Mainers urge Sen. Collins to reject Trump’s ‘fossil fuel’ cabinet
Mainers protested outside Senator Susan Collins’ Portland office on Monday, calling on her to reject President-elect Trump’s climate-denying nominees to head the Environmental Protection Agency and Departments of State and Energy.
“It’s time Senator Collins shows true leadership at this critical point in history when we know the science is clear and we must act now on real climate policy,” said Sarah Lachance, spokesperson for 350 Maine. “Her first step in doing that is to say no to these cabinet nominees of climate deniers.”
Trump has nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for EPA, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and former Texas governor Rick Perry to run the Energy Department. All three have been hostile to addressing carbon pollution and the looming threat of global climate change.
“As one of the only Republican Senators who accepts the scientific consensus on climate change and supports action to address the climate crisis, Sen. Collins will play a pivotal role in approving or rejecting Trump’s ‘fossil fuel’ cabinet,” said Glen Brand, Sierra Club Maine Chapter Director.
The EPA appointment would be putting a fox in charge of the henhouse, according to environmentalists, who note that Pruitt is a climate denier who has led the legal charge to kill the EPA’s historic Clean Power Plan and other important environmental safeguards.
“The underlying causes of climate change are no longer debated within the scientific community,” said Professor Charles Tilburg, Associate Dean, College of Arts & Sciences at the University Of New England, who spoke at a press conference before the protest. “We have moved beyond this settled issue to examine the effects of the change on our environment.”
For years Exxon Mobil, helmed by CEO Rex Tillerson, has been the driving force and a major funder supporting climate denialism propaganda. With Tillerson as Secretary of State, climate activists fear the fossil fuel industry will have tight control over the nation’s foreign policy.
Perry, a longtime climate denier, has been tapped to lead the very department that he pledged to eliminate when he was a presidential candidate in 2008.
Recently, at a talk at Bowdoin College, Sen. Collins reiterated that she believes humans are causing climate change and that governmental action will be needed to solve the problem. “I have supported over and over again the ability of the EPA to advance greenhouse gas emissions policy—the Clean Power Act, for example.”
“Senator Collins can’t have it both ways: she cannot support climate science deniers for critically important cabinet posts AND support policies to protect our climate and promote clean energy,” said Brand.
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