DEMOCRATS NEED UNITY IN FACING TRUMP
By Steven R. Maher
One of the heart-warming aspects of the Democratic primaries now under way is what the defeated candidates are saying. No one’s talking about bolting the party in the event their candidate doesn’t get the nomination. Everyone is clear about the need to get behind the nominee, whomever he or she is, and defeat Donald Trump.
The 2018 results showed that the Democrats, running on a pro-peace platform, and progressive policies like health care, can defeat Trump and his minions. But this will require all Democrats to pull together with the same spirit that animated their 2018 retaking of the house. Some moderate Democrats were surprised at the way many Sanders supporters didn’t come out to support in 2016 the party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton.
“My No. 1 goal is to win,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told The Associated Press in an article published online January 2, 2020. “The only way this is possible is if we’re united around our eventual nominee, and I have no doubt that every candidate in this race will do that, no matter who she or he is. The stakes get higher on an almost daily basis making it all the more imperative we come together.”
2016 nominee Hillary Clinton recently traded barbs with Sanders, according to the AP. “Democratic officials fear that such divisions could ultimately make it harder to beat Trump, pointing to lingering bad blood between Clinton and Sanders four years ago that may have helped him eke out a victory,” reported the AP.
“[T]he number one priority for our country and world is retiring Trump, and, as I always have, I will do whatever I can to support our nominee,” said Clinton
“At the end of the day, no one wants history to repeat itself,” one Democratic strategist quoted by the AP said.
Congressman Jim McGovern Highlights House Passage of Conservation Bill Protecting 1.3 Million Acres of New Wilderness
Legislation is Latest Democratic Measure to Prevent Climate Change
WASHINGTON — U.S. Congressman James P. McGovern (D-MA) Chairman of the House Rules Committee, hailed tonight’s House passage of the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act (H.R. 2546), which combines six previously separate bills that together recognize more than 1.3 million acres of wilderness across the West and protect more than 1,000 river miles under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The package, which passed by a 231-183 vote, will help prevent climate change by improving land management and by limiting resource extraction on especially sensitive public lands.
“Today, House Democrats took strong action to preserve and protect the pristine and beautiful ecosystems that our country has to offer,” said Congressman McGovern. “While the President and his allies do everything in their power to undermine our environmental protections as a favor to big oil lobbyists and corporate polluters, we are prioritizing conserving and protecting our delicate ecosystems like never before. I proudly voted yes on this important bill to protect our wilderness – and our planet – for generations to come.”
In addition to climate change prevention measures, the bill includes important climate mitigation efforts like those in the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act, originally introduced by Rep. Huffman, which increases wildfire resiliency in Northwest California through the restoration of degraded and climate-impacted forest ecosystems. Among other steps, it requires federal land management agencies to work with local residents and develop a new coordinated fire management plan that prioritizes reducing fuel near existing roads, infrastructure, and other developed areas.
The Protecting America’s Wilderness Act is the biggest public lands conservation measure to receive a House vote since the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act became law in March 2019, shortly after Democrats took the House majority in the 2018 election. That law permanently authorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund; recognizes wilderness areas, protects public lands and rivers around the country from degradation, and enhances their climate resiliency; protects climate-sensitive fish habitats in the Pacific Northwest; and protects other fish, wildlife and bird habitats nationwide.
This bill enjoys broad support from environmental groups and stakeholders:
“Colorado Mountain Club is pleased to see the passage of the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act which protects a variety of landscapes in Colorado, from west-slope deserts to San Juan peaks, for natural resources and primitive recreation. The bill codifies some long-standing Wilderness Study areas in remote Northwest Colorado, as well as iconic mountain vistas in the Southwest part of the state.” – Julie Mach, Conservation Director, Colorado Mountain Club
“Wild Connections board and members are thrilled to see the House pass the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act – which protects more than 600,000 acres of wilderness throughout Colorado. These are primarily rugged and scenic lower-to-mid-elevation areas and ecosystems that are currently underrepresented in Colorado’s wildernesses. All of the areas in the bill are most deserving of wilderness designation. We are especially pleased that it would offer protection to the remarkable wild values found in six of the bill’s proposed wildernesses in central Colorado–Beaver Creek, Grape Creek, McIntyre Hills, Table Mountain, Badger Creek, and the Browns Canyon National Monument. With ever increasing development pressure on Colorado’s wild lands, the protections afforded by the CWA become more valuable.” – John Sztukowski, Conservation Director, Wild Connections
“This legislation is a monumental move to protect our environment and fight the climate crisis. Preserving our public lands and waters– keeping fossil fuels in the ground and permanently protecting these places– will help halt and reverse climate pollution. The Protecting America’s Wilderness Act represents real action. These protections will provide immeasurable benefits to our communities, climate stability and for generations to come.” – Athan Manuel, Director of Land Policy, Sierra Club
An Ongoing Campaign for Climate Action
The wilderness bill is the latest in a string of climate-friendly packages advanced by the House from the Natural Resources Committee.
The House in December approved the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act (H.R. 729), a package of 10 bipartisan coastal resilience bills that aid coastal ecosystems and economies, improve ocean monitoring and research, and offer coastal managers tools to protect coastal communities most vulnerable to climate impacts.
In October 2019, the House passed Rep. Joe Neguse’s (D-Colo.) Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, which designates wilderness areas, recreation management areas and conservation areas in Colorado; and Chair Grijalva’s Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act, which protects more than 1 million acres of public lands north and south of the Grand Canyon from new extraction activities.
In September 2019, House Democrats passed a collection of bills to protect our nation’s coastal waters from destructive offshore drilling. That package included Rep. Joe Cunningham’s (D-S.C.) Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, which prohibits oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic or in the Straits of Florida; Rep. Huffman’s Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act, which protects the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling; and Rep. Francis Rooney’s (R-Fla.) Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act, which blocks offshore leasing in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
In April 2019, the House passed the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act (H.R. 2030), which implements a water-sharing agreement known as the Drought Contingency Plan between Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, California, New Mexico and Nevada that accounts for ongoing water shortages and regional climate change throughout the Southwest. The bill, authored by Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), became law and received unanimous praise from Colorado River basin states, tribes and other stakeholders.