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By Mark Schlosberg
Mike Pompeo, a former congressman, current CIA director, and Trump's nominee to be Secretary of State, will face confirmation hearing this week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. For anyone who cares about the environment, Pompeo as Secretary of State is a frightening prospect. His nomination must be rejected—any Senator who votes in support of Pompeo will clearly be siding with the fossil fuel industry over public health and climate stability.
Trump's agenda on climate, energy and the environment is crystal clear: deny science, ignore the impacts of pollution on our air, water and people, and as directed by industry, shred any common-sense environmental regulation in reach. The elevation of Mike Pompeo to Secretary of State would give Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt another willing partner in their agenda of environmental destruction.
Pompeo's record speaks for itself. Back in congress, he was the top recipient of campaign contributions from the Koch brothers, and he did everything in his power to fuel their deregulatory and pro-fossil fuel agenda. He is a climate denier who called relatively weak Obama administration efforts to address climate change "radical" and "damaging." He authored the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, which would have expedited the approval of fracked gas pipelines. And he called for the permanent elimination of wind power production tax credits, at a time when we need to be giving every incentive for more solar and wind production as we move off fossil fuels.
Pompeo also carried water for the corporate chemical giant Monsanto, authoring federal legislation that stripped states of their rights to label genetically modified foods. This law was passed at a time when states were beginning to pass labeling laws under great pressure from rising public demand for the right to know what we're eating.
When Pompeo was confirmed as CIA Director he received support from a large number of Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Foreign Relations Committee members Tim Kaine (VA) and Jean Shaheen (NH), senators like Dianne Feinstein (CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Amy Klobuchar (MN) who say we need to protect our climate for future generations.
As the country's top diplomat, the Secretary of State is charged with, among other immensely important things, negotiating with other countries regarding climate change and global energy sourcing. Science tells us undeniably that human fossil fuel consumption is rapidly warming the planet. Not only must we act, but we must act immediately and decisively to avert greater climate chaos and more humanitarian disasters. This is why more than 200 organizations delivered a letter this week to all senators, demanding they reject the Pompeo nomination.
Any senator who votes for Pompeo for Secretary of State will be sending a clear signal that they are choosing to side with fossil fuel industry polluters over people and the planet. They must choose. We'll be watching.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Joe Roman
One of the most important global conservation events of the past year was something that didn't happen. For the first time since 2002, Iceland — one of just three countries that still allow commercial whaling — didn't hunt any whales, even though its government had approved whaling permits in early 2019.
The world awakened to the hole in the ozone layer in 1985, which scientists attributed it to ozone-depleting substances. Two years later, in Montreal, the world agreed to ban the halogen compounds causing the massive hole over Antarctica. Research now shows that those chemicals didn't just cut a hole in the ozone layer, they also warmed up the Arctic.