Donald Trump was sworn in as President on Friday. And, as of today, he’s taken or committed to the following actions against our environment:
- Put a freeze on all hiring and contracts for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As ProPublica notes, the move threatens “to disrupt core operations ranging from toxic cleanups to water quality testing, according to records and interviews.” This includes funding for New York’s own Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
- President Trump signed executive orders today (will replace with updated link) that restart the permitting process for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines – just months after tireless advocates successfully blocked both plans.
- Within minutes of taking the oath of office, the Trump administration removed all references to climate change from the White House website – while website overhauls are expected, ignoring one of the greatest issues of our time is not.
- Sensing that it would run afoul of the new administration’s stance against climate science, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) abruptly called off a major conference on the health impacts of climate change it had planned for February.
- And he continued his use of “alternate facts” to cast himself as an environmental champion, saying “I’m a very big person when it comes to the environment. I have received awards on the environment.”
Assaults to the environment are also coming from Congress. Even as the bumblebee has been added to the Endangered Species List, efforts to weaken the landmark Endangered Species Act for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry are advancing. The House of Representatives also voted to roll back clean air and water standards and to completely undercut the health science basis for setting the safety threshold for our air quality.
The Senate is also preparing to approve oil tycoon Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.
All of this comes about 72 hours after the largest march in U.S. history – the #WomensMarch – which included the need for climate action and protecting our environment as a major platform.
Folks, there is no other way to say this: our environment is in trouble. We need you to take a stand for our environment every day from here on – to protect hard-fought victories on the federal level, and to ensure states like New York step up and lead.
There are countless ways to get involved that complement every work schedule and lifestyle:
- Schedule meetings with your elected officials. If you need assistance, shoot us an email, we are here to help!
- Organize your friends by continually sharing news and opportunities for action via email and your social media accounts.
- Visit our Action Page at www.EANYAction.org regularly to participate in our most recent campaigns.
- Sign up with our NY Renews partners for a Twitter Thunderclap on January 30th urging Governor Cuomo to step up his climate leadership in the wake of Trump’s agenda.
- Visit www.eany.org/donate to support our work, we can't keep the voice of environmental protection going without your support.
We’ve never witnessed such an anti-environmental federal government. It can feel overwhelming but as MLK said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
How your state senator started 2017
New York state senators started the year on a sour note. Every Legislative Session, Environmental Advocates tracks bills moving through the process – we sound the alarm on bad proposals, and help to break the logjam on issues like clean energy, oversight of polluters, and creating less waste. Unfortunately, the first policy memo on a bill we issued in 2017 was rated “Three Smokestacks” – a sign that legislation is very bad for our environment. Rather than focusing on climate action, protecting drinking water, or ensuring enough “environmental cops on the beat,” state senators passed legislation to strip New York City of its right to reduce plastic bag waste by a vote of 42-18. See how your state senator voted here. We are working with fellow advocates and the state Assembly to ensure this legislation does not advance and harm communities’ right to reduce costly waste – so stay tuned!
Kids are leading the charge
Children and young adults stand to lose the most from President Trump’s agenda – quite literally. Climate change isn't the only environmental issue that will have enormous impacts on future generations, as developing bodies are much more susceptible to toxics. Therefore issues such as chemical and pollution regulation have far-reaching impacts. Here in New York, we have an inspiring campaign led by children and local leaders advocating for a Constitutional right to healthy air, clean water, and a safe climate.
In August, 2016, the New York State Bar Association issued a report which noted that “Several other states, such as Pennsylvania, and 174 nations, have adopted and implemented constitutional ‘environmental rights.”
New Yorkers deserve these rights. The first step of the campaign featured videos from Ashlynn and Mikayla of Hoosick Falls noting the need for drinking water that does not make people sick. Now, with our partners at EffectiveNY, we’ve released the second round of videos featuring 10-year-old Lawrence, and community leader Willie White, whose neighborhood deals with dirty air that’s making people sick due to oil trains and heavy diesel truck traffic.
2017 Legislative and Budgetary Priorities
New York State has led the way for its citizens to enjoy protections that have improved the quality of all of our lives. It was the first state to create an environmental protection agency, it created the first acid rain law in the country, and more than 100 years ago it established Forever Wild as a Constitutional right.
In 2017, there will be resistance to environmental protections, as well as attempts to roll them back, by our federal government. However, New York has a unique opportunity to show the nation – and indeed the world – how a healthy environment and growing economy work hand-in-hand.