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Veterans who are elected officials fought for a fully funded LWCF — now GAOA is law By Ramona du Houx WASHINGTON D.C. – On July 22 the United States House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act with a vote of 310-107. The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 73-25 last June. The bipartisan legislation will fully […]

Veterans who are elected officials fought for a fully funded LWCF — now GAOA is law

By Ramona du Houx WASHINGTON D.C. – On July 22 the United States House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act with a vote of 310-107. The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 73-25 last June. The bipartisan legislation will fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), while addressing a backlog of maintenance needs for national parks and other public lands. The veto proof bill was signed into law in August. “As veterans who are lawmakers, protecting our public lands is part of defending our country. We fought to ensure every American enjoys their inherited right to public land access,” said Alex Cornell du Houx, a former Maine state lawmaker, Marine combat veteran, and President of Elected Officials to Protect America.(EOPA). “We are elated to see that the Great American Outdoors Act passed Congress and soon will be law, creating increased prosperity, health, and the freedom to enjoy our nation’s national treasures for generations.” More
 

Water in Crisis: Part I – The Future Sucked Dry: How foreign interests threaten U.S. water security in rural Arizona

By Brianna Cunliffe, P.E.N. chief investigative reporter. September, 2020 The United States will face a full-blown water crisis by the end of the century. In many ways, we are in one already. A recent study confirmed that American West is in the grips of the first human-caused megadrought — our continent has only seen one like it in the past 1,200 years. Thirsty cities and rampant wildfires further deplete water supplies in the arid landscapes of California. Countless Western rivers face existential threats as farms require more and more irrigation to cope with the unpredictable weather and changing rain patterns driven by our climate crisis. The situation is precarious today. The future promises no relief, only resources stretched thinner and less stable. A government study found that in 50 years, less than half of the freshwater basins in the United States will be able to meet monthly demand.  More
 

Regenerative agriculture fixes broken soil cycles responsible for the desolate landscapes

September 1, 2020 By Masha Vernik, Policy Advisor at Peace Rising Soil is nature’s recycling system. It turns death into energy for life. Industrial agriculture throws a wrench into this cycle, turning abundance into scarcity instead. Such a system is doomed to fall, and when it does, so will we. Human survival depends on a just transition towards regenerative agriculture, and not just because of carbon capture. Without such a transition, global soil stores of nitrogen (N) could drain. While soil is naturally endowed with the gift of nitrogen transformation, excessive fertilizer use robs it of this gift. Unable to produce or store its own nitrogen, the soil’s productivity and resiliency to climate change suffers. Instead of replacing natural nitrogen cycles, regenerative soil practices amplify them. In doing so, regenerative agriculture assures food security, especially in the face of climate change. More

 

Reliance on oil risks climate crisis worsening — veterans who are elected officials say that’s a real national security threat

August 26, 2020 By Brianna Cunliffe, PEN chief investigative reporter Bankruptcy, devaluations and defeats in court have been plaguing the fossil fuel industry, one after the other, from BP’s massive devaluations to the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Recently, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette claimed that these interferences with pipeline construction are a national security issue. But many elected officials who are veterans of foreign wars are pushing back, insisting that his rhetoric of security appears to be only one of convenience. Security is hardly the priority, they argue, when American pursuit of oil interest puts citizens’ lives at risk, or when worsening disasters driven by the climate crisis rock our coastlines year after year. More
 

The world’s fossil fuel reliance has birthed Super Storms — leaders have to act now before it’s too late

August 26, 2020 By Brianna Cunliffe, PEN chief investigative reporter Hurricane Katrina. Superstorm Sandy. Maria. These names stand out in our collective memory as anomalies, moments that shifted the human spirit and shook our country to its core. But as the climate crisis rises to a fever pitch, these storms are fast becoming just three among many, as unnatural disasters rock our coasts again and again. Two storms, one after the other, are churning towards the East coast, and even the seasoned Louisiana citizens who have weathered decades of hurricane seasons agree: something’s different this time. With Marco dumping massive amounts of rain and Laura strengthening into a formidable hurricane as it prepares to hit the coastline, the one-two punch of the storms is described as an “unprecedented threat.” It’s the latest in a devastating string of disasters that aren’t so natural at all.  More

