President Obama announced this morning that he is lifting the ban on drilling for oil along much of the United States' coastlines. The moratorium on drilling in these areas, including along the Atlantic, Gulf Coast, and parts of Alaska, stood for over twenty years. Needless to say, expanded exploration for dirty fossil fuels is very dissapointing and leaves American thinking back in the 20th century.
By 1Sky South Carolina Organizer Tim Liszewski. -- Luis
Yesterday morning started bright and beautiful in Columbia, South Carolina. Skies were blue, no clouds, and the temperature was a mild 72 degrees.
Around 11 a.m., the Storm descended. It was an uncharacteristically focused storm -- focused on Senator Lindsey Graham's office. The effects of climate change had shown up on his doorstep. (See video and pics from the Storm below.)
By Ryan Denham, 1Sky organizer in Arkansas. -- Luis
Last Friday, 1Sky Arkansas, allies, and supporters "stormed" Senator Blanche Lincoln and Senator Mark Pyror's Little Rock offices as part of a nationally coordinated series of events across the country. Arkansas groups like Sierra Club, the OMNI Center and The Village Commons helped promote this event and bring out volunteers. The storm symbolized the potential unchecked effects of climate change and why it is so important to protect the Clean Air Act. Dressed up in rainstorm attire, we stood in front of Senator Lincoln's Office holding signs, umbrellas and signs chanting "Clean Energy Now". (See video and pics from this event below.)
Last week, Congress passed the final round of health care reform bills and adjourned for the 2-week spring recess. Senators working on comprehensive climate and energy legislation kicked their efforts into high gear, meeting with other senators and industry representatives in hopes of building support for their draft bill, which they plan on finalizing next month. During the congressional recess, 1Sky supporters collaborating on our nationwide “Storm” will be arriving en masse at in-state offices to demand that members of Congress oppose the "Dirty Air Act" proposals under consideration in both the House and Senate.
This week's blog and news update has a nice variety for you. Climate champ Joe Romm goes head-to-head with Sen. Inhofe (R-Denialvania), the Obama Administration moves on car efficiency, and West Virginians are featured for their efforts to create their own clean energy future. Enviroknow passed along a chart showing how the world is investing in that future as well. Finally, a video for tomorrow's Earth Hour shows just how creative climate activism can be.
The Clean Air Act is still facing extreme attacks in Congress, even as momentum builds for a comprehensive climate and energy bill in the Senate. In fact many of these attacks, collectively dubbed 'Dirty Air Acts,' are currently flying under the radar, especially in the House of Representatives. While climate advocates turn their focus to the Senate process, many lobbyists representing Big Oil and Dirty Coal are working quietly but intently behind the scenes to lure members onto a whole slew of anti-science attacks on the Clean Air Act.
Update: Soon after my exchange with President Obama, I sent him this letter urging him to abandon the fantasy of "clean coal." I received a reply by an official from the Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy, to which I replied soon after. Click here to read the exchange.
Last night, I went to hear what President Obama had to say at a Gen44 event organized by the Democratic National Committee (note that I took time off from 1Sky to attend the event because 1Sky is a 501(c)(3) organization and we can’t -- and don’t -- do any electoral work).
Anyway, I happened to catch President Obama on a rope line and decided on the fly to challenge him on the mythology of clean coal since our base has been so concerned about his repeated calls for clean coal (and nuclear and oil drilling) alongside real renewable energy solutions. My partner Louis captured the exchange on his iPhone.
Here is what happened and a transcript as best as I can put it together since the audio isn’t great, especially on my voice -- although Obama comes through loud and clear and we have our work cut out for us!
Last week, 1Sky pushed back as information about plans to block the Clean Air Act in new climate legislation leaked out after industry executives met with Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). Last night, the House of Representatives passed a long-debated comprehensive health care reform bill and the Senate is expected to vote on a package of final fixes this week so the bill reforming America’s health care system can be sent to President Obama's desk.
As health care reform gets into the 11th hour, the climate debate isn't holding off to see what happens. This week we read both good and bad news. Dirty energy corporations are still hard at work attacking the Clean Air Act, but we're working just as hard to stop them. Bill Clinton joined the climate fight as well and a home efficiency program moved forward in the House of Representatives. Finally, we saw what Vermont will look like when moved to the South and the Climate Crime Unit hunted down some of the most wanted in Washington.
Yesterday I coordinated a community meeting at Senator McCaskill’s office as part of "The Storm": a month-long series of unannounced visits to congressional offices to protect the Clean Air Act. The meeting at Senator McCaskill’s office was attended by her Regional Director in the St. Louis office. In attendance was a diverse cross-section of our community: Veterans For Peace, Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, two retired educators, a green business owner, a local college student studying ecology and other environmental activists, along with 1Sky, Apollo Alliance and Repower America. (Check out the slideshow at the end of the post.)