Today President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt continued their relentless attacks on public health announcing efforts to revoke the Clean Power Plan (CPP)—giving corporate polluters yet another gift. The 2015 CPP set in motion work to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 32 percent over 15 years, generate yearly benefits of over $30 billion, and prevent 90,000 asthma attacks annually.
To justify his decision, Pruitt assumes that climate change poses little cost. In fact, extreme weather linked to climate change cost the U.S. more than $53 billion in 2016 and over $240 billion per year over the past ten years. He also ignores the fact that clean energy jobs are growing at a rate 12 times faster than the rest of the economy and that renewable energy is the cheapest source of electricity in many parts of the country. This is not the first time the administration has used “fuzzy math” to try to cook the books in favor of their agenda, as a similar technique was used in the attempted repeals of the Affordable Care Act. It also comes when Energy Secretary Rick Perry has pushed electricity regulators to bail out coal power plants based on a faulty argument about the electric grid. Rather, it is indicative of a larger trend of intentional disinformation by public officials.
We have already seen the extreme environmental impact of climate change just this year, with California experiencing the most destructive wildfires in the state’s history, and four major hurricanes making landfall on the U.S. for the first time since 2005. With powerful storms, devastating wildfires, and a supercharged warming climate consistently pounding the U.S, the Administration should be taking urgent action to cut the carbon pollution that is fueling climate change. Instead, by moving to repeal CPP—America’s first and only federal limits on power plants – Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration are rigging the system for big polluters at the expense of our health and safety.
ACTION OF THE DAY
Reverse Robin Hood. Last week, the House passed a budget that will cut programs for working families to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and big businesses. As the tax fight moves on to the Senate, visit trumptaxtoolkit.org to tell your Senator to vote “no” on this hurtful tax plan, which will only increase the wealth gap in the country. Go to HandsOff.org to find out how your state would be affected by the budget cuts and share your story. Finally, listen to this week’s Off-Kilter podcast about the GOP’s tax plan.
Bargaining with Lives. On Sunday, the White House announced its list of demands to Congress in return for any deal to protect the future status of DACA recipients. These demands encompass the full anti-immigrant wish-list, and include the construction of the border wall, a crackdown on Central American kids seeking asylum, the hiring of an additional 10,000 immigration agents, and dramatically slashing future immigration, particularly of families looking to reunite. While Democratic leaders in Congress just last month had claimed that they were close to a deal on DACA with President Trump, this new list of demands puts the future of about 800,000 DACA recipients in jeopardy. In response, some House Democrats are mulling the possibility of forcing a government shutdown by drawing out the process on must-pass legislation this fall. Trump’s list of demands has reportedly split Congressional Republicans, many of whom believe it is Stephen Miller’s nationalist attempts to destroy any attempt at a DACA deal.
Squabbling. On Sunday, President Trump tweeted a thread of attacks against Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, claiming that the retiring Senator “begged” for his endorsement. In response, Corker levelled his own attack against Trump, calling the White House an “adult day care center.” Trump continued his crusade against Corker this morning, calling him “liddle” and “a fool.” This is the latest episode in the saga of White House absurdity, coming just days after reports emerged that Secretary of State Tillerson called Trump a “moron.” The President responded in typical insecure fashion by proposing IQ tests to prove his intellectual superiority to Tillerson. Meanwhile, California is experiencing the most destructive wildfires in the state’s history, and 85% of Puerto Rico is still without power.
Smart on Crime. Today and tomorrow, a group of national criminal justice organizations, practitioners, community leaders, elected officials, and various others are gathered at the Smart On Crime Innovations Conference at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The conference is a “public statement” from people across the country on both sides of the aisle committed to “pursuing smart, fair, and effective criminal justice and public safety policies.” Given that Attorney General Jeff Sessions – a man with a public record of racism – now heads the Justice Department, this conversation is more important than ever. The conference features speakers and panelists including former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Governor Nathan Deal (R-GA), as well as Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, and Vanita Gupta of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. You can watch the event here.
UNDER THE RADAR
Snowball Effect. A new law in Mississippi commonly referred to as the “Turn Away the Gays” law is set to take effect this week after an appeals court refused to hear a lawsuit filed against what is now considered to be the most sweeping anti-LGBT law in the country. Under this new law, businesses may deny services based on gender or sexuality, housing may be denied based on religious objections, and many other basic human rights such as the right to use a restroom or adopt a child are legally called into question. The plaintiffs, in response, are appealing to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2015.