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In Blow to Pipeline Project, Court Invalidates Trump Administration’s Keystone XL Environmental Review, Blocks Construction

For Immediate Release, November 9, 2018

Contact: Margie Kelly, Natural Resources Defense Council, (541) 222-9699, mkelly@nrdc.org
Mark Hefflinger, Bold Nebraska, (323) 972-5192, mark@boldalliance.org
Gabby Brown, Sierra Club, (914) 261-4626, gabby.brown@sierraclub.org
Jared Margolis, Center for Biological Diversity, (802) 310-4054, jmargolis@biologicaldiversity.org
Patrick Davis, Friends of the Earth, (202) 222-0744, pdavis@foe.org
Dustin Ogdin, Northern Plains Resource Council, (406) 228-1154, dustin@northernplains.org
Dena Hoff, Northern Plains Resource Council, (406) 939-1839

GREAT FALLS, MT (November 9, 2018) — A federal judge ruled yesterday that the Trump administration violated bedrock U.S. environmental laws when approving a federal permit for TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project. The judge blocked any construction on the pipeline and ordered the government to revise its environmental review.

The decision is a significant setback for a pipeline that investors are already seriously questioning. TransCanada has not yet announced a Final Investment Decision on whether to move forward and build Keystone XL should it receive all the necessary permits.

U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris found that the Trump administration’s reliance on a stale environmental review from 2014 violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. This ruling follows the court’s previous decision on August 15 to require additional analysis of the new route through Nebraska.

The court required the U.S. Department of State to revise the proposed project’s environmental impact statement to evaluate the extraordinary changes in oil markets that have occurred since the previous review was completed in 2014; to consider the combined climate impacts of approving both the Keystone XL and other tar sands pipelines; to study the many cultural resources along the pipeline’s route; and to examine the harmful risks of oil spills on nearby water and wildlife.

The State Department must also provide a reasoned explanation for its decision to reverse course and approve the permit, after the Obama administration denied it just three years ago on the same set of facts.

Based on these violations, the court ordered the State Department to revise its environmental analysis, and prohibited any work along the proposed route — which would cross Nebraska, South Dakota, and Montana — until that analysis is complete. Keystone XL would have carried up to 35 million gallons a day of Canadian tar sands — one of the world’s dirtiest energy sources — across critical water sources and wildlife habitat to Gulf Coast refineries.

Plaintiffs Northern Plains Resource Council, Bold Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club filed the lawsuit in March 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana.

Quotes

“Today’s ruling is a victory for the rule of law, and it’s a victory for common sense stewardship of the land and water upon which we all depend. Despite the best efforts of wealthy, multinational corporations and the powerful politicians who cynically do their bidding, we see that everyday people can still band together and successfully defend their rights. All Americans should be proud that our system of checks and balances can still function even in the face of enormous strains,” said Dena Hoff, Montana farmer and member-leader of the Northern Plains Resource Council.

“Farmers and our Tribal Nation allies in Nebraska, South Dakota and Montana celebrate today’s victory foiling the Trump administration’s scheme to rubber-stamp the approval of Keystone XL. This now ten-year battle is still far from over. We’ll continue to stand together against this tar sands export pipeline that threatens property rights, water and climate at every opportunity, at every public hearing. People on the route deserve due process and the Ponca Trail of Tears must be protected,” said Mark Hefflinger, communications director for Bold Alliance.

“Today’s ruling makes it clear once and for all that it’s time for TransCanada to give up on their Keystone XL pipe dream,” said Sierra Club Senior Attorney Doug Hayes. “The Trump administration tried to force this dirty pipeline project on the American people, but they can’t ignore the threats it would pose to our clean water, our climate, and our communities.”

“This is a complete repudiation of the Trump administration’s attempts to evade environmental laws and prioritize oil company profits over clean water and wildlife,” said Jared Margolis, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Keystone XL would devastate species and put communities at risk of contamination. There’s simply no excuse for approving this terrible project. We need to move away from fossil fuel dependence, not support more devastation.”

