Tell Congress: Vote No on Clovis for USDA Chief Scientist

Sam Clovis, Trump’s choice for USDA chief scientist.

GR: The USDA Chief Scientist must be a scientist. The USDA evaluates the safety of outdoor activities including farming, logging, ecosystem protection, herbicide use for weed control, and many more. The person in charge of the evaluations must understand the methods used for measurement and analysis and must understand the certainty or lack of certainty of the results. Sam Clovis has no experience in scientific methods. Trump selected his other appointees based on political connections and not qualifications. Clovis may be the worst of the worst. The Union of Concerned Scientists has given us some information to use in protest of Clovis’ appointment.

“President Trump has nominated Sam Clovis—a vocal climate change denier with no training in science—for the role of chief scientist at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Clovis’ nomination represents an abandonment of America’s farmers, ranchers, and consumers who depend on the USDA to provide sound scientific guidance on the pressing challenges facing our nation’s food system. Moreover, Clovis’ history of denying climate change and peddling racist and homophobic conspiracy theories calls into question his capacity to make informed, objective, and sound investments for the future of American agriculture.

“Scientists and experts around the country are signing this letter to demand that the USDA chief scientist have a strong scientific background in order to fulfill the demands of this crucial position.

“Add your name to this letter urging the Senate Agriculture Committee to stand by its commitment to scientifically informed governance by voting no on Sam Clovis for USDA chief scientist.

“Learn more about the case against Clovis, and read the nine questions the Senate should ask of Clovis. Check out our Sidelining Science Since Day One report.” Union of Concerned Scientists.


GR:  Contact your Senators and ask them to reject the Clovis appointment. You could also contact Senator Pat Roberts, chairman and Senator Debbie Stabenow, ranking member of the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

Tell your Senators that Sam Clovis falls far short of the standards of chief scientist. While he holds a Doctorate of Public Administration, his professional background is completely devoid of relevant scientific experience. The USDA chief scientist must have a strong scientific background to administer scientific programs and make crucial decisions on food safety, agricultural productivity, and emerging threats to public health. Dr. Clovis lacks grounding in the scientific process and is not equipped to make informed, objective, and strategic investments for the future of American agriculture.

There are some excellent smart phone apps that simplify contacting congress. I’m trying out “Congress” by Eric Mill my phone. Seems pretty good so far.

The first piece of Trump’s wall is set to go through a Texas wildlife refuge

GR: Destroying a nature refuge to satisfy a campaign promise is probably more than Trump’s fellow phobes wanted. But there is no limit to the damage Trump will do to get some approval. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the harm from such a wall. Perhaps we can help some of Trump’s supporters see the truth by sharing this bit of nasty outcome.

An official told the Texas Observer that construction would “essentially destroy the refuge.”

CREDIT: AP Photo/Eric Gay

“U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has begun preparations to construct the first leg of the Trump administration’s border wall through the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge in South Texas, according to the Texas Observer.

An Ocelot seen at the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge near Alamo, Texas.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

“The Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge comprises 2,088-acres along the U.S.-Mexico border, and was established in 1943 for the protection of migratory birds.

“Federal officials told the Texas Observer that the wall would consist of an 18-foot levee wall that would stretch for three miles in the wildlife refuge. The construction plan would require building a road south of the wall, as well as clearing land on either side. Such construction would “essentially destroy the refuge,” an official told the Texas Observer.

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is home to 400 bird species, 450 types of plants, half of all butterfly species found in North America, and such rarities as the Indigo Snake and Altamira Oriole shown here.

“Congress is still debating funding for the billion-dollar wall, but a federal official told the Texas Observer that funds could be transferred from within the Department of Homeland Security to pay for construction at the refuge. Construction within the refuge could begin as early as winter of 2018.” –Natasha Geiling (The first piece of Trump’s wall is set to go through a Texas wildlife refuge)

10 Best Environmental Records in the Senate

GR:  Not all members of  the U. S. Congress ignore the long-term benefits of nature conservation. Here is a list of the top ten Senators that give the most support to nature. These Senators refuse the riches offered by the fossil-fuel and chemical industries and try to do the right thing. Click this link for more information on U. S. politicians’ concern for nature. Here’s the report by Lorraine Chow (Ecowatch).

“Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) recently emerged as one of the upper chamber’s biggest environmental stalwarts after grilling both Rick Perry and Ryan Zinke over their climate denial during hearings.

