Cruel and unusual punishment is intolerable due to the suffering, pain, or humiliation it inflicts on people. Burning people alive, public dissection and disembowelment are no longer allowed. But our government is ignoring the misery of the climate victims living in dire conditions with limited access to water, electricity, food, medical care, roads, or homes.
The causal link between rising seas, with warmer temperatures increasing the moisture and energy available to hurricanes, and the devastating floods from Harvey, Irma, and Maria, has been confirmed by climate scientists. The 2017 disasters were not random events but a clear warning of what lies ahead unless we all rise up.
Help is not on the way
Last year, the Trump Administration declared war on Americans and the environment. For fiscal year 2018, the military gets $825 billion. To pay for deadly weapons, the Department of the Interior (DOI) will sell land leases on National Monuments for mining and energy, and leases on all the bodies of water surrounding the U.S., for energy. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will remove all potential burdensome safety regulations. Social services will be cut and the middle class will pay additional taxes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will stop protestors and round-up illegals.
Nothing is more important than money?
On December 22, 2017, DOI signed Order 3360 to lease the Utah Bears Ears and the nearby Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. The spiritual connection to the land by indigenous people and the cultural and scientific value of these treasured irreplaceable sites, exceeds whatever minerals may be found.
After the Deepwater Horizon disaster, leasing 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas exploration may sound weird, but oil companies and the federal government are greedy.
Who owns the Gulf of Mexico?
The Gulf has some of the most valuable deposits of oil and gas. Back in the 1400s, before Christopher Columbus, the Gulf and the oceans were untouched with no one claiming ownership. In 1492, Queen Isabella signed Order 001, declaring “all peoples in the New World were subject of the Castilian Crown, and could not be enslaved in most situations.” Mexico ended up with most of the land, and the U.S. ended up with the top of the Gulf.
What could go wrong?
Crude oil spills. Deep water drilling is a very complex process with high risks of disasters. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon investigation found multiple preventable causes. The rush to finish the work with four companies involved, at $1 million per day, sealed the explosion. Chemicals used to dissolve the oil failed, increasing the devastation. The oil ended up submerged in the water with toxic chemicals at the bottom. Stay out of the water is the lesson Trump ignores.
Land loss. Every hour the equivalent of a football field of land is lost on the coast of Louisiana, from the destruction of marshlands and wetlands, and oil development. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say by 2100 the Gulf of Mexico could rise as much as four feet, on a landscape with an average elevation of three feet.
Economic loss. It takes energy to extract energy. Deepwater drilling is like fracking on steroids. The cost of a barrel exceeds its price by half. The total cost of extraction including emissions, pollution, and ecological devastation is insane.
See you in court, Trump
Why is behavior known to cause deaths and suffering from extreme floods, droughts, wildfires, and freezing storms, justified as long as it is done for profit? DOI’s Order 3360 is immoral. The upcoming class action lawsuit, Juliana v. Donald Trump, deserves our help and support. Trump and his administration will have to answer to 21 bright young activists, hoping to establish the government’s climate inaction has failed to protect their constitutional right to live. Please hear their plea https://tinyurl.com/Juliana-US here. With Dr. James Hansen as climate expert and his granddaughter, Sophie, you can be part of the climate team. I will send $33.60 for their expenses https://tinyurl.com/Juliana-US-Gov with my best wishes to DOI.
Dr. Luis Contreras