“Keystone XL would be a disaster for the climate and for the people and wildlife of this country,” said Jackie Prange, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “As the court has made clear yet again, the Trump administration’s flawed and dangerous proposal should be shelved forever.”

“Today’s ruling is a decisive moment in our fight against the corporate polluters who have rushed to destroy our planet,” said Marcie Keever, legal director at Friends of the Earth. “Rejecting the destructive Keystone XL pipeline is a victory for the grassroots activists who have worked against the Keystone XL pipeline for the past decade. Environmental laws exist to protect people and our lands and waters. Today, the courts showed the Trump administration and their corporate polluter friends that they cannot bully rural landowners, farmers, environmentalists and Native communities.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

 

*** The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. ***
 

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Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration’s Texas Border Wall Waivers

For Immediate Release, October 18, 2018

Contact: Jean Su, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 770-3187, jsu@biologicaldiversity.org
Natalia Lima, Animal Legal Defense Fund, (201) 679-7088, nlima@aldf.org
Rebecca Bullis, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0295, rbullis@defenders.org

WASHINGTON (October 18, 2018) — Conservation groups sued the Trump administration today for waiving 28 conservation laws to speed construction of the border wall along the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

Border-wall construction would cut through the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, National Butterfly Center, Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park and the grounds of the historic La Lomita Chapel, as well as family farms and other private property.

“The Trump administration is casting aside bedrock environmental protections with no regard for human health, wildlife or the law,” said Jean Su, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Waiving these laws is disastrous for border communities and imperiled animals, and it’s unconstitutional. We hope the courts stop Trump’s reckless abuse of power before bulldozers destroy some of the most spectacular wildlands in Texas.”

Today’s filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. says the Department of Homeland Security does not have authority to waive the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act or other laws that protect clean air, clean water, public lands and wildlife in the borderlands.

The department wants to sweep aside these laws to speed construction of 18 miles of 30-foot-high, levee-style border walls in Hidalgo County, as well as gates and other border-wall infrastructure in Cameron County.

The levee-style walls planned for construction will block the natural migration of wildlife and cause dangerous flooding. Existing walls have been implicated in the deaths of hundreds of Texas tortoises and other animals due to flooding, which is common in the Rio Grande Valley.

The waivers also will allow bulldozing of a 150-foot “enforcement zone” south of the wall and installation of surveillance equipment, lighting and other infrastructure with no meaningful environmental review.

“These most recent waivers of vital environmental and animal-protection laws demonstrate the administration’s continued disregard for wildlife, including the most fragile species that could be pushed to extinction by these projects,” said Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Building a wall that cuts through the heart of vital parks, wildlife refuges and the National Butterfly Center will have devastating effects on these critical areas and the wildlife that calls these areas their home.”

Dozens of rare wildlife species, including the ocelot, jaguarundi and aplomado falcon, make their homes in this region of Texas, as do hundreds of species of migratory birds and butterflies. The area is also within historic jaguar habitat.

“The administration’s latest actions spotlight their willingness to gamble with our country’s natural heritage and environmental health,” said Bryan Bird, Southwest program director for Defenders of Wildlife. “Ignoring environmental and public-safety laws puts wildlife and borderland communities in the region at unnecessary risk and denies the public due process. We will do whatever it takes to fight these reckless decisions and to protect the Lower Rio Grande Valley for future generations.”

Today’s lawsuit states that the waiver authority, granted in 2006, expired years ago and is an unconstitutional delegation of power to the department. The waiver authority applied to border-wall construction under the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which required the agency to build hundreds of miles of border barriers. That mandate was met several years ago, with the department using REAL ID authority five times to waive more than 35 laws on 625 miles of border-wall and barrier construction.

Last week’s border-wall waivers were issued in the middle of a public comment period that remains open until Nov. 6. So far more than 9,000 people have said they oppose the plan. U.S. Customs and Border Protection opened the comment period after the Center and 42 groups requested public input and increased transparency.

