In Senate Testimony, Kavanaugh Implicated Georgetown Prep 'Friends' For Alcohol-Related 'Trouble'

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 20 Sep 2018 20:09:00 GMT

During the third day of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, Sen. Kennedy (R-La.) questioned Kavanaugh about “getting into trouble” at the elite all-boys school Georgetown Prep, eliciting nervous laughter.

Dodging the question, Kavanaugh told Kennedy that at Georgetown Prep, “I had a lot of friends, I’ve talked a lot about my friends. And they’ve been here. So it was very formative.”

When Kennedy pressed his question about “trouble,” Kavanaugh replied, “That’s encompassed by the friends, I think.”

Watch:

Kennedy concluded by saying he’s decided to not ask Kavanaugh whether his underage friends were “sneaking a few beers past Jesus.” Kavanaugh shook his head, said “Hey,” and giggled again in response to a comment not caught by the microphone.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) took the microphone, saying, “I for one am grateful for the senator’s self-restraint.”

It is unknown what motivated Kennedy’s questions at the time, although Kavanaugh’s close friend and classmate Mike G. Judge recorded in his book Wasted the binge drinking that dominated those years at Georgetown Prep. Similarly, Kavanaugh’s yearbook entry made repeated references to keg parties and vomiting.

After the hearing, it was revealed that professor Christine Blasey Ford had informed members of Congress that Kavanaugh and Judge had sexually assaulted her while they were all in high school.

Full transcript:

KENNEDY: I can tell from your testimony from the last three days, or two days, that high school were formative years for you. You went to Georgetown Preparatory School?

KAVANAUGH: I did, Georgetown Prep. Jesuit high school here. Um. It was very formative.

KENNEDY: What was it like for you? What were you like? Were you uh . . . Did you ever get in trouble?

KAVANAUGH: Nervous, high-pitched laughter.

KENNEDY: Were you more of a John Boy Walton-type or a Ferris Bueller-type?

KAVANAUGH: Nervous, high-pitched laughter continues.

KENNEDY: These ladies are old enough to understand.

KAVANAUGH: I loved sports, first and foremost. I think that, uh, I worked hard at school. I had a lot of friends, I’ve talked a lot about my friends. And they’ve been here. So it was very formative. Uh, and when I think back on it . . .

KENNEDY: You left out the trouble part.

KAVANAUGH: Ummm, right. I think that’s encompassed by the friends, I think. Nervous laughter.

KENNEDY: You were an athlete?

KAVANAUGH: Yes, I played football and basketball. My coach, my football coach was named Jim Fagan. And he’s a legendary football coach. For the last eight weeks, where I’ve been in a slightly different situation than I’ve been in the previous fifty-three years in terms of where I could go freely, I’ve been working out on weekends at my old high school, running on the track and ran into him out there. It was awesome to run into him. He still helps out with the football team. And he sent me a text three nights ago. So. It’s awesome.

KENNEDY: That’s all I’m going to get out of you? I understand. All right. Let me yield back. Strike that, Mr. Chairman. Just in case we have to have to have the time, I’m going to reserve my two hours and ten minutes. I’m sorry, my two minutes and seven seconds. Now, see, I was going to ask the judge, if not him, but if any of his underage running buddies had ever tried to sneak a few beers past Jesus or something like that in high school. But I’m not going to go there.

KAVANAUGH: shaking head… Hey…

someone off-mike: (?) I want you to. (?)

KAVANAUGH: More high-pitched laughter.

CORNYN: I for one am grateful for the senator’s self-restraint.

Senate Democrats Fundraise Off Kavanaugh's Nomination While Doing Little to Stop Him

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 06 Sep 2018 01:16:00 GMT

Claiming unified opposition to the nomination of Trump Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh, Senate Democrats are fundraising to help re-elect incumbents who are not opposing Kavanaugh. In an email to its list in Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii)’s voice, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee wrote, “We need to stand together. So much is at stake.”

The email linked to a petition to “oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination” and then to a fundraising page to “Save the Supreme Court” and “Help Elect Senate Democrats.”

It is unclear how contributing to the DSCC would help save the Supreme Court from Kavanaugh, described in the DSCC email as a ” pre-selected political ideologue, nominated possibly because he believes a sitting president should be shielded from civil lawsuits, criminal investigation, and prosecution—no matter the facts.”

