Bad news & why we fight on

Bad news first: This week the Senate confirmed Kelly Craft to serve as Trump’s corrupt, climate-denying ambassador to the United Nations. The vote was mostly along party lines with only five Democrats betraying their principles, values and common sense vote for Craft.

There’s no upside to Craft being approved. But the vote frames two important reasons why we fight, and how we will fight on:

  1. It’s not our last chance to hold Craft accountable, and just like we fought the nominations of Rex Tillerson, Scott Pruitt, and Ryan Zinke – only to eventually get them to resign or be fired later – we need to keep at it until every member of this corrupt regime is impeached, removed, and gone.
  2. The five Democrats who voted for Craft – Sens. Maggie Hassan (NH.), Joe Manchin (WV.), Chris Murphy (CT), Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) – are still a problem, but they’re a vanishing breed. We need to keep pushing, and to hold these Democratic turncoats accountable.

So thank you to everyone who signed and shared and called and demanded action. We lost this battle, but the war for our future and climate goes on – and I believe that we can win.

If you believe it too, chip in $1.98 or more to support us, and we’ll lay out some of our plans and goals below the fold.

So, Kelly Craft, corrupt owner of coal mines and climate-denier-except-when-she-doesn’t is headed to the UN? Well, so are we. The next UN general assembly is just over a month away, and a lot of eyes will be on New York.

Greta Thunberg, the teenage campaigner whose started the global school climate strike movement is headed there by sailboat. And a global series of strikes and actions are planned for the week of September 20-28, right when Craft will be showing up to work at the UN.

More updates and details are coming soon – this week in fact. So stay tuned for updates and if you can, chip in $1.98 or more to support our organizing.

Just as important, Congress is home in their districts for the next 6 weeks. If you live in NH, WV, CT, NH or AZ, make sure to contact your Senator at a town hall meeting or public forum and tell them you’re sick and tired of Democrats enabling Trump’s climate-wrecking agenda.

Rex Tillerson and Scott Pruitt, two other famously corrupt Trump cronies who eventually resigned or were forced out, received only one or two Democratic votes in confirmation. Which makes Craft’s confirmation a troubling sign of back-sliding in the party.

As this excellent article from Dave Roberts at Vox points out, it’s becoming a bit of a fashion for Democrats to pledge big changes and actions on climate change, but always just far enough in the future that they never have to be held accountable.

They may think they’ve found a way to talk big on climate without any action or consequence, but we know better. Craft’s nomination was hustled through because she’s a long time donor and friend of Mitch McConnell. But when we’ve had more time to organize opposition – like against Barry Myers, or Trump’s climate denying FERC nominees – we’ve shown that we can be effective.

So if you’re game to keep fighting every nomination, every time, and deprive Trump of his enablers, chip in $1.98 or more and help us keep fighting.

Like I said, there’s no silver lining to Craft being confirmed. A corrupt, climate-denying UN ambassador is just a terrible idea, and even worse in practice. But we’ve got more opportunities to fight coming up soon, and when we fight, we can win. I hope you’ll stay in this fight for our climate and common home with me.

UN Fit to lead. Stop Kelly Knight Craft nomination.

UPDATE – Bad news: As expected the Senate Foreign relations committee voted to approve Kelly Craft to be UN Ambassador despite her being a corrupt, UN-qualified, climate denier.

Even more disturbing, Three Democrats — Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, Chris Coons and Chris Murphy— joined every Republican to approve her, despite the fact that she spent most of her time as Canadian Ambassador abandoning her post to spend time in Kentucky and Oklahoma, where she and her husband own several coal mines.

It’s bad enough that Craft is headed to the full Senate for Confirmation this week, where her old friend Mitch McConnell will try and ram through her nomination as a pay-back for all the dirty coal money she’s donated to Republican campaigns. But to think that Democrats might enable the Trump team’s lawless, corrupt, climate denying administration again after all we’ve seen in the last two years. Well, it makes me so mad I could spit nails.

But it hasn’t happened yet – if you haven’t already, please sign here to tell the Senate to reject Kelly Knight Craft’s nomination, she’s UN-fit to represent us at the United Nations. Then, use the share tools below, and/or call your Senator right away at (202) 224-3121 and tell them that Craft is UN-fit to represent us at the United nations.