Beyond jeopardizing wildlife, endangered species and public lands, the U.S.-Mexico border wall is part of a larger strategy of ongoing border militarization that damages human rights, civil liberties, native lands, local businesses and international relations.

The border wall impedes the natural migrations of people and wildlife that are essential to healthy diversity.
Maps by Kara Clauser, Center for Biological Diversity. These maps are available for media use.
 

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit aldf.org.

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Rebuilding Stronger: National Wildlife Federation Outlines 12 Recommendations to Protect America from Hurricanes, Worsening Extreme Storms

For Immediate Release, September 27, 2018

Contact: Mike Saccone, National Wildlife Federation, SacconeM@NWF.org, 202-797-6634 

WASHINGTON, DC (October 3, 2018) — In the wake of yet another record-breaking hurricane, the National Wildlife Federation urged Congress to act on a series of urgent, comprehensive steps to prepare America for rising oceans and worsening storms. Rebuilding Stronger: 12 Priority Policies to Better Protect our Nation from Extreme Storms documents lessons learned from Hurricane Florence, which dumped up to 36 inches of rain in parts of North Carolina and about nine trillion gallons of water total on the Carolinas. The storm took more than 40 lives, cut off power for hundreds of thousands, and polluted rivers with spills from coal ash and pig waste lagoons.

“America needs a national commitment to protecting communities from the staggering destruction of extreme storms, like Hurricane Florence. Our communities and wildlife are at-risk because of decades of inaction, but we have highlighted concrete ways Congress can safeguard communities, protect wildlife, promote resilience and adapt to worsening storms, exacerbated by climate change,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We’re asking Congress not just to fund damage repair for this storm, but to take a series of low-cost or even cost-saving steps to better prepare communities across America for future storms.”

Rebuilding Stronger recommends that Congress:

Prioritize Natural Infrastructure Solutions for Hazard Risk Reduction
Reform the National Flood Insurance Program
Increase Investment in Resilience and “Pre-sponse”  
Reinstate the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard
Ensure Clean Water Act Safeguards Protect Existing Wetlands, Waterways, and Natural Floodplains
Ensure Meaningful Public Input and Environmental Review 
Improve Stormwater Management 
Address Dangerous and Outdated Infrastructure 
Ensure Climate-Resilient Siting and Design of Toxic Pollutant Storage Facilities
Ensure Climate-Resilient Siting, Design, and Management of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.
Ensure Full Funding for Farm Bill Conservation Programs
Advance Climate and Clean Energy Solutions

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Earthworks: Senate Committee to Hold Hearing on Interior’s “Critical” Minerals List

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 17, 2018
Contact: Alan Septoff, aseptoff@earthworks.org, 202.887.1872×105
Aaron Mintzes, amintzes@earthworks.org,  919-302-6393

WASHINGTON, DC (July 17, 2018) – Today Earthworks’ Senior Policy Counsel is testifying before the full Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee as it examines the Department of the Interior’s Final List of Critical Minerals.

Interior published the list in response to President Trump’s December 20, 2017 executive order, “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals”. Presidents Trump’s order followed multiple failed attempts by Congress, most recently introduced by Rep. Amodei (R-NV), to gut the mine permitting process for so-called ‘critical minerals’.

The Interior & Commerce Departments (and other agencies)  are now charged to provide policy strategies to the President, including “recommendations to streamline permitting and review processes related to developing leases; enhancing access to critical mineral resources; and increasing discovery, production, and domestic refining of critical minerals.”

Statement of Earthworks Senior Policy Counsel Aaron Mintzes
“Reforming so-called “critical” minerals policy is simply the mining lobby’s latest gambit in a decade-long attempt to eviscerate community and environmental oversight of their industry — the nation’s largest toxic polluter.

