These 4 environmental wins just proved that fighting back works

Keith Gaby

Editor’s note Feb. 5, 2018: Unprecedented citizen activism has resulted in yet another victory. Kathleen Hartnett White, President Trump’s controversial nominee for the White House Council on Environmental Quality chairmanship, just withdrew from consideration following bi-partisan complaints she was unqualified for the job. She was Trump’s most senior environmental nominee to fail so far.

It’s been almost a year of fighting President Donald Trump’s reckless environmental agenda. For those feeling exhausted by the idea of spending three more years facing these serious threats, it’s good to remember that we can win. In fact, in the last few weeks we’ve scored four significant victories for public health and smart energy policy.

1. A backwards energy plan is rejected

On January 8, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously rejected a plan from Energy Secretary Rick Perry to waste money and pollute the air by protecting coal and nuclear plants from competition. Perry had claimed — without evidence — that his bloated plan was needed to provide energy resilience.

FERC made it clear that the proposal fell far short of unbiased, evidence-driven analysis. It was about politics, rather than resilience.

Indeed, the fact that our grid survived the January “bomb cyclone” shows that we don’t need more coal to withstand the most extreme weather event.

2. Supreme Court rejects challenge to Endangered Species Act

Also last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a ruling supporting protections for the Utah prairie dog, which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Petitioners had challenged the powers of Congress to regulate intra-state species.

The high court’s dismissal of the case affirms the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s authority to extend ESA protections to imperiled species that live entirely within one state. About 70 percent of all species protected under the act fall into that category.

The timing and outcome of this particular case is a noteworthy win for wildlife as a similar case is pending in a district court in Texas, and because the Trump administration and some members of Congress are seeking to undermine the ESA.

3. A dangerous EPA nominee withdraws

Trump nominated Michael Dourson to oversee the office that determines which chemicals are safe for our kids and families. Problem was, Dourson has a long history of working with chemical and tobacco industries to downplay the risks of toxic chemicals.

He was likely to set weak standards for protecting human health and to undermine the strong chemical safety law passed in 2016.

A bipartisan outcry from across the country, including from victims of chemicals endorsed by Dourson, forced him to withdraw from consideration by the Senate on December 13, 2017.

4. New Jersey says no to a nuclear bailout

Public Service Enterprise Group, parent company of the state’s largest utility, tried to rush through a bailout for itself in the final days of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration. It would have asked New Jersey residents to pay $300 million dollars for an unlimited number of years, without providing the information needed to determine if the plan was justified.

It was the worst kind of corporate welfare, with no openness and nothing in return for the people of the state, such as more clean energy. But public pressure made them back down.

Now, a new pro-environment governor and newly elected legislature will give the issue careful consideration and, hopefully, demand that any plan, if needed, works for people of the state.

There will be fights we lose, but it’s important to know we can still win if we keep working. To prevail, we’ll need to continue to show the real-world impacts of the Trump administration’s plans – from the asthma attacks that would be caused by weak smog standards to the economic harm from hobbling clean energy.

This is not only about fighting bad policy, but also about keeping up our energy in the months ahead. Sustained activism is our only path.


Keep these updates coming. They help us to keep the faith and keep fighting against Trump and his cohorts.

Mark Jaffee
January 17, 2018 at 6:48 pm

The Clean Power Plan is essential for our health for many generations

Don Shapiro
January 17, 2018 at 11:20 pm

It is essential that the Clean Power Plan not only is sustained, but strengthened!

Bill Kucha
January 18, 2018 at 10:45 pm

I want all this to go through

Sarah Abrell
January 19, 2018 at 12:12 pm

How was Environmental Defense Fund involved in these victories?

Eleanor Hall
January 19, 2018 at 12:13 pm


Hannah Allyson Lewis
January 19, 2018 at 12:17 pm

We need to take care of today, once the damage is done. There may be no reset button down the road!

Todd Fletcher
January 19, 2018 at 12:27 pm

Congratulations and continue the good fight.

Linda Indelicato
January 19, 2018 at 12:31 pm

I appreciate getting news (…) about successes and the information you send about actions I can take.

