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Why Mike Pompeo Could Be Even Worse for the Environment Than Rex Tillerson

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Why Mike Pompeo Could Be Even Worse for the Environment Than Rex Tillerson

By Kelle Louaillier

As Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson was one of the most blatant revolving-door cases in the Trump administration and a clear sign that Trump's government was of, by and for the fossil fuel industry. But make no mistake: Mike Pompeo could be far worse.


Once again, this administration has proven that just when you think things can't get any worse, Donald Trump and his cronies will find a way. Now, instead of having a former fossil fuel CEO at the helm of foreign policy, the United States will have an Islamophobic Koch brothers shill who built his own business using Koch money and owes his political career first and foremost to their deep pockets.

In Congress, Pompeo received more money from the Koch brothers than any other member, and more than twice the Kochs' next highest benefactor, Paul Ryan. And if that weren't bad enough, Pompeo has expressed extremist, bigoted and Islamophobic views and has defended torture programs and supported unconstitutional surveillance by the federal government. He is one of the most dangerous Trump appointees yet and will lead U.S. foreign policy down the same dark, bigoted path of Donald Trump's Twitter feed.

If Pompeo is confirmed, Charles and David Koch will now have a direct line to the State Department, including its already obstructionist positions at the UN Climate Treaty. At the next round of treaty negotiations, the U.S. delegation may as well be called the Koch delegation, as their agenda—dirty fossil fuels—will again be the centerpiece of U.S. climate policy.

Whether it's Exxon Mobil's golden child or the Koch brothers' puppet at the helm of State Department, no amount of dirty coal money and bought-off politicians can stop the movements of people resisting this administration. Nor can it stop the millions of people, institutions, cities and states standing up to the fossil fuel industry. Big polluters are running scared, and this administration is their Hail Mary pass.

Reposted with permission from our media associate AlterNet.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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