We need to strengthen our outdated mining laws, not weaken already flimsy community and taxpayer protections. Families across the country live with pollution from irresponsible mining, and taxpayers — not polluters — too often pay for a cleanup bill which has reached $50 billion.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Senate Energy & Natural Resources Full Committee Hearing to Examine the Department of the Interior’s Final List of Critical Minerals; July 17 2018, 10am, Dirksen Room 366
Written testimony of Earthworks Senior Policy Counsel Aaron Mintzes
Mintzes’ statement upon release of Interior’s Final List of Critical Minerals
Federal Register notice publishing Interior/USGS final list of critical minerals
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory Ranking of Top Toxic Polluters by Industry

 
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West Virginia Hits Fracked Gas Pipeline With Third Environmental Citation

For Immediate Release
 
Contact: Doug Jackson, 202.495.3045 or doug.jackson@sierraclub.org

CHARLESTON, WV (June 15, 2018) — The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline following an investigation on June 6, 2018. This is already the third citation issued to MVP in its nascent construction phase. This time, regulators punished MVP for failing to modify their Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) after it was proven to be ineffective, for failing to implement proper runoff controls, and for failing to prevent sediment-laden water from leaving the construction site without proper treatment.
It is especially noteworthy that the MVP would receive three NOVs in such a short time from West Virginia, a state that is notoriously loathe to regulate the fossil fuel industry. For example, at the Brushy Fork coal slurry impoundment, the WV DEP did not pull their permit after several violations, eventually leading to underground coal sludge injections that poisoned well water in surrounding communities. Similar concerns were raised around a chemical spill into the Elk River.
In response, Sierra Club Organizing Manager Bill Price released the following statement:
“After getting their second Notice of Violation, MVP said they were committed to building their fracked gas pipeline ‘the right way.’ Well, if this is right way to build a pipeline, I’m terrified to see what the wrong way looks like.
“We have said all along and will repeat it again – there is no need to build this dirty, dangerous fracked gas pipeline. Clean, renewable energy sources are abundant and affordable and we shouldn’t risk West Virginia’s water, climate, and communities just to boost the bottom line of a polluting corporation.”
 
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About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

 

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House votes to cut oversight of nation’s top toxic polluter

For Immediate Release
 
Contact: Alan Septoff, (202) 887-1872×105, aseptoff@earthworksaction.org

Washington, D.C. (May 23, 2018) — Today, the House of Representatives voted 229 to 183 to support corporate mining interests over public interests. Rep. Amodei’s (R-NV) amendment to the defense bill funding our troops masquerades as critical minerals policy, but instead threatens our waters and disempowers our communities.

Truly critical are clean water, air and public health. Our bedrock environmental laws also allow communities to have a say in projects that impact them. Limiting input from mining-affected communities would take us in the wrong direction. We need to change U.S. mining policy, but not by loosening oversight, nor by cutting the public out of our government’s decisions. We need accountability. Communities across the country live with pollution from mining accidents. And taxpayers — not the polluters — too often pay for cleanup. Comprehensive reform of the outdated 1872 General Mining Law is the solution to this problem, not giving the mining industry yet another special favor.”

Background

Masquerading as a bill about “strategic and critical minerals,” this amendment strips key water, health and community protections against the nation’s largest toxic polluter, the hardrock mining industry.

The amendment, based on Rep. Amodei’s HR 520, defines nearly anything dug from the ground as a “critical” mineral including common minerals like sand and gravel. For more than 40 years, NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) reviews have provided regulatory certainty and a transparent, fair process for permit seekers and communities to engage their government in mining permitting decisions. Representative Amodei’s amendment would do away with this well-established process.

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Critical minerals list is another Trump attempt to silence public & gut mining oversight

For Immediate Release
 
Contact: Alan Septoff, aseptoff@earthworks.org, 202-887-1872 x105

Washington, D.C. (May 18, 2018) — In today’s Federal Register, the Interior Department published a final list of “critical minerals” in response to President Trump’s December 20, 2017 executive order, “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals”.

