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)