If you’ve been paying attention for the last 3 years, it won’t shock you to learn that William Pendley, Trump’s Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is a climate-denying white nationalist.
But even in Trump’s swamp, Pendley is worth paying attention to – because this corrupt critter is dangerous, dirty and Congress has the power to remove him – if we speak out.
Let’s start with the basics. The BLM is responsible for maintaining federal lands and resources for everyone’s benefit across the country. They manage federal monuments and wilderness areas, and even have a role in protecting national parks. The job of the BLM director is, basically, to take care of public lands. To be a good steward and protect them for future generations.
But that’s not Trump and Pendley’s vision. Pendley is a long-time advocate of selling off public lands or giving them to states to sell. His vision is about profit, not protection — and he’s made a fortune selling our public lands to the fossil fuel industry for a pittance. Pendley’s last job was lawyer for a couple counties in Utah that wanted to carve up sections of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments for drilling, fracking and mining. Check out this informative video from the Years Project for more.
Any one of these actions – his conflicts of interest, his climate denial, his radically anti-public lands message or his close ties to white nationalist militias is enough to disqualify Pendley from serving. And here’s the thing: Pendley is only at BLM by Congress’ agreement – he’s another “acting” director who can be hauled in front of Congress to explain his past-deeds, and removed if enough members of Congress don’t like his answers.
February brought an old fight back to the fore – the fight to stop Keystone XL. Trump has been trying to build the pipeline, without success, since he was sworn in in 2017. So far court cases and local permits have kept him at bay – but we’re waiting for the moment when Trump’s fossil-fueled-authoritarian tendencies overwhelm those flimsy buffers and they simply begin lighting the fuse of this carbon bomb without proper permits and paperwork.
May also launched our campaign to get disaster relief for Puerto Rico. This became a recurring theme as Congress would appropriate money for disaster relief, but Trump would refuse to sign or disburse the money – IF, and this is a big if, the people helped by the funding were black, brown, or tended to vote for Democrats. Later in the year we broadened this campaign to include climate refugees from the Caribbean and eventually the whole global south.
Climate Strike! That was the big theme in September as we supported hundreds of Climate Strike events here in the US. Greta Thunberg asked the United Nations “How Dare You” and I personally buckled in as part of two beautifully troublesome actions.
So there you have it! A year in photos and images to illustrate all our work. You can also check out our previous post which covers more of the science and policy on how we’re ending 2019. Next week, after the New Year, I’ll write you a message about our plans for 2020 but you can be sure it will continue a few of these themes:
Holding corrupt Trump cronies like Wheeler and Bernhardt accountable;
Working as part of the global Climate Strike movement to demand bold action from our elected leaders;
Pushing US policy makers to adopt a bold, fossil-fuel-free Green New Deal; &
Bringing you great direct-action powered online campaigns at the local, state, and federal level to demand climate action.
But now there’s a new opportunity to take down another Trump Administration official, like we did with Zinke, Pruitt and others before. Congress is considering opening an investigation into Bernhardt’s cozy relationship with his former lobbying clients. Can you help us encourage them to do so?
Even for the Trump administration, this is naked, brazen corruption. And it’s up to Congress to investigate, and eventually remove Bernhardt from office — just like they’re doing with the impeachment investigation.
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.
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.
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.
It’s frightening, of course, to have such a dangerous and dirty nominee confirmed to an important post that oversees so much of our public lands and waters, as well as many of the US Government’s interactions with tribal nations and indigenous people through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
That’s the power of our actions together online – some bad things we can stop outright, and others, like Bernhardt’s nomination, we can slow and make more problematic for the drillers, frackers, and fossil-fueled cronies Trump appoints.
So thank you for taking action.
I also want to remind you that this isn’t over – nor is it the only thing we’re fighting right now. For those of you who are new to this list – Welcome! The thesis idea here at 198 methods is to use the anti-authoritarian tactics first popularized by Gene Sharp as a non-violent alternative to armed populist revolution, and popularized again in recent books like This is an Uprising and Twitter and Teargas, as a specific model for fighting fossil fuels and climate chaos in the United States.
Combined with Bernhardt’s dirty, corrupt, partisan confirmation vote, it’s one of the most blatant moment’s of Trump putting the profits of fossil fuel barons ahead of the rule of law, the safety of our communities, and the survival of our climate and common home.
If you want to see more about how we’re fighting back this spring – with actions that strike back at the heart of the fossil fuel and pipeline empires in Washington DC, and take the fight to the shareholder meetings and financiers of climate chaos – check out our blog, and stay tuned!
But we’ve never succeeded in taking down a nominee at this point in the process. If we stop Bernhardt, we wont just stop a corrupt, misogynist, oil-baron from taking over the Interior Department (though that would be a good thing) we’ll deal a major blow to Trump and Co.’s plans to drill, frack, and mine every inch of our public lands and waters – no matter what the damage to our climate, communities, or people.
That’s why it’s critical that you tell your Senators you won’t stand for another fossil fuel industry hack who puts the profits of his former clients above the health and safety of the American people.