Image from PBS
Dear media, Congress, and fellow citizens,
Last week I received an email from the White House, signed by Donald Trump, thanking me for a letter I sent on energy and environmental policy. His letter stated: “My Administration is strongly committed to environmental protection, including keeping our air and water clean and being good stewards of our environment. This requires all of us to do our part, and I want to thank you for your commitment to preserving our environment for future generations.”
I’m sure most of you are responding to this statement as I did: “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
This statement was made in spite of the following facts:
- The president has announced plans to eviscerate Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments by more than two million acres (the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined) and hand it over to oil and mining companies.
- Republicans in Congress have introduced legislation that would codify Trump’s illegal actions into law and eviscerate the Antiquities Act of 1906. Congress intentionally did not give the president the power to remove national monument protections once established.
- One bill removes crucial protections for imperiled wildlife and fragile coastal habitats. Another hands control of the Utah Red Rock are over to local authorities. Another threatens the entire National Wildlife Refuge system.
- Secretary Zinke has recommended President Trump reduce protections for additional monuments (Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon and California; Gold Butte in Nevada; Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks in New Mexico) to allow mining, logging, and drilling.
- Provisions hidden in the tax bill opens up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to big oil companies.
- Zinke’s interior department is agreeing to a secret “land swap” that gives away a portion of Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge to a corporation and supports a bill that would sell 6,000 acres of public land in Arizona.
- The administration has plans for a toxic uranium mine in lands surrounding the Grand Canyon.
These facts do not demonstrate a commitment to environmental protection. So ….
To the media: Given all these assaults on the planet and our well-being, why are there not daily headlines in the newspapers and televised news telling the public the crisis the planet, and we, are in from the intentions and policies of this administration?
To Congress: When will you begin doing your job to protect the planet and citizens from the outrages of this administration? Your priorities should be safeguarding the environment and democracy.
To my fellow citizens: What are you doing to protect the environment from these assaults? Who will you vote for that might help us remove this embarrassing and dangerous administration?
I am one of those people who never remembers punch lines, let alone jokes, but these days I often remember an old Pogo cartoon line: “I have met the enemy, and it is us.” This is where we seem to be right now. Let’s work together to change this scenario.