UPDATE – Mitch McConnell is trying to force a vote on Craft’s nomination this week. This. Is. A. Terrible. Idea.But,…

Posted by 198 Methods on Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Donald Trump has nominated Kelly Knight Craft, the wife of coal baron whose family still owns coal mines and is a major Republican donor, to be our next ambassador to the United Nations. This. Is. A. Terrible. Idea.

I don’t have to tell you that The United Nations (UN) is an essential partner in the global fight to stop climate chaos. The UN is the arbiter of the Paris climate agreement, and has unique leverage over the nations of the world to cut pollution and steer us toward a more just and sustainable future.

Kelly Knight Craft is a coal baron, a friend to Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, and was given the plum assignment of US Ambassador to Canada basically because she has given a huge amount of money to Republican candidates and causes, including Trump. While serving as US Ambassador, she has frequently violated ethics rules and mores to a shocking (even in the Trump era) degree – skipping work at an alarming rate and charging taxpayers for expensive private jets. In one instance, an email from the EPA to Ambassador Craft was replied to by her husband, coal magnate Joseph Craft.

Sign here to tell the Senate to reject Kelly Knight Craft’s nomination, she’s UN-fit to represent us at the United Nations.

No only is Craft a corrupt swamp-monster with a financial stake in pollution, she’s a fair-weather Climate Denier. She previously claimed that she believes in “both sides of the science” when it comes to the climate. But in an attempt to salvage her nomination before the US Senate, she claimed to believe the science and called for action.

Oh and, not that it matters to the Trump team, but she’s wildly unqualified. UN Ambassadors have to negotiate and represent us every day with dozens of countries and heads of state. But Craft has virtually no diplomatic experience. She had a symbolic post under President George W. Bush and 18 months as US Ambassador to Canada.

And yet, as much of the country swelters under a record-setting heat wave, Congress will return next week and consider Craft’s nomination for a THIRD time. We’ve already seen what Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon CEO, did when given a chance to lead the state department. Or what Andrew Wheeler, a formal coal lobbyist, has done with leadership at the EPA

We deserve a UN Ambassador who will support solutions to climate change, believes in the importance of humanitarian aid, and will be at least physically present to make important decisions on the world stage.

Sign the petition: Demand the Senate reject Kelly Knight Craft’s nomination.

Barry Myers is a NO for NOAA

Once again, Trump has nominated Barry Myers, a totally unqualified, wildly corrupt businessman accused of sexual harassment to lead a major climate change research agency.

This is actually Myers THIRD time being nominated. But while the idea hasn’t gotten any better, the Senate is rushing his nomination through without so much as a committee hearing – which might indicate they intend to install another Trump loyalist before anyone notices.

Here’s the short version – Trump nominated Barry Myers to run the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) because he’s the CEO of AccuWeather – a private forecasting company you might know from annoying pop up ads on your phone. But Myers isn’t a scientist, and while at AccuWeather he spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress to dumb down NOAA research and stop them from giving away weather and climate data for free. Oh, and like Trump, Myers’ entire business is under investigation for a pervasive culture of sexual harassment that went all the way to the top.

Before it’s too late, will you sign here to tell the Senate to reject Barry Myers, Trump’s corrupt, unqualified and sleazy NOAA nominee?

NOAA is an important agency in the fight against climate change. They maintain a fleet of satellites, fly planes into hurricanes, and most important they share all the temperature and weather data they gather with scientists and the public for free. Their research and data has formed the backbone of big parts of our National Climate Assessments and global reports on the increasing pace and severity of climate change.

But Myers is no scientist. He’s the former head of AccuWeather, a for-profit weather prediction company that makes money selling forecasts to consumers on their phones, computers and TVs. As such, Myers spent years and millions of dollars on a quixotic and (thankfully) unsuccessful lobbying campaign to make Congress force NOAA to stop giving away climate and weather data for free.

Obviously, putting a guy who spent years trying to privatize and abolish a government agency in charge of that same agency is a terrible idea — though not a new one from Trump, see also David Bernhardt and Andrew Wheeler. That’s why the Senate blocked Myers’ nomination multiple times in the past.

Since then, Myers has sold his share of AccuWeather to his family, but even that looks shady: Not only is it reminiscent of Trump’s kids running his business (clearly still at his direction and to his personal benefit) while he’s in office, Myers sold his shares at a deep discount with the option to repurchase the stock later. It’s an obvious conflict of interest that he can personally benefit from his actions as head of NOAA, and it’s the sort of thing that would only happen in an Administration as famously corrupt as Trump’s.

