Ten days into the new presidential administration and it is already hard to tell which way is up. The new American president has shoved through so many surprise executive orders in such a short period of time that priorities get confused and it seems to be deliberately obfuscating, from the top down. I see the politicians and the private businessmen appointed to political positions now acting in their own best interest, whether consolidating their own power or padding their wallet, all under a guise of what is good for the people. I am a citizen, for whom conservation is the number one concerning issue. Conservation of wildlands, resources and environmental quality are, to me core American ethics and these issues hold a moral-human imperative and don’t belong to one party or the other.
The Top Five unfolding threats to National Environmental Protections and Wildland Conservatio
- The wholesale of Public Land to Private Industry. Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz’s bill, HR 261, identifies 3.3 million acres across 10 states to be ‘disposed of’ and sold off to private energy extraction interests, just a few days after the House passed a rules package that makes such land seizure plans easier to execute. We urge congress to vote NO on HR 261 and keep public lands public.
2. The gutting of the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is tasked with enforcing laws to reduce pollution, and with the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the agency, the administration has announced that this is not a priority. Pruitt is an enemy of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and has aligned himself with oil and gas companies and other industrial interests that he will be asked to regulate. Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s former company, ExxonMobil CEO,spent decades avoiding action on climate change; if confirmed, he would exercise great influence over America’s international climate efforts. We urge congress to reject the administration’s nominations of Scott Pruitt and Rex Tillerson.
3. The war on Biodiversity. The former head of Trump’s EPA transition team, Myron Ebell, has called for theEndangered Species Act to be drastically overhauled, with many of the key provisions completely scrapped. The 1973 act was created to prevent the extinction of hundreds of species – however Ebell insists the act is a “political weapon” that does little to protect wildlife. While he’s not a current member of Trump’s team, his words should worry anyone who cares about conservation, because they seem to be in line withGOP lawmakers set on repealing the law. We urge congress to protect this vital law and to stand for wildlife protection across the country.
4. The unmitigated approval of Oil Pipeline constructions. Intent to reject moratoriums on new coal leases or other energy production on public lands, the administration plans to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and wants to increase offshore drilling. His Energy nominee, Rick Perry, has consistently championed fossil fuel development over all else. The new administration has revived the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, showing that the administration’s energy agenda will be pulled from the oil and gas industry’s wish list, despite the objection of native nations, local communities and millions of concerned Americans. We urge congress to reject the nomination of Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy.
5. Dismantling the Antiquities Act and our National Parks. Interior nominee Ryan Zinke has promoted the myth that the Obama administration waged a “war on coal” and touted coal as an important energy source in the future. The new president has said he will “open federal lands for oil and gas production,” and Interior nominee Ryan Zinke has emphasized the importance of energy development on public lands. Zinke, a former Montana state lawmaker serving his first term in the House, will hold powerful sway over the fate of America’s public lands, at a time when the president has said he plans to roll back regulations in order to unleash a wave of fossil-fuel energy production. We urge congress to reject the nomination of Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior.