Category Archives: Climate Change & Environmental Issues

Quietly Signed Trump Order Denounced as ‘Declaration of War’ Against Federal Employees

The order sets up Trump’s “cronies to burrow into permanent jobs in the U.S. government,” said one critic.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-23-2020

Photo: AFGE

After years of complaining that career federal employees are part of the “deep state” and aim to undermine his administration, President Donald Trump this week took a major step toward remaking the federal government as one without nonpartisan civil servants—signing a little-noticed executive order that would strip potentially hundreds of thousands of government employees of their job security.

Under the order, signed late Wednesday, career federal employees could be fired with little or no cause, lose their right to due process, and potentially lose union representation. Continue reading

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Investing $2 Trillion in US Clean Energy and Infrastructure Could Create Millions of ‘Good Jobs,’ Analysis Finds

“We don’t have to choose between a strong economy or a healthy environment—we can have both,” says an EPI data analyst.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-20-2020

A solar PV array in Gerlach, NV. Photo: BlackRockSolar

Pursuing trade and industrial policies that boost U.S. exports and eliminate the trade deficit while investing $2 trillion over four years in the nation’s infrastructure, clean energy, and energy efficiency improvements could support 6.9 to 12.9 million “good jobs” annually by 2024, according to an analysis published Tuesday.

The new report from a trio of experts at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a U.S.-based think tank, comes as the country continues to endure the public health and economic consequences of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 220,000 lives and millions of jobs in the United States alone this year. Continue reading

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‘Demented’: Oil Giant Refreezing Rapidly Melting Permafrost So It Can Keep Climate-Killing Arctic Drilling Alive

The effort represented such “mindless idiocy” for many that 350.org ran a “help us out with this caption” contest in response.

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-19-2020

An oil pipeline stretches across the landscape outside Prudhoe Bay in North Slope borough, Alaska. “New absurdities from Big Oil,” said the Energy Watch Group, which advocates for renewable energy, in response to the reporting. “What do you do when the Arctic is melting, threatening your drilling infrastructure—but you really don’t want to stop drilling? Right, cooling the ground beneath the infrastructure and keep on drilling.” (Photo illustration: Original by Bonnie Jo Mount/via Getty Images/with overlay)

Reporting out Monday detailing how oil giant ConocoPhilips’ obsession with drilling in the arctic regions of Alaska is so intense that it has devised ways to artificially freeze rapidly melting permafrost to maintain its drilling operations has climate campaigners howling over the ironic—and destructive—absurdity of the situation.

According to journalist Nat Herz, reporting for the Guardian with support of Fund for Environmental Journalism (FEJ), “ConocoPhillips had a problem” as it continued to drill for oil and gas beyond the Arctic Circle: Continue reading

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Critics Say Deregulatory Rush Shows Even If Defeated the Trump White House Willing to ‘Scorch the Earth Before They Go’

From bomb trains to biometrics to workers’ rights, the administration is pushing for last-minute rollbacks that could prove hard for its successor to overturn.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-17-2020

President Donald Trump signs an executive order in the White House. Photo: White House/flickr

With President Donald Trump’s re-election very much in doubt, his administration is rushing to ram through regulatory rollbacks that could adversely affect millions of Americans, the environment, and the ability of Joe Biden—should he win—to pursue his agenda or even undo the damage done over the past four years.

Reporting by the New York Times details how the administration is cutting corners as it scrambles to enact as much of its agenda as possible before ceding power on January 20 if Trump loses the election. Required public comment periods and detailed analyses, according to the Times, are being eschewed in favor of streamlined approval processes that have left even staunch deregulation defenders sounding the alarm. Continue reading

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‘Sadistic and Depraved’: Trump Rejects California Request for Federal Disaster Aid to Recover From Catastrophic Wildfires

“That a sitting president—of any party—would deny their own citizens help during their time of greatest need, amid literal hellfire raining down on American cities, is beyond shameful.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-16-2020

Screenshot: CBS News

After repeatedly downplaying the catastrophic wildfires that have ravaged California in recent months and falsely attributing the blazes to poor “forest management,” the Trump administration this week denied Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request for federal disaster assistance needed to recover from the destruction the fires inflicted across the state.