And finally, it’s worth remembering that while Myers ran the company AccuWeather was home to sexual harassment “so severe and pervasive, that some female employees resigned,” according to a Department of Labor. Myers tried to make the issue go away by settling with survivors last year, admitting that AccuWeather subjected women to “sexual harassment and a hostile work environment” that the company did “not exercise reasonable care to prevent and correct.”

The pattern is clear. Trump has nominated another corrupt, unqualified business man with a history of sexual harassment and hostile workplace investigations to lead an agency with an important mission for researching and stopping climate change. The Senate already failed to stop former oil and gas lobbyists from running the EPA and Department of interior. Let’s make sure they stop this one from running NOAA too.

Sign here to tell the Senate to reject Barry Myers, Trump’s corrupt, unqualified and sleazy NOAA nominee.

Vote imminent on Wheeler

Quick update – Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s climate-destroying nominee to lead the EPA is on the Senate calendar today for a so-called “unanimous consent” vote.

That’s the same motion that Lisa Murkowski used more than a year ago to whisk through several nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. At that time, no single Senator objected, and as a result we’ve had approvals of dozens of new gas pipelines and export terminals.

The damage that Andrew Wheeler could do as head of the EPA is even greater, and touches on a wide range of issues – from climate chaos, to poisoning farmworkers and contractors with chemicals, to poisoning whole communities (usually communities of color) with mercury pollution from power plants.

We need ever Senator who cares about the planet to vote against Wheeler this week. If we convince Senators this is a litmus-test on energy and environment, we’ll have a much better chance when it comes time to prosecute the Trump team for their corruption, collusion with polluters, and criminal neglect of our climate.​

More than 12,000 198 methods supporters have signed a petition opposing Wheeler. And we know this strategy can work because Wheeler’s vote in committee was on party lines. Now, I need your help to melt the phones in the Senate with calls opposing Wheeler.

Click or call (202) 224-3121 and tell your Senators you want them to vote NO on making climate-wrecking coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler the permanent head of EPA.

Last year, we convinced every Senate Democrat to vote against a Trump nominee for FERC. Now, we’re trying to repeat that vote with Wheeler – and maybe add a few Republicans too since some of them have voiced concerns about Wheeler.​

Need a little more on Wheeler? No problem, we’ve got you covered in the blog. You can also mention that, just this month, Wheeler said that the Green New Deal would threaten the entire electric grid – belying both a failure to understand how Renewable Energy works, and willingness to lie to the press in service of the Trump administration and the coal industry.​

If you’re ready, click here or call (202) 224-3121 and tell your Senators you want them to vote NO on making climate-wrecking coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler the permanent head of EPA. And don’t forget to call back, everybody has two Senators!

Call now to shutdown Wheeler

UPDATE – Quick update – Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s climate-destroying nominee to lead the EPA is on the Senate calendar today for a so-called “unanimous consent” vote. Within the last few weeks, Wheeler also said that the Green New Deal would threaten the entire electric grid – belying both a failure to understand how Renewable Energy works, and willingness to lie to the press in service of the Trump administration and the coal industry

You remember Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s climate-destroying nominee to be the permanent head of the EPA? Well he’s about to get a vote in the full Senate.

I’m not going to lie, it’s incredibly unlikely we can stop Wheeler from being confirmed by the full Senate this week. He was passed out of committee last week on a party line votewhich you helped make possible with calls, emails and action demanding that the Committee Shutdown Wheeler, not the EPA in January. And our outspoken advocacy with Friends of the Earth, already got me and my sister arrested while trying to tell Senators about Wheeler’s crimes.

But there’s another really good reason to call your Senator now: Last year, we convinced every Senate Democrat to vote against a Trump nominee for FERC. If we can repeat that this week with a vote on Wheeler, we’ll send a powerful message that confirming Trump’s nominees to key posts on energy and environment is a climate crime. And when it comes time to prosecute the Trump team for their corruption, collusion with polluters, and criminal neglect of our climate: this will be important.

So call now – click or call (202) 224-3121 and tell them what state you live in. Then, tell your Senators you want them to vote NO on making climate-wrecking coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler the permanent head of EPA. And don’t forget to call back, everybody has two Senators!

