ACTION ALERT: With Pruitt Out, What's Next? Trump Targets the Endangered Species Act!
July 10, 2018
Liz Butler / Friends of the Earth & Tiffany Finck-Haynes / Friends of the Earth US & 350.org
You wrote to your Member of Congress. You made phone calls. You took to the streets. And it worked -- last week, Scott Pruitt lost his job as EPA Administrator. This is a huge victory for people and the environment. But our environmental protections are still at risk. A new bill was just introduced in Congress that would overhaul and dismantle the Endangered Species Act. This bill would be a disaster for bees, butterflies, birds, wolves and other valuable wildlife. We can't let that happen.
ACTION ALERT: With Pruitt Out What Is Next?
Liz Butler / Friends of the Earth
(July 8, 2018) -- You wrote to your Member of Congress. You made phone calls. You took to the streets. And it worked -- last week, Scott Pruitt lost his job as EPA Administrator.
This is a huge victory for people and the environment. Pruitt will no longer be able to waste taxpayer money on his luxurious lifestyle while meeting with fossil fuel industry executives and gutting the EPA.
But our environmental protections are still at risk. Pruitt spent the last 18 months doing everything he could to make it easier for Big Polluters to poison our air, water and communities. Now, a coal industry lobbyist -- Andrew Wheeler -- is taking his place as Acting EPA Administrator. And Pruitt still needs to be held accountable for all the damage he's done.
Pruitt losing his job shows that when we all work together, we can stop even the most corrupt, extremist members of the Trump administration. But it wouldn't have happened without people like you taking action and supporting this campaign every step of the way. Now, we need you with us as we continue the fight to save our environmental protections from Donald Trump.
Our campaign to fire Pruitt provided a blueprint for stopping the Trump administration's corruption and extreme anti-environmental agenda.
It started back in March, when hundreds of Friends of the Earth volunteers joined a training call to learn how to pressure their Members of Congress to publicly call for Pruitt to be fired. In the subsequent weeks, our volunteers and activists hung tens of thousands of posters in neighborhoods across the country, collected petition signatures in their communities, and made thousands of phone calls into Congressional offices.
The first sign that our pressure was working came when a South Carolina team of Friends of the Earth activists showed up at an event with Rep. Trey Gowdy and asked him about Pruitt. He responded that he "didn't have a lot of patience" for Pruitt's scandals. Rep. Gowdy's comments made national headlines and were repeated on newscasts around the country for days afterwards -- putting Trump, Pruitt and other Members of Congress on notice.
So we doubled down. Friends of the Earth members joined members of 22 other progressive organizations to send more than 300,000 petition signatures to Congress demanding that Pruitt be fired.
Then, more than 8,700 people signed up to deliver those petition signatures at Congressional district offices all across the country. Those deliveries led to sit-down meetings with Congressional staff in Philadelphia and Boston, and a rally outside Senator Schumer's office in New York.
While Members of Congress were hearing from constituents like you at district offices, they were also questioning Pruitt at a Senate committee hearing in Washington, DC. So we were there with "Impeach Pruitt" t-shirts and signs saying "fire him." Meanwhile, the Senators in the room grilled Pruitt about his scandals. The hearing was disastrous for Pruitt -- and after the media used photos of our "fire him" signs to cover it, Congress really started feeling the pressure to act.
Momentum was on our side -- but Trump was still firmly standing by Pruitt. We knew that if we wanted to get him fired, we needed more Republicans to speak out against him. So we went to a press conference that Pennsylvania Rep. Fitzpatrick was holding to talk about protecting clean water. We put him on the spot by asking him if he thought Pruitt should resign. His response? "Yes, I do."
With Members of Congress speaking out against Scott Pruitt and new stories about his corruption coming out on an almost daily basis, it was only a matter of time before Pruitt lost his job. But we never would have gotten to that point without Friends of the Earth members who drove this campaign forward every step of the way.
We still have a lot of work to do. Andrew Wheeler is set to pick up where Pruitt left off as EPA Administrator -- despite questions about whether he lied on his ethics forms to Congress. And Pruitt must still be held accountable for abusing his position as EPA Administrator for personal gain.
But I know that together we can protect our environment from these attacks. We'll keep building on the great work being done by our base of members, activists and volunteers who are pressuring Congress to hold the Trump administration accountable. But we can't do this without you.
Help keep the pressure on Congress to hold the Trump administration accountable:
Liz Butler is VP of organizing and strategic alliances.
ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress:
'Don't Gut the Endangered Species Act'
Tiffany Finck-Haynes / Friends of the Earth US
(July 9, 2018) -- A new bill was just introduced in Congress that would overhaul and dismantle the Endangered Species Act. This bill would be a disaster for bees, butterflies, birds, wolves and other valuable wildlife.
The Endangered Species Act is a bedrock environmental law that protects animals at risk of extinction and their habitat. Thanks to this law, many species have escaped extinction and are now on the path to recovery.
But all of this is at stake. The GOP wants to gut the Endangered Species Act and put many critical species at risk. We can't let that happen.
