Your Daily Docket – Friday, May 12, 2017

EPA Regulatory Reform Sample Comment Scripts for the Savvy Citizen.

ACTION ALERT: EPA REGULATORY REFORM – PUBLIC COMMENTS ENDS 5/15/17. Comment Early and Often!

Guest Contributor: Who is Opposing the Clean Power Plan? – Sample Script for Friday, May 11, 2017:

(Please do not cut and paste!  Edit the script to make it your own and add personal commentary.  These scripts are designed to inform and are for inspiration and ideas!)

Click here to submit your comments:  Proposed Rule (Evaluation of Existing Regulations) and Comment Submission Link  

Who is Opposing the Clean Power Plan?

I am old enough to remember the Surgeon General’s 1964 report on the health risks caused by smoking tobacco.  I also remember the years of obstruction by tobacco companies: the discrediting of scientific studies; the pay-offs to produce favorable studies; the concealing of information that smoking causes cancer and a multitude of other harms, the obstructing lawsuits.  All those acts contributed to my mother’s painful death from emphysema: She continued to smoke long after the Surgeon General’s report, wanting to believe what the tobacco companies were saying, rather than undertake the difficult task of overcoming her addiction to nicotine.  My mother spent the last 3 years of her life struggling for every breath.

Now, as the Yogi Berra said: It’s déjà vu all over again.  Instead of Big Tobacco, Big Oil.  Same playbook. Same terrible harms, but done this time to ALL of us—because, unlike smoking, air pollution and climate change are not individual behaviors, but will be inflicted on the entire world.

Exxon and other fossil fuel corporations have known about the likely connection between use of fossil fuels and rising levels of CO2, and global warming, since before 1970. All quoted material from (1) unless otherwise noted:

  • 1968: “In a report produced for the American Petroleum Institute, scientists note that, among the possible sources of rising CO2in the atmosphere, ‘none seems to fit the presently observed situation as well as the fossil fuel emanation theory.’ The paper warns that significant rises in CO2 could melt icecaps, increase sea levels, change fish distributions and increase plant photosynthesis.”(Source: Center for International Environmental Law)
  • 1978: “James Black, working under Exxon’s Products Research Division, writes an internal briefing paper called ‘The Greenhouse Effect.’ The paper warns that human-caused emissions could raise global temperatures and result in serious consequences. ‘Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical,’ Black writes.” (Source:Inside Climate News)
  • 1979 – 1983: “Major fossil fuel companies, including Exxon, Mobil, Amoco, Phillips, Texaco, Shell, Sunoco, Sohio and Standard Oil of California and Gulf Oil (two companies that became Chevron) meet regularly as part of a task force to discuss the science and implications of climate change. Minutes from one of the meetings suggest that oil companies knew that climate change was occurring, and that they would bear some responsibility for managing it.” (Source:Inside Climate News)
  • 1982: The “director of the Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences Laboratory at Exxon,writes a memo summarizing Exxon’s climate modeling research: ‘The consensus is that a doubling of atmospheric COfrom its pre-industrial revolution value would result in an average global temperature rise of (3.0 ± 1.5)°C There is unanimous agreement in the scientific community that a temperature increase of this magnitude would bring about significant changes in the earth’s climate, including rainfall distribution and alterations in the biosphere.’”
  • 1989: “Shell announces that it will redesign one of its natural gas platforms, raising it a meter or two to account for sea level rises resulting from climate change.”

By then, the denial campaign was underway (1):

  • 1989: “Exxon and other fossil fuel companies create theGlobal Climate Coalition (GCC) to oppose mandatory reductions in carbon emissions by obscuring the scientific understanding of fossil fuels’ impact on the climate. The GCC created a scientific ‘backgrounder’ for lawmakers and journalists that claimed ‘The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood.’”
  • Although in 1995 the GCC produces an internal memo, “organized by Mobil chemical engineer and climate expert Leonard Bernstein, warning that the “greenhouse effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as COon climate is well established and cannot be denied”….
  • …in 1997, “Exxon CEO Lee Raymond tells the 15th World Petroleum Congress in Beijing that the world’s climate isn’t changing, and that even if it was,fossil fuels would play no part.”
  • 1998: “Exxon Mobil-funded think tank, the George C. Marshall Institute, co-publishes a petition challenging the consensus around climate change. The petition comes with a ‘research paper’ made in the style of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, confusing some legitimate scientists into signing the petition. Other petition signatories, suspiciously, include fictional characters from the TV show M.A.S.H. and Spice Girl ‘Dr.’ Geri Halliwell.”
  • 2015: “A multi-year investigation by the attorney general for the State of New York resulted in a settlement that found Peabody Energy misled investors and the public about climate change- related financial risks (2).” 
  • Southern Company (one of the nation’s largest utility companies) “secretly funded outspoken climate skeptic Willie Soon until 2015, when a high profile investigation forced the utility company to finally sever its ties. Soon’s employer, the Smithsonian Institute, distanced itself from Soon’s controversial views, reiterated its own support for the established science on climate change, and launched an ethics review (2).”

And so on, into the 21st century, with continuing ad and lobbying campaigns, projects to discredit or deliberately misinterpret published data, and funding of organizations denying climate change—all to protect the bottom lines of fossil fuel corporations and utility companies; all with flagrant disregard to the harms these corporations KNEW would result.

I am a biologist.  I can read and interpret the data.  That climate change is driven by human activities, with use of fossil fuels near the top of the causation list, is settled science.  The cost of denying these facts, and of delaying such actions as the Clean Power Plan, will be as dire to all of us as Big Tobacco’s lies were to my mother’s health.

Guest Contributor – Melinda Melinda, Seattle, WA

(1)    http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/global-warming/exxon-and-the-oil-industry-knew-about-climate-change/exxons-climate-denial-history-a-timeline/

http://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/fight-misinformation/whos-fighting-clean-power-plan-and-epa-action-climate#.WRSlb-Xys2y

What is “Your Daily Docket”?

 – 3 weeks of daily scripts until the Public Comment period closes May 15, 2017 –

Your Daily Docket provides 3 weeks of daily scripts for public comments for the Proposed Rule, Evaluation of Existing Regulations, aka (in Trump/Pruitt’s minds) “how best to gut the EPA”.  Trump/Pruitt are likely expecting industry to flood the public comments docket with their wish lists, and call it a day on May 15 when the comment period closes. However, a quick look at the comments submitted so far have been more to the tune of, “I like to breathe. When I can’t breathe I get scared. I also like to drink water.”  https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190

We want to encourage you and your neighbors to enter comments on the open docket early and often until the public comment period closes on May 15.

Your Daily Docket provides daily scripts for ideas and inspiration for your own comments. Take the daily comments and make them your own. We aim to make each Your Daily Docket speak to a particular issue.

Let’s use our collective voice for ourselves, our planet and future generations!

Featured image information: CHEMICAL PLANTS ON SHORE ARE CONSIDERED PRIME SOURCE OF POLLUTION. Lake Charles, LA. June, 1972. Environmental Protection Agency. Still Picture Records Section, Special Media Archives Services Division (NWCS-S). Public Domain.

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