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.

UPDATE: Disaster relief bill passes Congress

Thanks again for signing our petition asking Congress to pass climate-disaster relief for Puerto Rico and all Americans. Good news – thanks to your voice and the voices of more than 70,000 others – Congress voted this week to concur with the Senate’s changes and send the $19 billion disaster relief bill to Donald Trump.

But 58 Republicans still voted against the disaster relief package, insisting to the end that it exclude aid for Puerto Rico and include funding for Trump’s racist border wall. Trump, meanwhile, is galavanting around England and on Monday seemed confused about whether the Senate had already passed the bill (they did, 2 weeks ago).

One more time before Trump gets home, can you share this petition and encourage your networks online to demand Trump support climate-disaster relief for ALL Americans including Puerto Rico?

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The House passage is a big victory because it’s the first time in months Congress has put aside partisan bickering to address the unprecedented climate disasters rocking America – from Puerto Rico still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria, to the record-setting floods in the midwest that are still disrupting planting season.

But Trump didn’t just forget about which chamber had already voted on the bill – he also forgot that he’d spent months railing against disaster funding in racist, fact-free ways. As soon as he remembers or one of those 58 Republican Trump supporters reminds him, his signature is not guaranteed.

It’s also important to put this victory in context. We started this campaign with Daily Kos, 350 dot org, Power 4 Puerto Rico and other allies because Trump was singling Puerto Rico out to not get disaster funding. Congressional negotiators were successful in getting the total aid to Puerto Rico increased from $600 million to $900 million – that’s a 50% increase over the objections of the President and nearly a third of all Republicans in the House of Representatives.

But Puerto Rico, and a lot of American Communities, need a lot more help. Our coalition estimates that Puerto Rico needs closer to $1.5 billion in relief funding – almost twice what Congress approved this week. And with midwest flooding continuing to slow planting season in the midwest, it’s likely we’ll need more aid there too before the summer is over.

The point is, in a climate changed world, it’s never been more important to demand that Congress and the President take urgent action to help Americans hit by climate-fueled storms, fires and other disasters.

This week’s vote in Congress is a good step, and a clear indication of teh work we still have to do. First, let’s make sure Trump doesn’t screw this up this progress for Puerto Rico and other communities. Then we need to keep fighting for the changes we need that will protect us all from the next climate disaster.

Just a reminder, the 2019 hurricane season started this week. Thanks for signing, please share this message to engage your networks online and spread the word. And stay tuned for more actions you can take soon.

Breaking: Trump tries to ram through KeystoneXL, Again

Trump just issued a presidential permit for construction of Keystone XL, again.

He’s trying to get around a recent court order by the Ninth circuit that preserved an injunction to stop TransCanada from building the pipeline, at a potential costs of billions of dollars.

If you’re ready to get in front of this pipeline and take action to protect our water, communities and climate we need you now – and we need you trained and ready to take action.

Join a training and get prepared to mobilize against the Keystone XL pipeline. Register for a Promise to Protect training near you.

Promise to Protect training tour

Trump has been trying to build the Keystone XL pipeline since his first day in office. You may remember that the order expediting Keystone was one of Trump’s first, signed four days after he took office. Today’s order actually had to supersede the last time he ‘ordered’ the pipeline to be built because the courts struck down that stupid and clumsy attempt.

But Trump’s incompetence is not a sufficient protection against this pipeline. Activists in North Carolina and Virginia have documented dozens of cases where companies keep on building the pipeline after the Courts order them to stop – especially if they know they’ve got the backing of Trump, FERC or federal agencies like the EPA.

This training tour is intended to prepare thousands of us to take mass action to stop Keystone XL, and every other fossil fuel project that comes our way. And we need to be ready for a lot. The US is now the biggest oil and gas producer in the world – and trump and his team are rushing through dozens of new pipelines, refineries and export terminals.

More than 20,000 of us have already signed up through the Promise to Protect website and committed to take peaceful action along the pipeline route. Now we need you to join a training so we can be prepared to resist.

The training covers more than just logistics and theory. Taking place along the pipeline route and in nine cities, these are indigenous led briefings to prepare you to be good relatives and understand the vulnerabilities and opportunities of this and other pipeline projects

At the training, you’ll learn about nonviolent direct action and support roles, protocols for mobilizing in Lakota territory, and how to apply these lessons to local campaigns, which we’ll need in order to create a nationwide wave of resistance against fossil fuel development in our communities.

Sign-up for the Promise to Protect Training Tour this spring to get ready now for future action against Keystone XL.

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.

BOEM goes the dynamite – your comments in action

When the Bureau of Ocean Energy management (BOEM) came to my town, there was already a great plan in place with rallies, lobby days,and speak outs planned by partners. But I wanted to make sure we did more than show up and record your comments (and mine) as opposed to the Trump administration’s plan.

There’s an important role for direct action in moments like these. First it’s an important way to withhold consent – a critical strategy in the Gene Sharp model of anti-authoritarian organizing we ascribe to.

Second, it helps inspire people to realize they don’t have to obey unjust and destructive dictates from the Trump administration. Across the country, people have been showing up at these BOEM events to speak out and demand a full retraction of this plan. The louder, less orderly, and more disruptive we get, the more Zinke and his team withdrawal. Some in the media are already saying that it looks more like a political stunt than a serious energy plan.

