Environment / Climate Change RRT

Team Leaders: Diana DeLucca  dianadelucca@verizon.net and Sarah Dawson clevercoyote@gmail.com

Environment Rapid Response Action Items 5.21.2017

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “You would have thought the administration would have revised the budget in light of the overwhelming adverse reaction they encountered from previous trial balloons, instead … they doubled down,” said Bill Becker, the National Association of Clean Air Agencies executive director. White House Moving Ahead with Stiff Budget Cuts

This week we list action items at the top;
scroll or click down for more information and call/email scripts.

FEDERAL

  1. Proposed Trump Cuts To State Grants Will Cripple DEP, Cause Drastic Fee Increases
  2. S. 951: Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017, introduced April 26.
  3. Executive Order Demanding Review of National Monuments

STATE

  1. SB 561 Legislative Approval of Economically Significant Regulations
  2. Scott Martin’s Senate Memorandum and SB 652.
  3. PA SB 624 Clean Streams Law exemption for mining company
  4. Coal-fired Brunner Island power plant due for extension on discharge limits of harmful pollutants.

NEXT MEETING: Please plan on attending our next meeting at the Democratic Headquarters Underground,  53 N. Duke St., Lancaster, Saturday, June 17, 10 a.m.
Meeting notes from our May 8 meeting are available here.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

May 22 and May 23. Lancaster Against Pipelines is hosting “Pipeline Fighters” Documentary Monday, May 22 and Tuesday, May 23 7:00 pm both nights at Zoetropolis Art House (315 W. James St, Lancaster)
The film follows the fight to stop the Atlantic Coast and the Mountain Valley Pipelines to our south, as well as the nationwide anti-pipeline movement.

Tickets are $10 at the door or at the theater’s website at www.zoetropolis.com. The theater seats 80; we advise getting tickets online ahead of time. The Facebook event includes a trailer for the film:
https://www.facebook.com/events/144649159409002??ti=ia

May 24. Visits planned by Jim Sandoe to State Representative Climate Caucus members. Contact Jim at cjsandoe@yahoo.com if you are interested in being part of this group. Interested in June meetings with legislators? Contact Jim to let him know your availability.

CO-LEADERS NEEDED!

You can help sustain this RRT by becoming a co-leaders in charge researching and assisting in programmatic development of different environmental areas, including the following:

  • Wildlife
  • Climate and Energy
  • Transportation
  • Freshwater/Drinking water
  • Oceans
  • Pollution
  • Agriculture
  • Waste and Superfund
  • Air quality
  • Public lands

Co-leaders would be responsible for:

– Staying on top of proposed bills/EOs/judicial rulings involving these topics, collecting information about them, and communicating it via an online forum.

– Helping to organize educational forums experiences for the larger community on your topics.

– Writing regular letters to the editor/op-eds about issues related to your focus are

We will talk about the task requirements more fully at the next meeting, but in essence, they are not extensive, and many hands make light (and thorough) work.

If you are willing to co-lead, please access the topic list via this link and write your name next to the area of your choice.  If there are topics that you think should be included feel free to add those.

Please join us on Facebook!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/812039932280303/

Send a list of your calls and mail to legislators to Jim Sandoe each week. He is maintaining a record of calls for this group. cjsandoe@yahoo.com.

Please continue to send me your suggestions for this action alert, dianadelucca@verizon.net.

Action Items this week in detail …

FEDERAL

  1. Proposed Trump Cuts To State Grants Will Cripple DEP, Cause Drastic Fee Increases The EPA’s grants to state and local governments on pollution issues from air quality management to pesticides enforcement would be cut 45 percent to $597 million in the fiscal year 2018 budget proposal the administration will send to Congress next week, according to details released by the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA).

Contact Smucker/Toomey/Casey

Email content / talking points

I am writing you to emphasize the importance of rejecting the Trump administration’s budget with regard to EPA cuts that are devastating to ongoing programs and state agencies.

The state Department of Environmental Protection receives 30 percent of its funding from the federal government to pay for programs DEP’s administers for the federal government.

The funding is critical to supporting air quality, water quality, safe drinking water, storage tank, hazardous waste regulation and cleanup, surface mine regulation, mine reclamation and other programs.

These potential federal funding cuts come on top of a 40 percent cut in state General Fund support for DEP over the last 14 years and a now 25 percent cut in its staff. The 2017 State House recommends a further 6.5 percent reduction in DEP funding.