For there to be any likelihood of Kavanaugh’s nomination failing, the 49-member Democratic caucus would need to be unanimous in their opposition. But that is not the case—in particular with the vulnerable Democrats most heavily backed by the DSCC. As CNN reports, “Senators signal Kavanaugh appears on solid ground to win confirmation” :

“Not so far,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat, told CNN Wednesday afternoon when asked if anything she’s heard so far would be considered disqualifying.

“No, I haven’t seen anything from that standpoint,” Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said when asked if he’s heard anything that would lead him to vote no. “He’s handled himself very professionally.”

Sen. Doug Jones, the Democrat from Alabama who won his special election after Gorsuch was confirmed, was non-committal when asked about Kavanaugh on Wednesday.

In addition to Heitkamp, Manchin, and Jones, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bill Nelson of Florida, Jon Tester of Montana, Joe Donnelly of Indiana are equivocal on Kavanaugh.

Update 9/6:

Liberal Senate Democrats praised Schumer’s failure to whip the caucus against Kavanaugh, as requested by a coalition of progressive advocacy organizations, Politico’s Burgess Everett and Elana Schor report:

“There is universal confidence in the Democratic Caucus for Sen. Schumer, whether they’re the progressives or the more conservative members of our caucus. There’s strong respect and admiration for how he handles diversity in our caucus,” said Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin.

“They’re the people that you can’t be pure enough for,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). of Schumer’s detractors. “Unless we can convince a few Republicans, then we don’t have the votes. That’s goal No. 1 and the outside groups should stay focused on that.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). praised Schumer for “holding a very wide ranging caucus together in a way that has made strong points in the hearing without causing problems for our 2018 candidates.”

“There is what I call Democrat disease, which is to waste our time fighting with each other and quarreling over purity contests,” Whitehouse said. “And of all times to lose our way in those quarrels, this is perhaps the worst.”

In an interview with The Hill, Democratic whip Dick Durbin of Illinois was similarly critical: “The Senate doesn’t work that way, and the groups that are asking for it are not in touch with reality.”

As whip, Durbin is the senator officially responsible for wrangling the votes of the Democratic caucus.

In an interview with NPR’s Audie Cornish, Whitehouse similarly criticized the hearing protesters for being “not helpful” particularly for “the states in which we have, you know, our Senate races.”

Everett and Schor editorialize that letting Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court in return for electoral victories in November would “vindicate” Schumer: “If a handful of red-state Democrats eventually support Kavanaugh and then win reelection, Schumer’s strategy will be vindicated.”

Full text of the email:

Subject: We need to stand together, Brad

Friend,

Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee’s hearings for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court began. These are scary times, and many of our civil rights are at stake. Considering his right-wing record, Kavanaugh has no place on the Supreme Court.

Normally, the Senate would determine the fitness of a nominee to the Supreme Court based on their legal talent and reputation for fairness. But these are not normal times.

Instead, we convened to decide whether or not to rubber stamp Donald Trump’s choice of a pre-selected political ideologue, nominated possibly because he believes a sitting president should be shielded from civil lawsuits, criminal investigation, and prosecution—no matter the facts.

Kavanaugh’s nomination will promote a right-wing agenda and protect Donald Trump. Furthermore, he will guarantee a 5th vote for Trump’s dangerous anti-worker, anti-consumer, anti-women, pro-corporate, and anti-environment agenda.

Friend, our civil rights are at stake. Our future is at stake. Please sign my urgent petition opposing Kavanaugh’s nomination. We need to defeat this dangerous nominee.

Remember, it could take just one vote on the Supreme Court to:

  • Overturn Roe v. Wade and deny women control over their bodies
  • Declare the ACA’s pre-existing condition protections unconstitutional
  • Dismantle environmental protections that keep our air safe to breathe and our water clean to drink
  • Dismantle common-sense gun safety laws that keep our community safe, and so much more

We need to stand together. So much is at stake.

Make sure you add your name to my petition:

http://www.dscc.org/Save-The-Supreme-Court

Mahalo,

Mazie Hirono
U.S. Senator, Hawaii

Transcript of Whitehouse interview with NPR:
CORNISH: Finally, the protesters that are interrupting periodically – hurting or helping Democrats right now?

WHITEHOUSE: My opinion – hurting.

CORNISH: In what way?

