Saturday, March 28, 2020

Governors will step up environmental enforcement after Trump Organization suspends protections

Global pollution levels have taken a temporary nosedive but that hasn't stopped the Trump Organization's war against the states. Now some governors are fighting back against the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has been a constant critic of the president, said water is the most important natural resource for the arid state, and stripping protections is an affront to all who call New Mexico home. “My administration is committed to protecting New Mexico’s precious waters and will consider all legal options to prevent this rule from going into effect. This is far from over,” she proclaimed in a statement. [New Mexico officials call US water rollbacks 'disastrous']
Michigan's governor has been targeted by the Trump regime.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy is still trying to figure out all the implications of the USEPA’s decision to end enforcement of some of its regulations. Hugh McDiarmid is Communications Manager for the state agency. “EGLE is still actively providing regulatory oversight and is responding to pollution events to protect Michiganders’ health and the environment. We’re still on the job. More than 90 percent of our staff is working remotely, but we are still enforcing pollution laws and continuing to do work,” McDiarmid said. [Michigan agency stepping up while U.S. EPA is stepping out]
Gina McCarthy, head of the Obama Administration's EPA now president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), lashed out at the new enforcement discretion policy.
This is an open license to pollute. Plain and simple. The administration should be giving its all toward making our country healthier right now. Instead it is taking advantage of an unprecedented public health crisis to do favors for polluters that threaten public health. We can all appreciate the need for additional caution and flexibility in a time of crisis, but this brazen directive is an abdication of the EPA’s responsibility to protect our health. [press release]
Washington's governor has also pledged to stand up to the Trump White House.
Governor Jay Inslee took a few minutes Wednesday to sign an important long-term measure passed by the legislature before the COVID-19 crisis intensified. Washington’s move is further demonstration of the fact that while the Trump administration is moving to stall progress on vehicle pollution standards, state leaders are continuing to step up, recognizing that cleaner vehicles lead to cleaner air, more jobs and investments and less dangerous carbon pollution. [NRDC]

Friday, March 27, 2020

Nurses, medical professionals are now never-Trumpers

The mother of my daughters, the Odd Goddess of Basin and Our Lady of the Arroyo are all registered nurses, so are neighbors and friends Tim, Micki, Lisa, Matthew, Leslie, Nancy, Lori and Sarah. Each one loathes Trump as does every other medical professional they know who will never, ever vote for a Republican again.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Federal judge orders environmental review of Dakota Excess pipeline

Energy Transfer Partners is an earth hater based in Texas and infamous for brutalizing water protectors near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. In 2017 a US District Court ordered the US Army Corps of Engineers to finish a review of ETP's Dakota Excess pipeline, its impact on tribal interests and how a spill under the Oahe Dam would impact water rights for the Standing Rock, Cheyenne, Yankton and Oglala Lakota nations. Mercenaries and National Guard troops used chemical weapons on many of the thousands of peaceful demonstrators camped on federal land near Cannon Ball where some 761 people were arrested between early August, 2016 and late February, 2017.

Justice Department attorney Matthew Marinelli said in a status report to Judge James Boasberg the Corps had met with representatives of each tribe and made progress on their concerns. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe wasn't satisfied and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe created a website to raise funding and awareness for the dispossession of treaty land, natural resources and to provide information about the nation's battles against the Dakota Excess and Keystone XL Pipelines. A lawyer for the Corps said they would "finish its consideration and analysis of the information submitted by the tribes and consider issues identified at the meetings with the tribes" by 10 August, 2018.

The same geology that thwarts railroads and forces engineers to rebuild I-90 between Reliance and Rapid City, South Dakota, I-94 between Mandan, North Dakota and Billings, Montana every year also makes construction of the Keystone XL pipeline untenable. But, attorneys for the Trump Organization will stop at nothing to erase Barack Obama's legacy including accelerating the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, warming the climate and driving an eventual American Indian rebellion to protect treaty lands. Trump apparatchiks have even referred to Native Americans and their compatriots as jihadists and insurgents. In the US genocide, sovereignty rights, culture, language resurgence and growing capital resources from burgeoning black markets are building alternatives to hopelessness, suicide, and repression in Indian Country where deaths from firearm violence are higher than in any ethnic group.

Trump Organization propaganda has gotten so false and misleading Seattle public radio station KUOW has suspended any broadcasts dispatched from the White House.
Nearly three years after crude oil started to flow through the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, a federal judge has ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full environmental review. It's a major victory for the Native American tribes and environmental groups who have been fighting against the project for years. [NPR]

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Flooding during virus outbreak will test red state mettle

Human-caused climate catastrophes are wreaking havoc on already-stressed systems in red states where Republican governors have fallen down on infrastructure improvements.

According to the US Army Corps of Engineers even though all of 2019's floodwater has passed through the dam system on the Missouri River 2020's deluge is just beginning yet the Corps has cancelled all public meetings in early April because of a virus outbreak.
For local leaders in the Midwest, this situation is offering a crash course in how to plan and respond to multiple types of disasters simultaneously. And in a warming world, overlapping and compounding disasters will likely be the new normal. In some areas, the distribution of premade sandbags to vulnerable communities has already started to avoid a last-minute rush if and when catastrophe strikes. There’s a big range in how prepared Mississippi River communities are for juggling the disasters, according to their mayors. Even the ones that said they were currently prepared expressed uncertainty about the future. [Zahra Hirji, BuzzFeed News]

Monday, March 23, 2020

Obamacare still strong at ten years

Recall former Montana Sen. Max Baucus threw President Barack Obama's pick for Health and Human Services Secretary, former Senate Majority Leader and fellow Democrat Tom Daschle, under the bus during a pre-confirmation quarrel in 2009. Daschle was widely expected to push Congress toward a Medicaid-for-all health care plan in the weeks before Big Pharma-backed Baucus soundly rejected single-payer medical insurance and guided the passing of what would become the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Obama later admitted he "screwed up" by pushing Timothy Geithner's confirmation as Treasury Secretary first in a effort to reverse the economic catastrophe left by the previous administration. Daschle withdrew after Obama put off his confirmation hearing and after Baucus stabbed Daschle, the American people and the new president in the back.
At a moment when anxiety over coronavirus is paramount, it is worth noting on the Affordable Care Act’s tenth anniversary that it will provide important coverage and access protections in this pivotal moment. This would be the first recession since the ACA was implemented, and the health law will provide a safety net that never existed before for those losing job-based health insurance. However, despite the gaps, the ACA has led to improved access to care for millions in the United States. [Kaiser Family Foundation]
The military loves TRICARE, veterans mostly like the VA and most Native Americans won’t support a copay because We the People are responsible for their medical care so Medicaid for all is the real choice of progressives.