 

With fossil fuel industries losing profits elected officials group says New York should divest its pension fund

September 1, 2020 By Ramona du Houx The nation’s third-largest public pension system is The New York State Common Retirement Fund issues more than $1 billion in benefits to retirees each month. The fund’s investment portfolio is worth about $200 billion but part of it is in jeopardy, according to environmental groups and a large group of New York elected officials, called the Elected officials to Protect New York (EOPNY). They want the fund to divest its shares from fossil fuel industries in order to affirm New York’s policy goals of transitioning and supporting renewable forms of energy. The fund’s sole trustee is state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who has held the statewide office for the past 13 years. More

 

Trump rollbacks methane emissions regulations and Newsom issues fracking permits

September 2, 2020 By Sarah Heins Sacramento, CA- In the midst of this unprecedented public health, environmental, and economic crisis the need to move away from fossil fuels has never been clearer. In California leaking oil and gas wells have been poisoning communities — putting the lives and livelihoods of millions at risk. But is not just the toxins these wells emit that are of concern, they also release the most potent greenhouse gas — methane. During the Obama administration, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations were put into place that targeted three major sources of greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide emissions from cars and coal-burning power plants, and methane leaks from oil and gas wells. The coal power plant regulations were rolled back in 2019 and the automobile emission rule was rolled back this past spring. With the Trump administration rolling back existing methane regulations they’ve completed their trifecta, a recipe for fueling the climate crisis.  More

 

Ocean Acidification: Fisheries are the heart of coastal communities but they’re beginning to fade away

By Olivia Baaten While the nation’s gaze falls elsewhere, a silent threat lurks underneath the ocean waves. The sea is acidifying at an unprecedented rate, threatening marine species and the economies that rely on them. Human activity, specifically the unfettered combustion of fossil fuels, is indubitably responsible for the degradation of the world’s oceans.  One climate action non-profit, Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA), calls for phasing out fossil fuels to prevent the complete ruination of the oceans, an essential cultural and economic resource. Ocean acidification is the process by which the pH of the ocean decreases as a response to an increase in dissolved carbon dioxide. Typically, the ocean acts as the world’s most important carbon sink, but there is an upward limit on the amount of carbon dioxide that the oceans can healthily sequester. As a global community we have far surpassed this threshold, and as a result the levels of dissolved carbon dioxide are decreasing the pH of the ocean in a catastrophic manner. More

 

Elected Officials to Protect America urges lawmakers to defend our First Amendment rights from the fossil fuel industry

Elected Officials to Protect America urges lawmakers to defend our First Amendment rights from the fossil fuel industry By Maegan Brejnik The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are pieces of history that have become increasingly more relevant in modern day. Currently, individuals and groups are under fire for peacefully protesting, an action which is specifically protected by the First Amendment. The right to peacefully assemble is paramount in any functioning democracy, as it allows citizens to exercise their freedom of speech without fear of government retaliation. There are many long standing issues that continue to be protested, yet corporate reactions to anti-pipeline protests are setting a dangerous precedent. The Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA) sees this as a threat to America’s rule of law, and strongly condemns the wave of legislation in numerous states that have been eroding the First Amendment. More

 

Californian elected officials tell Newsom to stop propping up gas/oil industries & declare a state of emergency for the climate crisis

By Brianna Cunliffe, P.E.N. chief investigative reporter September 2, 2020 Few Californians were spared from the grueling heat wave that recently baked the state. Not only were they coping with life-threatening heat, they were forced to live with an energy regime that, when they most need support and stability, left them in the dark.  With rolling blackouts that have rippled across the state, as many as 3.3 million Californian households were left without power as temperatures rocketed up past 100 degrees, reaching 130 in Death Valley. The political fallout was immense, with citizens demanding to know who’s to blame for this staggering systemic failure. Newsom said in an August 17th press conference: he is “ultimately accountable” for the rolling blackouts.  More

