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Joy can be an act of resistance

Climate moves at USDA; PFAS on the Hill; merchants of denial

PRESENTED BY THE KONA LOW

“What is most important?” Yoca Arditi-Rocha, executive director of CLEO Institute, a Florida climate justice organization, asks. “Protecting property values, or protecting the lives of people?”

“The new infrastructure law signed by President Biden includes almost $50 billion to protect communities against climate change,” Chris Flavelle writes. But historically, money like this goes to wealthier, white communities, rather than poor or minority “environmental justice” communities. To have this climate-adaptation money go elsewhere, as Biden’s Justice 40 initiative calls for, will take a complete rewrite of the federal grant system. “We’re very aware that this is an issue that needs work,” said Candace Vahlsing, associate director for climate at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The Senate Banking Committee is holding a related hearing on the equitable distribution of disaster funds this morning.

Havoc in Hawaii: thousands were left without power by a freakish, fossil-fueled storm. Another freakish, fossil-fueled storm knocked out power for 60,000 people in Ireland and Scotland.

As the climate destabilizes, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has added two more climate experts to his staff. Tree guy Sean Babington is now his Senior Advisor for Climate. Sean has been a Senate policy staffer, first for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and now staff for the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. He is currently also teaching a course at Georgetown on American forests.

And Bidisha Bhattacharyya was named Senior Advisor for Climate and Conservation for Farm Production and Conservation. Bidisha is already at USDA, where she has been senior policy advisor for the Farm Service Agency. She has worked on the Hill (policy staff for Rep. Betty McCollum and Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota), in tech (for the Indian rural solar energy startup Simpa Networks and the Gates-Bezos-Zuckerberg “impact” venture capital firm Village Capital), and as the director for Climate and Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress.

🎄 🎶 It’s beginning to look a lot like Chevron . . . 🎶 🎄

I’m not dreaming of this kind of white Christmas, but, here we are:

In news that will shock nobody, but it happened, so it’s news: Virginia’s Republican climate-denier governor-elect Glenn Youngkin will remove his state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Golf + global warming = more sand traps.

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is chairing a major hearing today on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), persistent organic pollutants that are impressively toxic, found in almost everyone’s drinking water, and used in everything from fracking to Astroturf to clothing. Ariel Wittenberg and E.A. Crunden at Springer’s Politico’s E&E News wrote a great story about Laura C. Green, a formerly respectable environmental toxicologist who now wanders the country telling local communities that PFAS is safe, while wildly overstating her affiliation with the EPA. Real Merchants of Denial energy there.

And at 3 PM, the Center for Climate Integrity is hosting a webinar on the long history of the fossil-fuel industry’s merchants of climate denial and how communities are working to hold them accountable.

Hill Hearings, &etc:

Today’s final word comes from Mary Anne Hitt:

“I am very intentional every day about putting joy in front of me as an act almost of resistance. As an act of intention about the kind of life that I want to live and the kind of spirit that I want to bring to the things that I do. Because this world is beautiful. And we are alive at potentially the most important inflection point in human history. Because we have this great privilege of being people who can still turn the climate crisis around.”

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