Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Space Station View of Mount Etna Erupting

Space Station View of Mount Etna Erupting: The Expedition 50 crew aboard the International Space Station had a nighttime view from orbit of Europe's most active volcano, Mount Etna, erupting on March 19, 2017. Astronaut Thomas Pesquet of ESA captured this image, writing, 'Mount Etna, in Sicily. The volcano is currently erupting and the molten ava is visible from space, at night!'

Monday, March 13, 2017

This is Google's Emergency Map: Awesome

Demand Answers From Gorsuch

Dear Senator Durbin and Duckworth:

I urge you to carefully examine and vigorously question the record of Judge Neil Gorsuch during the hearing on his nomination to the Supreme Court.

Given the current composition of the Supreme Court, the next Supreme Court justice will have the power to determine the direction of the United States for generations, dramatically affecting millions of American lives. The Supreme Court is tasked with upholding the Constitution, protecting American values, and serving as an important check and balance against any abuse of power or overreach by the president or Congress.

In 2016, the Republican Senate majority refused, in defiance of the Constitution, to provide Judge Merrick Garland—former President Obama’s pick for the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death—the fair hearing specified under the Constitution. While we are a democracy centered on majority rule, respect for constitutional precepts is essential. The failure to even hold a hearing, which was engineered by Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, put politics over precedent and over the Constitution’s clear language and intent.

We believe that, to correct this breach of its constitutional duty, the Senate must consider Judge Garland’s nomination before anyone else’s.

If the Senate does act to consider Judge Gorsuch’s nomination, the standard must be very high: Will Judge Gorsuch apply the Constitution’s language and intent correctly, to ensure individual Americans their core rights and legal protections?

From our preliminary review of Judge Gorsuch’s decisions, it appears that President Trump has nominated a judge who sides with the powerful over those without power. Judge Gorsuch’s decisions show a clear pattern of favoring corporations over working-class Americans, students and consumers. He has ruled against workers’ health and safety, rejected claims of employees seeking relief from discrimination in the workplace, and denied workers’ claims for wages and benefits they have earned. His legal decisions have tended to narrow and restrict the rights of working people. Judge Gorsuch’s record raises significant concerns about his ability to be fair and to respect and follow the law rather than his own ideology.

In addition, President Trump’s actions during his early days in office—rolling back rights and disregarding aspects of the Constitution and American democratic tradition he disagrees with—require a stronger allegiance by the Senate to an independent judiciary than ever before. Statements like this one from Citizens United (the organization behind the Citizens United v. FEC case, which opened the money spigot in federal elections) suggest that Judge Gorsuch’s ideology trumps his judicial independence: “President Trump promised the American people that he would nominate a conservative judge to the high court in the mold of Justice Scalia and that’s exactly what he did.”

Below are areas in which we have significant concerns about Judge Gorsuch’s record, his ability to exercise independence, and his willingness to apply the law in a way that protects America’s workers, educators, students and consumers.

Judge Gorsuch has denied students the full protection of the IDEA.
Thompson R2-J School District v. Luke P. involved a student with autism whose parents argued that he needed placement in a private residential school program because the public school system was unable to address his needs. Before the case reached the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, an impartial hearing officer, an administrative law judge and a federal district court judge all agreed that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act required that this accommodation be provided to the student. Judge Gorsuch issued an opinion reversing the district court decision. In doing so, he applied a very narrow standard of review to determine that the district had met its obligations under IDEA. The narrow standard applied by Judge Gorsuch in this case is now under review in a case before the Supreme Court, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District.