WHITEHOUSE: At least particularly in the states in which we have, you know, our Senate races. I think that the average independent voter – the labor family that voted for Trump last time but is now reconsidering – people like that don’t think that screaming in a hearing room is a particularly effective strategy or a signal of a party that they much want to belong to. So I think it’s been not helpful to any cause that I can see.

Environmental Defense Fund Board Members Actively Invest in Fracking

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 25 Dec 2017 19:07:00 GMT

frackingEnvironmental Defense Fund (EDF), unlike some other environmental groups which support a ban on fracking, argues that natural gas extraction can be done responsibly, perhaps reflecting the views of board members profiting from active fracking investments.

Hydraulic fracturing isn’t all good, but it doesn’t have to be all bad, either,” an EDF blog post summarized in May of this year.

The organization’s top natural gas official, vice president Mark Brownstein, responded to this week’s New York state ban on hydraulic fracturing with an ambiguous statement:
“The risks associated with hydraulic fracturing and unconventional oil and natural gas development are so serious, EDF believes that every state has the right to decide whether or not development is consistent with the interests and wishes of its citizens. New York State has made its decision—but with or without drilling here, New York remains the country’s fifth largest natural gas consumer, with an extensive network of gas transmission and distribution lines. Methane leaking from these systems has more than 80 times the climate-warming power of carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe. State officials and the companies that operate these pipes need to find and fix those leaks as part of the ongoing effort to modernize New York’s electric and gas infrastructure and accelerate the state’s transition to cleaner, renewable, and more efficient energy.”

EDF’s approach to environmentalism is pro-market, built upon investment strategies and corporate partnerships. The organization has partnered with dozens of companies in the natural gas industry for a suite of studies on methane leakage from fracking, storage, and distribution.

Meanwhile, several members of EDF’s board of trustees, who provide millions in funding for the organization, are actively invested in fracking. (This is far from unique among environmental non-profits.)

The board member with the strongest conflict of interest is Edward Stern, an active investor in fracking and a direct funder of pro-fracking front groups in New York, although he is not the only problematic trustee.

Edward Stern is the founder of Hartz Capital, which focuses “on the acquisition of properties for the development of oil and gas in emerging shale plays.” Hartz owns shale gas leases in upstate New York and funded the pro-fracking front group Clean Growth Now.

Trustee Kristine Johnson is wife of Tim Dattels, of TPG Capital. In 2007, TPG Capital was part of a consortium that purchased TXU Corp for $48 billion, and closed several high-pollution coal plants, a move touted by an actively involved EDF. That investment is now effectively worthless, in part because of the fracking boom.

However, TPG has also poured billions into successful fracking investments. In 2011, TPG Capitol formed Maverick American Natural Gas, a fracking company, with Hughes and Hart. In 2013, TPG sold its stakes in tar-sands and shale-oil refiner Northern Tier Energy (in which TPG had invested about $200 million in 2010), natural gas pipeline giant Copano Energy (in which TPG invested $300 million in 2010), and fracking equipment company Valerus Field Solutions (in which TPG had invested $500 million in 2009). In February 2014 TPG announced it was building a new $1.25 billion fund to invest in similar companies. In March of this year Maverick acquired $1.8 billion worth of active fracking wells in Wyoming’s Jonah field from the Canadian oil and gas giant Encana.

Hedge-fund billionaire Julian H. Robertson, Jr., who bankrolled the 2012 Mitt Romney run, is also an active fracking investor. The 80-year-old has been one of EDF’s largest donors, putting in over $60 million to support EDF’s cap-and-trade push during the 2000s. Robertson is now mostly retired, but is an advisor to Tiger Infrastructure Partners, a fund formed in 2009 with over $500 million invested in “midstream oil and gas fracking companies in a joint venture with Kiewit.

There are also several trustees with smaller but meaningful investments in the fossil-fuel industry.

Trustee Susan Mandel is the wife of Stephen Mandel, whose Lone Pine Capital has holdings in the liquid natural gas giant Cheniere Energy.

Trustee G. Leonard Baker, Jr. is a partner in the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sutter Hill Ventures, whose holdings include Chengwei Capital, which invests in oil & gas ventures in China.

Trustee Ann Doerr is the wife of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers venture capitalist John Doerr. Most of Kleiner Perkins’ energy investments are in the clean tech space, but it has some “cleanish” fossil-fuel investments as well. Portfolio company Luca Technologies “owns and operates wells and infrastructure, then sells natural gas into existing markets,” and portfolio company GreatPoint Energy does coal-to-gas conversion.