“But Franken—who is dipping into his comedic roots in a hilarious new web series about climate change—isn’t the only U.S. senator who consistently champions environmental safeguards.

“Citing data from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), Business Insider recently featured 10 senators with the best voting records on environmental legislation.

“Unsurprisingly, every senator on the list is a Democrat. Meanwhile, we could probably count with two hands the number of Republicans in Congress who think climate change is even real.

“The stakes for protecting the environment and public health have never been higher and the threats have never been greater,” the LCV said earlier this year. “We must do more than ever to work with our allies in Congress—and mobilize the public—to fight the Trump administration and the extreme Congressional leadership who want to roll back our bedrock environmental laws and President Obama’s incredible progress.”

Here are the 10 best senators for the environment:

  • Sen. Jeff Merkley, Democrat from Oregon. Lifetime score: 99%
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Democrat from Massachusetts. Lifetime score: 98%
  • Sen. Cory Booker, Democrat from New Jersey. Lifetime score: 98%
  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat from Rhode Island. Lifetime score: 98%
  • Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Democrat from Wisconsin. Lifetime score: 97%
  • Sen. Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut. Lifetime score: 96%
  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Democrat from Connecticut. Lifetime score: 96%
  • Sen. Al Franken, Democrat from Minnesota. Lifetime score: 96%
  • Sen. Tom Udall, Democrat from New Mexico. Lifetime score: 96%
  • Sen. Jack Reed, Democrat from Rhode Island. Lifetime score: 96%

“You might be scratching your head wondering why Sen. Bernie Sanders isn’t on this list. Well, you might remember that last year he was very busy “running his historic presidential campaign,” as Josh Fox pointed out in this blog post, and missed some critical environmental votes.” –Lorraine Chow (10 Best Environmental Records in the Senate).

Trump “Review” Includes Seven of California’s National Monuments

GR: Republican tools of homocentric businesses are hard at work opening the land to exploitation. What happened to us? Is this capitalism run wild, or is it something quite a bit simpler. Is the solution simply to outlaw money in politics (this link takes you to one of my posts on this subject)? Would that lead to strong nature conservation, pollution restrictions, single-payer health, financial regulation, restricted arms sales, fewer wars, and more?

Trump Opens Monuments to Exploitation

Seven of California’s national monuments are under “review” as a result of President Trump’s executive order leveling an all-out assault on our public lands.

“In April, the Carrizo Plain National Monument, located in a remote area east of San Luis Obispo, California, erupted with wildflowers in an occasional event known as a “super bloom.” Bob Wick, with the Bureau of Land Management, wrote on the agency’s Flickr page that “(t)he Valley floor has endless expanses of yellows and purples from coreopsis, tidy tips and phacelia, with smaller patches of dozens of other species … (And) the Temblor Range is painted with swaths of orange, yellow and purple like something out of a storybook. I have never seen such a spectacular array of blooms. Ever.”

“The Carrizo Plain National Monument is one of seven California national monuments under review by the U.S. Department of the Interior to determine if they should remain as designated, or if their boundaries or management should be changed by the federal government. This unprecedented review, ordered by President Trump, affects 27 national monuments designated under the Antiquities Act of 1906.

“California’s seven national monuments under review are special places and must remain protected. These areas were designated after years of community-based organizing, extensive effort to detail the specific historical, cultural and ecological values that make these areas meet the strict criteria for monument designation, and broad public outreach efforts. These lands receive overwhelming public support from the local community and stakeholders. After monument designation, collaborative efforts continue with the monument management planning process involving all stakeholders, particularly the local communities around the monuments.

“In California, the president’s Executive Order affects seven national monuments—the most of any state with monuments under review. These seven monuments are widely supported by both Californians and most Americans. Many include lands sacred to Native American Tribes or capture historic locales celebrating our American legacy. Others provide invaluable cultural, scientific and recreational resources that provide immeasurable social, economic and ecosystem protection benefits to local communities. These monuments provide habitat for some of California’s most iconic wildlife, including the California condor, desert tortoise, and San Joaquin kit fox. They are places for both Americans and global visitors to reconnect with nature and recreate.” –Kim Delfino (California’s Monumental Distress – Defenders of Wildlife Blog)

INTERIOR: 3 BLM state directors removed in reorganization

GR: trumpeteers preparing for opening public lands to exploitation?

