San Francisco, December 13: scientists push back on Trump’s cabinet picks
Trump has appointed Big Oil representatives and climate deniers to lead four key agencies: the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department, and the State Department. Now national environmental groups are taking action. Here’s what they are doing and what you can do.
Rex Tillerson – Secretary of State
350.org: rallies, calls, ads, and a petition
- Tuesday Dec 20: Rally at Trump transition headquarters in Washington, DC.
- January 3, when the new Senate takes office: make thousands of phone calls to every Senator telling them to vote against the Denier Cabinet.
- The following week: take to the streets in all 50 states to oppose their nominations.
- Fill the digital airwaves with ads calling out Senators who say they agree with climate science, but still support Trump’s climate denying cabinet.
- Sign this petition. [Unclear whom it’s going to]
Why push back on this nominee: Tillerson, a lifelong employee and CEO of ExxonMobil, has shaped its history as one of world’s biggest, most environmentally destructive fossil fuel corporations.
ExxonMobil deliberately concealed its knowledge of climate change while funding denialist groups for decades in order to prevent climate action from hurting their profits. [See Exxon’s decades of deceit: A timeline of what Exxon knew about climate science, and what they’ve done to deny, hide, and muddy the truth]
It was responsible for the Exxon Valdez oil spill, one of the costliest environmental disasters in history, and countless other spills. Elsewhere around the world, Exxon has supported violence and intimidation against communities where it operates.
As Secretary of State, Tillerson would oversee everything from negotiating international climate agreements to issuing annual human rights reports and reviewing the Keystone XL pipeline.
Rick Perry – Department of Energy
Friends of the Earth: Petition urging our senators to block Perry’s nomination
Why push back on this nominee: As governor of Texas until 2015, Perry championed fossil fuel production. He wrote that climate science is a “contrived phony mess” and accused climate scientists of manipulating data to get money.
He fought the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions because of the “devastating implications” for the energy industry. He opposes truly clean energy like wind and solar.
Perry has received some $2.5 million from polluters. As head of the Energy Department, Perry would have power to roll back climate progress.
Ryan Zinke: Interior Department
Friends of the Earth: Petition urging our senators to block Zinke’s nomination
Why push back on this nominee: Ryan Zinke is a freshman Congressman from Montana. In just two years he’s received a whopping $345,000 from fossil fuel interests.
Zinke has said that climate change is “not a settled science.” He’s opposed the most basic protections for our public lands. He thinks our national forests should be handed to the logging industry with no protections for the environment, and he’s been a leader in opposing the Obama administration’s attempts to keep coal in the ground.
As head of the Department of the Interior, Zinke would have a lot of power to roll back our progress. He would not keep fossil fuels in the ground on our public lands and waters. Instead, he’d work for a massive expansion of fossil fuel development. That would amount to billions of dollars of giveaways for Big Oil.
Scott Pruitt – EPA Administrator
Sierra Club: Petition urging our senators to block Pruitt’s nomination.
Why push back on this nominee: Climate denier Pruitt has taken more than $300,000 from fossil fuel interests since 2002. As Oklahoma’s Attorney General, he sued the EPA — the agency he’s slated to lead.
All four nominees
Friends of the Earth: Organize a Day of Action at your local congressional office
Hosting an action outside your Member of Congress’s local office will push them to hold Trump accountable. It’ll also connect you with other progressives who want to do more. After you sign up, the Sierra Club will send you an Action Toolkit, a letter to deliver to the Congressional office, and they’ll invite you to a series of training calls. They recommend holding your action on January 23, Trump’s first work day as President.
Last month we urged BostonCAN members to resist Trump’s “cook the planet” agenda by taking three steps:
- Call our senators and representatives, asking them to pull together a bipartisan force for climate progress.
- Make that safe for their colleagues by writing letters to the editor in other states. Sample letters here.
- Build national support by talking to your family and friends in red and purple states.