The cuts proposed in the Trump budget would cripple DEP’s key environmental programs, especially since they are occurring on top of the state cuts.

We currently face stiff penalties from the EPA due to our current inability to adequately monitor clean water supplies throughout the state.

Call script

Hello. My name is [Insert your name] and I am a constituent in your district. I live at [Insert your address and include your zip code].

Sixty-nine percent of American want to restrict emissions from coal-powered plants and yet the President’s budget discontinues funding for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs, and climate change research and partnership programs.

You were elected to represent the people of Pennsylvania and that includes moving forward on climate protections not backsliding into the polluted past. As a representative of Pennsylvania’s citizens, not just your corporate supporters, you must oppose EPA cuts.

Thank you for your time and attention.

  1. S. 951: Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017, introduced April 26.

UPDATE: The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has voted to issue a report to the full chamber recommending that S.951 be considered further. Only about 1 in 4 bills are reported out of committee.

UPDATE: Govtrack.us upped the chance of this bill passing by 5 points to 21 percent. There are three co-sponsors and two of them are DINOS.

UPDATE: Paul Rand (R) has signed on, making four cosponsors.

A similar version of this bill (same title, HR 5) passed the House in January.
Take action through NRDC page here.

Contact Toomey/Casey

Email content/talking points:

The Regulatory Accountability Act would require regulatory agencies to put compliance costs above public benefits.

The RAA directs each agency to consider a “reasonable number” of alternatives, including “substantial alternatives or other responses identified by interested persons” this can only be interpreted as considerations of the corporate interests that have the most to gain from the weakest protections.

The real purpose of this bill is not to create “regulatory accountability” but rather to make sure that industry can play by its own set of rules, regardless of the price paid by the people who will suffer.

In short, the RAA is the definition of paralysis by analysis.

Call Script

Hello. My name is [Insert your name] and I am a constituent in your district. I live at [Insert your address and include your zip code].

I’m calling in opposition to S. 951 the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017. The bill would require federal agencies to endlessly analysis proposed safeguards, to hold, at industry’s request, time-consuming and expensive trial-like proceedings over minutiae, and grant judges new power to second-guess all agency decisions when big businesses seek to slow down protections in court.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Additional Reading

– UPDATE: letter to Congress from 14 Environmental agencies

– Good analysis on Politico The Coming GOP Assault on Regulations.

– Real world analysis related to asbestos The Regulatory Accountability Act would spread the Asbestos Problem.

Indepth Center for Progressive Reform Summary

  1. Executive Order Demanding Review of National Monuments, April 26th, 2017

Secretary Zinke stated during his confirmation hearing that he was categorically opposed to the sale of public lands and, in his autobiography, praised Teddy Roosevelt for using the Antiquities Act to “wrestle 230 million acres away from timber and railroad interests and place the land under federal protection.” However, during a press conference on the executive order, he refused to deny that Trump’s order will open the way for oil and gas development on public lands. Further, despite claiming that national monuments’ designation had cost Americans jobs, he failed to cite any concrete figures on job loss related to monument designation. Zinke must do his job and protect public lands for all Americans.

Two Links to Public Comments Online:

Interior Department Releases List of Monuments Under Review, Announces First-Ever Formal Public Comment Period for Antiquities Act Monuments

Earth Justice plea and comment form for Bears Ears National Monument

Additional Reading

Is That Legal? Department of the Interior Considers Resizing or Rescinding National Monuments Under the Antiquities Act

Amazing photo album of parks under review

UPCOMING STATE LEGISLATION

  1. SB 561 Legislative Approval of Economically Significant Regulations: Click here to see the full bill. Scott Martin is a co-sponsor of this bill. Scripts below are from PA Together via ActionNetwork.org

SB 561 one of the most awful, anti-environmental bills is up for a vote in the Senate. The bill amends the Regulatory Review Act to require the General Assembly and the Governor to approve all regulations with an economic impact or cost to the Commonwealth, its political subdivisions, and to the private sector that exceed $1.0 million. This invalidates the intent of the regulatory process by increasing legislative oversight over executive authority. In other words it’s a legislative veto over executive action. This of course would not be limited to environmental regulations and would impact the regulatory process for all issues.

Contact Martin and Rules and Executive Nominations Committee

Email content/Talking points:

– As it stands now, legislators can file disapproval resolutions if they oppose regulations passed by the governor, who can then approve or veto their resolutions. If the governor chooses to veto the disapproval, legislators can override the veto by a two-thirds vote. This checks and balances system is sufficient to ensure no one branch of government has too much power to pass legislation.