 

Without oil/gas well set-back safety zones in CA thousands become sick – Covid-19 increases risk

CA, the third largest oil/gas producer, has no safety zones surrounding its wells

August 28, 2020 By Ramona du Houx Some are stunned when they realize California is the third-largest producer of crude oil in the United States, for the state has a reputation of being a leader fighting climate change. Many Californians pride themselves on their state’s leadership on issues of public health and the environment. A staggering new NRDC analysis of oil and gas development in California shows that approximately 5.4 million people of the state’s population live within a mile of one, or more, of more than 84,000 existing oil and gas wells. More than a third, 1.8 million, people also live in areas most burdened by environmental pollution as identified by California EPA’s tool.  More

 

Tongass National Forest Roadless Protections threatened by Trump – 9 Alaskan tribes file petition. Trump opens up Alaska to oil developers

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By Ramona du Houx During the end of July, nine native Alaska tribes filed a petition calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to halt the removal of protections for the Tongass National Forest, the country’s largest reserve of public woodlands, which the tribes say is vital to their livelihoods. “Not only is it devastating for the land, but for our people and for the survival of our culture,” said Marina Anderson, tribal administrator for the Organized Village of Kasaan, who signed the petition. “It’s really essential that we keep these old growth timber stands intact.” More

 

All across America elected officials urge Congress to take on a clean energy stimulus plan

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By Maegan Brejnik The lack of normalcy has resulted in COVID-19 taking a toll on the economy. To help recover from this deepening recession evidence points to the necessity for Congress to adopt a national stimulus plan aimed at building back the economy on the basis of clean energy. There is precedent. President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 proved to be the stimulus plan needed to end the Great Recession. The ARRA package included $90 billion in clean energy investments and tax incentives. More
 
By Diego Velasquez As Californians headed into the Fourth of July weekend, the Newsom administration issued 12 new fracking permits to Chevron in the Lost Hills oilfield of Kern County. Amid a global health pandemic, with COVID-19 targeting the respiratory systems of over 475,000 in the state, Californian residents may soon be exposed to compounding respiratory threats from the result of more fracking operations. Despite a moratorium which Governor Gavin Newsom put in place last year halting the establishment of new oil wells, big oil and gas companies have been lobbying Sacramento with greater intensity to push forward these new projects.  More
 
July 21, 2020 By Ramona du Houx During his daily pandemic news briefings, on many occasions New York State’s Governor Andrew M. Cuomo would say, “we must build back better,” refereeing to how his state would reenergize and rebuild the state’s beleaguered post-COVID-19 economy. On July 21, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the largest combined clean energy solicitations ever issued in the U.S., seeking up to 4,000 megawatts of renewable capacity to combat climate change. More
 
By Brianna Cunliffe, PEN chief investigative reporter From the heart of the city to the suburbs and rural communities, protesters have risen up against the systemic racism made painfully clear by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. But even the very air they breathe as they march in the streets is unequal. Black communities across the nation are exposed to nearly twice the harmful air pollution as their White counterparts, yet they consume less of the goods responsible for its creation. These aren’t merely unpleasant breathing spaces they are lethal ones.  More
 

By Dominic Frongillo, Executive Director, Elected Officials to Protect America, and Arjun Shreekumar, New Jersey Coordinator, Elected Officials to Protect America Article from New Jersey Urban Mayors Association, Urban Mayors Press, Summer 2020 -Volume 3, Issue 2 The COVID-19 pandemic has tragically hit cities across New Jersey hard. Over a million people are out of work statewide. Many of those jobs may not return. We need to stimulate our economy with good-paying jobs. We can start by modernizing and cutting pollution from our transportation sector. More
 

