Friday, November 16, 2018

Tell your Senators a pesticide executive has no business as Chief Scientist of the USDA

Now that Democrats have gained control of the House, major polluters are pushing for everything they can get away with in the time they have left. With this administration's attempts to sweep away ecological and public health protections, we need to be prepared for quick, sneaky moves to install environmental de-regulators like Scott Hutchins. Hutchins’ history indicates an agenda of intensive, toxic petrochemical agriculture with high external inputs rather than more sustainable, ecological, and non-toxic methods of growing food.

Stop industry attempts to install another toxic leader and take action now to tell the Senate: Absolutely no to Scott Hutchins being confirmed as Chief Scientist of the USDA.

Scott Hutchins is the third big pesticide player from Dow Chemical that Trump has nominated to the USDA.1 His career efforts to deregulate pesticides have left women, children, and farmworkers especially vulnerable to the impacts of his company’s products -- while exposing our food supply to even more toxins.

Dow even donated $1 million to Donald Trump's inaugural committee upon his election and then held a secretive meeting with Scott Pruitt. Shortly after, Trump's EPA reversed plans to ban Dow's neurotoxic pesticide, chlorpyrifos, despite the EPA's own scientists having concluded that "ingesting even minuscule amounts of the chemical can interfere with the brain development of fetuses and infants." 2

A hearing for his confirmation has just been announced for November 28, so we need all hands on deck.

Make it clear to your Senators: We will not let yet another major chemical company player be installed in a critical federal regulatory agency to the detriment of our food supply, public health, and the environment we share.

Tell your U.S. Senators to deny Trump's efforts to appoint the head of Dow’s pesticide division as Chief Scientist of the USDA. Scott Hutchins’ career advocacy for dangerous pesticides has left women, children, and farmworkers especially vulnerable to the impacts of his company’s products -- while exposing our food supply to even more harmful chemicals.

Pesticide pollution of our water, soil, and air is unacceptable and a toxic agrichemical executive is deeply inappropriate for a Chief Scientist role at our federal agricultural regulatory agency that is supposed to protect the public. This is Trump's third Dow Chemical nomination to the USDA and it must be stopped before the hearing on November 28!

- Nomi Carmona, National Online Organizer, Pollinators & Ethanol, Sierra Club

**Add a personal message in your own words to strengthen your signature and show your Senators you are paying very close attention**

Here is my personal comment to be used as an example only:
It has been proven that Monsanto covered up data showing that Roundup causes cancer. Then the House passed a farm bill that allows companies to dump pesticides in our waterways without abiding by the endangered species laws. One amendment even dismantles the Clean Water Rule. It is obvious that the pesticide industry already has too much influence on our so-call representatives. There are other organic ways to grow crops. As more of our water is depleted from mining, droughts and contamination from storms, we need to do everything we can to safeguard the water we still have. We can't live without water. Please, don't give more power to an industry that is willing to poison us for profit.

Tell Congress to Pass a Strong, Science-Based Farm Bill in 2018

We need a farm bill ASAP. It expired on September 30th. Unfortunately the House passed a their version of the farm bill that includes disastrous riders including one that allows pesticides to be dumped without adhering to endangered species protections or the Clean Water Act. (In fact, it dismantles the Clean Water Act.) It also includes an amendment that adds work requirements to qualify for SNAP.  Now it goes to the Senate.

Urge your members of Congress to pass a strong, science-based farm bill that will provide reliable support to farmers, eaters, and local food economies.

Here is their current bill. 

Election season brought Congress to a standstill, but now the midterms are finally behind us, and our elected leaders still have important work to do this year. Among the critical items awaiting action is the farm bill, which Congress allowed to expire earlier this fall.

As members of Congress return to work this week, they still have an opportunity to pass a farm bill before the end of 2018. Urge Congress to pass a strong, science-based farm bill now!

The five-year farm bill shapes everything about our food system—what farmers grow and how they grow it, the price of food and who can afford it, and more—with huge implications for our health, our economy, and the environment. For the last year, we've been working to make sure the next farm bill offers smart, evidence-based tools and incentives to help farmers be profitable and sustainable, strengthens proven programs that reduce hunger, increases access to nutritious foods, and improves local economies.

