Dear Senators Cantwell and Murray,
We are writing to voice grievous concern over the Cabinet nominations made by President-elect Donald Trump. These men and women hold grave conflicts of interest and many are outright unqualified to hold their nominated offices. They are entirely unrepresentative of the problems faced by Americans across the country, and many have been openly hostile to people with low-incomes, religious minorities, and people of color.
Further, the proposed nominees have made anti-environmental policy a pillar of their political agendas. Namely, Rex Tillerson - whose company has waged an all-out assault propaganda war over climate - leading the State Department is a flagrant conflict of interest. His company’s holdings in global hot spots and abhorrent treatment of foreign countries demonstrate exactly how he will engage with foreign leaders, including Vladimir Putin.
Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to lead the crucial Environmental Protection Agency, would be a dangerous leader of said Agency. Pruitt is on record expressing climate denial and has made a career of challenging environmental regulation in Oklahoma. The EPA has been one of the most important government regulators and is key to keeping US commitments to the United Nations agreements. Without it, the US cannot become a global leader in the just transition from fossil fuels. Further, with Pruitt, EPA Superfund sites - including Seattle’s own toxic Duwamish River - are likely to lose funding, which will eventually lead to public health crises across Washington and the nation.
Proposed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke would be a similar catastrophe for our nation’s beloved public lands. Zinke has been an unabashed friend of Big Coal and Oil, and will likely be used by Trump to overturn the historic environmental protections put in place by Secretary Jewell and President Obama. Washington’s own National Forests and parks - to many the spiritual center of our region - would be at risk of losing decades of hard-fought protections.
Rick Perry famously described his plans to dismantle the Energy Department during the 2012 presidential campaign, yet he has now been tapped to lead it. Mr. Perry, whose resume includes a laundry list of petrochemical company board seats, including Energy Transfer Partners, is eminently unqualified to handle the department charged with creating a just transition to renewable energy and reducing nuclear arms stockpiles. The facts that the Trump transition team issued an inquisition and veiled threat of a purge of scientists working on climate change and has indicated its contempt for the DOE’s recognition of the social cost of carbon is a stark warning of what is to come under these leaders.
Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary, along with Congressional Republicans, will likely carry out Trump’s promise to commit scientific suicide by crippling the two most important scientific agencies in the world studying climate change: NASA and NOAA. Trump’s team has specifically named NASA’s Earth Sciences division for elimination under his administration - which is directly responsible for climate change research and tracking global environmental changes through such platforms as Landsat.
With all of these people with deep vested interests in the fossil fuel industry, a curious pattern emerges - a virtual petro state, at the time when American leadership is needed most in the climate movement. And this, of course, is without even considering figures abhorrent in other ways, like Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions.
With all these things in mind, we Washington residents ask that you do everything in your power to resist President-elect Trump’s agenda, first and foremost by fighting his cabinet picks--especially those that deny climate science--in every way that you can.