Judge Gorsuch has argued in favor of outcomes that put the rights of corporations over the health and safety of American workers.
His dissent in TransAm Trucking, Inc. v. Administrative Review Board is notable for its callous disregard for a worker’s health and safety. This case involved an Illinois truck driver whose brakes froze due to subzero temperatures. After reporting the problem to his employer and waiting several hours for a repair truck to arrive (without heat in the cab), the driver began to experience serious health problems. He unhitched his truck from the trailer and drove away, leaving the trailer unattended. He was terminated for abandoning the trailer. In an administrative proceeding, a Department of Labor Administrative Review Board found that whistleblower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act made it unlawful to discharge an employee who refused to operate a vehicle due to reasonable threat of serious injury. The majority of the 10th Circuit panel that heard the case deferred to the Administrative Review Board’s finding on the whistleblower issue. Judge Gorsuch, however, disagreed and would have allowed the truck driver, who was sincerely concerned for his health and safety, to be terminated by his employer with no further recourse. Judge Gorsuch has sided with employers 21 out of 23 times in disputes over the U.S. pensions and benefits law (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act or ERISA), and in employment discrimination cases, he has sided with employers 66 percent of the time.

Judge Gorsuch has acted to deny American women the right to contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Judge Gorsuch may be best known for his concurrence in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, the case involving the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-coverage mandate. He wrote a concurrence in which he sided with the company and its owners, who argued that the ACA substantially burdened their religious exercise, in violation of federal law.

Judge Gorsuch is an ideological extremist opposed to allowing the federal government to protect vulnerable Americans.
In Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch, Judge Gorsuch made a troubling argument to do away with the important legal doctrine known as Chevron deference, which says courts should defer to a government agency’s interpretation of a statute it administers. In Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., the Supreme Court held that courts should defer to agency interpretations of such statutes unless they are unreasonable. This commonsense approach requires judges to defer to the expertise of the National Labor Relations Board on labor issues, the Environmental Protection Agency on environmental issues, and the Food and Drug Administration on food and drug safety issues, rather than imposing their own views in highly technical areas in which even the most learned judge could not hope to attain expertise. If Judge Gorsuch were to join the Supreme Court and issue a decision doing away with the Chevron precedent, other ideologically minded judges like him would be able to put people’s rights, and their health and safety, at risk, without paying any mind to the views of federal agency officials who have dedicated their careers to building their technical expertise and applying it to protect all Americans.

During the nomination process, we urge you to thoroughly examine Judge Gorsuch’s record and views on the above issues, as well as his views on voting rights, immigration, police misconduct, women’s rights, LGBT rights, money in politics and workers’ rights. If his record proves he is unable to uphold Americans’ constitutional rights or is unlikely to be an independent voice who would give a fair hearing to all, we urge you to reject his nomination.

Thank you for your consideration of my views on this matter.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

In Response to Today's National Prayer Breakfast

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/In-Response-to-Today-s-National-Prayer-Breakfast.html?soid=1103828672329&aid=LSQQVkN73bo

Dearest William,     

In this moment, when so many of our communities are under attack by one executive order after another; when are fighting death, running in fear, and quickly becoming exhausted and numb; it is essential to our survival that we name what we know.

We are at war.

So many of us who are not straight, white, rich, male and/or Christian find ourselves on an unanticipated battlefield in our own home; the ammunition is live and the consequences deadly.

Our bodies are engaged in mortal combat.... and so are our souls.

We are so inundated with news of the latest decrees and targets of this neo-fascist regime that we do not fully attend to the rapid fire assaults on our spirits.

Beyond the endless noise of political warfare, there is a deeper crisis going unaddressed.

What is at stake is far more important than national unity, even more important than justice... for it is only in defeating the spirit of a people, that tyranny and death can ever truly reign.

What is happening now is nothing short of spiritual terrorism. And if we lose ourselves in this struggle, if we let those messages of dehumanization, coercive violence, and all-consuming power eat away at our souls, then our bodies will have little left to fight for.

This is spiritual warfare, and we must resist the death that seems to be coming at us from all sides. We must do the profound internal work of keeping our spirits alive alongside the critical communal work of saving our peoples from violence.

Spiritual violence is physical violence. It propels, reinforces, and antagonizes physical violence that leads to our death. The mosque burning in Victoria, Texas just hours after the signing of the executive order for the Muslim ban is a relevant example.

