of climate activists rallied today in NYC at the offices of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to urge them to vote against the various climate deniers that have been nominated to serve in key environmental positions in Donald Trump’s cabinet. The protestors handed letters and petitions to representatives of the two senators. As the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Schumer’s opposition is especially critical. Meanwhile, Senator Gillibrand serves on the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Similar protests were coordinated by 350.org in each of the 50 states. Protests are also planned at Senator Schumer’s home in Brooklyn and at the State Capitol in Albany.
During his campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly claimed he would attempt to “drain the swamp” of Washington, DC. Since the election, however, he has appointed climate deniers to every single cabinet position pertaining to energy and environment. Throughout the country, people are urging Senators to stand up to Trump’s “Climate Denial Cabinet”.
“Instead of draining the swamp, Trump wants to turn over the keys of the nation over to long-time swamp dwellers. The window to prevent climate catastrophe is rapidly closing and humanity will not survive the climate deniers that Trump has put forth. We need all Senators to put the interests of future generations ahead of partisan concerns,” said Mark Dunlea of 350NYC.
“We join with hundreds of thousands of others calling for unyielding opposition to all of Trump’s cabinet picks, but we especially demand that you vociferously oppose these four nominees who, together with Trump himself, represent a devastating threat to the climate and the environment. As Minority Leader, Senator Schumer must do everything he can to ensure a full and transparent vetting of each nominee’s tax returns, potential conflicts of interest, qualifications, and position regarding climate change and the environment generally,” said Dee Aherne of 350NYC.
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The four nominees being targeted for defeat are:
● Tillerson (State): Rex Tillerson, who has no previous government experience, is the longtime CEO of Exxon Mobil, the wealthiest corporation in the world and perhaps the single most significant driver of humanity’s headlong rush towards climate chaos. Tillerson’s appointment will undoubtedly mean that the aggressive promotion of fossil-fuel infrastructure and consumption will become the official foreign policy of the United States, at a time when we should instead take a leadership role in the development and spread of green, renewable energy technology. Aside from this, Tillerson’s far-flung conflicts of interest, including his company’s extensive ties to Russia and to Vladimir Putin, alone are enough to disqualify him for State.
● Pruitt (EPA): Scott Pruitt is a climate-change denier who, as Oklahoma’s Attorney General, is currently suing the EPA over President Obama’s Clean Energy Plan. Pruitt is nestled deep in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry, and would like nothing better than to dismantle the agency’s many achievements and strip it of its regulatory power, all in the name of states’ (read corporate) rights.
● Perry (Energy): Rick Perry, the ex-governor of Texas, wants to dismantle the very cabinet department he has been tapped to head, apparently unaware or not caring that it is not only responsible for energy policy, but also for wide-ranging scientific research and the management of our nuclear arsenal. Perry is another climate-change denier, and sits on boards of Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco, two companies involved in the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
● Zinke (Interior): Ryan Zinke is a one-term Representative from Montana, one of the top coal-producing states. Most of that coal is mined from land owned by the federal government and managed by the Department of the Interior. Under President Obama, the Department imposed a moratorium on new mining leases. Zinke, however, has been a vocal opponent of that ban, and also wants to expedite oil and gas drilling on federal lands. When running for Congress in 2014, he said that climate change is “not proven science.”
As New York’s residents know all too well after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, climate-related weather events and change can and will have a direct impact on their lives. The positions of its Senators make them particularly important in the ongoing fight for climate change justice, and today’s rally demonstrated how many New Yorkers already understand that action to block Trump’s cabinet picks is imperative. However, there is much more work to be done. We must take a stand – one that spreads the word about climate change and speaks up against those who deny its existence.
The wide range of groups calling upon the NY Senators to reject these nominees include: 350NYC; All Our Energy; Bronx Climate Justice North; Center for Earth Ethics; Citizens’ Environmental Coalition; Climate Justice @ Union Theological Seminary; Code Pink NY; Compressor Free Franklin; Enfield Neighbors for Safe Air and Water; Environmental Justice Task Force of the WNY Peace Center; Food and Water Watch; Gas Free Seneca; Green Education and Legal Fund; International Indian Treaty Council Climate Action Network, NY; Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY); People’s Climate Movement NY; Rochester People’s Climate Coalition; RochesterEnvironment.com; and Seneca lake Guardian, a Waterkeeper Affiliate
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