Presidents Trump’s order followed multiple failed attempts by Congress, most recently introduced by Rep. Amodei (R-NV), to gut the mine permitting process for so-called ‘critical minerals’. Now that the USGS has created this list, the executive order gives the Interior & Commerce Departments (and other agencies) 180 days to provide policy strategies to the President, including “recommendations to streamline permitting and review processes related to developing leases; enhancing access to critical mineral resources; and increasing discovery, production, and domestic refining of critical minerals.”

Statement of Earthworks’ Senior Policy Counsel Aaron Mintzes:

“Which minerals make the list misses the point. The mining lobby has misdirected this debate away from our genuine mineral needs toward their decade long attempt to eviscerate community and environmental oversight of the nation’s largest toxic polluter.

What’s ‘critical’ is protecting our clean air and water. The real problem comes when the Interior Department decides what to do with this list. Our worry is criticality designations will serve as a conduit for removing public input in our government’s mining decisions.”

For More Information

Final List of Critical Minerals 2018, Federal Register Notice on 5/18/2018
Joint environmental & community comments re draft list of critical minerals
A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliables Supplies of Critical Minerals, Executive Order on 12/26/2017
Earthworks statement on release of Trump 2017 critical minerals executive order
Earthworks factsheet on HR520, the National Strategic & Critical Minerals Production Act

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40 Civil Rights, Labor & Environmental Orgs to Trump: “It’s Time for Pruitt to Resign, or Be Removed”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Contact: Adam Beitman, adam.beitman@sierraclub.org or 202-670-5585

40 Civil Rights, Labor & Environmental Orgs to Trump: “It’s Time for Pruitt to Resign, or Be Removed” 

NAACP, SEIU, Union of Concerned Scientists, Physicians for Social Responsibility, OCEANA & More Take out Full Page Ads in the New York Times, New York Post, and Oklahoma’s Largest Newspaper.

NEW YORK CITY – Forty national civil rights, labor, conservation and environmental organizations representing millions of members and supporters across the United States have taken out a series of full page ads Wednesday calling for the resignation or firing of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. On Monday, the Government Accountability Office reported that some of Pruitt’s behavior violates the law.

The ads appear in the main news sections of The New York Times, the New York Post (which Donald Trump receives each day), and the largest newspaper in Pruitt’s home state of Oklahoma, The Oklahoman.
** Link to the Ad **
These new nationwide organizations calling for Pruitt’s ouster add to a growing chorus, including:

Editorial boards ranging from The Houston Chronicle and The Joplin Globe to The Washington Post and The LA Times
Over 100 Democrats in the House & Senate
At least three Republican members of the House
Increasing public pressure from other Republicans including House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy who suggested Pruitt should become ‘a monk’ if he wanted to avoid having his feelings hurt, rather than taking first class flights at taxpayer expense.

THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS ARE REPRESENTED ON THE LETTER:

National Audubon Society – NAACP – Union of Concerned Scientists – SEIU – Physicians for Social Responsibility – Oceana – Sierra Club – Earthjustice – Green For All – Natural Resources Defense Council – League of Conservation Voters – Hip Hop Caucus – GreenLatinos – Citizens’ Climate Lobby – Ocean Conservancy – The Wilderness Society – National Parks Conservation Association – Clean Water Action – Greenpeace USA – American Rivers – Defenders of Wildlife – Environment America – Moms Clean Air Force – Latino Victory Project – Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments – Oil Change International – Montana Environmental Information Center – Alliance for Climate Education – Brighter Green – Partnership for Policy Integrity – Gasp – SustainUS – Carmelite NGO – Alliance for Affordable Energy – Power Shift Network – Rhode Island Interfaith Power & Light – iMatter Youth – Elders Climate Action – Green the Church – Climate Wise Women – Friends of the Earth

SIGNATORY ORGANIZATIONS PROVIDED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS:

SEIU, Executive Vice President Luisa Blue:

“Scott Pruitt’s extravagant spending of the public’s money makes crystal clear what we already know from his policies: he just doesn’t care about the American people. As the largest union of healthcare workers, SEIU members care for people with asthma, cancer and others who have been impacted by the environment. Pruitt’s actions to pull back environmental protections will quicken the devastating impact of climate change, putting the profits of polluting corporations ahead of the health and safety of our families. Pruitt’s actions are an attack on SEIU members and their families who live in communities that already struggle for clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.”