A distorted and corrupt version of Christianity moralizes these attacks and reinforces the systems of domination that say it is justified and acceptable for us to be murdered in the streets, attacked in our homes, and slaughtered on mass in our spirits.

One fundamental problem is the nature of power itself. Because of Christian Supremacy, we have come to equate power with control and domination, both of which are fear driven. "God-fearing" has long been a way to describe Christians, but it is a very specific version of God, i.e. Father-God-Patriarch-Judge-King, that uses divine power to intimidate and coerce submission. This is toxic theology.
 
This particular political moment is not one to get lost in our hurt feelings about losing the election or the exposed reality of the depth of racism, greed, sexism and xenophobia that is present in the hearts of our countrymen. We need to understand this is war, and a struggle between death and life, not just at a legal or cultural level.

What is at stake is the far more lasting than a political regime. It is the future fate of our eternal souls. Will we die on this capitalist altar of greed? Or will we save our souls and live?

There is a legacy of evil that has come to reign. It is oriented towards death and despair, and it could lead to destruction for many of us. How we fortify ourselves and our peoples to actually engage in spiritual warfare is essential.

We must train ourselves spiritually to be ready and prepared to combat these forces of evil that are encroaching on our people's ability to live. We must resist these deaths not only in a physical way, but also in our spirits. Because these forces lead to our harm and annihilation by our own hands, as well as by the State and its allies.

So at this particular moment, it is not about combatting that power of brutality with another more brutalizing power. The nature of power as we understand it must change.

Claiming our own agency, cherishing our own power and nourishing it in our own bodies and souls is a commitment all of our freedom fighters must make.

Power over others that requires their subjugation leads straight to death for the oppressor and the oppressed. If we have learned anything from our history, I hope it is that lesson.
We must now reorient ourselves to understand true power as the antithesis of fear-based domination.

May we come to know and love and grow in ourselves the omnipotent power that comes through Creator to Creation, through the earth, through our bodies, through our bloodlines and our breath, through our histories and our ancestors that leads us all toward life abundant.

La lucha continua,

Rev. Alba Onofrio and the Soulforce team

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Betsy DeVos Will Not Oppose Guns In Public Schools Because You Know, Grizzly Bears

As she did with most questions, she waffled.
Murphy asked, "Do you think guns have any place in or around schools?"
DeVos fell back on her usual deflection that it is for states to decide, which set Murphy off.
Incredulously, he asked, "You can't say definitively today that guns shouldn't be in schools?"
With disingenuous wide-eyed misunderstanding, DeVos replied, "I will refer back to (Wyoming) Senator (Mike) Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies."
Murphy ended his questioning by telling her he looked forward to her visiting his state to discuss guns in schools with a disgusted tone. I was seriously surprised that he didn't throw all of his papers on the floor while walking out.
Update:

RE: Please do not support the nomination of Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA

RE: Please do not support the nomination of Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA

Dear Senator Durbin.

As your constituent I am gravely concerned about Scott Pruitt heading the Environmental Protection Agency and I am asking you not to support his nomination.

As Attorney General of Oklahoma he has abused his power as an elected official to attack charities on behalf of agribusiness interests -- specifically attacking The Humane Society of the United States because of their work to crack down on cockfighting, puppy mills, and intensive confinement of animals on factory farms.

I have concerns about Scott Pruitt leading the federal agency responsible for a number of important animal issues, including animal testing for pesticides and chemicals, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution from factory farms.

I urge you not to support Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA. He has abused the power of his office as Oklahoma's Attorney General in order to attack and silence animal welfare groups because he disagrees with their political views.

Thank you,
WKR
-----------------
Lombard, IL 60148


Monday, December 12, 2016

Panorama from my #pixel

https://goo.gl/photos/o67TBKQkN1UTTrJo6

Keep Pulse ALIVE by HELPING SOULFORCE!!@!