“The Bureau of Land Management is reassigning the directors of the Alaska, Colorado and New Mexico state offices to positions at other federal agencies as part of an Interior Department reorganization that sources say is only beginning.

“Alaska Director Bud Cribley, Colorado Director Ruth Welch and New Mexico Director Amy Lueders are among as many as 50 BLM and other Interior career officials notified this month that they are being transferred to different agencies or other positions within BLM, multiple sources with knowledge of the moves told E&E News.

“Alaska, Colorado and New Mexico have all been involved in controversial energy development and natural resource issues in the past few years, and sources say Interior brass do not view the three state directors at issue as being compatible with the Trump administration’s stated push to promote more oil and gas development and mining activity on federal lands.

“The transfer of Cribley, who has been BLM’s Alaska state director since November 2010, comes just weeks after Zinke toured the state and announced plans to open new sections of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to oil and gas leasing (Energywire).” –Scott Streater (INTERIOR: 3 BLM state directors removed in reorganization — sources — Tuesday, June 27, 2017 — www.eenews.net)

180 Climate Deniers in Congress Received $82 Million in Dirty Money

GR:  “Trump himself received $1,132,996 in dirty energy money.” If we can’t get money out of politics, human weakness will destroy the world. This EcoWatch article by Lorraine Chow exposes the weakness and the harm it causes.

180 Climate Deniers in Congress Received $82 Million in Dirty Money

“Those of you who participated in Saturday’s People’s Climate March have 181 more reasons to protest.

“New research shows that the 180 climate-denying members of Congress—plus President Trump, who famously denounced global warming as a hoax—have received more than $82 million from fossil fuel industries.

“Researchers from the Center for American Progress Action Fund calculated that the Republican president, 142 representatives and 38 senators, who do not accept the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity causes climate change, have received a total of $82,882,725 from coal, oil and gas industries—an increase from the $80,453,861 total in the previous report.

“According to the new report, the top three recipients were Arizona Senator John McCain, who opposes the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that greenhouse gases are pollution; Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, who once said, “For everybody who thinks it’s warming, I can find somebody who thinks it isn’t;” and Texas Senator John Cornyn, who actually acknowledges that humans have an impact on the environment but doesn’t think it’s the responsibility of the government to do anything about it.

“For the report, the researchers defined a climate denier as any lawmaker who has:

  • “Questioned or denied the scientific consensus behind human-caused climate change;
  • “Answered climate questions with the “I’m not a scientist” dodge;• Claimed the climate is always changing (as a way to dodge the implications of human-caused warming);
  • “Failed to acknowledge that climate change is a serious threat; or
  • “Questioned the extent to which human beings contribute to global climate change.

“Trump himself received $1,132,996 in dirty energy money.”

–Lorraine Chow (Continue reading: 180 Climate Deniers in Congress Received $82 Million in Dirty Money).

Merkley, Sanders goal: U.S. on all renewables by 2050

GR:  The U. S. has begun adopting renewable energy. For instance, the number of us solar jobs (not even counting wind) surpassed coal, oil, and gas jobs officially in late 2015 (https://www.bloomberg.com). This story shows some of the powerful support behind the 100 by ’50 Act (100% by 2050). It also includes links to background information as well as the bill and the bill summary.

People in my community are switching to rooftop solar power. The switch stabilizes their costs and gives them independence from power failures of all kinds. Those that live in shaded homes like mine or in multi-family apartments are switching using the Green-e Program.

Look at the list of seven core components of the transition plan and see if you agree that it is sensible. The story from KTVZ.com reporting from Senator Merkley’s home state lists the component near the end:

“Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), along with Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), introduced landmark climate legislation Thursday that would transition the United States to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by no later than 2050.

“The “100 by ’50 Act” lays out a roadmap for a transition to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2050. It is the first bill introduced in Congress that will fully envision a transition off of fossil fuels for the United States.

“America is home to innovative entrepreneurs and scientists who have tackled many challenges in our nation’s history — from harnessing electricity, to putting a man on the moon, to curing disease,” said Merkley. “The power to end the use of fossil fuels and completely transition to clean and renewable energy is within our hands, but just as with the moon landing, we need a roadmap, a goal, and a passionate, shared national commitment to get us there.

“If an asteroid were hurtling its way through space towards our planet, we would do everything in our power to stop that asteroid. Our commitment to fighting climate change should be no less. Starting at a local, grassroots level and working toward the bold and comprehensive national vision laid out in this legislation, now is the time to commit to 100% by 2050.”

