Hillary Clinton: The Leader We Need

Over the next two weeks, Republican and Democratic leaders will gather in Cleveland and Philadelphia for the quadrennial exercise in partisan persuasion and political soapboxing we call the national presidential nominating conventions.

Behind the boisterous clamor for air time and the furious competition for votes, the conventions serve a high purpose: to lay out competing visions of our country’s future so that we might decide, come Election Day, which road holds out greater promise for our nation.

The season can feel divisive, but one thing that unites us is our common dependence on the health of the natural systems upon which all life depends.

Barbara Kinney, Hillary for America

Barbara Kinney, Hillary for America

Unfortunately, our politics doesn’t reflect that fact?—?far from it. After a century in which both parties, to varying degrees, recognized the need for responsible environmental safeguards, we’ve seen the reckless abandonment of that core American value by congressional leaders in the GOP.

That’s why the NRDC Action Fund endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on May 31. In the weeks since then, the case for Clinton has become stronger by the day. She’s demonstrated a deep understanding of the environmental challenges we face and a commitment to taking the action we need. The contrast between her party’s record and her opponent’s could not be more stark.

When Rep. Bill Johnson, R-OH., called the work of the Environmental Protection Agency “un-American” during a House hearing last week, he was merely putting into words what many of his GOP colleagues have repeatedly expressed through votes that would undermine protections for our water, air, wildlife and lands and cripple our efforts to fight global climate change.

Far from repudiating those measures and claims, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, has added fuel to the fire,denouncing climate change as a hoax?—?except when rising seas threaten his golf courses. He’s said it was invented by the Chinese, only to claim later he was joking. If elected, Trump would be the only national leader in the world to reject what the science tells us about climate change. And he’s threatened to tear up or “renegotiate” the global agreement among the United States and more than 185 other countries in Paris last December to hasten the shift away from the dirty fossil fuels that are driving climate change and toward cleaner, smarter ways to power our future.

We don’t need to turn back the clock on hard won gains in the fight against climate change. We need to move forward with concrete action that turns the promise of Paris into the progress we need.

We need a president who will build on the advances President Obama has made to cut the carbon footprint from our cars, trucks and workplaces. We need to clean up our dirty power plants. We need to invest in efficiency, so we can do more with less waste, build the world’s best all-electric and hybrid cars and power them with more clean energy from the wind and sun. We need to get our government out of the oil, gas and coal business?—?for good. And we need to ensure environmental justice for every American.

That, in large part, describes the policies of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic candidate the NRDC Action Fund has endorsed.

She understands what it means to have just finished the hottest June ever recorded in the contiguous United States?—?3.3 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th Century average. She knows its no hoax that last year was the hottest since global record keeping began in 1880, the first five months of this year were hotter still, and 19 of the hottest years on record have occurred in the past two decades. She understands that, when the most authoritative climate scientists in the world tell us we’re facing a crisis, it’s time to stop making jokes and start making progress.

She understands, too, the folly of investing, as a nation, in the very dirty fuels we know we have to move away from to protect our children from the worst impacts of climate change. She’ll back Obama’s freeze on new leases for coal production on federal lands, knowing existing leases can produce coal for many years to come. She’ll protect precious Arctic and Atlantic waters from the risk of a blowout or catastrophic spill, by taking those waters off the table for oil and gas development. And she’ll work with those of us calling for an end to new leases on all federal lands and offshore waters for the production of fossil fuels, appreciating that, here again, existing leases can produce such fuels far into our future, while we transition to cleaner, safer ways to power economic growth.

Finally, she’s committed to environmental justice for every American.

We all pay a price for dirty air and water, polluted lands and wildlife at risk. Some of us, though, bear a greater burden?—?people living in low income communities, African-Americans, Latinos and other people of color.

At the NRDC Action Fund, we reject the notion that some Americans are entitled to greater environmental protections than others simply because of their race, neighborhood or income. We believe the pursuit of justice lies at the heart of who we are and what we aspire to become as Americans. We believe Hillary Clinton has shown, throughout the course of her public career, a willingness to fight to expand justice and equity for all of our people, to stand and take care of our own.