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/-KeepPulseAlive---Join-us-in-Orlando.html?soid=1103828672329&aid=oV6dwBWJLtQ

This is an ALL­CALL to the Soulforce family for Orlando.
We refuse to let them desecrate the graves of our fallen.
Soulforcers like myself will be there in Orlando in February to challenge the power of this communications hub to harm our bodies and spirits with their death‐ dealing rhetoric.
We will be holding vigil for the entire 86 hours of the NRB conference, and we need your help!
Will you join us?
Come to Orlando in February and help hold vigil for the lives and spirits of our people
Send a dove with your message of resistance for Orlando
Sign on to our demands for the National Religious Broadcasters
Join us at Creating Change in Philadelphia next month to help build the Living Altar that will travel to Orlando Give to this action‐ $86 for the 86 hours we hold vigil will go to feed volunteers on the ground Visit our webpage  to learn more and sign up for action alerts! In deep resistance with you today and every day, Yaz Nuñez Director of Programs, Soulforce P.S.: Interested in volunteering in Orlando during the action in February? We want you. Click "reply" and let me know so I can follow up with you!

From ISSHD 12/10/16


Unity March Chicago 2016


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Winter Wonderland

https://youtu.be/3BIHO8hIuT0

The Biggest Story In Modern Times

Trump denies CIA report that Russia intervened to help him win election



CIA officials told senators it is now “quite clear” that electing Donald Trump was Russia’s goal. In an interview on Fox News Sunday on Dec. 11, President-elect Trump denied the CIA's assessment. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)
President-elect Donald Trump said he does not believe the CIA’s conclusion that Russia intervened in the election to help him win, attributing the assessment to Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton and claiming repeatedly that the U.S. intelligence community has “no idea” what might have happened.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” his first Sunday show appearance since the election last month. “I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it . . . No, I don’t believe it at all.”
Trump also denied the importance of receiving the daily intelligence briefing, a tradition for presidents and presidents-elect. He has received the briefings only sporadically since winning the election.
“I get it when I need it,” he said. “I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years.”
Trump’s comments go against the conclusion of the CIA that individuals with connections to the Russian government provided the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others to boost his chances.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators told The Washingon Post on Friday. “That’s the consensus view.”
Trump openly mocked the report on Friday evening, suggesting that the CIA had discredited itself by producing faulty assessments about Iraq’s weapons stockpile during the George W. Bush administration. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” he said in a statement.
The latest comments appear destined to exacerbate tensions between Trump and the intelligence community, which is already wondering how it will function under his administration given the president-elect’s skepticism of the agency’s expertise and his disinterest in receiving daily briefings.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus voiced support for Trump’s view in an interview on ABC’s This Week.
“The Russians didn’t tell Hillary Clinton to ignore Wisconsin and Michigan,” Priebus told host George Stephanopoulos. “She lost because her ideas were bad. Donald Trump won in an electoral landslide that had nothing to do with the Russians.”
Meanwhile, in the Senate, there arose more evidence of a disagreement between Republican and Democratic leadership about the CIA assessment and what to do about it.
On Sunday morning, Republican Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) joined Democratic Leader-elect Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) in calling for a thorough investigation of the cyberattacks.
“Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American,” the group said. “Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyber-attacks.”
Absent from the statement were members of the chamber’s Republican leadership. McCain is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Graham is a member; Reed is the panel’s top Democrat.
Other Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have expressed doubts about the CIA’s conclusion that the Russian hacks were designed to boost Trump. On Saturday, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn wondered why the issue was being discussed at all.
“All this ‘news’ of Russian hacking: it has been going on for years,” he tweeted. “Serious, but hardly news.”
Trump declined to confirm whom he will name secretary of state but lavished praise on his expected pick, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, calling him a “world-class player” and even alluding to Tillerson’s ties to Russia, which are a source of concern for hawkish Republicans on Capitol Hill.
“He’s in charge of an oil company that’s pretty much double the size of his next serious competitor,” Trump said of Tillerson. “It’s been a company that’s been unbelievably managed. And to me, a great advantage is he knows many of the players, and he knows them well. He does massive deals in Russia. He does massive deals for the company.”
Secretary of state is the most powerful cabinet position that remains unfilled by Trump about a month after the election. For weeks, Trump has interviewed candidates, including former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R), and deliberated about the decision
Priebus told Stephanopoulos that he didn’t have misgivings about Tillerson’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The fact that he has a relationship with Vladimir Putin is not something that we should be embarrassed by,” Priebus said. “We have big problems in this world and I don’t think we can solve these problems by making believe that people don’t exist.”
Trump suggested in the “Fox News Sunday” appearance that he will retain a stake in his business as president, a possibility that has raised questions among ethics experts, and he questioned the idea that making deals for his company from the White House would represent a conflict of interest.
“When I ran, everybody knew that I was a very big owner of real estate all over the world,” Trump said, adding that he would not be involved in the day-to-day management of his company as president. “I’m not going to be doing deals at all. Now that would be — I don’t even know if that’s a conflict. I mean, I have the right to do it. You know, under the law, I have the right to do it. I just don’t want to do it.”
Trump is scheduled to give a news conference on Thursday to discuss how he will pass the reins of the Trump Organization to his three eldest children. “They’re not making deals, either, for my company,” he said.
Cleve Wootson contributed.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Women's March on Washington Barred From Lincoln Memorial

