by Kerene Tayloe
With suspense like a prime-time reality show, President Trump announced his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Kennedy. While many suspected Trump would name a woman to The Court, he instead nominated Brett Kavanaugh; a 53-year-old man from Washington DC who served as a clerk to the Justice he will replace. Kavanaugh has been serving on the on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for the last 12 years.Read more
I didn't do much for Independence Day this year. On top of the ridiculously hot and humid weather, I just wasn't feeling it. It has been over 1500 days since the people of Flint, MI have had clean drinking water; there wasn't much to celebrate. Beyond the search for a good cookout, I was at home watching The Handmaid's Tale, the cautionary Hulu original series about a dystopic American society that feels more like every day under this current administration.
But, as the good book says: “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30: 1-5) And what a morning it was. Who could have guessed that only a day after the federal holiday, we would be celebrating our liberation from Scott Pruitt?!
I am floored. The number of federal inquiries against Pruitt during his time at the EPA kept adding up. Public pressure was mounting for him to resign, but still it seemed unlikely given that either Trump would have to fire his own pick for EPA, or Pruitt would have to quit himself.
In fact, when Green For All joined forces with a coalition of national partners to launch the #BootPruitt campaign, there were definitely people who doubted us. But alas, I am amazed how the coordinated efforts of so many to shine light on Pruitt’s seedy ways has finally come to a victorious end.
Our coalition published a full page ad in the New York Times calling for Pruitt’s resignation, garnered nearly 1 million petition signatures, and worked tirelessly to amplify in the press how Pruitt’s actions were hurting communities.
Right now, I’m dancing. And, we must not lose sight of who will replace Scott Pruitt. Andrew Wheeler will be the acting Administrator of the EPA, and though he might not be running around town trying to get his hands on a Trump hotel mattress or figuring out how to get his wife a Chick Fil-A franchise, he is still very aligned with the same groups as Pruitt. Wheeler is a lawyer and former lobbyist for the coal industry. He lobbied on behalf of Murray Energy, the nation's largest privately owned coal company run by vocal climate change denier Robert Murray. Before becoming a coal lobbyist, Wheeler was a longtime staffer for one the biggest climate deniers on Capitol Hill, Senator James Inhofe (IA). That's right, the same Senator who took a snowball on to the Senate floor as “proof” that climate change isn't real.
So while the name at the head of the EPA has changed, the same kind of destructive policies are in place and will continue. The same EPA that has been working diligently to roll back over 67 rules protecting our water, air, you name it.
The same EPA that dismissed a civil rights claim of an all black town in Alabama who is dealing with toxic coal ash that was moved away from a town 90% white into their backyards. Many of the residents are experiencing health problems affecting their nervous and reproductive systems. This EPA found no “causal connection.”
The same EPA that wants to roll back fuel efficiency standards that determine how much pollution vehicles can emit. The very same standard that, if rolled back, the federal agencies themselves acknowledge “would result in increased adverse health impacts (mortality, acute bronchitis, respiratory emergency room visits, and work-loss days) nationwide.” Countless studies have found that people of color are the most heavily impacted by the pollution from cars and trucks. Rolling back clean car standards will also have a negative impact on families’ pockets. The current fuel economy standards are on track to save families an average of $3,200 per car and $4,800 per truck over the lifetimes of model year 2025 vehicles.
So again, this victory feels good. Scott Pruitt had no business being over the EPA. And, our work must go on.
Acting Administrator Anthony Wheeler is a Washington insider who definitely understands the political landscape. We will need to duplicate our efforts.
Moms must continue to show up and demanded a fully funded EPA . We must not be afraid to respectfully confront our public servants. The rallies must continue and the support for the EPA career professionals who genuinely care about our environment must also go on. Now, more than ever, we must also register all eligible Americans to vote and vote for representatives who care about protecting our environment.
Because if there’s anything to take away from our successes this year -- securing a FY 2018 federal budget that protected critical funding for environmental programs, and booting Pruitt out of office -- it’s this: In both scenarios the likelihood of success was a long shot, but we rose up anyway because it was the right thing to do. It took all of us lifting our voices and standing together to win against an administration that has intently sought to divide us. And winning, we proved, is possible.
We need to share our stories of how we are being impacted by climate change every single day. Our stories matter. They make a difference. They can change hearts and minds. They can weaken divides. And they can heal our country.
So, dance a little and get some rest today. Tomorrow is a new day to resist, unite, and continue protecting this future worth fighting for. Green For All will be releasing a new platform for sharing your story with us later this month. Stay tuned.
