Call now to shutdown Wheeler

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

Stop McNamee, Block Manchin, Act on Climate with a Green New Deal

If you’re one of the more than 30,000 people who already signed our petition stop Bernard McNamee: Thank you. (If not, sign here)

You’ll remember that just last week McNamee was under fire in a Senate Energy Committee over a speech he he gave calling for a “unified campaign” to support fossil fuels. He also falsely claimed that renewable energy “screws up” the grid and and described any legal opposition to pipelines and cliamte change as a “constant battle between liberty and tyranny.”​

Trump and his puppet Mitch McConnell know that Mcnamee’s nomination will never stand up to public scrutiny – so they’re rushing a vote McNamee today — Monday December 4!  But they may have overplayed their hand.

Senator Maria Cantwell and allies from the Energy Democrats have vowed to fight, and there’s a chance we can stop this nomination on the Senate floor, but only if we call right now! Dial (833) 261-7330 right now and tell your Senators to vote NO on Bernard McNamee?

Not sure what to say? These can be quick calls there are two basic points you need to make:

  1. Bernard McNamee is a dangerous nominee – he’s corrupt, unqualified, a climate-denier and part of Trump’s plan to force ratepayers to bail out coal and nuclear power.
  2. Senators MUST vote NO on cloture and NO on his nomination, and must ensure that all votes are recorded. No unanimous consent or procedural gimmicks (that’s how we got the last three Republican FERC commissioners).

Your calls today are part of a coordinated series of actions to get Senate Democrats, in particular, to step up on climate. Here’s a quick explainer recorded early this morning.

I’ll be all over Capitol Hill today and posting regular updates through Social Media. Check it all out and keep up with us on our Facebook page​, but here’s a quick Rundown:

Later this morning, friends from Sunrise NYC are headed to Chuck Schumer’s office in New York to demand he lead on Climate Change by supporting a Green New Deal, and blocking Joe Manchin from becoming chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Manchin, you may recall, was the only Democrat to vote for McNamee last week in the committee — yet another example in a long line of how out of touch his is with Democrats and common sense on climate change. But, because of the archaic rules that govern the Senate, and because Democrats lost seats in the senate last month, when the new Congress is sworn in there’s a real chance Manchin — the only Senator to have publicly ​shot​ a climate bill in a campaign ad, with a rifle — would be the leading Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Manchin, like McNamee, is a test of Chuck Schumer and the Senate Democrats willingness to lead, and fight, on climate change.​Which is why I’ll be amplifying the Sunrise team’s action this morning, and going to Schumer’s DC office this afternoon to re-iterate their demands and ask Schumer to lead the fight to stop McNamee, Block Manchin, and act on Climate.

And there is reason to be hopeful – since other Democrats in the Senate are leading on this issue. In fact, if you want to end your day on an optimistic note, tune in with us for Senator Bernie Sanders’ live town hall on climate change tonight at 7pm Eastern. Bernie will be joined by Bill McKibben, Shailene Woodley, climate scientists and more. I’ll be there live and you can tune in with us online here.​

Sign Here: Forward on climate, not one step back on Clean Power Plan

It’s no secret that Trump and his EPA toady Scott Pruitt are climate deniers. They’ll do (and have done) anything to give more power to the coal, oil and gas industry in their relentless pursuit of a more polluted and unequal union.

Now Pruitt’s EPA wants to repeal the Clean Power PlanObama’s signature rule to reduce global warming pollution from power plants.

But you can stop them: Sign here and we’ll deliver your comments to the EPA before their deadline on the 16th.

The CPP is far from perfect — giving way too many benefits to fracked gas and way too little emphasis to changing the power structure of how we generate electricity, among other flaws — but it DOES have the effect of incentivizing states not to burn coal. More importantly, it’s a step in the direction of climate action. And without this step the United States will have basically no chance of meeting its promise to cut emissions under the Paris climate agreement.

The EPA is taking comments on their reckless proposal until Jan. 16. And we’ve seen before that if we flood Trump with comments opposing a roll-back, he often backs down or can be forced to reconsider — it’s happened on health care, on immigration, the Iran nuclear deal, and even (this week) on offshore drilling in Florida.

It’s also essential that we have a strong record of comments opposing the roll-back so that our friends in the legal system can mount the best possible case to stop Pruitt. The whole Clean Power Plan is a response to a Supreme Court decision that Carbon pollution and climate change are real, and that the EPA has a duty and requirement to address this pollution under the Clean Air Act. No matter what Pruitt and Trump think, if enough of us submit comments before the deadline, there’s a good chance we can defeat them in court, and in the court of public opinion.

Sign here and we’ll deliver all the comments via the EPA’s official (and onerous) comment process by the deadline on the 16th.

Photo of Coal-fired thermal power plants in Singrauli by the International Accountability Project