Punched in the Planet
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It has been a bad week for the environment, and it's not even Friday. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to stay President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which puts the first ever limits to carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. Then yesterday the California Coastal Commission—under pressure from developers and corporate lobbyists behind closed doors—voted 7-5 to fire their Executive Director, Dr. Charles Lester.
The 1-2 blows hurt pretty bad. Both were unexpected—but neither one is going to stop us in our fight to preserve our water, air and planet for future generations! These past two days dirty energy and big development corporations showed us what their real agenda is: they will subvert our democracy and our laws to make a quick buck, and they don't care whose planet they poison!
Talking about the Clean Power Plan yesterday, National People's Action director, George Goehl said:
Make no mistake about it, this legal challenge is a desperate attempt by the titans of the dirty energy economy to hold ground as our nation shifts towards clean energy. And a delay in the rule does not mean a delay in the climate crisis nor will it delay everyday people from taking action to advance a clean energy economy. National People’s Action and our members across the country will continue to push elected officials to advance policies and investments that put people and the planet first, not dirty energy companies.
Read George's whole statement here.
Meanwhile, the show of support for Dr. Lester at the Coastal Commission yesterday was astounding! We knew Dr. Lester was a committed progressive trying to use the power of the Coastal Commission to advance economic, social and racial justice while protecting our coast and giving everyone access to it regardless of color, income, or anything else.
What we didn't know was how many other people knew it, too. Over 10,000 Californians showed there support, along with dozens of elected officials from throughout the state. Almost every major newspaper ran a piece supporting Dr. Lester and covering the story. Over 100 scientific, environmental, community and labor groups weighed in to support Dr. Lester. Over 1,000 people showed up to testify.
POWER Director Bill Przylucki told the commission they had inadvertently organized "one of the largest statewide convenings on social justice and environmental justice focused on coastal land management —probably in our state's history." By showing us their true agenda of environmental havoc, the corporations and their lobbyists accidentally helped us organize to fight back!
For seven hours we told the Commissioners how important it was that the Coastal Commission work with Dr. Lester to realize the goals of the Coastal Act. The support for him was overwhelming, and the opposition silent. Then the Commissioners went into closed session (in private) and voted 7-5 to fire him anyway. The flimsy excuses they made about "personnel issues"—that they're quick to remind us are confidential—do not cover up the fact that yesterday the Commission was shilling for corporate lobbyists, not working for the people of California.
We've got a lot of work to do! We have to organize a massive statewide coalition to respond. We're got to hold decision makers and the corporations influencing them accountable, and we have to weigh in on who the Coastal Commission will hire to replace Dr. Lester! Your donation will make all that and more possible!