“The good news is that despite President Trump, we are winning this battle,” said Sanders. “In Vermont and all over this country, we are seeing communities moving toward energy efficiency and we are seeing the price of renewable energy plummet. Our job is to think big, not small. We can win the war against climate change. We can win the war in transforming our energy system and put millions of people to work doing that. We can create a planet that will be healthy and habitable for our children. There is no issue more important.”

“It is no longer a question of if we can power our country with 100 percent renewable energy, it is a question of when,” said Markey. “We know that we have 100 percent of the clean energy resource potential in the United States. And we have 100 percent of the technological capability to achieve this goal. As President Trump launches attacks on investments in climate science and energy innovation, now, more than ever, we need to stand up and fight for our clean energy future. I thank Senators Merkley and Sanders for their help leading this historic clean energy revolution.” –KTVZ.com (Continue reading: Merkley, Sanders goal: U.S. on all renewables by 2050 – KTVZ

Ocean Farmers Make “Climate March by Sea”

GR:  The premise of the article below is that warming oceans are destroying marine ecosystems and eliminating fish-harvesting jobs. It’s about jobs, and ultimately about the U. S. national economy. It argues that fighting climate change will keep, not cut jobs. It points out that Trump uses “jobs” to hide the fact that his policies enable greater profits by major corporations. Who knew?

The fact is, “jobs” are a false goal. Losing fishing jobs to climate change isn’t what’s important. Preserving marine ecosystems is what’s important. We should march in opposition to fossil-fuel production of climate-changing CO2 because it is harming marine ecosystems.

We should also be marching for population control. As the global human population grows, the market for seafood grows and this has led to ecosystem devastation from overfishing. Harvesting the seas is not the only excess destroying ecosystems. Expanding farms and pasturelands, expanding cities, and growing waste pollution are doing their share as well. Most definitely yes, we need the new bill proposed in the U. S. Congress “100 by 50” that would eliminate 100% of fossil-fuel use by 2050. But we also need to control and reverse our population–most definitely.

This Sierra article has interesting points on the faulty reasoning behind Trump’s trickery.

Sierra Magazine:

“On President Trump’s first Earth Day in the White House, he declared on Twitter that “we celebrate our beautiful forests, lakes, and lands”—an amiable if blasé arm-punch to the planet from the leader of the free world.

“Until a few hours later that is, when the president resorted to his usual right cross.

“I am committed to keeping our air and water clean,” he tweeted, “but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter!”

“Rarely does President Trump or his surrogates miss an opportunity to propound that “jobs matter” when it comes to the nation’s environmental policies—especially where climate change is concerned. This binary logic—environmental protection equals job killer—is deeply woven into their world view. Trump has repeatedly called Obama-era initiatives like the Clean Power Plan “job killers” and vowed to “rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions, including the Climate Action Plan.”

“The delegation of fishermen that set sail this morning from a marina in Solomons, Maryland, would beg to differ. The only “job destroyer” for them is climate change.

“Concerned about the threat global warming poses to their livelihoods, a crew of sustainable ocean farmers began a three-day journey today they’re calling the “Climate March by Sea.” At the tiller of the small commercial fishing boat is Bren Smith, owner of Thimble Island Ocean Farm and the executive director of GreenWave. They’re heading south down the Chesapeake before they plan to turn north up the Potomac on their way to Washington, D.C.

“Their final destination: the Peoples Climate March, when thousands of people, including indigenous, civic, social justice, business, and environmental advocacy groups are set to take to the streets of the nation’s capital to demand action on climate, jobs, and justice. “Climate change was supposed to be a slow lobster boil,” Smith said in an interview before casting off. “For me, it arrived 100 years earlier than expected. We fishermen are the citizen scientists reporting that water temperatures are going up, species are moving north, the weather is becoming more extreme. We can see it with our own eyes. We’re way beyond the idea of climate denial.”

TAKE ACTION: Click here for more information about how to participate in the Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C., or another city near you.

“When it comes to environmental policy, the “job killer” argument is a red herring. According to an analysis by the Environmental Integrity Project, “two-tenths of one percent of layoffs are caused by government regulations of any kind, including environmental regulations. Layoffs are caused far more often by corporate buyouts, technological advances, and lower overseas labor costs.” –Jonathan Hahn (Continue: Ocean Farmers Take “Climate March by Sea” to Nation’s Capital | Sierra Club.)