EDF’s board also includes two scions of influential conservative families—Sam Rawlings Walton, grandson of Sam Walton, and Kathryn Murdoch, daughter-in-law of News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch.

Interestingly, Katherine Lorenz, the granddaughter of George Mitchell, the “father of fracking,” is on the board.

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and Patrick Leahy Oppose Trump USDA Chief Scientist Nominee Sam Clovis

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 01 Nov 2017 15:43:00 GMT

Two more members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North Dakota, are publicly opposing the confirmation of Sam Clovis, Trump’s nominee to be USDA chief scientist. Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan announced her opposition in September.

Clovis, long under criticism for his lack of scientific credentials, is now embroiled in the Mueller investigation for his role as a top Donald Trump presidential campaign official. Clovis directed his subordinate on the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos, to “make the trip” to Moscow to collude with Russian agents.

“If his anti-science record were not enough cause for concern,” Leahy’s statement reads, “the latest reporting suggesting that Mr. Clovis may have facilitated Russian collusion in our elections raises these concerns to an alarming level. Even for this administration, that should be disqualifying.”

“Sam Clovis is uniquely unqualified to serve as USDA’s top scientist, and his confirmation would be harmful to North Dakota’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities,” Heitkamp said in a statement to Politco. “North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers need and deserve someone in this role who will work in their best interest – and that is not Sam Clovis. I’ll oppose his nomination.”

With Leahy and Heitkamp’s announcements, there are ten senators, including three on the Agriculture Committee, to publicly oppose the nominee, who rejected the science of climate change, promoted the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, and argued that homosexuality is a choice.

A growing coalition of environmental, science, and sustainable farming organizations oppose Clovis.

Senators in public opposition to Sam Clovis:
  • Kamala Harris (D-CA)
  • Brian Schatz (D-HI)
  • Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
  • Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)*
  • Tom Udall (D-NM)
  • Patty Murray (D-WA)
  • Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Patrick Leahy (D-VT)*
  • Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)*

    Members of the agriculture committee are marked with an asterisk.

  • Climate Hawk Sen. Tom Udall Opposes Trump USDA Chief Scientist Nominee Sam Clovis

    Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 22 Sep 2017 22:20:00 GMT

    Senator Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico, is opposing the confirmation of Sam Clovis, Trump’s nominee to be USDA chief scientist. Udall based his opposition on concerns that New Mexico’s farmers and ranchers are exposed to the dangers of climate change, and need government officials who respect the science.

    Udall is the fifth senator to publicly oppose the nominee, who rejected the science of climate change, promoted the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, and argued that homosexuality is a choice.

    On a campaign website, Udall wrote:
    The USDA is incredibly important to farmers and ranchers in New Mexico. They fund research that helps farmers and ranchers adapt to climate change, so extreme weather patterns don’t cost them their livelihoods.

    We need someone in this position who will take steps to stop climate change from destroying crops. We could be facing serious threats to food safety and our natural resources in the coming years — and Trump should nominate someone with the expertise and know-how to handle those threats.

    Trump’s current nominee for chief scientist at the USDA has no significant scientific training or experience.

    Demand President Trump to rescind Sam Clovis’s nomination and replace him with someone qualified.

    The four other senators who publicly oppose Clovis are Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

    A growing coalition of environmental, science, and sustainable farming organizations oppose Clovis.

    Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Top Ag Democrat, Opposes Trump USDA Science Nominee Sam Clovis

    Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 12 Sep 2017 20:43:00 GMT


    Sen. Debbie Stabenow; Sam Clovis
    In a letter to supporters, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, announced her opposition to President Trump’s nominee to be the top scientist at the Department of Agriculture, Sam Clovis. She highlighted his lack of professional qualifications as well as his “absurd” statements on climate change, LGBTQ issues, and race.

    “I’m opposing President Trump’s nomination of Clovis for Chief Scientist in the Department of Agriculture,” Stabenow wrote. “As ranking member of the Agriculture Committee, I oppose his nomination and I call on President Trump to withdraw it immediately. If he does not, I will lead the opposition and promise to bring his troubling record to light.”

