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More storms, more mutual aid, more Manchin

The Mountain Valley Pipeline and Uinta Basin Railway are moving forward

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The superheated Gulf of Mexico that fed the devastating weekend tornadoes served up another burp of freakishly hot, moist air to the central United States, which swirled with hot, dry air from the Rockies (baking in a freakish drought) and Arctic air from Canada to create another freak fossil-fueled storm from Colorado to Michigan. Iowa and Minnesota had their first December tornadoes. Hurricane-force winds from the derecho toppled church towers, ripped off roofs, and took out power for over 400,000 households.

“This is just the kind of thing that happens when you’re in the process of breaking the planet’s climate system,” writes Bill McKibben. And “Prime Minister Manchin of West Virginia chose the day to make clear that the president’s Build Back Better bill isn’t going to pass soon, if ever.”

Back in September, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) warned that Build Back Better’s major climate and social infrastructure initiatives “will die” if the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed on its own. For months, the entire Progressive Caucus and the Biden White House held the line to keep the two bills together. After Democrats fared poorly in Virginia on Election Day in November, however, the White House folded, and nearly all the progressives in the House followed suit. Only the Squad voted against the decoupled infrastructure bill.

As it turns out, the Squad was right. Those crazy kids…

DIGGING THE HOLE DEEPER: The Mountain Valley Pipeline has received initial permission to cross Virginia waters from the state Water Pollution Control Board. The Capitol Group and BlackRock, the former employer of top Biden advisor Brian Deese, each own 10% of MVP's parent company.

And U.S. Forest Service chief Randy Moore shared his plans to approve the Uinta Basin Railway, a rail line that would cut through Utah’s Ashley National Forest to transport up to 350,000 barrels of crude oil and fracking materials a day to Gulf Coast refineries, allowing a huge increase in oil fracking in eastern Utah. If approved, the railway will be built by Drexel Hamilton and Rio Grande Pacific. Moore’s letter ignored global warming concerns, because shrug.


Wildland firefighters are among the many Americans screwed over by our shoddy health-care system.1 They rely on the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), the federal program that is supposed to provided worker’s compensation when they get injured. And fighting increasingly strong wildfires is extremely dangerous. But OWCP does a very, very bad job paying out claims in time to help the firefighters, Brianna Sacks reports in BuzzFeed News.

“When a firefighter gets injured, his checks stop coming, the car in his driveway gets repossessed, his family goes on food stamps. Firefighters are proud. And when they feel like they’ve let their family down, there’s your suicide.” — Burk Minor, Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Some of the problem is radical understaffing of OWCP, with about 400 people “responsible for handling 200,000 active claims every year,” one percent of which come from the firefighters.

As Brianna is based in L.A., we don’t have to worry that she got COVID at the NYC BuzzFeed holiday party, so that’s good.

In the incomparable Atmos magazine2, Yessenia Funes explores how the tornadoes in Kentucky have spurred a “whirlwind of commmunity.”

This is the result of a capitalist system that places profit over people. The same system that has ignored the climate crisis for decades by allowing fossil fuel companies to run rampant is the one that forced these workers to labor through a weather emergency. It’s the same system that has created a false image of the American dream—and then shrugs its shoulders when that dream crumbles.

Yessenia profiles the mutual aid networks that are providing food, shelter, and hope.

In his great Boondoggle newsletter, Pat Garafolo looks into how the push for electric vehicles is leading to another pointless state-versus-state competition to hand out billions in subsidies to car makers.

“If the choice is between states and localities subsidizing electric vehicles, or say, more Amazon warehouses, then sure, bring on the cars. But that’s not the choice.”

🚨 🚨🚨 Fox News Alert! 🚨 🚨 🚨

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

1. Even not considering those who are inmates.

2. Content warning: Atmos indicates hyperlinks by switching to sans-serif, no underlining.

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