The stakes in this election are high, for our country and all we hold dear. We are working at the NRDC Action Fund to restore the bipartisan majority for common sense environmental safeguards. We look to the day this becomes, once again, not an issue that divides us red state and blue, but a core value that unites us as Americans.

Until that day, we’ll need someone to stand strong against the special interests in the fossil fuel industry and their handmaidens on Capitol Hill. We’ll need a leader who takes seriously our obligation to protect future generations from the growing dangers of climate change. We’ll need someone who shares our belief in environmental justice for every American.

That candidate is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

NRDC Action Fund’s Weekly News Summary

This is what the NRDC Action Fund has been reading this week:

Reuters/Brian Snyder

President Obama campaigns with Hillary Clinton in North Carolina. Photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder

Obama and Hillary campaign on climate – Obama and Clinton took to North Carolina and hit Trump for his absurd and dangerous positions on climate change. (Grist)

The #climate election – Americans are deeply concerned about climate change, but they fear it’s not playing a prominent enough role in the 2016 election conversation. (The Guardian)

Science organizations take on Congress – 31 scientific groups push back against climate denial in Congress and tell lawmakers to “to reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change.” (InsideClimate News)

Beyond the Flint water crisis Over 18 million Americans are drinking potentially contaminated tap water due to widespread failures in the testing, monitoring, and enforcement of federal drinking water standards, signaling a nationwide crisis. (NRDC)

Trump’s real estate isn’t safe from climate change – Donald Trump’s Palm Beach properties will suffer the effects of climate change despite him turning  a blind eye to the issue. (The Guardian)

Climate denial doesn’t win elections – A new poll tells us voters across party lines would be less likely to support climate-denying political candidates. (E&E)

California’s clean energy economy – California is America’s leader in clean energy and if it were a nation, it would rank in world’s top five in energy productivity, electricity from renewable sources, and reductions in carbon intensity. (Los Angeles Times)

NRDC Action Fund’s Weekly News Summary

video screenshotThis is what the NRDC Action Fund has been reading this week:

What would the environment look like under President Trump? – The United States would withdraw support from the Paris climate agreement. The Clean Power Plan is rolled back. Central Appalachia’s mountain tops are gone thanks to mountaintop removal mining. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy are gone. “But hey, the Gold House lawn looks great.”  (Grist)

Dirty dollars in the 2016 presidential race – The fossil fuel industry has pumped more than $100 millionan unprecedented amountinto GOP presidential Super PACs. (The Guardian)

Scientists are fed up with GOP candidates – The Science Coalition hosted ‘Super Science Tuesday,’ a video compilation of scientists giving the GOP presidential candidates a message about why they should pay attention to science. (Scientific American)

Pres. Obama troubled by GOP candidates denying climate science [VIDEO] – President Obama: “But this is not just Mr. Trump—look at the statements that are being made by the other candidates. There is not a single candidate in the Republican primary that thinks we should do anything about climate change, that thinks it’s serious. Well, that’s a problem! The rest of the world looks at that and they say, how could that be?” (Yahoo News)

Experts: Trump’s plan to gut the EPA is “ridiculous” – GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz all have plans to gut the EPA. Environmental law experts say this would be “difficult to achieve” and would result in an “unraveling” of bedrock air and water protections. (The Guardian)

Environmentalists energized by SCOTUS vacancy and CPP stay – Recent obstacles to climate action have highlighted just how high the stakes are in the upcoming elections in November with so many climate policies on the line. (High Country News)

Sen. Ron Johnson wants a Scalia-like justice to end U.S. climate leadership – The senator from Wisconsin told a gathering of conservatives that a new Supreme Court justice in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia is necessary to kill the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. The NRDC Action Fund has endorsed Johnson’s Democratic opponent, former Senator Russ Feingold. (E&E News)

Obama saves Clean Water protections from GOP attack

box1President Obama today vetoed an attempt by the GOP-led Congress to gut Clean Water Rule protections for water bodies that American families rely on for fishing, swimming, and drinking water. While this bill did not pass with a veto-proof margin, the episode highlights what Americans can expect if the next president is willing to sign the anti-environment legislation that regularly passes in the Republican Congress.