    Clovis, a right-wing talk show host from Iowa who ran a failed campaign for the Republican Senate nomination and held a senior position in the Trump election campaign, has a long history of prejudicial and anti-science statements. In a 2011 blog post, Clovis called progressives “race traitors.” He believes climate change is “junk science.” He said Trump’s border wall is a “matter of national security and national sovereignty.” Clovis said the science was still out but “as far as we know” homosexuality is a choice.

    Clovis helped devise Trump’s Muslim ban, and has claimed that Barack Obama was not born in Honolulu. He called Eric Holder a “racist black,” Tom Perez a “racist Latino,” and claimed that President Obama “wants to enslave all who are not part of his regime.”

    Clovis’ positions on agriculture policy are similarly radical: he has consistently opposed federal crop insurance, calling for it to be privatized in a 2014 interview and questioning its constitutionality in a 2013 radio interview.

    In July, Republican Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas said at an Agriculture Committee hearing, “If there is some nominee who is coming before the committee who says crop insurance is unconstitutional, they might as well not show up.”

    The law requires that the USDA’s Chief Scientist be chosen from “distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.” Clovis has no such experience.

    Stabenow joins Democratic senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, and Kamala Harris of California in opposition to Clovis. She is the first member of the Agriculture Committee to formally oppose Clovis’ nomination.

    A broad and growing coalition of agriculture, climate-justice, environment, science, and civil rights groups have forcefully opposed the Clovis nomination.

    Stabenow’s letter is below:

    Subject: PETITION: Say no to Sam Clovis
    Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2017 14:26:08 +0000
    From: Debbie Stabenow

    We have a right to expect that only the best, most qualified individuals will be nominated for leadership jobs in our government.

    That’s not Sam Clovis.

    I’m opposing President Trump’s nomination of Clovis for Chief Scientist in the Department of Agriculture.

    Why?

    First, Sam Clovis isn’t a scientist, a qualification required by law to be Chief Scientist in the Department of Agriculture. Clovis himself made this lack of qualification abundantly clear when he stated that he was “extremely skeptical” of proven climate change science.

    Second, his absurd statements on LGBTQ issues, race and President Obama totally disqualify him from consideration.

    As ranking member of the Agriculture Committee, I oppose his nomination and I call on President Trump to withdraw it immediately. If he does not, I will lead the opposition and promise to bring his troubling record to light.

    I won’t shy away from asking the hard questions about his ability to carry out this critically important job for Michigan.

    Sign on now and stand with me in telling President Trump to withdraw Sam Clovis’ nomination for Chief Scientist.

    Thanks,

    Debbie Stabenow United States Senator

    Pruitt Puts Environmental Justice Under The Control of Koch Operative Samantha Dravis

    Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 08 Sep 2017 17:04:00 GMT

    Samantha DravisAn email sent by EPA associate administrator for the Office of Policy Samantha Dravis, a long-time Republican operative, outlines organizational structure changes that put the Office of Environmental Justice and Office of Federal Activities under her control.

    Dravis previously ran EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s industry-funded, anti-regulatory dark-money group, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, when he was Oklahoma Attorney General. She was also legal counsel at the Koch brothers’ Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce dark-money group. Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2017 8:17 PM
    To: OP-Everyone
    Subject: Announcement

    From: Kime, Robin On Behalf Of Dravis, Samantha

    Dear Colleagues,

    For the past several months I’ve had the pleasure of learning about the many ways the Office of Policy (OP) contributes to the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency. The analysis and support we provide for the agency’s most critical functions is of the utmost importance to me. As a cross-media and cross-agency office, I believe that the following changes to OP’s organization will enhance our ability to advance Administrator Pruitt’s priorities in line with EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment.

    Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ): In order to better serve overburdened communities, OEJ will join the Office of Policy. OEJ will work in partnership with the Office of Sustainable Communities, which will be renamed the Office of Community Revitalization. It is important to both Administrator Pruitt and myself that the most underserved and overburdened communities have a meaningful say in environmental protection and regulation. EPA has, and will continue to consider and incorporate environmental justice concerns into our regulatory process and this move enhances our ability to achieve this core function. It will also enable EPA’s EJ program to maximize its ability to support meaningful engagement and public participation across the agency and lead federal level coordination to consider overburdened community needs and the application of federal resources to meet those needs. Moving OEJ to OP allows OECA, where OEJ was previously located, to focus on its mission of enforcement and compliance assurance.