And finally, it helps to correct the media narrative, which tends towards “both side-ism” and false balance by giving drilling opponents, who vastly outnumber drilling supporters, the same amount of coverage as the fossil fuel industry, and paints BOEM as an impartial referee for science. In fact, Trump’s  Interior secretary Ryan Zinke is already ignoring mountains of scientific evidence that offshore drilling is too dangerous for our coasts and economies, and a disaster for our climate. In many cases, they’re ignoring evidence that was just submitted 1-2 years ago as part of the Obama administration process that resulted in a ban on all offshore drilling in the Atlantic and continental Pacific (eg not Alaska) oceans.*

So, when more than 10,000 members and supporters of 198 methods submitted comments opposing the Trump/Zinke offshore drilling plan, we didn’t just want to hand over your names and comments, we wanted to make a ruckus.

And that’s what we did in South Carolina – arguably the Reddest, most Trump-friendly state where BOEM is holding an offshore drilling hearing (and also Drew’s Home turf).  Below is a LONG recap of the day’s events. But if you’re already into our idea to deliver comments in the most loud, non-compliant, media-shattering way possible, then please chip in. There are important hearings happening in the next week in Washington, D.C. and North Carolina that we want to support and play a role in – and we need your help to make it happen.

The Story in South Carolina.

First of all, all respect to the Sierra Club of South Carolina and their Ready for 100% rally and lobby day, which was already planned at the statehouse. This was lead by Minister Leo Woodbury, he’s from the northeast corner of South Carolina. That’s right across the state-line from Robeson county, which we talked a lot about in the live-stream about the ACP and the Rev., in addition to talking a lot about clean power, talked about the dangers of expanding fossil fuel infrastructure including offshore drilling and new pipelines. Here’s a bit of Rev. Woodbury to give you the flavor:

Later in the morning, the big ocean groups- OCEANA, Coastal Conservation League, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, etc – organized a big rally on the statehouse steps that featured equal numbers of democratic and Republican law makers speaking out against drilling. It was a good event, and did a good job highlighting what SC ‘insiders’ view as our most plausible route to stopping drilling in this state: that the issue is so politically toxic, that it might even suppress turnout among Trump’s base voters in 2018. These groups hope that the threat of an electoral back-lash will lead Zinke and team to offer an exemption for SC like they did for FL – but I’m not so sure.

Here’s some video of that rally:

Our local big greens did a great job planning and executing a rally based on conventional political wisdom.  It featured the voices of big politicians like Rep. Mark “Appalachian trail” Sanford and lots of State legislators. But those same reasons, the rally was not very radical  — for example it did NOT connect offshore drilling to pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure, Climate Change was barely mentioned once, nor was an explicit connection to environmental and racial justice made by most speakers (except the Gullah Geechee nation, of course). Still, that was the part of the day that got the most media attention.

After that it was off to the Doubletree — a hotel as far as you can get from downtown and still technically be in Columbia. Seriously, the location has no public transit it sits at the intersection of two interstate highways. Once there it was clear that BOEM was expecting some pushback given the amount of security on site.  To counteract the un-democratic format of the hearing (more on that below) a lot of those same big green groups staged a counter-rally outside the BOEM hearing room, essentially in the ballroom next door. Where the focus of the earlier rally at the statehouse was clearly political – featuring elected officials and politically connected spokespeople – the pre-BOEM rally at the hotel was focussed on the grassroots. Local mayors, business owners, and impacted trade associations like fishermen were the featured speakers. And the clear focus was to get everyone fired up and ready to submit a comment in opposition to the Trump-Zinke plan. Here’s some video of that rally to give you a taste:

About that BOEM process.

The format of the hearings is always the same, they call it a ‘townhall’ but it’s not the format most of us associate with that description – EG one microphone and people get up one at a time to testify in favor or against on the record. What they have are a bunch of table displays, staffed by career BOEM people about the proposed offshore drilling plan. The displays and staff are not explicitly pro-drilling, but they are there to explain the Trump/Zinke proposal, which is very pro drilling. So the information includes things like “why oil drilling is safer than ever” and “Why is offshore oil important to America’s Economy”. There is no display specifically on climate change or pipelines (which will be needed to get oil from offshore rigs to shore, and then onshore to refineries).

If you want to submit a “public comment” at the hearing, you have to sit down, by yourself at a laptop (provided by BOEM) and type your name, address and other personal information into the approved terminal before being allowed to (in complete silence) type your comment into the system.

I wasn’t having it. So, after a few minutes of letting people sign in and mill around, I pulled out a chair, stood on it, and called BS on the whole process.

I’m using the “BS” frame here as an intentional homage to Emma Gonzalez and her speech in Florida on gun violence. There’s something really powerful about having someone call out a lie, and it’s a similar energy I’m hoping to channel into these remaining BOEM hearings – because they’re NOT OVER YET!

In fact there three more weeks to comment on this offshore drilling plan. So before March 9, tell your friends to comment, share the action online, and if you can please chip in to support us getting to as many of these hearings as possible to shout, disrupt, and make our voices heard any way we can.

Thanks!

* We think the Obama rules should have gone farther, and protected the Gulf of Mexico as well. If it’s too dirty and dangerous for the South Atlantic, why is it safe for the Gulf? Answer it’s not, but the Gulf is treated as a sacrifice zone.  But that’s another story.