These TRUMPCUNT/Hitler MotherFuckers are blocking women from marching on Washington to protest the treatment of women under the new TRUMPCUNT administration. It's appalling!

from the Guardian

For the thousands hoping to echo the civil rights and anti-Vietnam rallies at Lincoln Memorial by joining the women’s march on Washington the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration: time to readjust your expectations.
The Women’s March won’t be held at the Lincoln Memorial.
That’s because the National Park Service, on behalf of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, filed documents securing large swaths of the national mall and Pennsylvania Avenue, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial for the inauguration festivities. None of these spots will be open for protesters. 
The NPS filed a “massive omnibus blocking permit” for many of Washington DC’s most famous political locations for days and weeks before and after the inauguration on 20 January, said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a constitutional rights litigator and the executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund.
Previously, Verheyden-Hilliard has led court battles for protest access on inauguration day itself.
But banning access to public land for protesters days after the inauguration is “extremely unique”, she said in a press conference held by the Answer [Act Now to Stop War and End Racism] Coalition.
“It hasn’t come up in any way previously, where you’ve had a groundswell of people trying to have access on the Saturday, January 21, and thousands of people want to come, and the government is saying we won’t give you a permit,” she said.
“What they’ve done is take all of these spaces out of action,” she said, many of which, the Answer Coalition noted in its press release, are “historic spaces for dissent”.
It’s partly a practical issue. Inauguration bleachers and viewing stands started being erected on 1 November and it will take until 1 March to completely clear the major public spaces from all of the inauguration works, said Mike Litterst, spokesman for the NPS.
“They’re construction zones, effectively,” said Litterst.
But the plan greatly limits the options for public protesting.
Answer requested a permit to host a rally along Pennsylvania Avenue the day after the inauguration and was denied.
“We’ve issued the demand to the parks service because this is an illegal abridgment of first amendment rights ... We expect they’ll conform to the constitution and make permits available,” said Verheyden-Hilliard.
Shortly after the election, the women’s march on Washington started going viral on Facebook, with activists calling on women and allies to head to the city on 21 January and march on the Lincoln Memorial. Currently, 135,000 people have registered on the national Facebook page to say they are “going” and another 225,000 are “interested”.
The Facebook event page still has the Lincoln Memorial listed as the event’s address, but it won’t be held at the historic location.
“The Lincoln Memorial is not possible,” said Cassady Fendlay, spokeswoman for the women’s march on Washington. She said march organizers were not associated with the Answer Coalition, and have “had no issues with the permitting process at all”. 
“We are in conversation with the police. We have secured another location,” said Fendlay, declining to name where the march would now take place but saying it would be nearby.
 This article was amended on 9 December 2016 to correct the spelling of Mike Litterst’s surname.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My mom is dead. This guy thinks it's a hoax. Now Trump is thanking him?