    Office of Federal Activities (OFA): OFA will join the Office of Policy where it will continue to carry out its vital responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Also within OFA will be a Permitting Policy Division to build on the successful streamlining efforts in the NEPA program. Together, these organizations will focus on two of the Administration’s top priorities: expediting federal infrastructure projects and streamlining permitting processes. This move will reform the agency’s permitting and NEPA roles that will streamline the entire environmental review process and reduce subjectivity, providing our stakeholders with more clarity and certainty on their projects; ensure staff are able to quickly elevate high visibility issues to the Administrator for resolution; coordinate with the permitting AAs which will allow the agency to drive solutions to expedite the entire environmental review process, as directed by the President under Executive Order 13766, under one central office; and continue the progress that has already been made to strengthen the NEPA program and our partnerships with our sister federal agencies. OFA staff who work on hazardous waste transport issues will move to the Office of Land and Emergency Management, where complementary work resides.

    Sectors Team: I have established a Sectors Team within the Office of Policy’s Immediate Office to work with staff across OP and the agency. The Sectors Team will develop strategies that better protect human health and the environment by engaging with partners at all levels to ensure the agency puts forth sensible regulations that encourage economic growth. This team will coordinate with stakeholders to better understand their needs and challenges so as to improve environmental performance and inform smarter and more predictable rulemaking. This work will build upon our experience with the Sector Strategies Program as well as our ongoing work in regulatory and permitting reform.

    Operations Office: Over the course of the last year, the Operations Team in the OP Immediate Office started efforts to streamline and improve our administrative and operational activities. To further these efforts, I have established an Operations Office, through which we will consolidate our operations and administrative support functions, leading to increased efficiency and enhanced processes.

    Office of Strategic Environmental Management: To fully staff OP’s priorities, including the new functions noted above, many OSEM staff will be reassigned to OFA, ORPM, NCEE, and other areas where additional staffing is critical to meeting OP’s core mission and the Administration’s goals. I appreciate the unique skills and leadership OSEM has brought to numerous cross-cutting EPA priorities over the years and believe that OP’s new organizational structure will allow us to better harness their talents. The team will concentrate on streamlining the agency’s operations, especially in programmatic areas such as permitting.

    The new responsibilities outlined here are a testament to OP’s valued expertise and its many past successes. I am excited about the new opportunities for OP, and how we can help the agency achieve its mission of protecting human health and the environment more efficiently and effectively for the American people.

    Samantha

    Save EPA Releases Guide to Resisting the Trump De-Regulatory Agenda

    Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 13 Jul 2017 23:36:00 GMT

    Trump and Manchin
    Sen Joe Manchin grins as Donald Trump signs legislation rescinding the Stream Protection Rule in February 2017.
    Save EPA, a volunteer organization of former Environmental Policy Agency staffers, has released a guide for activists who wish to counter attempts by the Trump administration to roll back public protections issued by any federal agency. The guide is inspired by the Indivisible project, which began as a guide for activist engagement with Congress by former Hill staffers.

    Trump has made systematic deregulation, a longtime priority of the Koch brothers and other corporate-right leaders, a top priority. A January executive order of questionable Constitutional legitimacy called for the elimination of two federal regulations whenever a new regulation is issued.

    The first draft of “A Practical Guide For Resisting The Trump De-Regulatory Agenda” explains:
    Fortunately, no president can roll back regulations by fiat. The Trump Administration must go through the same process that’s used for making regulations, and that process gives everyone the opportunity to participate. Regulated businesses are sure to participate, since they are directly affected and may save money if regulations are delayed, watered down or repealed. Public interest groups are likely to participate, too, but they can’t be expected to save regulations all on their own. As members of the public that the regulations are designed to protect, we need to be loud and clear that the regulations are important to us. We can’t afford to be silent while President Trump tries to take away our protections.

    The guide includes a comprehensive guide to the public comment process, recommendations for how to draft effective comments, and additional tips for influencing regulatory decisions. The guide also recommends Columbia Law School’s Climate Deregulation Tracker.

    The guide can be downloaded here.