Republicans in Congress have been trying to weaken this law for a long time. For example, last month Republicans snuck a provision into the Farm Bill that would weaken protections from pesticides for endangered and threatened species like the rusty patched bee or monarch butterflies.
But this new bill is even worse. It's meant to take away the role of scientists and wildlife experts tasked with making decisions to help protect threatened and endangered species. Instead it would give this role to state governments, which the federal government has not funded with adequate resources to thoroughly protect critical species.
From Big Ag to the fossil fuel industry, giant corporations are putting endangered species at risk. They're dousing our fields in glyphosate, which is linked to the decline of monarch butterflies by 90% in the last 20 years.
They're trying to build the Keystone XL Pipeline through endangered whooping crane habitat. And they want to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, with potentially catastrophic impacts on wildlife.
So it's no coincidence that this attack on endangered species was introduced by Rep. Barrasso -- who received over $450,000 from the oil and gas industry and over $240,000 from the mining industry between 2011 and 2016. Now, he's trying to pay back those contributors.
We need you to speak up and demand that your member of Congress protect wildlife, not the oil and gas industry.
ACTION: Tell Congress: Our environment is more important than oil, gas and pesticide companies' profits.
As a constituent, I am writing to express my strong opposition to Representative Barrasso's proposal to overhaul the Endangered Species Act. The bill would be disastrous for threatened and endangered species that are critical to our environment. I urge you to reject this bill and stop it dead in its tracks.
The bill would make the role of the federal government smaller and increase the role of states when determining how to protect threatened and endangered species.
The bill is meant to take away the role of scientists and wildlife experts tasked with making decisions to help protect threatened and endangered species and give this role to states -- but the federal government has not funded those states with adequate resources or legal authority to thoroughly protect critical species.
Decisions regarding our environment and wildlife protection should be grounded in science and not motivated by special interests. I'm deeply concerned that the real motivation behind Rep. Barrasso's bill is the campaign contributions he has received from the oil and gas industry. From 2011 to 2016, he received over $450,000 from the oil and gas industry, plus, over $240,000 from the mining industry.
We must not weaken the Endangered Species Act, which is more important than ever as scientists say we are in the midst of the "6th great extinction" largely due to human activities. For example, in the last 20 years, the number of monarch butterflies has declined by 90 percent and monarchs would need a 5-fold increase to recover from risk of quasi-extinction.
A key factor in their decline is glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world. It is also widely used among the monarch's migration route -- virtually wiping out milkweed, the only food young monarchs eat.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is currently considering listing the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act to help give it the support it needs to rebound to safe levels. If we weaken the Endangered Species Act, we may lose the monarch butterfly and countless other iconic American plants and animals.
A poll conducted in 2015 found that regardless of political, regional and demographic lines, 90 percent of American voters support the Endangered Species Act. I urge you to reject any attacks on the Endangered Species Act, which is widely supported by US voters and essential to maintaining a healthy environment for future generations.
Tiffany Finck-Haynes, Senior food futures campaigner.
Friends of the Earth US. Washington, D.C. and Berkeley, CA. 1-877-843-8687
Pruitt Resigns -- Now We Rise
(July 6, 2018) -- You spoke up. You wrote public comments. You petitioned. And now? Victory! Yesterday, Scott Pruitt resigned his post as head of the EPA, with fifteen federal investigations1still open on him.
Here's what’s next: putting local and state elected officials under the same kind of pressure we put on Pruitt. On September 8th, people around the world will do just that as part of a global day of action: Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice. Sign up now to join the California-wide mobilization in San Francisco.
Time and time again, Pruitt used and abused his position to secure personal gain for himself, his family members, and fossil fuel executives. He thought he could get away with it, but together we pushed back every step of the way.
The wave of outrage that swept the country grew with each new scandal until it forced Pruitt out of office. We know our voices made a difference because Pruitt himself cited "unrelenting attacks" as a reason for leaving. (2.)
Over 70,000 petition signatures came from 350 supporters like you, and the #BootPruitt coalition generated close to a million public comments. You did this. This was organized and persistent people power at work. Thank you.
Mass public pressure worked to #BootPruitt -- and now we'll create that same pressure on governors and mayors by marching together on September 8. Thousands of people from across California are already planning to march in San Francisco.
The fight isn't over at the EPA. Andrew Wheeler, the new acting EPA administrator, has spent the last decade lobbying for corporate polluters and denies climate science. If confirmed, he would charge forth with the same dangerous and regressive policies of Scott Pruitt.
But, if every city and state in the country goes Fossil Free and says no to new fossil fuel projects, commits to 100% renewable energy, and divests from fossil fuels, we can still protect our communities and climate from the devastation of a Trump-controlled EPA.
ACTION: RSVP to Rise on September 8th to demand real climate leadership from every elected official.
Thank you for all you did to boot Pruitt,
Ju-Hyun and 350 team
P.S.: The Pope just singled out the Global Climate Action Summit as an opportunity to get organized and to pressure decision-makers at all levels. Read more here.
1. "Scandals force EPA's Scott Pruitt to exit stage right" -- Steve Benen, MSNBC
2. "EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns amid scandals, citing 'unrelenting attacks" -- Jeremy Diamond, Eli Watkins, Juana Summers, CNN