Need a little more on Wheeler? No problem, we’ve got you covered:

Wheeler, you might remember, has spent most of his life as a lobbyist for the coal industry, most recently for infamous coal-baron Bob Murray. And in the few months he’s been “acting” EPA administrator, he’s stopped at nothing to put fossil fuel profits ahead of public health and the health of the planet.

While he hasn’t committed the kind of outrageous, headline-grabbing scandals Pruitt was known for, Wheeler is an even bigger danger. In just a few months he’s undermined a critical rule that protects us from Mercury pollution – called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). Mercury, usually emitted from coal burning power plants, is a dangerous neurotoxin that’s especially dangerous for children and pregnant women. Wheeler also rolled back regulations on the super-potent climate-changing chemical hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)And, perhaps most damning, he’s pushed to ease restrictions on the pesticide chlorpyrifos, and the paint stripper methylene chloride — overruling doctors and scientists who spent years proving that they kill farmworkers, contractors and other workers.

Click or call (202) 224-3121 and tell your Senators you want them to vote NO on making climate-wrecking coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler the permanent head of EPA.

Wheeler, Schumer and a week of action in DC

This has been a busy week for Congress, which means it’s been a busy week for activists. On Tuesday afternoon, Drew helped run a training session at the Friends of the Earth headquarters in Washington D.C. and prepared to take action at Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing. At the training, six of us (including Drew) volunteered to risk arrest by speaking out during the hearing.

The plan was to enter in pairs, splitting the roles so that one would stand and read out a story from someone impacted by Wheeler’s dirty EPA policies or by the government shutdown. The other partner would silently hold a sign reading, “Shut down Wheeler, not the EPA.”

protest in the hallway
Photo by Liz Gorman

The stories to be read were compiled from Friends of the Earth members and public reports on the impacts of EPA policy. The goal was to highlight the injustice of Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing while hundreds of people are impacted by the ongoing government shutdown. With so many people unable to pay their mortgages or afford critical medications, why is Congress prioritizing the confirmation of a puppet to the coal industry to lead the EPA?

The next morning, we arrived on Capitol Hill to line up. We had to hide our posters in bags and under coats. But Capitol Police and Republican Senate staffers suspected something – and in an attempt to prevent any kind of disruption, they filled the hearing room with EPA staff and Republican lawyers before the public was even let in. For this reason, Drew and I were the only pair to make it successfully into the hearing room before the doors were closed and those still in line were moved to the overflow space.

Silent protestors hold signs while emily and other FOE friends are arrested for refusing to be quiet

Photo by Liz Gorman

We waited until Wheeler made his opening remarks and allowed him to introduce his family before standing up. I held a sign and Drew shouted out the story a Texas woman who lives near a coal fired power plant that Wheeler wants to allow to pollute more. Capitol Police ushered us quickly out into the hallway where more than a dozen allier were also chanting and holding up posters. Four more friends were ultimately placed under arrest for refusing to stop chanting or disburse from outside the hearing.

The rest of the crowd stood in the hallway outside of the hearing room with their posters in silence until all of us were escorted out. All six of us were released after paying a fine of fifty dollars.

Drew is placed under arrest for disrupting the hearing of Andrew Wheeler for EPA Administrator

Photo by Liz Gorman

Later that same night, we were back at it, attending a meeting with 350 to plan and train folks for an action the following morning at the office of Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer. The plan was for a large group to enter the office of Senator Schumer and read out a letter demanding that he sign on to the Green New Deal. Members of the group would also tell their own stories about how the climate change movement has affected their lives. As we exited the office we would sing protest songs while two floors above, four people would drop a banner over the side of a balcony to be viewed from below.

Banner dropped over Sen Schumer's office
photo by 350

On the morning of the action, we met at Union Station and briefed a larger crowd that had not been able to attend the previous night’s training. Then we walked over to the Capitol to file through metal detectors and security checkpoints before making our way to Chuck Schumer’s office. The stories and testimony insider from impacted young people were powerful. And the songs and chants outside echoed through the hallways and marble lobby of the Hart office building. No arrests were made that day, since our banner team chose to comply with orders by Capitol Police to pull up the banner.

On the lower floor, the larger group continued to sing, and share stories of climate impacts, until we were warned to cease and desist. After a second warning, the whole group together then walked over to the park across the street from the capitol building, where reflections and feelings of hope were shared before one final song was sung.

Emily and our team with the banner after the action at Sen Schumer's office
Photo by 350.org