This is just heartbreaking:

Everytown for Gun Safety
William --
Our movement will face some serious challenges when Donald Trump and his friends at the NRA head to Washington, but this is one I wasn't expecting.
Our president-elect is cozying up to Alex Jones -- the Infowars radio host promoting the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook School shooting was a hoax.
Click here to automatically sign my open letter below asking President-elect Trump to denounce Alex Jones >>
Dear President-elect Trump,
My mother was shot and killed at Sandy Hook School four years ago, along with five of her colleagues and 20 first-graders. Since then, radio host Alex Jones has fanned the flames of a hateful conspiracy theory claiming that the shooting that took my mother's life never happened.
I'm asking you to denounce it immediately and cut ties with Alex Jones and anyone who subscribes to these dangerous ideas.
You’ve appeared on Jones' radio show, praised his "amazing" reputation, and promised him that you "won't let him down". Now he’s claiming you’ve personally called to thank him after the election, and will be on his show again soon. It's unacceptable.
My life changed forever when I lost my mother, as do the lives of the families of the 91 Americans shot and killed and hundreds more injured every single day. You've promised to be a president for all of us. Well, that includes victims of gun violence and their families, like me. I hope that you will not only refuse to go on his show, but that you will denounce the conspiracy theories that he spreads at the expense of gun violence survivors.
-- Erica Lafferty, daughter of Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, shot and killed at Sandy Hook School
Please click here to sign on to my letter if you agree.
-- Erica

I Would Be Charged With A Felony For Exercising My Right To Protest Hitler/TrumpCunt

A proposed new law would allow authorities to charge nonviolent protesters with “economic terrorism.” Click here to sign the petition to stop this!
A new law proposed by a State Senator in Washington would allow prosecutors to charge protesters with "economic terrorism," and slap them with serious felony charges that could lead to jail time, just for making their voices heard. [1]
The outrageous proposed bill would make any form of protest that causes an "economic disruption" a class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. It wouldn't just apply to people who engage in illegal acts or vandalism, it could be used to prosecute any person or group who organizes a protest that authorities deem as "disruptive." Broadly interpreted, this law could apply to honored American traditions of nonviolent dissent like boycotts and civil disobedience.


We don’t have to support every protest or every cause, but we cannot allow overly broad legislation to to undermine our Constitutionally protected freedoms.
Charging protesters with terrorism clearly violates the First Amendment and is an attempt to silence legitimate dissent. Please sign the petition telling lawmakers to reject this dangerous legislation.
We need everyone to speak out right now so we can shut down this terrible proposed legislation before it spreads to other states. This affects all of us. Will you sign the petition to stop it?
We need to remain vigilant. No matter who is in power, protecting our right to dissent is imperative for the future of our society.
Thanks for reading,
-Evan at Fight for the Future


Fight for the Future works to protect your rights in the digital age.

This Is Unbearable

I don't know a fucking thing about energy policy, but this is a perfect example of how the new Hitler president is going to fuck this country up and down, and ruin the environment while he's at it:

