Scott Pruitt and the EPA, two things that would sound like an oxymoron if we weren't living in the Darkest Timeline.
Pruitt, a lifelong climate change denier, has been one of Donald Trump’s most effective tools in dismantling the regulatory safeguards put in place by the Obama administration.
As the controversial head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Pruitt has already made several frightening declarations about dismantling the organization he’s been charged with, but perhaps none more blood curdling than his recent proclamation that “the war on coal is over.”
With those six words, spoken earlier this month in Kentucky alongside Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Pruitt not only initiated the EPA’s directive to overturn the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, he signaled the Trump administration's intent to fight America's right to breath clean air.
According to the EPA’s own research, coal- and natural-gas-fired power plants are responsible for about one-third of America’s carbon dioxide emissions. Unveiled by President Obama on August 3, 2015, The Clean Power Plan was designed to cut those carbon dioxide emissions to 32% below 2005 levels by 2030.
As the New York Times points out, jettisoning the Clean Power Plan makes it less likely the US can hold up its part of the Paris climate agreement, a decision which, according to Stephen Hawking (yes, the Stephen Hawking) “could push the Earth over the brink.”
To combat this, a new front of environmental groups and several states plan to challenge the repeal in federal courts, arguing against Pruitt’s proposal on both scientific and economic grounds. And a coalition of over 2500 leaders of cities, states, businesses, and universities have pledged that, despite Trump’s rhetoric, they are “still in” the Paris agreement.
In other words, the lines of battle for breathing have been drawn. It's time to man your stations.
Many cities, states, nonprofits and environmental groups have already begun opposing regulatory delays and demanding transparency from the current administration (you can follow their progress at U.S. Climate Change Litigation Database). But there’s much more to be done on a local level.
In a recent talk at Columbia Law School, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy encouraged citizens to “speak out, submit public comments, and not let the Trump administration silently cut environmental protection by defunding initiatives it could not otherwise find a legal way to eliminate”
According to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, a majority of registered voters in the U.S. want more to be done about climate change. However, 89 percent of Americans polled reported never contacting government officials to take action. This needs to change, and fast. We can beat Pruitt’s ignorance with tenacity.
Here’s how you can help resist:
Sign up at the Town Hall Project to find out when your representative is holding a town hall next and put it in your iCal.
Call and write your congressperson!
Here are some tips from a former Congressional staffer.
Donate As Pruitt erodes the agency’s budget and erases the scientific evidence of climate change, concerned citizens who can afford it can help the cause by donating eco-friendly agencies like the Environmental Defense Fund, National Resources Defense Council, Waterkeeper Alliance and/or the Sierra Club
These organizations are the ones doing much of the fighting on our behalf. For example, The Natural Resources Defense Council vowed to wage a legal fight to protect the Clean Power Plan.
If the Clean Power Plan is repealed, we’ll take the EPA to court. https://t.co/1WGIUuNPWH— NRDC (@NRDC) October 9, 2017
Use social media Social media is still one of democracy's best tools, allowing for a flow of unfiltered information for those who wish to find it. A good example of this is 350.org's co-founder Jamie Henn, who tweeted about research that has shown the Clean Power Plan prevented more than 1,000 heart attacks and illnesses per year by limiting air pollution.