Scott Pruitt’s EPA: A dark day for America

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Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

This is a big victory for polluters, and a huge loss for America and our Bay.

The danger Scott Pruitt poses to San Francisco Bay is very real. The EPA has a central role in protecting the Bay, particularly by enforcing the Clean Water Act. For years, Pruitt has been a fierce opponent of that law—along with many other critical environmental protections. As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt attacked the EPA’s cleanup of Chesapeake Bay—a case that’s directly relevant to future of San Francisco Bay.

So much of the progress we have achieved is under threat all over again. Restorable wetlands we’ve fought successfully to protect—like the Cargill Salt Ponds in Redwood City—are newly vulnerable.

The scary truth is, as long as Scott Pruitt leads the EPA, we cannot count on our federal government to protect the Bay. In this new era, environmental progress and protection will be fought and won locally. That’s why Save The Bay’s effective work with Bay cities and state agencies is more important than ever. To beat Pruitt and the anti-environment Congress, we need more resources to block wetlands destruction, create critical habitat for fish and wildlife, and reduce trash and toxic pollution from cities.

We are ready to fight—here’s what we’re doing:

  • Pushing back fiercely against every effort to undermine environmental protections
  • Pressuring California’s elected leaders to offset disastrous environmental policies from the Trump Administration with strong statewide protections
  • Rallying local communities as grassroots activists and environmental volunteers to protect and restore our Bay

It’s a dark time for environmental protection in America, but we’ve been here before and persevered. We’ve been mobilizing grassroots victories since 1961—before the EPA, before the Clean Water Act … before “environmentalist” was even a word. Today, our work is more essential than ever, and we won’t shy away from the fight.


Are you looking for a way to resist the Trump Administration’s assault on the environment? We need your support.

Save The Bay Board Spotlight: Andy Williams

Andy Williams 4Meet Save The Bay board member, Andy Williams. Williams is an executive at Pacific Gas and Electric Company, overseeing the company’s environmental policies, including permitting, compliance, remediation and land stewardship management.

Do you have a favorite Bay site or experience?

I get to have my favorite Bay experience almost every morning, because my office overlooks the Ferry Market Building and the Bay Bridge: Taking in the view of just how special our Bay is.

How did you get involved with Save The Bay?

I’ve always been interested in environmental stewardship. PG&E and Save the Bay have done a lot of positive of work together, which opened up the opportunity to serve on the board. As a board member, I am eager to find new ways to advance Save The Bay’s mission in many ways, including through the growing partnership between these two organizations.

If you could be one Bay plant or animal, what would it be and why?

I love the California Sea Lion. They seem so good natured. They like to hang around together and they don’t miss a chance to take a nice nap.

Who is your environmental hero?

I am impressed with Tom Styer and his willingness to put his money behind his efforts to fight climate change.

What is one thing you do each day to protect the environment?

I am relentless about conserving water, reducing waste, and composting. It’s something I do personally and professionally, and I’m proud to lead PG&E’s strong commitments in this regard.

What is your favorite thing about the San Francisco Bay Area?

I love the diversity of experiences Bay Area residents can enjoy. We can be in Napa one day and in Tahoe the next. We can get out on the water or go hiking in the beautiful open spaces from the shoreline to the hills. This is a very unique place.

Why I’m joining the Women’s March

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I’m not a woman, but I will march with them, for them, and for our environment when I take part in the Women’s March on Saturday.

I am not the marching type, but I’ll be there for the SF Women’s March.  

You could say I’m torn. In general, I’m uneasy with the edge-of-chaos vibe of street protests. I’m unnerved by how often peaceful protests get hijacked by vandals and thugs, especially near my home in Oakland. And chanting mobs—even those that echo my personal opinions—tend to creep me out.

But I also believe that mass protest is one of the most powerful tools for giving voice to marginalized people and ideas. Protests can fuel a movement with spiritual strength and emotional resonance, and inspire the emergence of new leaders: Passionate change-makers who will keep fighting for what’s right, long after the crowds have dispersed and the headlines have faded. The promise of that real, sustained impact inspires me to march.

I am not a woman, but I will take part in the Women’s March.

Like millions of men across the country, I am deeply offended by the disgusting behavior toward women that we have seen from our new president. I am angry about the blatant sexism that played a far bigger role—on the left and the right—in Hillary Clinton’s loss than many of us want to acknowledge. And I genuinely believe that more women’s voices, on the streets and in the halls of power, are essential to restoring sanity to our country’s politics.

I am proud that my environmental work carries on the legacy of three strong, passionate women who faced the powers-that-be of their day, and created the country’s first real grassroots environmental movement. The legacy of Sylvia McLaughlin, Kay Kerr and Esther Gulick inspires me to march.

