The EPA tries to turn a blind eye to carbon emissions. The courts can stop it.

by Sheldon Whitehouse

In the recent Frontline documentary, War on the EPA, the CEO of the Murray Energy Corporation - the largest coal mining company in the United States - brags that he had given the Trump administration a three-page action plan on rolling back environmental regulations. Less than a year into his term, the president and his officials had already completed the first page, Murray Energy Corporation's Bob Murray says in the film. Indeed, the administration has gone straight to work undoing environment… Continue Reading


Time To Root Out Political Interference With The DOJ

by Sheldon Whitehouse

President Trump was at it again recently, taking to Twitter to besmirch the U.S. Department of Justice, and doubling down on his demand for a DOJ investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. "No justice!" Trump complained, claiming the reputation of the FBI was "in Tatters - worst in History!" This latest outburst comes on the heels of his comments in a radio appearancelast month, lamenting: "The saddest thing is that because I'm the President of the United States, I am not supposed to be involv… Continue Reading


UPS and Pfizer’s dirty little secret

by Sheldon Whitehouse and Elizabeth Warren

The blandly named American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is one of the most powerful groups you may have never heard of. ALEC describes itself as the "largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism." In reality, it is an almost entirely corporate-funded front group looking to roll back environmental, consumer and workplace protections in state legislatures across the country. When AL… Continue Reading


Alex Azar must commit to ‘righting the ship’ for health care payments

by Sheldon Whitehouse

In the Affordable Care Act and other subsequent reforms, Congress directed the Department of Health and Human Services to test new ways to pay for health care, challenging health care providers, hospitals, and private insurers to provide better care for less money. Under President Trump and former HHS Secretary Tom Price, that work slowed and, in some cases, stopped altogether. With Price out the door1, the nominee to replace him, Alex Azar2, should commit to righting the ship. Congress passed … Continue Reading


The Paradise Papers are a wake-up call: now Congress must act on tax havens

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Appleby Global Group Services Limited is a very old law firm with a very old mission - helping wealthy people and corporations avoid scrutiny. Beginning on Sunday, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists began releasing findings from a trove of 13.4m documents from Appleby and its subsidiaries. The media has dubbed these the "Paradise Papers", and they are deeply troubling. To carry out its mission for its elite clients, Appleby plays a complicated shell game with carefully cr… Continue Reading


Let’s support all those walking the hard but noble path to recovery

by Sheldon Whitehouse

THE OPIOID ADDICTION gripping the U.S. has hit my home state of Rhode Island hard. In 2015, Rhode Island had the fourth highest rate of deaths by opioid overdose in the country, according to data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That year, the town of Burrillville, population 16,000, lost six residents to drug overdoses in just the first three months. From 2011 to 2016, overdose deaths in our state increased by more than 90%. We are, of course, far from alone. Virtually every community… Continue Reading


The Auto Industry Needs To Keep Its Word On Fuel Economy Standards

by Sheldon Whitehouse

In 2012, the major automakers told Americans that they had agreed with the Obama administration on new fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks. Under this agreement, which the automakers enthusiastically endorsed at the time, vehicles will average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard, or CAFE standard, will reduce U.S. oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day and greenhouse gas emissions by 6 billion metric tons. It will also save Ame… Continue Reading


Maximizing value

by Sheldon Whitehouse and Jeff Fortenberry

Many may think us an unlikely pair - Republican Representative from Nebraska, in the heartland of America, and a progressive Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, the Ocean State. However, we have come together as Co-Chairs in the United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus because we share a conviction that good natural resource management is fundamental to building a strong economy, bolstering national security, and protecting public health. Responsible management of natural… Continue Reading


Congress and Climate Change

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Re "It's Not Too Late to Learn From Our Mistakes," by Nicholas Kristof (column, Sept. 3): The answer to why Congress doesn't act on climate change is simple political hydraulics. The Supreme Court let unlimited money into politics. The fossil fuel industry has unlimited money and, according to the International Monetary Fund, a multi-hundred-billion-dollar subsidy to protect. The fossil fuel industry used its unlimited money (and related threats) to capture the Republican Party. Climate change… Continue Reading


Business must lobby Congress in order to get action on climate change

by Sheldon Whitehouse

President Trump has decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change - a decision that may be one of the worst foreign policy blunders in our nation's history. There is no denying the mounting threat of climate change. We observe rising seas, warming global temperatures, and melting glaciers and ice sheets. Yet the president cast aside a historic global agreement forged through American leadership. Americans now ask what to do next. For individual citizens, my answer is simple: Co… Continue Reading