The Los Angeles Times reported late Thursday that the Trump White House “rejected California’s request for disaster relief funds aimed at cleaning up the damage from six recent fires… including Los Angeles County’s Bobcat fire, San Bernardino County’s El Dorado fire, and the Creek fire, one of the largest that continues to burn in Fresno and Madera counties.” Continue reading

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Warning Fundamental Rights and American Lives at Stake, 5,000+ Lawyers Urge Senate to Reject Barrett

“Rushing to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett will cause irreparable damage to the public’s faith in the Supreme Court, the rule of law, and our democracy.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-9-2020

Photo:massmatt/flickr/CC

Ahead of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings scheduled to start Monday, more than 5,000 lawyers issued an open letter Friday urging senators to “defend the lives and fundamental rights of all Americans” by refusing to confirm President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Congressional leaders and the White House have been locked in a political battle over the high court’s empty seat since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg  in September. Rights advocates have raised alarm about Barrett’s “extreme ideology”—as the lawyers put it—since even before Trump officially announced her nomination. Continue reading

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Indigenous Leaders Furious After EPA Grants Oklahoma Control Over Sovereign Tribal Lands

“We must fight back against this underhanded ruling,” said one Indigenous leader. “In the courts, on the frontlines and in the international courts, life itself is at stake.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-5-2020

The Oklahoma State Capitol is the only one in the nation containing a working oil rig on its grounds. (Photo: duggar11/Flickr cc)

In a little-noticed development last week that drew ire after being reported Monday, the Trump administration’s EPA granted the state of Oklahoma wide-ranging environmental regulatory control on nearly all tribal lands in the state, stripping dozens of tribes of their sovereignty over critical environmental issues.

The Young Turks which first reported the news, obtained a copy of an October 1 letter (pdf) from EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler granting a request by Republican Gov. J. Kevin Stitt for control of environmental regulations on tribal land on a wide range of issues, including: Continue reading

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Tens of Millions in PPP Loans Went to Corporate Polluters After Companies Were Fined $52 Million, Analysis Shows

“Our federal government should not be essentially giving back portions of the penalties they’ve paid, but that’s exactly what the Trump administration is doing through the PPP.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-4-2020

“These companies have a clear history of violating public trust and the law by contaminating the environment in pursuit of profits.” (Photo: isciencetimes.com)

As the American public awaits a new coronavirus aid package and at least one in five small businesses expect to close by the end of 2020 due to economic hardship, government watchdog Accountable.US and the HuffPost revealed Sunday that at least five companies which were previously fined for pollution violations received millions of dollars in loans via the Paycheck Protection Program which was introduced in March.

Fossil fuel companies, a diesel engine parts manufacturer, and a nuclear waste management company were among the corporations which received up to $32 million in loans, after they were forced to collectively pay more than $52 million in penalties, according to the analysis. Continue reading

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First-Ever Analysis Reveals How America’s Top 100 Law Firms Are ‘Accelerating the Climate Crisis’

“Law firms write the contracts for fossil fuel projects, lobby to weaken environmental regulations, and help fossil fuel companies evade accountability in court.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-1-2020

Harvard Law School students demonstrated against a recruitment dinner hosted by Paul Weiss, a law firm representing ExxonMobil, in January 2020. (Photo: Aaron Regunberg/Twitter)

The top 100 legal firms in the United States “are accelerating the climate crisis” through their litigation, transactions, and lobbying on behalf of polluters, according to a first-ever report of its kind released Thursday by a newly launched law student organization.

Members of Law Students for Climate Accountability analyzed of tens of thousands of recent legal actions by the Vault Law 100 firms for the 2020 Law Firm Climate Change Scorecard, which grades firms A to F based on their work for fossil fuel clients from 2015 to 2019. Continue reading

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Anger and Confusion After Facebook Suspends Environmental and Indigenous Groups’ Accounts Ahead of Pipeline Protest

“Facebook is actively suppressing those who oppose fascism and the colonial capitalists,” said one First Nations activist.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-22-2020

Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Event – Rail Yard near Pioneer Village Station Blockaded – Vaughan, Toronto, Ontario – February 15, 2020. Photo: Jason Hargrove/flickr/CC

Environmental groups reacted with confusion and anger after Facebook temporarily suspended their accounts over the weekend, just days after the social media giant announced an initiative aimed at combating climate misinformation.

The Guardian reports some of the largest and most respected progressive groups—including Greenpeace USA, Rainforest Action Network, and Climate Hawks Vote—were among the hundreds of accounts of Indigenous, climate, and social justice organizations that Facebook suspended. Continue reading

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