    An accompanying press release offers three recommended actions to take for one current and two upcoming comment periods:

    Proposed 2-year stay and reconsideration of methane emissions standards for oil and gas sector – The public comment period is ongoing; comments must be received on or before 11:59 pm August 9. To comment, search for Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505 on the federal eRulemaking portal. The proposal was signed June 16. EPA web link

    Waters of the U.S. rule proposed rescissionA 30-day comment period will begin soon when the rule, signed June 27, 2017, is published in the Federal Register. To comment, search for Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203, on the federal eRulemaking portal. EPA web link

    Withdrawal of proposed Pebble Mine determinationEPA is proposing to withdraw a July 2014 Clean Water Act Section 404© Proposed Determination that would have imposed restrictions on the discharge of dredged or fill material from the potential “Pebble Mine” in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed. A 90-day comment period will begin soon when the withdrawal notice is published in the Federal Register. Comments can be emailed to ow-docket@epa.gov (reference docket number EPA-R10-OW-2017-0369 in the email subject line). EPA link

    Senate Intelligence Committee Votes to Approve Climate Denier Dan Coats for DNI 13 to 2

    Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 13 Mar 2017 21:15:00 GMT

    Another climate denier is one step closer to filling another seat in Donald Trump’s cabinet. On Thursday, March 9, the U.S. Senate Select Committee for Intelligence advanced the nomination of Dan Coats, Republican of Indiana, to the Senate floor.

    Coats has dismissed the threat of global warming when asked, talking about snowstorms as if they disprove manmade climate change.

    Only Democrats Ron Wyden of Oregon and Kamala Harris of California voted against the former senator and corporate lobbyist, who has limited foreign-affairs or intelligence experience.

    Voting to approve Coats were all eight Republicans on the committee and five of seven Democrats.
    • Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
    • James Risch (R-Idaho)
    • Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
    • Susan Collins (R-Maine)
    • Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
    • James Lankford (R-Okla.)
    • Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)
    • John Cornyn (R-Texas)
    • Mark Warner (D-Va.)
    • Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
    • Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)
    • Angus King (I-Maine)
    • Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.)

    These five members of the Democratic caucus (King is an independent) have voted for other of Trump’s climate-denier nominees, despite all professing concern about the threat of manmade climate change.

    Senate Democrats Vote En Masse for Climate Deniers

    Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 03 Mar 2017 17:06:00 GMT

    This week, Senate Democrats joined the Republican majority to confirm three avowed deniers of climate science into Donald Trump’s cabinet — Ryan Zinke for Interior, Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development, and Rick Perry for Energy. Zinke was confirmed on Wednesday, and Carson and Perry confirmed on Thursday. Democrats chose not to use the 30 hours of debate time following the Perry cloture vote, instead allowing his confirmation to occur immediately after.

    Seventeen members of the Democratic caucus voted for Ryan Zinke; 11 voted for cloture on Carson; and 12 voted for cloture or confirmation on Perry. In all, 22 Democrats voted at least once with Republicans for these nominees.

    Angus King (Maine) is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

    Democrats for Zinke
    • Michael Bennet (Colo.)
    • Sherrod Brown (Ohio)
    • Chris Coons (Del.)
    • Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.)
    • Joe Donnelly (Ind.)
    • Martin Heinrich (N.M.)
    • Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.)
    • Tim Kaine (Va.)
    • Angus King (Maine)
    • Joe Manchin (W.Va.)
    • Claire McCaskill (Mo.)
    • Chris Murphy (Conn.)
    • Bill Nelson (Fla.)
    • Jon Tester (Mont.)
    • Tom Udall (N.M.)
    • Mark Warner (Va.)
    • Ron Wyden (Ore.) – voted present for cloture, for confirmation
    Democrats for Carson
    • Sherrod Brown (Ohio)
    • Ben Cardin (Md.) – voted for cloture, against confirmation
    • Tom Carper (Del.) – voted for cloture, against confirmation
    • Joe Donnelly (Ind.)
    • Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.)
    • Joe Manchin (W.V.)
    • Bob Menendez (N.J.) – voted for cloture, against confirmation
    • Jack Reed (R.I.) – voted for cloture, against confirmation
    • Jon Tester (Mont.)
    • Mark Warner (Va.)
    • Angus King (Maine)
    Democrats for Perry
    • Ben Cardin (Md.) – voted for cloture, against confirmation
    • Tom Carper (Del.) – voted against cloture, for confirmation
    • Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.)
    • Joe Donnelly (Ind.)
    • Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.)
    • Angus King (Maine)
    • Joe Manchin (W.Va.)
    • Tom Udall (N.M.)
    • Claire McCaskill (Mo.)
    • Debbie Stabenow (Mich.)
    • Jon Tester (Mont.)
    • Mark Warner (Va.)

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