Sea level rise could fragment Rhode Island's coastline

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Early explorers found Rhode Island's coastline looking much like it does today. Before then, it looked much the same for centuries to the Narragansetts and Wampanoags who lived here. That's going to change. While the Industrial Revolution that began in Rhode Island in the eighteenth century brought our nation great wealth, it also created manmade pollution that began changing our climate. Climate change causes sea levels to rise, and in the last century they rose more rapidly than they had i… Continue Reading


Unraveling Obama’s climate legacy may not be as easy as Trump thinks

by Sheldon Whitehouse

President Trump recently fired off an executive order aiming to wipe out many Obama administration climate change measures, directing federal agencies to take or unwind various actions. Typical for this insider-friendly administration, it's a polluter's wish list. As recently as 2009, Donald Trump and his children signed onto a full-page New York Times advertisement urging climate action, because the science was "irrefutable" and the consequences "catastrophic and irreversible." Now this. Sad. … Continue Reading


Closing the Saltwater Gap

by Sheldon Whitehouse

To put it bluntly, our oceans are in peril. From the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean to the Arctic ice sheet to remote beaches on Midway Atoll in the middle of the Pacific, there is no longer a place in our oceans untouched by the hand of man. A few numbers quantify the harm humans have caused: The oceans are acidifying at a rate faster than any other time in the past 50 million years. Around 8 million metric tons of plastic, or five grocery bags of debris for each foot of shoreline in the world, f… Continue Reading


Unprecedented and Unprincipled Adversary

by Sheldon Whitehouse

America's universities are home, more than any place else in our country, to the enterprise of science. That has been an important and proud role for our great universities, and it has produced wonderful discoveries. Besides providing technical progress, science gives our society its headlights, warning us of oncoming hazards. As the pace of change accelerates, we need those headlights brighter than ever. So when a threat looms over the enterprise of science, the universities that are its home n… Continue Reading


An Open Letter To President-Elect Donald J. Trump

by Sheldon Whitehouse

This is an open letter to President-elect Trump. I want you to know that America expects better of you as president than what it saw in the campaign you ran. You are now to be our president, and that brings new responsibilities. I hope you feel the call of history to live up to them. That history calls on you to remember that America is a wonderfully diverse country. We are Christian and Jewish and Muslim and Hindu and none of the above. We are gay and straight. We are black, brown, white and i… Continue Reading


Comey Violated Important Principle by Disclosing Emails Investigation to Congress

by Sheldon Whitehouse

As a former attorney general of my state, and a former United States attorney, it is perplexing for me to try to understand FBI Director James Comey's conduct in the agency's investigation of emails related to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. We prosecutors lived by principles that he seems to have violated: Don't discuss investigations, whether or not they are ongoing. Don't volunteer evidence you haven't charged. And don't engage with legislators. I had a hard-and-fast rule … Continue Reading


Coke, Pepsi and Climate Change: Letter to the Editor

by Sheldon Whitehouse

To the Editor: Re "Soda Giants Back, Then Lobby Against, Public Health" (Business Day, Oct. 11): Your description of Coke and Pepsi's mixed messages on public health has an echo in climate change. Coke and Pepsi have very laudable climate policies, and make strong public statements. But they lobby Congress through the American Beverage Association, which is moribund on climate (but very lively when a soda tax is proposed), and through their association, they support the U.S. Chamber of Commer… Continue Reading


Dear Lamar Smith: Climate change is real

by Sheldon Whitehouse

Today, I'll be visiting the Lone Star State to talk about an issue that's vitally important to both Texas and my home state of Rhode Island: climate change. Our climates are changing, and we are the cause. Clear and simple measurements show the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere up more than 40 percent since the Industrial Revolution began. Burning fossil fuels has pumped out massive quantities of carbon pollution. The link is established between this rise in CO2 emissions and the measu… Continue Reading


Standoff Over a House Panel's Subpoenas Raises Key Issue

by Sheldon Whitehouse

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has subpoenaed official investigative files of the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts. The provocation for the subpoenas was that the attorneys general, presented with evidence that fossil fuel companies may have misled customers and investors, undertook investigations to determine if there were any violations of state law. For the moment, there is a standoff; the attorneys general are refusing to comply, and the congressional co… Continue Reading


Big Oil’s master class in rigging the system

by Sheldon Whitehouse and Elizabeth Warren

For years, ExxonMobil actively advanced the notion that its products had little or no impact on the Earth's environment. As recently as last year, it continued to fund organizations that play down the risks of carbon pollution. So what did ExxonMobil actually know about climate change? And when did it know it? Reasonable questions - particularly if ExxonMobil misled its investors about the long-term prospects of its business model or if the company fooled consumers into buying its products base… Continue Reading

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