Kerene Tayloe is the policy director at Green For All, based in Washington D.C.
The Environmental Media Association Honors Gala honors some of “the most influential green leaders in entertainment, technology, and business.” Green For All’s Deputy Director, Michelle Romero had the opportunity to capture the action live from the green carpet, and speak with some of the greatest innovators, thought leaders, and changemakers, who are working to create a better world.
Who better than a parent to tackle the biggest problems facing families? In honor of Mother’s Day, Parents magazine asked eight leaders to write meaningful messages to those they love. Dream Corps CEO and Green For All director Vien Truong is featured at number 7.
The Green Guardian
As the CEO of the nonprofit Dream Corps and leader of its Green for All national initiative, Truong, mom of 5-year-old twins, is on the front lines tackling poverty and pollution. "This work is a labor of love," she says. “I’m joining moms and hundreds of volunteers across the country to fight for all our kids. Whether they’re working to switch from diesel to clean fuel or to fix contaminated pipes, they’re all operating from passion, from a place of unconditional love. It’s not about politics or recognition or anything else. In that way, these moms remind me of my own mother.”
Read the full article on Parents.com
Van Jones co-founded Green For All to solve poverty and pollution at the same time. We're building a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. We're bringing clean energy, good jobs, and better health to communities who need it most.
This Presidents Day, we’re taking a moment to celebrate some of the “greenest” Presidents in our nation’s history. You might be surprised to find that half of them are Republican.
Let’s start with President Richard Nixon (Republican). As president, Richard Nixon passed some of the most important environmental legislation in U.S. history. The focus of his efforts was protecting people from environmental hazards. Nixon passed the Clean Air Act to control air pollution across the country. The law is thought to be one of the most comprehensive air quality laws in the world. He passed the Clean Water Act to control pollutant discharges into U.S. waters. This law protects drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans from becoming contaminated. He also passed the Endangered Species Act, which of course protects endangered species from going extinct and preserves our food chain.
Nixon is also the one who established the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. The U.S. EPA was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment. To sum it up, Nixon, a Republican, enacted some of the toughest environmental regulations of any president in U.S. history.
Ironically, every one of his landmark achievements is now at risk of being rolled back, eliminated, or defunded by current President Donald Trump, who claims environmental regulations are bad for the economy. Click here to take action. But enough about Trump.
President Jimmy Carter (Democrat) is another president worth our attention. In 1979, Carter became the first president to ever put solar panels on the White House. At the time, the Arab oil embargo had caused a national energy crisis, with oil prices jumping from $3 per barrel to $12 per barrel. Carter called for a campaign to conserve energy across the country and decided to put up 32 solar panels on the White House to set a good example. In his first year as president, he created the Department of Energy, passed the Soil and Water Conservation Act, and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
He also helped to further strengthen the Clean Air Act by setting limits on industrial sources of pollution. A critical component was establishing fines equal to the cost of cleanup for companies that did not comply. Carter understood the American people shouldn’t foot the bill for industry’s pollution (something Democrats and Republicans today should seriously think about).
In early 1980, Carter signed legislation to give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funding to clean up abandoned toxic waste dumps (aka “Superfund sites”). And, he pushed for the passage of the Alaskan National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which provided special protection to over 100 million acres of land, including national parks, national forests, and wild and scenic rivers. All of these achievements land him on our list of “green” presidents to celebrate.
Next up, President Teddy Roosevelt (Republican). President Roosevelt was considered the first modern environmentalist president. During his presidency, Roosevelt took aggressive actions to preserve the balance of the natural world. He signed at least 50 executive orders protecting natural resources and wildlife. For example, in 1903, plumes for women’s hats were in high demand and that had led to the decimation of shorebird populations. After visiting Pelican Island in Florida to see for himself, Roosevelt created the Pelican Island Bird Reservation.
Through the Forest Reserve Act, he protected 150 million acres of land as public land. This eventually lead to the creation of the U.S. Forest Service. Year after year, he continued his crusade, protecting more land and more species from being devastated.
Roosevelt was an avid hunter and taxidermist, but he understood that if the actions of hunters, miners, and timber cutters weren’t controlled, they could pose a serious threat to entire ecosystems. For Roosevelt, it was about balance, so that everyone who enjoyed and depended upon our natural resources could continue to benefit.
Last but not least is President Barack Obama (Democrat). Now, we should probably mention that Green For All has a special affinity for this president. Inspired by our co-founder Van Jones’s best-selling book The Green Collar Economy, Jones served at the President’s request as special advisor on green jobs.