The leading contenders for the GOP nomination have expressed a desire to significantly curb and even end the EPA’s ability to keep our water and air safe and clean. Last October during an appearance on FOX News Sunday, leading presidential candidate Donald Trump told host Chris Wallace that he intended to “cut” the EPA altogether.

“Environmental Protection, what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations. They’re making it impossible,” Trump said. “Who’s going to protect the environment?” Wallace asked. “We’ll be fine with the environment,” Trump replied. “We can leave a little bit, but you can’t destroy businesses.”

But U.S. businesses increasingly back action on climate change and 80 percent of small business owners support the recent Clean Water Rule. In fact, GOP donors who understand the importance of environmental protection to the U.S. economy are growing dismayed as the party’s candidates continue to refuse to engage on the issue, according to the National Journal. “They think if we mention carbon reduction, it’s shutting down American industry. You and I know that’s not true,” said Republican donor Andy Sabin, president of the New York-based refin­ing company Sabin Metal Corporation.

GOP lawmakers have vowed to continue their efforts to undermine EPA regulations such as the Clean Water Rule, which makes it all the more important that the rest of us continue our efforts to elect pro-environment political leaders at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

NRDC Action Fund’s Weekly News Summary

Welcome to the NRDC Action Fund’s inaugural weekly news round up. As the 2016 election season heats up, we’ll share with you the news we’re reading.

A shovel loads haulers with coal at Cloud Peak Energy’s Antelope Mine north of Douglas, Wyoming. (AP Photo/Casper Star-Tribune, Ryan Dorgan)

Millennials Support Climate Action: “80% of millennials surveyed say the United States should transition to mostly clean or renewable energy by 2030, a goal that would surely require the leadership of the next president. By more than 2 to 1, millennials say the government should invest more heavily in buses and rail.” (USA Today)

Western Voters and Public Lands: “Against an uptick in anti-public lands rhetoric from militant extremists, a new Colorado College State of the Rockies Project Conservation in the West Poll released today revealed strong public support for efforts to protect and maintain national public lands. 58 percent of respondents oppose giving state governments control over national public lands, and 60 percent of respondents oppose selling significant holdings of public lands like national forests to reduce the budget deficit.” (Colorado College)

Republicans Want Action on Climate Change: “There’s evidence that conservative views on climate are evolving. According to a recent poll commissioned by a top GOP donor and conducted by three respected Republican pollsters, a majority of Republicans — including 54 percent of self-identified conservatives — not only believe in human-induced climate change, but would support a carbon tax if the money were rebated or paired with an accompanying tax cut.” (Washington Post)

President Obama’s State of the Union: “He called for stepping up investment in communities hurt by the decline of fossil fuels, alluding to plans announced last year to expand jobs and training in coal states. “Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future?—?especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels,” Obama said. He said his administration also would push to “change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.” (Washington Post)

Rubio Greenwashing His Message: “Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio told a crowd of voters in New Hampshire Tuesday that he wants the United States to lead the world in renewable energy. It’s a surprising statement from a lawmaker who has been criticized as a climate change doubter, but Rubio’s argument for more renewable energy was an economic one.” (Washington Examiner)

Rubio Washing Green Off His Message: “Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) presidential campaign fought charges Wednesday that he once endorsed a cap-and-trade system to fight climate change. Earlier in the day, a video from 2008 resurfaced that shows Rubio, then Speaker of Florida’s House, discussing a potential cap-and-trade or tax system for carbon dioxide emissions in the state.” (The Hill)

Keep It in the Ground: “The Obama administration announced on Friday a halt to new coal mining leases on public lands as it considers an overhaul of the program that could lead to increased costs for energy companies and a slowdown in extraction, according to an administration official. The move would represent a significant setback for the coal industry, effectively freezing new coal production on federal lands and sending a signal to energy markets that could turn investors away from an already flailing industry.” (New York Times)

GOP Debate on Climate: “Here’s everything said about climate change at the GOP debate: Surprise! That was a trick. The Republican presidential candidates didn’t say anything about climate change at Thursday night’s debate. The closest moment came when Ohio Gov. John Kasich mentioned America’s need for energy independence.” (Grist)