Weekly Address: President Obama – Protecting Our Planet for Future Generations

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President laid out the importance of serving as good stewards of the environment and maintaining the planet for generations to come. Since taking office the President has prioritized protecting the places that make America special. He has repeatedly said that no challenge poses a greater threat to our future than a changing climate, which is why he’s taken bold actions at home and encouraged historic action abroad on the issue. In his address, he encouraged Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund which has protected more than 5 million acres of land for more than half a century, without costing taxpayers a dime. Republicans in Congress let the fund expire despite strong bipartisan support. And he reminded us that we all have to do our part to address climate change, promote clean energy and energy efficiency, and ensure a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations.

Transcript: Weekly Address: Protecting our Planet for Future Generations

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address, The White House, October 24, 2015

Hi, everybody. Our country is home to some of the most beautiful God-given landscapes in the world. We’re blessed with natural treasures – from the Grand Tetons to the Grand Canyon; from lush forests and vast deserts to lakes and rivers teeming with wildlife. And it’s our responsibility to protect these treasures for future generations, just as previous generations protected them for us.

Since taking office, I’ve set aside more than 260 million acres of public lands and waters – more than any President in history. Last month, we announced that 11 states had come together with ranchers, and industry groups to protect a threatened species – the sage grouse – without jeopardizing local economies. Two weeks ago, we announced that we’re creating one new marine sanctuary on the Potomac River in Maryland, and another along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin – part of unprecedented efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes. We also joined a coalition of countries cracking down on illegal fishing that threatens jobs and food security around the globe. And I’m going to keep protecting the places that make America special, and the livelihoods of those who depend on them.

We’ll also keep doing what we can to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it’s too late. Over the past six years, we’ve led by example, generating more clean energy and lowering our carbon emissions. Our businesses have stepped up in a big way, including just this past week. Some of our biggest companies made new commitments to act on climate – not just because it’s good for the planet, but because it’s good for their bottom line.

This is how America is leading on the environment. And because America is leading by example, 150 countries, representing over 85% of global emissions, have now laid out plans to reduce their levels of the harmful carbon pollution that warms our planet. And it gives us great momentum going into Paris this December, where the world needs to come together and build on these individual commitments with an ambitious, long-term agreement to protect this Earth for our kids.

Now Congress has to do its job. This month, even as Republicans in Congress barely managed to keep our government open, they shut down something called the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For more than half a century, this fund has protected more than 5 million acres of land – from playgrounds to parks to priceless landscapes – all without costing taxpayers a dime. Nearly every single county in America has benefited from this program. It has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Republicans in Congress should reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund without delay.

After all, as Pope Francis reminds us so eloquently, this planet is a gift from God – and our common home. We should leave it to our kids in better shape than we found it.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Bolding added.

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6 Comments

  1. This week the EPA published its Clean Power Plan. The lawsuits were filed immediately:

    The EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which seeks to limit carbon emissions from the electricity sector, was finalized back in August, but it will be officially published in the Federal Register on Friday, setting in motion of flurry of court filings, lawsuits, and counter suits.

    Fifteen states have said they will sue the EPA, revisiting arguments they used to try to stop the rule before it was even made. Fifteen other states, including Washington, D.C., will then intervene, arguing that the rules are not only legal, they are necessary.

    “Significant reductions in these emissions must occur to prevent increases in the frequency, magnitude and scale of the adverse impacts of climate change,” wrote New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a letter to the EPA in August. The attorney general named “heat-related deaths and illnesses; higher smog levels, increasing the rate of asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis; extreme weather, including storms, floods and droughts; threats to our food production, agriculture and forest productivity; and threats to our energy, transportation and water resource infrastructure” as concerns.

    I have no doubt that the anti-breathing states will find a friendly federal judge to block the rule from taking effect (they have them on speed-dial). But it is encouraging to see that 15 states are going to sue to demand that the standards be put in place.

  2. From the DNC Women’s Leadership Forum event:

    Democratic National Committee Women’s Leadership Forum

    Democratic presidential candidates Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke at the Democratic National Committee Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. on October 23rd.

    Full video here.

    CSPAN clips:
    President Obama’s speech

    President Obama spoke at the Democratic National Committee Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.

    Secretary Clinton’s speech

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton delivers remarks at the Democratic National Committee Women’s Leadership Forum. She speaks about pay equity, Planned Parenthood funding, and other issues affecting women.

    Senator Sanders’ speech

    Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is seeking the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential election, delivers remarks at the Democratic National Committee Women’s Leadership Forum. He speaks about a variety of topics, including paid family and medical leave, the minimum wage, and health care access.

  3. Glad to hear this message from our president about climate change! How people can refuse to believe it when faced with something like Hurricane Patricia I’ll never know. It all has to do with the denigration of science and rational thought.

    I’m also glad paid family leave is becoming a topic in the over-expensive political campaign. Ye gods, if the money spent on campaigns were applied to paid family leave and fully funded, high-quality day care centers, we’d be in great shape. At the risk of becoming tiresome, may I remind the naysayers who say we can’t afford it that during WWII, when WOMEN were needed to make the weapons the men used in the war, all the factories established on-site day centers El Fasto. No one whined that it was unfeminine or unmotherly to put children in those centers while Mom made bombs, either.

  4. In the News: Texans Owner Demands Houston’s LGBT Opponents Refund His $10,000 Contribution.

    Earlier this month, billionaire Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans NFL team, donated $10,000 to the Campaign for Houston, a coalition working to defeat the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). That campaign has repeatedly attempted to demonize transgender women as sexual predators in an attempt to defeat the LGBT nondiscrimination protections.

    On Friday, ThinkProgress received a statement from McNair declaring that he disagrees with the language the Campaign for Houston has used in its efforts and that he does not “believe in or tolerate personal or professional discrimination of any kind.” As such, he has demanded they return his campaign contribution.

    Why is it so difficult for people to understand that when you lay down with pigs, you get pig poop on you? He is going to need more than a stern letter to deodorize his soul.

  5. In The News: Iceland, Where Bankers Actually Go To Jail For Committing White-Collar Crimes

    Nearly all the financiers who headed powerful American firms in the run-up to the 2008 economic crisis remain wealthy, powerful, and free. Not so in Iceland, where jail sentences handed out last week bring the number of bankers imprisoned over the meltdown to 26.

    Combined, the bankers will spend 74 years behind bars. While critics of such stringent treatment of the business community often warn that cracking down on finance hurts the economy, Iceland’s experience has shown it’s possible to pursue corporate accountability and broad growth at the same time.

    Attorney General Lynch has made some changes in the prosecution rules that allowed banksters to stay out of jail … rules based on a memo from Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. We will wait to see if it changes behaviour.

  6. In the News: Historic Voting-Rights Win in Alaska

    The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and Alaska have jointly announced an agreement that requires the state to provide translation of election materials and ballots into Gwich’in and several Yup’ik dialects. U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason, who presided over the lawsuit that resulted in the settlement, also ordered increased bilingual training for election workers, expanded collaboration with Native language experts and tribal councils, meaningful outreach to voters, and additional help for those with limited English-language proficiency.

    Alaska Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, who is of Tlingit heritage, called the agreement “historic.” He said it “will strengthen our election process, so that voters can have the opportunity to understand fully all voting information before they vote.”

    Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act mandates the assistance just won in Alaska. However, some governments, such as Alaska’s in years past, have avoided providing it. It took two major language-assistance lawsuits to achieve the current success, noted plaintiffs’ attorney, James Tucker, of Armstrong Teasdale, in Las Vegas.

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