Because Congress failed to pass a new farm bill by September 30, dozens of effective food and farm programs have had to shut down their operations. Conservation programs that protect our soil and water must turn eager farmers away. Proven initiatives that help connect food producers with local consumers no longer exist. But, it's not too late to get a strong new farm bill in place this year.

It's hard to overstate the impact that the farm bill has on all of our lives. Its programs address major challenges facing our nation, and they empower farmers, businesses, and communities to build food and farm solutions that work today and for future generations.

Urge your members of Congress to pass a farm bill that provides strong, reliable support to farmers, eaters, and local economies before the end of 2018.

- Liz Whiteman, Union of Concerned Scientists

More Information:

Stung by Trade Wars, U.S. Farmers Hope for Quick Progress on Farm Bill -New York Times

What’s in the House Ag Committee’s 2018 Farm Bill proposal?
The House's farm bill draft consolidates conservation, raises SNAP work requirement.Apr 16, 2018 American Agriculturist.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

TAKE ACTION: Tell Senators to vote NO on fossil fuel industry sellout and climate denier Bernard McNamee for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Trump has nominated climate denier and industry sellout Bernard McNamee to fill the vacant seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) – and the Senate is going to be considering this dirty, dangerous nomination in the next few days.

Trump wants to make McNamee, with his radical pro-fossil fuel agenda, one of five commissioners at FERC, the federal regulatory agency that issues permits for gas pipelines and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals. This nomination would tip the balance of the commission in favor of more fossil fuel lock-in – and we can’t let that happen.

In the coming year, FERC will decide on literally dozens of new gas pipelines, most of which are directly linked to LNG export terminals. These projects threaten our climate, the communities in their path, the air we breathe, and the water life depends on. Projects such as Jordan Cove LNG in Oregon, Rio Grande LNG in Texas, and the Alaska LNG Project that includes a massive 800-mile pipeline across the state could be decided by McNamee.

This man must not be allowed anywhere near fossil fuel infrastructure permitting. Amazingly, McNamee’s nomination is actually raising concerns from both sides of the political aisle, so there’s a real chance at stopping it. Right now, FERC has a tenuous 2-2 split amongst Democratic and Republican appointed commissioners, and McNamee would break that tie.

(Please, consider adding a personal note so they won't disregard it as a form letter.)

Your letter will be delivered to members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee:

I am calling on you to vote no on the nomination of Bernard McNamee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). McNamee is an unacceptable choice for FERC. McNamee’s attempt to bail out failing coal and nuclear power plants was unanimously rejected by FERC and the vast majority of the utility sector. He has a political agenda that has no place in FERC. It is an agenda of the past that locks us into more pollution and more climate change.

As sitting FERC commissioners have repeatedly stated, it is time to assess the full impact of projects permitted by FERC and complete a review of the pipeline permitting process. To date, that process has ignored climate and impacted communities and has led to a rush to build unnecessary pipelines, the costs of many of which will be borne by ratepayers.

McNamee’s radical pro-fossil fuel agenda will raise costs on ratepayers, exacerbate climate change, and run roughshod over America’s communities. I urge you to reject Bernard McNamee's nomination.

Tell Rep. McSally: Protect our Democracy! Protect Mueller!

On May 17, 2017, Representative Martha McSally released the following statement in response to reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the Department of Justice’s investigation into Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election.