I’ll march for women, for the environment, and so much more when I take part in the Women’s March.

Over the months and years ahead, a real challenge for those of us who oppose the new administration’s awful policies will be to avoid infighting over what issues get attention and which fights get prioritized. If the Women’s Marches all across the country have any lesson for us going forward, it is that we must stand together across many issues—from reproductive rights to racial justice, press freedom to environmental protection and beyond. That’s how we show our collective power. The notion of joining together in a coalition of shared values, to protect people and planet, inspires me to march.

Letter Opposing Nomination of Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator from 173 Organizations

Dear Senator:

On behalf of our millions of members and activists, we urge you to stand up for clean air, clean water, healthy communities and a safe climate by insisting that the Environmental Protection Agency must be headed by an individual who is qualified for the office and dedicated to these values.

President-elect Trump’s nominee to head the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has actively worked against the mission of the agency he has been nominated to lead and he should be rejected by the Senate.

Mr. Pruitt has repeatedly sued the EPA to block clean air and clean water standards that will protect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. For example, he has sued the EPA to overturn standards to curb mercury and other toxic air pollutants that will prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and 130,000 asthma attacks per year. He has sued to void standards to reduce soot and smog pollution projected to prevent up to 15,000 non-fatal heart attacks, 34,000 premature deaths, and 400,000 asthma attacks every year. These lawsuits are bad news for all Americans, but especially the more than 24 million Americans with asthma.

Mr. Pruitt denies the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and is driven by human-made air pollution. He sued unsuccessfully to overturn the EPA’s scientific endangerment determination that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping air pollutants are harmful. And he has sued to block the EPA from setting any limits on carbon pollution from power plants, the nation’s largest polluter.

Mr. Pruitt has repeatedly argued that EPA should have little or no role in protecting Americans’ health and well-being from air and water pollution. Thus, he apparently rejects fundamental provisions of the Clean Air Act that require the EPA to set national public health standards–standards that guarantee protection to all Americans, regardless of where they live, and protect states from a “race to the bottom” in which they are pressured to compete for industry by offering lax health and environmental standards.

Mr. Pruitt has sued the EPA to overturn clean water safeguards for more than half the nation’s waterways, including streams that feed into the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans. He even sued to block limits on water pollution into the Chesapeake Bay, which has no known connection to Oklahoma.

There is a long bipartisan history in this country of supporting clean air, clean water and a healthy environment. The American public did not vote for more air and water pollution, for more pesticides in our foods or for more toxic chemicals in toys. The American people did not vote to put the EPA in the hands of someone who has recklessly worked against its mission to protect Americans’ health and the natural environment.

Scott Pruitt’s views and actions run counter to the EPA’s critical mission to protect our health and the environment. This makes him unfit to administer the laws he would be entrusted to enforce. The Senate should reject his nomination.

Sincerely,

Save The Bay & 172 like-minded organizations

Senator Harris: We’re counting on you!

Kamala HarrisOn Tuesday, Jan. 3, Kamala Harris was sworn in as California’s first new U.S. Senator in 24 years.

As the San Francisco Chronicle put it, she “arrives in Washington carrying heavy expectations as a symbol of her party’s new generation and a defender of California’s interests in an unknown new political order.”

In the years ahead, we’ll be counting on Senator Harris to stand up to the GOP congressional majority and the Trump administration to protect our environment and San Francisco Bay.

As the freshman senator begins her term, we want to introduce her to Save The Bay’s amazing grassroots community. We are compiling personal notes from our supporters into a unique, hardcover book that will inspire her to fight on our behalf.

We’ll deliver this special book directly to Sen. Harris, to congratulate her on her election and encourage her to do everything in her power to fight the appointment of climate-change deniers, defend the Clean Water Act, and champion San Francisco Bay.

We’re fortunate here in the Bay Area to have two senators and many representatives who share our environmental values. But with so many competing priorities and environmental adversaries controlling every branch of the federal government, our members of Congress need to hear from us now more than ever. They need to know we support them when they fight on our behalf and that we will hold them accountable for protecting what we hold dear. Now more than ever, it is critically important that our legislators hear from us.

Here are a few of the messages we’ve already collected:

“Senator Harris, the Bay Area is counting on you to stand up for our values, our environment, and our Bay.”

“Senator Harris, don’t be afraid to use the power of the filibuster!”

“We must protect the Bay for future generations. I hope you’ll help lead the fight!”

“I love walking along the Bay Trail. It always reminds me we must keep the Bay, and our planet, beautiful.”

Will you please join us by adding your voice? Share your own message—along with a photo we can include in our book for Senator Kamala Harris—today.