5 Environmental Actions – from the president’s desk to our own backyards.

Action #1: SB-467 FAILED in committee! Seriously! With a Democratic majority! But we may still get the 2500′ setback if we call!

3 Democratic state senators (Eggman, Hueso, and Hertzberg) killed SB 467 – the Dangerous Drilling Bill in the Natural Resources Committee. This critical legislation, authored by our own senator Monique Limón, would have protected the millions of Californians who live in close proximity to oil and gas operations, banned dangerous drilling practices, and begun a just transition for oil and gas workers as the state meets its climate goals and steadily moves away from fossil fuels. (Oil industry donor spreadsheet here.)

(From VISION) “THE FIGHT’S NOT OVER YET! SB 467, is not dead yet – we still have a chance to protect more than 2M Californians, mostly in low-income and Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities, but only if we show our target Senators we won’t accept their silence and lack of support. We can no longer sacrifice our health and the health of our children, neighbors, and friends to the oil and gas industry, and our lawmakers have the chance to do something about it. (Plus our state’s economy loses about $28 billion annually due to premature deaths and illnesses linked to ozone and particulates.)

SB 467 will be amended to a “SETBACKS-ONLY” bill. We’ve got just 7 business days to make sure that we can get one more vote in the Natural Resources Committee from our targets below. Please share the attachments and the email below with your friends and community members to make calls! ASAP to keep up the momentum of the fight for setbacks! – and our work is fruitless if it doesn’t escape the inboxes of the people getting this email right now. You do not have to be a constituent to make these calls.

Then, take a moment to thank our senator for her efforts! She’s one of only 9 CA legislators judged as climate and environmental champions! Oil and Gas Scores for all CA legislators (Assembly) (Senate)

State Senator Monique Limón (SD-19): SAC (916) 651-4019, SB (805) 965-0862, OX (805)988-1940 email

Action #2: Katie wants to see some concrete actions against our biggest polluters and welfare recipients. The “End Polluter Welfare Act” is a great start!

(God, we love this video!…)

The 20 largest fossil fuel companies account for more than a third of global greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era, all while raking in absurd profits, American taxpayers today pay $15 billion per year in direct federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. In 2020, the oil, gas, and coal industry spent more than $115 million lobbying Congress in defense of these giveaways for an over 13,000% return on investment.
The End Polluter Welfare Act, cosponsored by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), would eliminate these absurd corporate handouts and save American taxpayers up to $150 billion over the next ten years.

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Rep./Sen. [___] to strongly support and cosponsor the “End Polluter Welfare Act.

Read the bill summary here. 
Read a section-by-section summary here. 
Read the legislative text here. 
Read the letter of support signed by 85 organizations here.

Contacts

  • Rep. Julia Brownley: email(CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Action #3: Joe isn’t keeping his promise on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Write him a note.

Write Joe here. (Make this sound like your natural writing style and if you can, add your own story on how oil industry pollution has impacted you or your family.)

Sample script: Dear President Biden, I am writing to urge you to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) while the court-ordered environmental impact statement is conducted. DAPL is operating without a permit and threatens the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe every day it operates.

More script if you want it: The pipeline should have never been built in the first place, and its continued operation is an affront to the Tribe’s sovereignty. It’s unconscionable to expose the Tribe and their water to oil spills without conducting a thorough assessment of the risk. There is no choice but to shut down the pipeline while the Army Corps of Engineers is studying the danger the pipeline poses.

Even more script if you want it: The Army Corps has the authority to stop the flow of oil through the pipeline. The Trump administration ignored the law on this issue as with many others, but I hope you and your administration will reverse course and make amends. Please respect the law and the Tribe’s sovereignty by shutting down the Dakota Access pipeline while a full environmental impact statement is conducted.

What’s happening now…

On his first day in office, Biden signed an order revoking a permit the Trump administration granted to a Canadian energy company behind the Keystone XL pipeline.

Hopes were high that he would similarly shut down the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe by determining that DAPL was operating illegally. The Army Corps had erroneously issued an easement for the pipeline to run beneath Lake Oahe, a reservoir on the Missouri River, which runs through both tribal nations. If, when it eventually leaks, potentially millions of gallons of oil could contaminate the Missouri River.