“The Justice Department’s naming of former FBI Director Robert Mueller today as special counsel to oversee the ongoing investigation into Russia’s meddling in our election is the right decision at this time. Director Mueller is someone who is free of politics, most recently demonstrated in 2011 when the Senate voted 100-0 to extend his term as FBI Director for two years. He has a long and distinguished career in law enforcement and a tremendously in-depth understanding of the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I look forward to an expeditious conclusion to this investigation in order to provide answers to the questions the American people are asking and I think former Director Mueller is a great choice to do just that."
Congress has the authority and responsibility to hold Trump accountable. Call Rep. Martha McSally and demand that she protect Mueller.
Click below for a sample script and the number to call:
Take action now ►
In a move that even conservative legal scholars are calling unconstitutional, Donald Trump fired Jeff Sessions last week and installed a stooge, Matthew Whitaker, as acting attorney general.1
Whitaker, who has spent months complaining about Robert Mueller's investigation and openly laying out plans to destroy it, is now his supervisor.2Democrats and even some Republicans are now talking about legislation to protect the independence and integrity of Mueller's investigation.3,4
This is a huge reckoning for our democracy. To save the investigation into Trump's Russia ties, we need every member of Congress to assert their authority now and put a check on Trump during the lame-duck session of Congress.
(520) 881-3588
Whitaker's qualifications for the role would be unlikely to pass muster in a Senate confirmation, but Trump is circumventing Congress by appointing Whitaker – under dubious use of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act – into a temporary role.5 Even a short-term appointment is enough time for Whitaker to do real damage. Given his history of lambasting Mueller's investigation, it is evident that if Congress fails to step in, Whitaker will undermine Mueller's work.
Just one day after Trump installed Whitaker, more than 100,000 people mobilized in protest and reports indicated that the White House was surprised by the backlash.6,7 Since then, momentum has built to rein in Whitaker, but only Congress has the authority and responsibility to hold Trump accountable. Republicans must put partisanship aside to stand up for the rule of law. Democrats must do everything in their power, including attaching protection to end-of-year, must-pass spending bills, to ensure Congress protects Mueller.
Unless Congress acts right away to protect the integrity and independence of Mueller's investigation, Trump and his stooges may get away with sabotaging it.
Will you call now? Click the link below to get started:
Kaili Lambe, CREDO Action
Click below for a sample script and the number to call:
Take action now ►
  1. Lorelei Laird, "Was Trump's appointment of acting AG Whitaker within the law?" ABA Journal, Nov. 12, 2018.
  2. Kevin Breuninger, "Trump's new Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has criticized the Mueller probe, will now oversee it," CNBC, Nov. 7, 2018.
  3. Nicole Lafond, "Dems May Tack Mueller Protection Onto Must-Pass Year-End Spending Bill," Talking Points Memo, Nov. 9, 2018.
  4. Burgess Everett, "Some in GOP clamor to protect Mueller," POLITICO, Nov. 9, 2018.
  5. Laird, "Was Trump's appointment of acting AG Whitaker within the law?"
  6. Jen Kirby, "'Protect Mueller' protests pop up across the country," Vox, Nov. 9, 2018.
  7. Kaitlan Collins and Betsy Klein, "Whitaker backlash prompts concern at the White House," CNN, Nov. 8, 2018.

Tell the U.N.: Send observers to the border

The petition to the United Nations Human Rights Council reads:
"Send observers to the U.S.–Mexico Border to witness, document and report on the Trump administration's human rights violations."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
President Trump has deployed the military against Central American families seeking refuge in the United States and just enacted a racist asylum ban that violates domestic and international law.1,2 We have to use every tool at our disposal to fight back.There is a human rights crisis happening at the U.S.–Mexico border, and it's about to get worse.
The United Nations condemned Trump's family separation policy this summer.3 Now the U.N. should go one step further and send observers to witness and report on state-sanctioned violence and human rights abuses at the border. Documenting the Trump administration's human rights violations will help build momentum to stop them from happening and shine a bright light on Trump's tyranny and hate.
Like racist authoritarians before him, Trump is trying to distract the country by demonizing, scapegoating and attacking immigrants while his lapdogs in Congress and the administration are rolling back civil rights, gutting health care access, disenfranchising LGBTQ people and passing tax reforms that fatten the pockets of corporations and the wealthy.
The Trump regime is doing all this with no regard for the rule of law. His asylum ban violates U.S. law by preventing people from seeking asylum between ports of entry. The law puts no restrictions on where people can apply for asylum. It also violates international law that requires the United States to examine all asylum claims under the United Nations Refugee Convention.4 Our friends at the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center and Center for Constitutional Rights are already challenging this illegal ban in court.5 But while litigation will delay some of Trump's most extreme and dangerous policies, we need to mobilize against the border crisis and stand in solidarity with immigrants on a much larger scale to stop his attacks once and for all.
The migrant caravan left Mexico City last week and could arrive at the U.S.–Mexico border as early as mid-December. If we want to stop Trump's war on immigrants and prevent a military escalation at the border, we need to put a spotlight on this crisis now. Demanding that the U.N. send observers is a crucial step.
Tell the U.N.: Send observers to witness, document and report on human rights violations at the U.S.–Mexico border. Click the link below to sign the petition.
- Nicole Regalado, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
  1. Dara Lind, "Trump signs a 90-day asylum ban for border crossers," Vox, Nov. 9, 2018.
  2. James LaPorta and Tom O'Connor, "Migrant caravan: U.S. military will have up to 14,000 troops, many armed, ready to intervene at Mexico border," Newsweek, Oct. 29, 2018.
  3. Nick Cumming-Bruce, "Taking Migrant Children From Parents Is Illegal, U.N. Tells U.S." The New York Times, June 5, 2018.
  4. Chris Riotta, "Donald Trump asylum ban is 'illegal,' major civil rights group warns," The Independent, Nov 9, 2018.
  5. Noah Lanard, "ACLU Files Lawsuit to Block Trump’s Effort to Upend Asylum Law," Mother Jones, Nov. 9, 2018.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Tell the National School Boards Association: No More Roundup Weedkiller in school grounds!