Many of Obama’s policies helped to jumpstart the green economy and bring it to disadvantaged communities. In 2009, Obama’s stimulus package not only helped the U.S. out of the Great Recession, it also invested billions in clean energy technology. These programs helped to make wind and solar energy more affordable in the last nine years. Obama also helped to fund the Green Jobs Act, which put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work building a more sustainable future.
What some people probably don’t know is that Obama also fought to bring justice to coal miners. He put forth the POWER Plus Plan, which would have deployed $1 billion for workforce and economic development in coal communities feeling the effects of a global transition to a new clean energy economy. His proposal was blocked by the Republican-controlled Congress. But that didn’t stop him. He found a way for his idea to move forward through the POWER Initiative. This initiative began awarding some smaller grants available for economic and workforce development projects in Appalachia and other coal communities across the country.
Obama also played an international leadership role on climate change, signing on to a global agreement to curb climate change known as the Paris Climate Agreement. In 2015, he introduced the Clean Power Plan to address one of the largest sources of the U.S.’s share of climate pollution: power plants. It was the first ever federal rule to limit pollution from power plants. Overall, Obama made protecting the environment a important cornerstone of his presidency.
Take action to defend these presidents’ legacy:
Tell the U.S. EPA to protect Clean Air.
Help us spread the message on social media (use #GreenForAll #PresidentsDay):
- Name two Republican presidents who were "green." Check your answers at greenforall.org/greenpresidentsday #GreenForAll #PresidentsDay
Who was the first President to put solar panels on the White House? Check your answer at greenforall.org/greenpresidentsday #GreenForAll #PresidentsDay
- Can you name four Presidents who were "green"? Hint: Being green isn’t partisan: greenforall.org/greenpresidentsday #GreenForAll #PresidentsDay
Click here to download Facebook/Instagram graphic.
Click here for Twitter graphic.
Oregon has an opportunity to pass a bold law that would cap and price climate pollution. If this bill passes, the largest polluters will finally be made to pay for their pollution. Best of all, proceeds will go toward putting Oregonians to work in the community making clean power like solar available to more people, upgrading homes and businesses to use less energy and save people money, building affordable housing near transit and investing in more transportation options. We're inviting you to join us for a day of action in support of passing Clean Energy Jobs legislation in Oregon.Read more
Dear OUSD School Board Members,
Since the school year began, lead has been found in water in at least 45 Oakland schools and daycares. Our schools should help all kids succeed, not jeopardize their health because of lead exposure.
We urge you to pass a ZERO-lead policy that includes:
- Testing every water tap;
- Reporting lead results for every school, including those found to be under 15 ppb;
- Notifying parents that they should have children blood-tested for lead when lead is found at their child's school;
- Removing lead-bearing pipes and plumbing;
- Installing filters certified to remove lead; and
- Allowing no more than 1 part per billion of lead in school drinking water, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
There's no "safe" level of lead in drinking water. Even small exposures to lead can do permanent damage to children's brain development. Lead poisoning is completely preventable, and 100% irreversible. Please pass a comprehensive ZERO-lead policy now.
Green For All's Kim Noble travelled to Charleston, West Virginia this week, where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held a 2-day public hearing on its proposal to repeal The Clean Power Plan.
The Trump Administration believes that power plants should be allowed to pollute our communities as much as they want without repercussions. Through an executive order, Donald Trump directed the EPA to take steps to roll back The Clean Power Plan -- the only federal protection we have that limits power plant pollution. But it's not that easy.
We can stand up and speak out to stop this from happening. Our health should come first. And our communities can't afford to keep sending kids and seniors to the hospital with breathing problems, or pay the increasing cost of asthma medication simply because no one is holding big polluters accountable. These are health problems we can prevent.
U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt put forth a proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, per Trump's directive. Now, it's time for us all to speak up.
Hear from two women Kim met at the hearing:
We know most people can't travel to Charleston to testify. That's why we created a page where you can submit your own public comment here: greenforall.org/cleanpowerplan
The EPA is taking public comments on the proposal now through January 16, 2018. We will make sure to deliver your comments directly to the EPA.
Together we can and we will make sure that the Clean Power Plan moves forward, and our communities can breathe clean air. Thanks for doing your part.
Green For All's policy director, Kerene Tayloe, joined Young People For for a real conversation about what the Trump Administration's proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan means for families.
Listen in, then take action!
The U.S. EPA is taking public comments now through January 16, 2018 on its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan. We need you to speak out for clean air for all.
Submit your public comments supporting the Clean Power Plan here: greenforall.org/cleanpowerplan