REVEALED: THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S ENERGY PLAN

at 





The future Donald Trump administration’s energy agenda is revealed in a memo prepared by Trump’s energy transition head Thomas Pyle, titled “What to Expect from the Trump Administration.” The document, obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), was sent by Pyle on November 15th, just days before the Trump campaign announced Pyle’s appointment as head of his Department of Energy transition team.
Pyle is the President of both the American Energy Alliance and the Institute for Energy Research. Both organizations have received cash from numerous fossil fuel funders including ExxonMobil, Peabody Energy and Koch Industries. From 2001 to 2005, Pyle was Director of Federal Affairs for Koch Industries.
The memo outlines fourteen policies to be expected from President-elect Trump, which collectively amounts to a fossil fuel industry wish list and which would be devastating for attempts to slow climate change.
The agenda includes withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Climate agreement, eliminating the Clean Power Plan, increasing the leasing of federal lands for exploitation of coal, oil and gas, expediting the approval of pipeline projects including the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline and rolling back federal fuel economy standards.
Here is the list from Pyle (PDF available here):
  • Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is in deep trouble. President-elect Trump has promised to cancel the agreement and stop spending taxpayer dollars on wasteful U.N. climate programs. Even if the Trump administration does nothing, this means there will be massive defections from the agreement. Any prior commitments to emissions reductions or taxpayer funding for the Green Climate Fund should be seen as null at this point.
  • Increasing federal oil and natural gas leasing. Less than 3 percent of federal offshore areas are currently leased for energy development. In particular, this will increase in the Chukchi and Beaufort Sea and the mid and south Atlantic. Onshore, there will be more leasing, especially in places like the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and on federal lands in the west.
  • Lifting the coal lease moratorium. The Obama administration’s coal leasing moratorium on federal lands—a part of their “keep it in the ground” strategy—will likely be terminated and royalty rates will likely be kept at current levels.
  • Giving the states greater say on energy leases on federal lands within their borders. Here’s what the Trump campaign wrote in response to the American Energy Alliance’s Presidential candidate questionnaire:
“The federal government does have stewardship of millions of acres of land. Rather than selling the land to states and private enterprises, the first step should be establishing a shared governance structure with the states. This first step would allow for maintaining the aesthetics of the land while finding ways to gain revenue that would benefit both the federal and state governments.”
  • Expediting approvals of LNG export terminals. The Obama administration has slow-walked the review of LNG export terminals. Under the Trump administration, approvals will be expedited.
  • Hitting reset on the Clean Power Plan. This regulatory rule is currently before the D.C. Circuit Court. Even if the regulation is upheld, the Trump administration will issue a new regulation withdrawing the Clean Power Plan. Also, the seldom-talked about regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants will also be withdrawn.
  • Reconsidering the “endangerment finding.” In response to Massachusetts v. EPA, the Obama administration found that greenhouse gas emissions harmed human health and welfare. This is the regulatory predicate to the Obama administration’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) mandates and Clean Power Plan and greatly expanded EPA’s power. This finding will be reconsidered and possibly revoked, marking a major blow to underpinning for many climate regulations.
  • Moving forward with pipeline infrastructure. The Obama administration slow-walked the Keystone XL pipeline, making it a political issue, and has done the same with the Dakota Access Pipeline(DAPL). The Trump administration will likely work to streamline and expedite pipeline permitting.
  • Taking a closer look at the environmental impacts of wind energy. Trump has been concerned about the harms to wildlife from wind turbines such as bird and bat deaths. Unlike before, wind energy will rightfully face increasing scrutiny from the federal government.
  • Reducing energy subsidies. Here’s what the Trump campaign wrote in response to the Presidential candidate questionnaire from the American Energy Alliance:
“This is an issue for Congress and the people they represent. Subsidies distort markets and should be used only when national security is at stake. Eventually, all subsidies should end so that the demand for energy will set prices, allow consumers access to the best values and encourage all facets of the energy industry to do all they can to keep their particular source competitive.”
  • Amending the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Trump has expressed support of the RFS as a way to increase domestic energy production. The RFS will be amended to reduce EPA’s discretionary authority to set the biofuel levels, especially after 2022.
  • Hitting reset on the Obama administration’s unconstitutional definition of “Waters of the United States”. This rule is currently in the courts. The Trump administration could revise the regulation to work cooperatively with the states. An expansive definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act tramples on the prerogatives of the states to regulate water.
  • Relaxing the federal fuel economy standards. Under the Obama administration’s CAFE standards, light-duty vehicles must achieve 54.5 mpg by 2025. This regulation will be significantly relaxed. It will either be completely withdrawn or revised and phased out to be closer to the current levels of fuel economy.
  • Ending the use of the social cost of carbon in federal rulemakings. The Obama administration aggressively used the social cost of carbon (SCC) to help justify their regulations. During the Trump Administration the SCC will likely be reviewed and the latest science brought to bear. If the SCC were subjected to the latest science, it would certainly be much lower than what the Obama administration has been using.