By Ramona du Houx/July 22, 2020 With COVID-19 growing exponentially in the majority of American states, there have been renewed economic stimulus talks from local municipalities on up to Congress. While plans are being forged and reworked one group, The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), had already seen the writing on the wall and at the end of spring addressed the situation with their collation. At the end of May, ASBC announced a comprehensive series of innovative policy recommendations for states and localities to address the impacts of COVID-19 while building more resilient and equitable economies. More
 
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By Sarah Heins Sacramento, CA- In the midst of this unprecedented public health and economic crisis the need to change our energy usage to 100 percent renewable has crystalized as we witness how communities of color have been devastated more by the pandemic. Too often it’s because they live in environmental sacrifice zones. Much of this environmental degradation has been caused by oil and gas wells that have been poisoning communities for decades — putting the lives and livelihoods of thousands at risk. Adding insult to injury, those same communities are too often left with the cleanup and Californian taxpayers with the associated costs. More
 
By Oliva BaatenScreen Shot 2020-07-28 at 10.53.12 PM Racial cleavages are strikingly clear in this strange era, as the nation takes to the streets in protest of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arubury; yet, stimulus spending has conspicuously failed to reflect national sentiment. Elected Officials to Protect California (EOPCA), a nonpartisan climate action nonprofit of lawmakers whose programs are led by state representatives who are veterans, posits that any effective stimulus strategy for California must subsidize clean energy as a vehicle for economic stimulus and environmental justice in the epoch of COVID-19. More
 
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By Olivia Baaten California has been shattering records and trouncing projections as cases of Coronavirus soar, averaging 8,000 new cases per day. As California once more braces for shutdown, economic devastation is sure to follow. Now the state may face even more sinister problems, as fire season approaches. According to the California Air Resources Board, the climate crisis, primarily caused by the combustion of fossil fuels, considerably increases the frequency and severity of wildfires. Elected Officials to Protect California (EOPCA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization suggests that the exacerbation of fire season can be preempted by phasing out fossil fuel reliance in California. More
 
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By Sanya Bery The Navajo Nation, the country’s largest Native American reservation that spreads 27,000-square-mile across parts of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, has been one of the hardest hit areas by the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, the Nation reached the grim milestone of having the highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rate in America. Then, with 4,002 confirmed cases, the Navajo Nation averaged around 2,304 cases per 100,000 people, surpassing New York, and New Jersey which were thought to be the ‘epicenter’ of the pandemic. Such statistics are especially alarming because the Navajo Nation has one of the strictest stay-at-home orders in the world. More
 
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By Ramona du Houx WASHINGTON – On July 22 the United States House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act with a vote of 310-107. The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 73-25 last June. The bipartisan legislation will fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), while addressing a backlog of maintenance needs for national parks and other public lands.The veto proof bill now goes to the President to be signed into law. “As veterans who are lawmakers, protecting our public lands is part of defending our country. We fought to ensure every American enjoys their inherited right to public land access,” said Alex Cornell du Houx, a former Maine state lawmaker, Marine combat veteran, and President of Elected Officials to Protect America.(EOPA). “We are elated to see that the Great American Outdoors Act passed Congress and soon will be law, creating increased prosperity, health, and the freedom to enjoy our nation’s national treasures for generations.” More
 
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By Brianna Cunliffe This is a moment of reckoning for the energy future of America. As three devastating decisions render major US pipelines defunct and global oil assets plunge, it is becoming abundantly clear: The fossil fuel era is dying. What sort of world will rise in its place? The 8 billion dollar Atlantic Coast Pipeline was abruptly canceled after years of pressure from indigenous groups and organizers. Dominion, the principal corporation behind the exploitative fracked-gas pipeline, jettisoned future projects like it, scrambling to distance itself from natural gas. The Dakota Access Pipeline, whose unjust population violated Native sovereignty, threatened public health, and was met with sweeping protest by Indigenous peoples, most famously the Standing Rock Sioux, was handed a devastating ruling requiring it to run dry of oil by next month. A bid to restart construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline was utterly shut down More

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