Union of Concerned Scientists, President Ken Kimmell:

“While Scott Pruitt clearly violated ethical standards and bilked taxpayers, he inflicted far worse injury on our children, families, and communities by sidelining science and abandoning the EPA’s public health and environmental mission.”

Latino Victory Project, President Cristóbal J. Alex:

“Scott Pruitt wasted taxpayers’ dollars on luxury travel and soundproof phone booths while cutting vital EPA programs, directly hurting Latinos across the United States. Latinos live on the front lines of the climate change crisis, with half of all U.S. Latinos living in the country’s most polluted cities and Latino children at greater risk of dying from asthma than white children. The job of the EPA Administrator is to protect our natural resources and the health of all Americans, and Pruitt is clearly not up to the task.”

Earthjustice, President Trip Van Noppen

“Beyond his mounting ethical lapses Scott Pruitt has made it his mission to dismantle the many safeguards Americans depend on for clean water, clean air and more with little respect of the law. Scott Pruitt needs to go and until then we will see him in court.”

GreenLatinos, President Mark Magana

“Instead of doing his job to protect our health and environment – especially in marginalized communities and communities of color – Scott Pruitt has wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on luxury travel and unapproved pay raises for close aides, and has become the subject of multiple independent government investigations. He has endangered our communities with reckless rollbacks and repeals of lifesaving health safeguards, making our air dirtier and our water more dangerous to drink. He’s putting families at risk, and it’s been time for him to resign.”

Ocean Conservancy, CEO Janis Searles Jones

“In the 14 months that he’s been EPA Administrator, Pruitt has intentionally and methodically dismantled protections for our ocean, clean water and clean air. Among his many misguided decisions, he’s proposed a budget that would completely eliminate essential EPA functions including keeping our beaches safe from pathogens, monitoring contaminants in the fish we eat and gutting the marine pollution program. It’s time for Scott Pruitt to go. We cannot afford an EPA administrator who actively undermines the health of our ocean.”

Clean Water Action, President Bob Wendelgass:

“When Scott Pruitt isn’t doing everything he can to try to weaken protections for clean water and public health, he’s wasting taxpayer money or flouting the rules to pad the pockets of his friends and protect the bottom lines of corporate polluters. His destructive agenda and his corrupt behavior go hand-in-hand — he thinks he can get away with both if he keeps giving special interests what they want. It’s dangerous behavior from a public official and it has to stop. Scott Pruitt needs to go.”

Physicians for Social Responsibility, Jeff Carter

“As a public official, Scott Pruitt has shown a lot more interest in whatever perks and advantages he can extract from his position than in advancing the mission of the agency he was tasked to run. He attacks environmental rules and regulations with a prosecutor’s zeal, but with a view of the law not as an instrument of justice, but as a card in a stacked deck, designed to further empower and enrich special interests at the expense of health, the environment, and the less powerful.”

Hip Hop Caucus, Rev Lennox Yearwood Jr., President & CEO

“Pruitt puts his ego and polluter profits over people. It’s outrageous that he thinks he can waste our taxpayer dollars with no consequences. What’s even more tragic is that he continues to roll the dice with our lives. His actions continue to undermine our health and the future of the planet. He needs to go now.”