– While DiSanto claims that his bill will, “strengthen political accountability for regulatory policy and protect our economy from undue burdens on business and job creation.” What he really means is that he and big business don’t want anyone getting in the way of their profits.

– The bill makes no mention of any review of the potential benefits a regulation may generate, which makes it less likely that the legislature will accurately weigh the non-monetary implications of the potential regulation.

Call Script: Hello. My name is [Insert your name] and I am a constituent in your district. I live at [Insert your address and include your zip code].  I am calling to ask that you OPPOSE SB 561. The balance of power is fine as it is and this law will shift the balance of power unfairly. We need checks and balances to ensure that we are appropriately regulating private industry so that they can not put profits over our safety.

Additional reading:

– Midstate legislators want to rein in state regulators Click here

– PA Senate advances bill that would limit Wolf’s economic power Click here

– SUSPENDING THE RULES: HOW CONGRESS PLANS TO UNDERMINE PUBLIC SAFETY Click here

  1. Scott Martin’s Senate Memorandum and SB 652. Two bills aimed at citizens organizing against fossil fuel projects involve Scott Martin. 1.) His Senate Co-Sponsorship Memorandum seeking support for “Reimbursement for Demonstration Response Costs” and 2.) His co-sponsorship of SB 652 aimed at jailing or fining those involved in protecting their lands or public lands against the encroachment of fossil fuel projects.

Contact Martin and Judiciary Committee (see below)

Email/Call Script: Hello. My name is [Insert your name] and I am a constituent in your district. I live at [Insert your address and include your zip code].  I am calling to inform you that I oppose your attempts to criminalize and penalize citizens of this state who seek to protect their quality of life and property values from the devastating encroachment of fossil fuel interests. I strongly disapprove of your recent Senate Memorandum regarding Demonstrations and SB 652. You have crossed a line in your decision to put the needs of out-of-state corporations above Lancaster County citizens.

UPDATE: SB 652 has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Additional reading:

State Senator Scott Martin Proposes Bill To Impose The Public Costs Of Protests Against Pipelines On The Protesters

ALEC Style Bills Aim to Criminalize Pipeline and Fracking Demonstrations Throughout Pennsylvania

  1. PA SB 624 Clean Streams Law exemption for mining company, information here. From Sierra Club: Consol could use alternative coal mining practices that prevent subsidence under streams and create more jobs. But it chooses not to because it alleges these methods are less profitable. Meanwhile, our communities suffer the consequences. Not even state parks are safe from the company’s greed, as it is pushing for permission to destroy streams within Ryerson Station State Park. We’ve prevented that so far, but if we want to prevail we cannot allow any special exemptions to the Clean Streams Law.
    UPDATE: Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) sends opposition letter to Committee.

Use the Sierra Club interface to contact Scott Martin.

  1. Coal-fired Brunner Island power plant due for extension on discharge limits of harmful pollutants.

UPDATE: Connecticut files lawsuit against Brunner Island power plant.

Use the Sierra Club interface to send a message to the DEP on this.

U.S. SENATOR PATRICK TOOMEY
EMAIL FORM ON WEBSITE/SCROLL DOWN FOR PHONE NUMBERS/ADDRESSES
https://www.toomey.senate.gov/?p=contact
FAX HIM HERE
https://faxzero.com/fax_senate.php
TWEET HIM
https://twitter.com/sentoomey

U.S. SENATOR BOB CASEY
EMAIL FORM ON WEBSITE/SCROLL DOWN FOR PHONE NUMBERS/ADDRESSES
https://www.casey.senate.gov/contact?
FAX HIM HERE
https://faxzero.com/fax_senate.php
or personal fax 202-228-0604
TWEET HIM
https://twitter.com/SenBobCasey

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE LLOYD SMUCKER
51 South Duke St
Suite 201
Lancaster, PA 17602
https://smucker.house.gov/contact

PA SENATOR SCOTT MARTIN
48-50 W. Chestnut Street
Suite 308
Lancaster, PA 17603
LANCASTER PHONE:
(717) 787-6535
HARRISBURG PHONE:
(717) 397-1309
EMAIL:
smartin@pasen.gov

PA SENATOR RYAN AUMENT
301 East Main Street
Lititz, PA 17543
LANCASTER PHONE:
(717) 627-0036
HARRISBURG PHONE:
(717) 787-4420
EMAIL FORM ON WEBSITE
​​​​​​​http://www.senatoraument.com/contact/