The court initially ordered the pipeline to be shut down and drained, but an appeals court allowed it to remain online while litigation played out. Still, the decision meant that the pipeline has been operating for roughly a year without the necessary permitting.The court ordered a full environmental impact statement examining the threats posed by the oil pipeline. (The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as the Democrats’ letter (Merkley, Warren, Barragán, Ruiz, Grijalva) to Biden notes, “rightfully fears an oil spill could disproportionately affect their drinking water, as well as hunting and fishing rights.”

By shutting down this illegal pipeline, you can continue to show your administration values the environment and the rights of Indigenous communities more than the profits of outdated fossil fuel industries. This is a critical step towards righting the wrongs of the past and setting our nation on a path of environmental, climate, and social justice.

However, the Biden Administration announced that it would not shut it down while the project’s court-ordered environmental review is underway. The judge will decide the fate of the pipeline by April 19. That means that the pipeline is currently operating illegally, endangering the community and violating the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

It’s time to put pressure on President Biden to permanently shut down the pipeline in keeping with his commitment to improving tribal consultation and taking bold action to tackle the climate crisis.

Action #4: Say “NO” the Forest Service’s proposal for backcountry looting logging on Mt. Pinos.

Submit a comment online with Los Padres Forest Watch awesome and EASY auto-randomizing letter-generator. It’s actually kind of fun.

The public comment period is open until May 7.

Read the whole Los Padres Forest Watch report here. (https://lpfw.org/forest-service-to-expedite-backcountry-logging-on-mt-pinos/) Here’s a summary:

  • The Forest Service (FS) announced plans to cut thousands of trees across nearly 1,600 acres atop Mt. Pinos, possibly involving a private timber sale or through “stewardship contracts” with private logging companies to profit from the timber harvest in exchange for services. 
  • The Trump administration instigated a number of commerical logging proposals in the Los Padres National Forest. Local Chumash groups and over 15,000 scientists, elected officials, business owners, and members of the public have pushed back.
  • Latest science indicates that forests such as those found on Mt. Pinos are naturally highly resilient to wildfire.
  • Studies have found that forest thinning and other vegetation removal activities can actually decrease wildfire resilience in forests by removing fire-resistant trees, increasing heating and drying of the forest floor, and spreading non-native invasive grasses and weeds that ignite more easily and spread wildfire more quickly under non-extreme weather conditions. 
  • This is an important Chumash site in the Los Padres National Forest that lies at the physical and spiritual center of local Indigenous Tribes.
  • FS would allow removal of mature trees up to two feet wide in diameter across 2.5 square miles, along with even larger trees in certain circumstances.
  • FS would use a controversial loophole to bypass requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to conduct a detailed study of potential impacts to the area’s unique ecosystems and to examine less-damaging alternatives.
  • Mt. Pinos is important for local recreation, with snow sports, hiking, biking, and horseback riding, campgrounds – Chula Vista, Mt. Pinos, and McGill, and the popular McGill trail.
  • It is one the few places where corn lilies, western blue flag, and other high elevation wildflowers grow, along wiith several sensitive and endangered species.
  • Logging, including loss of habitat, noise and disruption, with disturb sensitive populations, such as condors, mountain lions, black bears, bobcats, and coyotes

Resources

  • (Deseret) Logging makes forest fire problem worse, not better.
  • (obg.org) Despite what the logging industry says, cutting down trees isn’t stopping catastrophic wildfires
  • (fs.fed.us) Forest Harvest Can Increase Subsequent Forest Fire Severity
  • (buzzfeed) Why California Can’t Chainsaw Its Way Out Of A Raging Inferno
  • “The Myth of “Overgrown” Forests (2018) here
  • “Does increased forest protection correspond to higher fire severity in frequent-fire forests of the western United States? (2016) here
  • “Common Myths about Forest and Fire” (2019) here
  • “We Cannot Effectively Fight Climate Change Without Increasing Forest Protection” (2019) here
  • Dead Trees (“Snags”) Do Not Make Forests Burn More Intensely (2017) here

Action #5: Witness climate change happen and imagine the future. Share!

Find your own area here and watch how it has changed over the last 37 years.

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