National Parks Conservation Association, President & CEO Theresa Pierno:

“From day one, Scott Pruitt has demonstrated time and again that his goal is not to hold

the very polluters jeopardizing our air, waters and national parks accountable, but instead to protect them. The Environmental Protection Agency should do just that—protect the environment. The agency, and all it was created to safeguard, deserves a leader befitting of this critical work. As we feared at his confirmation, and as he has shown in the time since, Scott Pruitt is not that person.”

Sierra Club, Executive Director Michael Brune:

“Scott Pruitt is the definition of the swamp, with new ethical and abuse of power scandals breaking virtually every day for the past two weeks. Its past time for Pruitt to resign or be fired, particularly now that some of his most absurd actions are being ruled illegal. Every day Scott Pruitt stays at the EPA is another day he embarasses Donald Trump, and our entire country.”

Natural Resources Defense Council, President Rhea Suh:

“With each new investigation, Scott Pruitt’s disregard for ethics and the rule of law is becoming increasingly egregious and unacceptable. And so is his blatant hostility to the central mission of the EPA, which is to protect public health and the environment. Enough is enough. It’s time for him to go.’”

Greenpeace USA, Executive Director Annie Leonard

“Scott Pruitt’s brazen disrespect for both the environment and our democracy is beyond offensive–it’s one of the most catastrophic consequences of the Trump administration. Scott Pruitt is insulting every person in America by living a life of luxury on the taxpayer’s dime while committed to destroying our environment, our air, our water, and our climate. It’s time for Scott Pruitt to resign, or be fired, before he does any more damage to our country.”

iMatter Youth, Maddie Adkins, Core Team:

“Future generations will have to deal with the consequences of climate change. If the administrator of the EPA cannot be trusted to make decisions that will preserve the planet and protect the futures of our country’s youth, then he needs to go.”

Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Executive Director Katie Huffling

“As a public health agency, the EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment. In his tenure at the EPA, Scott Pruitt has rolled back essential public health safeguards, which are putting communities at risk for negative health impacts from climate change and exposures to dirty air and water. The communities and families nurses care for deserve an EPA Administrator who is committed to putting public health first. Pruitt is not that person.”

SustainUS, Executive Coordinator Garrett Blad:

“As a public official, Scott Pruitt is trusted to protect the common good. Instead, he is doing everything in his power to damage the lives of young people in this country by handing federal regulating over to fossil fuel executives and lobbyists, giving out bonuses to his friends, and wasting public money to play by his own rules. Scott Pruitt cannot be trusted to safeguard our health or our nation’s democratic principles and should be removed. ”

Montana Environmental Information Center, Deputy Director Anne Hedges

”Scott Pruitt is making Montana’s pollution problems worse. In places such as Colstrip, Montana there are 800 acres of leaking coal ash ponds that have polluted ground and surface waters. The passage of the federal coal ash rule by the Obama Administration was a welcome relief and promised to finally get a handle on the problem in Montana and across the nation. Now Pruitt is trying to undo that rule and put polluters in the driver’s seat – the same polluters who caused the problem in the first place. It’s unconscionable, but that seems to be Pruitt’s middle name. This is just one example of many. He is unethical, imprudent, and more concerned about protecting polluters than public health. It’s time to draw the line.”

Gasp, Executive Director Michael Hansen:

“Scott Pruitt cannot be trusted to lead the agency tasked with protecting our air, land, water, and health. Time and again, he has shown himself to be openly hostile to healthy air, clean water, and basic science. By undermining public health safeguards and undoing critical environmental protections, Scott Pruitt has put all of us at increased risk for cancers, asthma, lung disease, and other illnesses. Pruitt should never have been put in charge of the EPA, and we now have ample evidence to prove it. Scott Pruitt has to go.”

Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife:

“Wildlife rely on clean water, clean air and a balanced ecosystem for their survival. Scott Pruitt’s policies at the EPA threaten all of these. He has dismantled environmental protections and abused his position as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s time for Scott Pruitt and his policies to go.”