Trump’s Climate Cuts Will Add Millions of Extra Tons of CO2 to the Air

GR: Even if the next U. S. president reverses Trump’s policies, there will still be a large quantity of extra greenhouse-gas emissions. Moreover, simple reversal will not meet our commitments under the Paris treaty; we had much left to do when Obama left office. The effect of our leadership failure on emissions by other countries is hard to calculate. Will our bad example will inspire the others to excel?

President Trump’s efforts to roll back existing climate change policies will have a delayed but prolonged effect, according to a new analysis. Credit: DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images

“President Donald Trump’s planned climate change policies could lead to an extra half a billion tons of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 2025, according to a new analysis. That is equal to the annual electricity emissions of 60 percent of U.S. homes.

“Climate Advisers, a Washington consultancy, predicts that U.S. carbon emissions, which have been falling, will begin to flatten or increase by 2020 if the Trump administration succeeds in repealing the Clean Power Plan and other Obama-era regulations.

“In other words, decisions made today will have a delayed effect—but a prolonged one.

“We found that the ‘Trump Effect’ really begins to bite into the U.S. emissions trajectory in 2025—since many of the factors influencing today’s emissions trajectory can’t be reversed quickly,” the report said.

“The analysis assumes that some regulations are more vulnerable than others to rollbacks. The Clean Power Plan to curb carbon emissions from power plants, methane rules covering the oil and gas industry and a handful of efficiency regulations are “highly vulnerable” in the consulting firm’s view, either because they’re high profile or because they haven’t been fully implemented. If these are the only rules the Trump administration is able to repeal, it would erase 332 million metric tons of carbon pollution cuts, Climate Advisers projected.

“If, however, the Trump administration succeeds also in eliminating “moderately vulnerable” rules—those controlling landfill emissions, potent refrigeration gases such as HFCs and several energy efficiency standards—another 229 million tons of projected emissions cuts would not happen, the report finds.

“Although the Obama administration policies alone were not enough to get the U.S. to its goal under the Paris climate agreement, Climate Advisers said Trump’s policies would stall or increase the nation’s decline in emissions. The U.S. pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025, and it’s currently only a third of the way there.

“The Climate Advisers report is one of several recent efforts to quantify the potential climate impact of the Trump administration’s energy and environmental policies. InsideClimate News previously compiled a chart showing how the U.S. would have virtually no chance of meeting its Paris promise under Trump, based on estimates by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of the emissions cuts achievable with each of Obama’s policies.” –Marianne Lavelle (Continue:  Trump’s Climate Cuts Could Result in Half-Billion Extra Tons of CO2 in the Air | InsideClimate News.)

Trump’s climate-hoax demands roil U.S. allies

GR: The U. S. is not a leader in global efforts to stop climate change. Under Bannon and the conservative Congress, the U. S. has become the leader in retreat from many economic, environmental, and social necessities. Stupid.

President Donald Trump is considering whether to pull the United States out of the climate change accord that the Obama administration and other world leaders negotiated in Paris in 2015. | AP Photo

“President Donald Trump’s abrupt turnaround on U.S. climate policy is fueling tension with several of America’s closest allies, which are resisting the administration’s demands that they support a bigger role for nuclear power and fossil fuels in the world’s energy supply.

“The dispute blew up at this week’s meeting of G-7 energy ministers, at which Trump administration officials pushed to include stronger pro-coal, pro-nuclear language in a proposed joint statement on energy policy. The fight had been simmering behind the scenes for weeks as the White House, Energy Department and State Department clashed with negotiators from other G-7 countries over the statement, according to an internal document obtained by POLITICO and interviews with diplomats.

“After a tense back-and-forth at the meeting in Rome on Monday, the G-7 energy ministers — including representatives from Canada, Great Britain and several European Union countries — wound up scuttling the statement altogether.

“The feud comes as Trump, who often touts his “America first” approach to foreign policy, is considering whether to pull the United States out of the climate change accord that the Obama administration and leaders of nearly 200 other nations negotiated in Paris in 2015. Some Trump advisers have suggested that he should remain in the deal — but in return, should demand concessions to aid the fossil fuel sector.

“G-7 officials, led by the Europeans, refused to agree to stronger language touting fossil fuels without assurances from the United States that it would stay in the Paris climate change agreement, according to officials briefed on the discussions.” –Andrew Restuccia (Source: Trump’s climate demands roil U.S. allies – POLITICO).