Aw, nuts

Microplastics, microbursts, and outbreaks of climate activism

PRESENTED BY GREAT BALLS OF PLASTIC

Microplastics have been found in every human testicle
Although their base components are completely indigestible
If you’ve a nut you’ll find it’s got a little bit of bisphenol
As well as polyethylene in quantities detectable.

Rusty Foster’s “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Surgeon General” has a second verse, worse than the first.1

Moving from microplastics to microbursts: Last week, the global oil capital Houston was smashed by fossil-fueled storms that knocked out power for nearly a million people and killed four, none of whom were ExxonMobil executives. The storms, at the northern edge of Mexico’s searing heat dome, moved on to knock out power for 100,000 households in New Orleans.

Aw, wingnuts: Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) just signed legislation to reverse “the agenda of the radical green zealots,” has become a deadly steam bath—Key West was hit with an absurd 115°F heat index and Miami hit a 112°F heat index.

In the words of meteorologist Brian McNoldy: “These temperatures in May are completely off the charts.”

Aw, macadamias: Hawai’i is flooded.

Houston power line taken out by flying aluminum siding, May 16, 2024. Credit: Aaron Regburg

PRIMARY DAY: CLIMATE HAWKS UNDER ATTACK

It’s primary day in Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky and Oregon. The key climate primaries are in Oregon.

In Oregon’s Third, Susheela Jayapal, the sister of Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), is fighting Maxine Dexter to fill the seat of outgoing climate hawk Rep. Earl Blumenauer. Dexter is backed by a flood of AIPAC money, much of which is being funneled through the ostensibly science-focused PAC 314 Action.

In Oregon’s Fifth District, climate hawk Jamie McLeod-Skinner is hoping to beat the corporate-backed state Sen. Janelle Bynum for a rematch against freshman Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Ore.). Bynum is backed by the DC Democratic establishment and the same AIPAC money.

GOOD NEWS BREAK!

House Democrats have successfully pushed a discharge petition on a bill from Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) (H. R. 5863) to provide tax breaks for survivors of climate disasters—specifically, wildfires and the East Palestine train disaster.

Kristoffer Tigue reports that clean energy is driving a new era in American manufacturing across the Midwest after the passage of the Build Back BetterInflation Reduction Act:

Midwestern states have received about $30 billion dollars in private investments to boost domestic production of electric vehicles, batteries and equipment for solar and wind farms, according to a monthly tally of funding announcements kept by energy think tank E2.

MVP = MOST VALUABLE PROTESTERS

Campaigners block access to the Mountain Valley Pipeline easement in Roanoke County, Virginia on May 16, 2024

Campaigners block access to the Mountain Valley Pipeline easement in Roanoke County, Virginia on May 16, 2024. Credit: Appalachians Against Pipelines

As construction on the fracked-gas Mountain Valley Pipeline neared completion, a brave band of protesters again blockaded the road to construction site on Thursday. Amy Cockerham reports:

Amelia Greenwald of Dayton, Virginia was charged with obstruction of justice without force and obstruction of free passage. Greenwald attached her arms to barrels on Thursday to prevent workers from accessing the worksite up in the Bent Mountain area. More protestors stood in solidarity during the act.

“We came out to support a brave protestor that’s really putting their body on the line,” Bela Williams said.

Last week, the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals restored the $560,000 jury award to the Terry family, whose 560 acres in Bent Mountain, Va., were seized by eminent domain to build the pipeline after years of battle. Theresa “Red” Terry and her daughter Minor Terry camped out in trees to prevent the construction for five weeks in 2018.

However, yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a final appeal by landowners against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s power to grant eminent domain powers to the MVP builders.

Approval of the pipeline was fast-tracked at the behest of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) as part of the Build Back BetterInflation Reduction Act deal.

AW, BALLS

“Climate protesters interrupted two matches at the Italian Open on Monday, throwing confetti onto the court and gluing themselves to the stands, organizers said.” Italy’s climate is now a deadly mix of droughts and floods from the south to the north.

Protesters sit on court during a doubles match at the Italian Open. Credit: Mike Hewitt

IN CASE OF CLIMATE EMERGENCY, BREAK GLASS

Two Just Stop Oil protesters attacked Magna Carta’s glass case at the British Library. The Rev. Sue Parfitt, 82, from Bristol, and Judith Bruce, 85, from Swansea, were arrested on Friday morning and have been charged with criminal damage, the Metropolitan police said.

Bruce: “Instead of acting, our dysfunctional government is like the three monkeys: ‘see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing,’ pretend we’ve got 25 years. We haven’t. We must get off our addiction to oil and gas by 2030 – starting now.”"

Rev. Parfitt: “The Magna Carta is rightly revered, being of great importance to our history, to our freedoms and to our laws. But there will be no freedom, no lawfulness, no rights, if we allow climate breakdown to become the catastrophe that is now threatened.”

HEARD ON THE HILL

House Agriculture chair G.T. Thompson (R-Pa.) has released the text of the GOP 2024 farm bill, which will slash food stamps by $27 billion and “remove climate-smart policy requirements for about $13 billion in conservation projects funded by the Build Back BetterInflation Reduction Act.” His committee is scheduled to mark up the legislation on Thursday.

Today, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) leads a hearing on opportunities, risks, and challenges associated with growth in demand for electric power in the United States. Manchin, Republicans, and witnesses like American Electric Power CEO Ben Fowke, industrial electric consumer lobbyist Karen Onaran, chip manufacturer Micron VP Scott Gatzemeier, and fossil-fuel wingnut Mark Mills will argue for the fracking to AI paperclip pipeline.

Secretary Antony Blinken is spending the day before the Senate, discussing the State Department’s $58.8 billion budget request before the Foreign Relations Committee in the morning and the Appropriations State subcommittee in the afternoon. Although the budget includes $99 million in cross-cutting climate change initiatives, and fossil-fueled global warming is driving conflict and crisis around the globe, it is not likely to be a major topic of conversation.

Hearings on the Hill

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1  It sure would be great if U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murphy, M.D., actually took action on microplastics. Though it’s nice, I guess, that he’s working on workplace well-being. We’re similarly still waiting on Food and Drugs Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D. (partnering with the plastics industry), Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan (studying the problem), and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, M.D. and National Institutes of Health Director Monica Bertagnolli, M.D. (studying the problem). The National Academies of Science had a webinar in 2021, so that’s something.

In the meantime, it’s worth joining the Plastic Pollution Coalition.

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