“If you know you’re dying, it gives you that extra push. You can’t just die for nothing.”

Those words were spoken by Dewayne “Lee” Johnson in a recent TV interview with CBS News. Johnson was interviewed after a jury in San Francisco found that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer. Until he became too sick to work, Johnson was a school groundskeeper. His job required him to spray Roundup on school properties, including on playgrounds.

On August 10, 2018, a jury awarded $289.2 million to Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a former school groundskeeper whose job required him to spray Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller on school properties. Mr. Johnson is terminally ill with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer linked to the use of Monsanto’s Roundup and other glyphosate-based weedkillers. Johnson’s lawyers argued that Monsanto’s flagship weedkiller caused Mr. Johnson’s cancer. They also presented evidence that Monsanto had known for decades that Roundup could cause cancer, but that company officials intentionally failed to warn consumers about that risk.

In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency on Cancer Research classified glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a “probable” human carcinogen.

Please tell the National School Boards Association: Monsanto’s Roundup and other toxic agro-chemicals must be banned on school grounds, and school lunch programs should stop serving foods contaminated with glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

The jury in Dewayne Johnson v. Monsanto Co. awarded Johnson $289.2 million. Monsanto has vowed to appeal the verdict. Johnson knows that by the time his case finally makes it through a protracted appeals process, he may not be alive to collect the money Monsanto owes him.

Johnson’s family could use that money to pay off medical expenses. But what’s more important to this terminally ill father of two, is that something good, something bigger than a monetary award, result from his David v. Goliath battle.

We all owe Dewayne Johnson a huge debt of gratitude for standing up to Monsanto. What better way to thank him, and to honor his sacrifice, than by joining the movement to rid schools of Roundup and other toxic chemicals.

More information:

(Consider leaving a personal comment for more impact.) 

To be delivered to Frank C. Pugh, President, National School Boards Association, All National School Boards Association Board Members

As the organization representing the top decision-makers at U.S. school districts, you have a responsibility to millions of parents and school children to protect children from harm.

In light of the latest evidence that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller causes cancer, the National School Board Association must do these two things:

One, issue a formal policy statement advising all school districts to end the use of Roundup and all toxic agro-chemicals on school grounds.

Two, issue a formal policy statement advising all school districts to revamp their school lunch programs by transitioning to certified organic foods, in order to avoid serving foods contaminated with glyphosate and other pesticides.
    5, a law requiring the state to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects.

In the U.S., more than 26 million pounds of Roundup are sprayed every year on school grounds, public playgrounds and gardens.

Recent testing reveals that glyphosate is present in a multitude of common conventionally grown foods, including those served in school cafeterias.

Toxic poisons have no place in U.S. schools, either on playgrounds or in cafeteria food. Please act immediately to rid schools of Roundup and other toxic chemicals. 