 

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Congress to Fund 33 Miles of Environmentally Destructive Border Wall

For Immediate Release, March 22, 2018

Contact: Paulo Lopes, (202) 849-8401 x 105, plopes@biologicaldiversity.org

WASHINGTON (March 23, 2017)— The spending plan introduced in Congress Wednesday includes $641 million for border wall construction in the Rio Grande Valley and $1.6 billion for border enforcement. While the proposed budget prohibits funding new border wall designs, such as Trump’s prototypes, it authorizes construction of approximately 33 additional miles of border walls on public and private lands in the coming months, without any meaningful environmental review.

“It’s heartening to see Congress reject the worst symbol of Trump’s bigotry and racism by prohibiting a concrete wall along the border,” said Paulo Lopes, a public lands policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “But jaguars and other wildlife can’t get over a wall, no matter what it’s made of. Congress should not sanction the building of border walls and fences on public lands or anywhere else.”

The first planned sections of the Trump border wall would tear through public lands, ranchlands, national historic sites and the National Butterfly Center in the Rio Grande Valley. Congress only spared the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge from these destructive construction activities.

“Our environment continues to pay a staggering cost for the border wall and the infrastructure that comes with it,” Lopes said. “Now that Congress has given Trump this down-payment, he’ll only keep demanding more.”

A recent study by the Center identified more than 90 endangered or threatened species that would be threatened by wall construction along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.

The Center filed the first lawsuit against Trump’s border wall, and will appeal a recent ruling in a separate lawsuit that challenges the Trump administration’s waiver of dozens of environmental laws to replace border walls near San Diego. The Trump administration is expected to set aside these same laws to speed construction of border barriers in Texas.

Beyond jeopardizing wildlife, endangered species and public lands, the U.S.-Mexico border wall is part of a larger strategy of ongoing border militarization that damages human rights, civil liberties, native lands, local businesses and international relations. The border wall impedes the natural migrations of people and wildlife that are essential to healthy diversity.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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Omnibus Bill Includes Riders to Ramp Up Logging, Weaken Wildlife Protections

For Immediate Release, March 22, 2018

Contact: Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121, bhartl@biologicaldiversity.org

WASHINGTON (March 22, 2018) — The $1.3 trillion spending bill unveiled in Congress on Wednesday includes harmful provisions to ramp up logging on public lands, weaken protections for endangered species and fund portions of an environmental destructive border wall.

The bill, however, does not include most of the anti-environment riders proposed by Republicans, including ending protections for wolves in the Great Lakes states, allowing a toxic mine in the Superior National Forest and undermining the National Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which would have allowed damaging road building in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. It also contains significant funding for conservation and spares the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge from destructive border wall fences.

“We’re very grateful to Democrats for keeping many of the worst riders out of this bill. Unfortunately, there are still some pretty nasty provisions in there for the environment,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Republican members of Congress who hold the entire government hostage to insist on damaging environmental riders are why people are fed up with this dysfunctional Congress.”

The omnibus contains an expansion of the so-called Healthy Forestry Restoration Act of 2003 and will now allow logging projects under the guise of “hazard fuel reduction” of 3,000 acres without any meaningful review under the National Environmental Policy Act or the ability for citizen to object to damaging projects.

The omnibus also includes the so-called Cottonwood legislation introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) that would weaken Endangered Species Act protections on all national forests. The provision allows the Forest Service to continue to approve destructive logging, mining and grazing actions regardless of the consequence to endangered species — even if a species is added to the endangered species list because of those activities.

“National forests and endangered animals will suffer for decades to come, and wildlife may even go extinct, due to the terrible handouts snuck into this bill by Tester and Daines,” said Hartl. “It’s sad that the price of keeping our government open for a few more months includes these provisions that are bad for people and wildlife.”

Also included in the proposed spending bill are harmful riders that would:

Prevent the federal government from protecting people and wildlife from lead ammunition and fishing tackle;
Limit Endangered Species Act protections for sage grouse;
Restrict the EPA from regulating fill materials in wetlands.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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