TrumpWrap: Tillerson Confirmed, Pruitt Advances, DAPL Protesters Evicted, Enviros Alarmed by Gorsuch Nomination
It’s time to stop awfulizing and keep organizing. But it’s hard to pay attention or keep your balance against a deluge of incoming news and distraction from the new administration in Washington, DC. We’ve started TrumpWrap to consolidate—and condense—the daily flow of news on the new U.S. presidency, to free up space in our digest and your reading schedule for the material we’re supposed to be carrying on the rise of clean energy and the accelerating collapse of the fossil economy. We’ll go deeper on Trump stories when we have to—but otherwise, we’ll get back to our regular coverage priorities, encourage you to follow the links when you really need to monitor the U.S. administration more closely, and archive TrumpWrap along with the rest of the content on our site.
Former Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is joining Donald Trump’s cabinet as Secretary of State after receiving Senate confirmation Thursday. The 56-43 vote set a record for opposition to an incoming secretary of state, the New York Times reports, “just as serious strains have emerged with important international allies.” Alongside Republican senators, Tillerson received yeah votes from Sens. Angus King (I-ME), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Mark Warner (D-VA), states InsideClimate News.
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““For years, much of America’s foreign policy was formulated to benefit the oil industry. Now it’s being formulated by the oil industry. There’s no disguising the influence any more, which should make it easier to understand and to resist,” said 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben.
“I, for one, welcome our new fossil fuel overlords,” agreed Oil Change International Executive Director Stephen Kretzmann. “Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State makes it perfectly obvious who the rest of the world, and all of us, are dealing with. America appears clearly today on the world stage as a country that is sadly of, by, and for the oil industry.”
But “we are of course, much, much more,” Kretzmann added. “America is a place where citizens value the water and air that the oil industry inevitably pollutes. We are a nation of ranchers and farmers and climate activists and native Americans who have beaten the oil industry before, and we will do so again, now for even bigger stakes.
Trump’s nominee for Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Oklahoma’s climate-denying ex-attorney general, Scott Pruitt, received an 11-0 affirmative vote from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, after Democrats boycotted deliberations for the second day in a row. A day earlier, Pruitt—who previously spent his time repeatedly suing the agency he’s now being tapped to dismantle lead—distinguished himself by expressing doubts about the seriousness of ocean acidification brought about by climate change.
About 40 Dakota Access Pipeline opponents were evicted from a protest camp near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, after Acting Army Secretary Robert Speer ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to issue a final easement for the project, according to Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.
U.S. environmental groups expressed alarm that Trump’s nominee for Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, is “a steadfast foe of the Chevron standard”, a “pillar of modern regulatory law” that “has provided the Environmental Protection Agency considerable leeway in using the Clean Air Act to control carbon dioxide pollution,” InsideClimate News reports. “A review of Gorsuch’s writings and decisions indicates that he would seek to overturn well-established Supreme Court precedents and prevent the federal government from enforcing bedrock environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act,” EarthJustice warned.