(Be advised that your name will be put on a Moveon e-mail list, which you can opt out of at any time.) 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Trump lapdog cannot oversee Robert Mueller's investigation

Trump's new lapdog 
Tell Congress:
"Donald Trump crossed a bright red line when he replaced Jeff Sessions with Matt Whitaker. Pass strong legislation to protect the integrity of the special counsel investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election, preserve its findings and ensure Robert Mueller's independence."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►

A Trump lapdog cannot oversee Robert Mueller's investigation
Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday. He replaced Sessions with Matt Whitaker, a Trump stooge who is publicly opposed to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which reports indicate he will now supervise.1,2
Constitutional scholars from across the political spectrum have affirmed that Trump's actions are unconstitutional and more than 100,000 people mobilized on Thursday to protect Mueller.3,4
But Republican members of Congress, who actually have the power to protect the Trump-Russia investigation from Trump's obstruction, are refusing to act. We have to keep up the pressure and demand that Congress act now to protect the integrity of Mueller's investigation and preserve its findings before Trump and Whitaker sabotage the investigation.
Trump's demand that Sessions resign was unsurprising, but his decision to install Whitaker in his place is a direct attack on the rule of law and our democracy. Whitaker complained that Mueller's investigation might hurt Trump and his family's reputations, defended the Trump Tower meeting with Russians, derided Mueller's investigation as a “witch hunt,” proposed slashing Mueller’s budget in order to sabotage the investigation, suggested that Rosenstein should interfere with the scope of the investigation, retweeted an op-ed on the “Mueller Lynch Mob,” suggested hiding the Mueller evidence from the public, complained about aggressive tactics, opposed legislation to protect the special counsel from White House interference and chaired the 2014 political campaign of Sam Clovis, a grand jury witness in the investigation.5,6 He made it perfectly clear that he will undermine or completely destroy Mueller's work.
Mueller's investigation produced indictments or guilty pleas from 32 people, including four former Trump advisers.7 Last week, reports emerged that White House officials were concerned that Mueller was on the verge of indicting Donald Trump Jr.8 That's why Trump wants his stooge to step-in.
In April, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation to protect Mueller from being fired without just cause.9 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to bring it to the floor for a vote, hiding behind the excuse that he didn't think Trump would try to fire Mueller.10 But McConnell is playing games. Trump reportedly already tried to fire Mueller in 2017 and only backed down when White House staff threatened to quit.11 And now that Trump crossed the line and installed his lapdog to oversee the investigation, every member of Congress must be forced to go on the record about whether they want to defend democracy or roll over for Trump.
Click the link below to demand that Congress immediately put a check on Trump and protect the integrity of the Mueller investigation.
- Kaili Lambe, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
  1. Kevin Breuninger, "Trump's new Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has criticized the Mueller probe, will now oversee it," CNBC, Nov. 7, 2018.
  2. Darren Samuelsohn and Caitlin Oprysko, "Sessions ousted," POLITICO, Nov. 7, 2018.
  3. Neal Katyal and George Conway, "Trump’s Appointment of the Acting Attorney General Is Unconstitutional," The New York Times, Nov. 8, 2018.
  4. Jen Kirby, "'Protect Mueller' protests pop up across the country," Vox, Nov. 9, 2018.
  5. Matthew Whitaker, "Mueller's investigation of Trump is going too far," CNN, Nov. 7, 2018.
  6. Ken Dilanian, "Tweet," Nov. 7, 2018.
  7. Andrew Prokop, "All of Robert Mueller’s indictments and plea deals in the Russia investigation so far," Vox, Oct. 10, 2018.
  8. Jonathan Chait, "Donald Trump Jr. Expecting to Be Indicted by Mueller Soon," Intelligencer, Nov. 7, 2018.
  9. Brian Murphy, "These Republicans co-wrote a bill to protect Mueller. Now they won’t push for it," The News & Observer, Aug. 22, 2018.
  10. Lauren Gambino, "McConnell says he will not allow vote on bill protecting Mueller from firing," The Guardian, April 17, 2018.
  11. Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, "Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit," The New York Times, Jan. 25, 2018.