News from the Center: Dec 2016/Jan 2017
Trump: An Environmental Calamity
What is certain is that the loser of the popular vote by a wide margin will be sworn in as President. Now that the Party of Trump controls both the House, Senate and soon the courts, their mission is clear: roll back all environmental regulations.
Trump is appointing climate-deniers to top cabinet posts. Striking down President Obama’s climate legacy—the Clean Power Plan, the Paris Climate Agreement, increased fuel economy standards, limitations on coal leases on public lands, etc.—is the Trump Administration’s top environmental priority. Drill baby, drill and mine baby, mine will be the chorus of the Trump Administration.
Congressional Republicans have often attacked portions of environmental laws through “riders” attached to must-pass legislation, like the budget. Full frontal attacks on environmental laws have been off the table, as they would clearly get vetoed. In the new Trump reality, expect to see a systematic dismantling of NEPA, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act. While it is unlikely that any of these laws will be outright repealed, they will most likely be in effect in “name only” with principal protections and remedies striped away.
While Trump says he is opposed to selling off our public lands, many Congressional Republicans have giving away public lands as their top priority. One way that this may play out would be to turn over our public lands to be managed by industry. Imagine Sierra Pacific Industries managing our national forests! You get the concept. Trump has stated his priority is to open more federal lands to mining and has stated that his presidency would create a resurgence in the logging industry. Look for pro-industry agency heads aggressively pursuing a logging/mining/grazing/extraction agenda.
Defunding the Government
Trump has pledged to shrink the size of government through a hiring freeze on federal employees and drive them out by stripping away their benefits and employment protections. Our public resource agencies, from the US Forest Service to the National Marine Fisheries Service to the Bureau of Land Management, are already drastically understaffed because of years of underfunding. Sweeping staff reductions will only further frustrations with the slow pace of the government, in turn providing the “evidence” that government is broken! (Thanks Grover Norquist.)
A Renewed Fight Over Offshore Oil Drilling
The threat to the North Coast from oil rigs looms large and the fight is already underway. California is losing its most prominent environmental champion with Sen. Barbara Boxer’s retirement after 34 years on Capitol Hill. Succeeding her in the Senate will be California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is great and has sound environmental credentials, but as a Senate newcomer will certainly not have a party leadership post like Boxer.
Because of these real and serious threats, and more nightmares that haven’t even been revealed yet, constant vigilance and organizing will be required. With your help the Northcoast Environmental Center will be at the forefront of these
- Larry Glass, Executive Director
with input from Tom Wheeler
New Year, New Headquarters!
Minutes after our November board meeting, staff received an email stating that the entire wing of our building had been given 90 days to vacate so that Greenway Partners could accommodate the needs of another building tenant. Our wing of the building not only housed the NEC, but also Humboldt Baykeeper, Friends of the Eel River, a couple of small businesses and common meeting space. We were also required to vacate our storage space and EcoNews Report studio room downstairs—no small feat!
Fortunately, we found a great space at 415 I Street in Arcata in the Cooper Building, next to the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples and Richard’s Goat Tavern. This new space will allow us to continue our communal work environment, host an office for Humboldt Baykeeper and host meetings for our member groups. The added bonus of this convenient location will be increased visibility in our community.
With this move the NEC will be well positioned to continue our important work and we invite you to visit soon to check out our new headquarters! Stop in to discuss environmental issues, peruse the collection of environmentally-focused books, brochures and pamphlets, drop off donations or purchase NEC and Baykeeper logo’d shirts and hoodies for holiday gifts!
- Bella Waters, Administrative & Development Director
Also, mark your calendars
to join us for an Open House in our new space
on Thursday, January 26 from 5-7pm,
featuring drinks, snacks and good conversation with your local environmentalist friends. We hope to see you there!