Tama Olver
January 19, 2018 at 12:33 pm

Nuclear fuel is dirty. It is a disaster waiting to happen. Coal is already being treated differently and slowly being phased out. Fossil fuels are becoming known for the pollutant providers they are, and soon will be replaced with alternative clean energy sources, wind, solar and others. The government should be implementing meaningful programs to retrain Americans who have worked, or currently work, in the oil and gas drilling, fracking or coal businesses. It is the right thing to do. It is the smart thing to do. It will benefit the American working class that has for years worked in offshore drilling, mining and all related fossil fuel businesses.

Brenda Ford
January 19, 2018 at 12:35 pm

I will try to pledge to make a difference in this world

Robin Watson
January 19, 2018 at 12:35 pm

All I can say it that all your work is very much appreciated ….we have people in government that think remove regulations and make more money with no consideration for the long …the laws have always been a problem why you ask …because it doesn’t involve common sense…any how KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK THERE ARE CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY THAT NEED YOU!!

john metz
January 19, 2018 at 1:22 pm

We have a president who does not believe in climate change. He does not see the danger of pollutants spewing into our atmosphere from factories,etc as worrisome!

Sheridan Sperry
January 19, 2018 at 2:15 pm

It's time for Advanced Alternative Energy to emerge at the forefront of efforts to put humanity on a better path. Google Advanced Alternative Energy and my name Les Blevins for background information. Thanks

Les Blevins
January 19, 2018 at 2:18 pm

The Clean Power Plan is a carefully crafted plan to keep Americans safe from pollution generated by coal and gas energy production. The plants producing this pollution have fixes to reduce their pollution. They just don't want to! People's health is more important than their bottom line! Keep the Clean Power Plan in full force!

Lee Margot
January 19, 2018 at 2:24 pm

I am a supporter of President Trump and I am not interested in your comments about fighting his polices. I will be removing you from my email list.

Dal Smith
January 19, 2018 at 2:30 pm

We need to help save the planet against Trump’s agenda. He thinks global warming is a hoax because he’s not looking at the facts. You would have to be a totally blind not to see that the climate is getting warmer.We are having increasingly violent storms and this is just the beginning. We have to stop Trump in his tracks and take back the White House and elect a sane person to run our country and government.

January 19, 2018 at 2:56 pm

Thanks for the encouraging four anecdotes about good things happening and bad things not happening. Keep up the good work
making such anecdotes reality everywhere.

Carolyn C. Cooper
January 19, 2018 at 3:41 pm

Clean air and water can never be replaced!! You are ultimately killing the planet and everything on it!

Jana Kitzinger
January 19, 2018 at 5:02 pm

Keep up the great work!

Melvin Siegel
January 19, 2018 at 6:01 pm

Thank you for doing whatever you can do and have done. It's very troubling the appointees that Trump has made and just reinforces my beliefs that he is taking the country down the tubes. Keep up the good work. Unfortunately I am subsisting only on meager social security with a small EBT stipend every month, so I have only my voice to lend to your efforts.....

Gregory Schmidt
January 19, 2018 at 7:36 pm

Very interesting and encouraging!

hyla wetherill
January 19, 2018 at 9:12 pm

The American people doesn’t trust a failed, lying business man with a very crooked past. Please go back under the rock you crept out from.

Barbara Khajavi
January 19, 2018 at 9:43 pm

Save endangered species and other native animals of the USA.

Linda Spangler
January 19, 2018 at 9:46 pm

Protect the Clean Power Plan — not corporate profits of the coal industry. We should be leading the way in sustainable, clean energy — not backsliding into dirty energy of the 19th century.

H Hutter
January 19, 2018 at 9:57 pm

You cannot eat money, you cannot drink poisoned water, you cannot breathe poisoned air.

Dale Howey
January 19, 2018 at 10:23 pm

The atmosphere must not be used as a dumping ground for CO2 as a by-product of misguided efforts. I understand the desire to gain energy independence but not at the risk of further climate change. The CO2 already placed there has baked into the cake an unacceptable, inevitable rise in global temperatures. Calling CO2 a pollutant is possibly a bit extreme but that act does have the practical effect of offering the EPA a tool with which to smite the hands of those who care not and understand not.

Ted Spickler
January 19, 2018 at 10:42 pm

This is incredibly inspiring. Please continue to keep us posted.

January 20, 2018 at 4:17 pm

Keep our environment clean or Iive in a sewer.

Tasha Glinsky
January 20, 2018 at 10:35 pm

Bravo! This is important to know, both for the real outcomes achieved and guide and support for future actions. We can make a difference.

Mary Jane Pagan
January 21, 2018 at 1:01 am

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