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With bedrock environmental law under threat, video billboard casts interior secretary as Trumpian ‘swamp monster’

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“If this rollback happens, it will weaken communities’ efforts to protect their air, water, and public health.”

As activists and experts descended on the U.S. Department of the Interior building in Washington, D.C. Tuesday for a public forum and rally about the Trump administration’s recent attack on one of the nation’s landmark environmental laws, the advocacy group Public Citizen parked a truck with a massive screen nearby to play a video of a top official morphing into a “swamp monster” on loop for eight hours.

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“The video, accompanied by spooky music, will show that it’s difficult to distinguish between Interior Secretary David Bernhardt—a former oil and gas lobbyist—and a creature of the Washington, D.C., ‘swamp’ of lobbyists and corporate cronies that President Donald Trump derided as a candidate but now embraces wholeheartedly,” Public Citizen explained.

The protests and hearing (pdf) Tuesday centered on the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The historic law signed by President Richard Nixon 50 years ago forces federal agencies to produce environmental assessments for major planned actions, including permits for infrastructure projects like fossil fuel pipelines.

Advocacy groups that have raised concerns with the administration’s proposal reiterated those critiques Tuesday. Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica said in a statement that NEPA “ensures communities have a right to know the environmental and fiscal impacts, and whether less destructive alternatives exist,” and Trump’s attack on the law “silences the communities across the nation fighting corporate polluters.”

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“If this rollback happens, it will weaken communities’ efforts to protect their air, water, and public health,” Pica warned. “We must not allow this critical tool for public engagement to be eliminated by the businesses determined to destroy our environment for profit. We will not tolerate efforts to dismantle our bedrock environmental laws.”

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As a Natural Resources Defense Council blog post outlined Monday, the Trump administration’s proposed changes include: limiting the actions covered by NEPA, restricting the geographic scope of a review, scrapping conflict-of-interest requirements, and curtailing a directive that agencies rigorously consider reasonable alternatives.

Greenpeace USA senior climate campaigner John Noël said in a statement Tuesday that the changes—which would mean agencies don’t have to consider the climate impacts of new infrastructure projects—would significantly curb input from communities that would be most affected by such development.

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“Fossil fuel infrastructure projects are overwhelmingly located in underrepresented, working class communities,” Noël said. “No oil company wants to put an oil well on top of a Trump golf course, or a fracked gas compressor station next to Mar a Lago—they’re building pipelines through Indigenous territory and refineries next to Black and Brown neighborhoods. Based on its attempts to roll back NEPA, it’s clear the Trump administration views these communities as sacrifice zones.”

“Gutting NEPA is an attempt to silence the communities on the frontlines of fossil fuel industry pollution,” he charged. “If Trump truly cared about clean air and water for anyone other than his billionaire buddies, he’d strengthen laws like NEPA. Instead, he’s handing out favors to oil and gas executives like candy.”

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Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, as well as leaders of environmental and labor groups spoke at the D.C. rally Tuesday afternoon.

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Activists, advocacy groups, and reporters shared updates from the rally and forum on social media with the hashtags #ProtectYourVoice and #ProtectNEPA:

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Grijalva, who also testified at the public hearing, said in a statement Tuesday that “the administration’s efforts to gut NEPA through this proposed rule will make it easier for corporate polluters to hide the climate impacts of major projects, including oil and gas projects.”

“NEPA’s also a critical civil rights tool—it gives all Americans a voice in federal decision-making by allowing communities to be informed and weigh in on major proposed projects affecting their communities,” the congressman added. “When the NEPA process is cut short or weakened, ill-conceived projects advance that can have devastating public health and environmental consequences for American communities.”

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Oprah erects 26 billboards around Louisville — demanding the cops who killed Breonna Taylor get arrested

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Media mogul Oprah Winfrey continues to keep people talking about the killing of Breonna Taylor by the Louisville Metro Police Department.

"For the first time ever, just last week, Oprah Winfrey dedicated the cover of her magazine to someone other than herself -- Breonna Taylor. Now, that cover will be all over Louisville in the form of billboards big and small," WLKY-TV reported Thursday.

"She and the O Magazine team say they are amplifying Taylor's story and the fight for justice by erecting 26 billboards across the city. That's one for every year of her life," the station reported.

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Trump’s vendetta against TikTok is a veil for his anti-China and anti-free speech views

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Last week, President Donald Trump announced that he was planning on banning TikTok, a video-sharing social networking service owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Shortly after he said this, the American multinational technology company Microsoft announced that it would attempt to purchase TikTok's US operations arm, although Trump has only given the company until Sept. 15 to pull this off.

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2020 Election

Eric Trump predicts his dad will win re-election: ‘The polls are looking great — you see it every day’

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One of President Donald Trump's children appeared on Fox News on Thursday to predict that his father would win re-election in November.

"Well listen, I think, um, I think we're looking really good," Eric Trump told Sean Hannity.

"The polls are looking great -- you see it every single day," Trump claimed. "The enthusiasm is tremendous."

"We're going to win," he predicted. "My father is going to win this election."

The prediction was offered the same day that NBC News released their first battleground map, showing Joe Biden on pace to win 334 Electoral College votes, Trump set to win 125 Electoral Votes, with 79 too close to call.

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