Wishful thinking can't fix this.
Climate Change is Altering Our National Parks - Not the President's Resolve to Ignore Facts and Science
If climate change continues unabated, studies predict indicated that many native trees like these along Echo Bay Trail in Voyageurs National Park will eventually be replaced by less desirable species that can better live in hot weather.
Ignoring the overwhelming evidence of man-made climate change based on facts and science, the President told CBS News correspondent Leslie Stahl last week he thinks the Earth’s rapid warming “will change back again.” Too bad the President’s wishful thinking won’t save our 417 national parks.
According to a new study by the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin, failure to address global warming by radically reducing fossil fuel-based carbon emissions is already altering these national treasurers forever.
Over time, for example, scrub trees that can live more easily in hotter weather could replace the tall pines covering much of the land in Northern Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park - which I was proud to support when it was established in 1975 during my first term of Congressional service. Some species of fish and wildlife will disappear – including our iconic Minnesota loons, which are likely to move north into the colder regions of Canada.
Out West, the study predicts that California’s Joshua Tree National Park will eventually lose its Joshua trees, while wildfires transform the forests of Yellowstone National Park into grasslands. And if current trends continue, Glacier National Park will lose its glaciers as they melt into rivers.
Dire predictions like these still fail to move the President and GOP leaders to take even modest steps to address climate change. Their concern, as the President indicated in the CBS interview, is to keep the fossil fuel industry fabulously profitable and wealthy– regardless of the cost and permanent loss to future generations.
We will keep you posted as events proceed. Meanwhile, I want to hear your thoughts. Feel free to contact any of our offices listed below or send me an email.
Real Immigration Reform is the Only Solution to the Chaos and Tragedy on our Southern Border
The President’s new plan would reportedly give parents two heartbreaking choices: stay behind bars with their children for months or years until their cases are decided – or allow their children to be placed in separate federal detention centers in hopes of being picked up by a relative or guardian.
Last summer, political pressure from a shocked and angry public forced the President to abandon his policy of forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents at our southern border. But last week, the Washington Post reported that he’s actively considering reinstituting this terrible practice, hoping to intimidate more families from seeking asylum in the United States. And he may, in fact, shut down the government in December if Congress doesn’t approve funds for his wall.
Let’s be clear. We must have strong border protection. A nation without borders is not a nation. But it is simply preposterous to suggest that it be done with an $18 billion dollar wall, or by deporting some 11 million people.
Real immigration reform would include a path to citizenship for immigrants who have been living in the U.S. for some time, and who do not have a criminal record. And real reform would include respect for international accords that protect those who come here legally seeking asylum.
It’s been more than five years since the Senate sent a bipartisan immigration reform bill to the House. Since then, Republican leaders have refused to allow consideration of the plan, which might have avoided much of the terrible chaos and cruelty on our southern border.
Republican leaders need to get serious about passing real, comprehensive immigration reform – and stop trying to fix the immigration mess with bad legislation concocted from behind closed doors, with every Democrat and a good share of their own caucus left out of consideration. There is plenty of rank and file support on both sides of the aisle to find commonsense, bipartisan solutions to put a stop to the needless human tragedies that continue to occur on our southern border.
Under Pressure, Administration Agrees to Implement Year-Round Sale of E-15 Ethanol
According to the Congressional Budget Office, biofuel is responsible for a 35% increase in every bushel of corn used to make it.
Under strong pressure from farm state Democrats and Republicans alike, the Administration has finally agreed to direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to get moving on rules and regulations allowing year-round sales of E-15 fuel that is 15 percent ethanol by July 2019.
This is good news for Minnesota corn and soybean farmers – and for the 47 Democrats and Republicans, including me, cosponsoring the Consumer & Fuel Retail Choice Act (H.R. 1311) to allow for year-round sale of E-15 fuels. Passing the bill would go beyond EPA regulations to put the force of law behind year-round E-15 sales.
As I have pointed out before, ethanol adds 63 cents in value to every bushel of soybeans used to make it - and adds about 35% to the value of every bushel of corn used in production. With farm income at a 12-year low, that’s a real boost to our farmers and rural communities. According to the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, Minnesota ranks fourth among states in ethanol production. By the end of May 2018, Minnesotans had already used a record 29.9 million gallons of ethanol – a 57 percent increase in sales over the 19 million gallons sold during all of 2017.
GOP Tax Cuts for Millionaires, Billionaires and Wealthy Corporations Drive the 2018 Federal Deficit to Record Heights
Republicans promised their tax cuts for the rich would "pay for themselves." That hasn't happened, so they're targeting cuts to Social Security and Medicare instead.
We cannot and will not allow the President and GOP leaders to carry through with their plans to cut Social Security and Medicare in order to make up for record high deficits brought on by their $1.5 trillion tax cut for millionaires, billionaires and wealthy corporations.
The simple fact is that the massive, $1.5 trillion tax cut - 80% of which the President and Republican leaders handed to millionaires, billionaires and wealthy corporations last year - is not “paying for itself” as they promised it would. Last week, the Treasury Department admitted that the federal deficit ballooned to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018 – a 17% increase over 2017, due directly to the fact that big corporations and the richest one percent of Americans are paying far less in taxes.
Now guess how the President and GOP leaders plan to deal with this ballooning deficit, now predicted to reach$1 trillion a year by 2020? That’s right. They’re targeting big cuts in Social Security and Medicare – the hard earned benefits Americans begin paying for from their very first day on the job. GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted as much last week when he called Social Security and Medicare “the real drivers” of the federal deficit.
What nonsense! The real truth is that neither Social Security nor Medicare is in debt. Quite the opposite – the Social Security Trust Fund is carrying a surplus of roughly $2.8 trillion according to the official actuary audit. And Medicare will remain solvent well into the 2030’s. So there is plenty of time to fix whatever needs fixing in both programs – without cuts to benefits and without risky Republican privatization schemes to turn Social Security over to Wall Street and Medicare over to the for-profit health care industry.
Meanwhile, as I have said many times before, it’s time for real tax reform that targets the middle class and requires the rich to pay their fair share for a change. That must be our goal going forward.
Our Week in Duluth
It is important for Congressional offices and federal agencies to have good communication to better serve our constituents. This week, the U.S. Forest Service invited Congressional staff members to Duluth to speak with leadership teams from the Superior, Chippewa, and Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forests. Jeff Anderson, my District Director, joined representatives from Senator Tina Smith and Senator Tammy Baldwin’s offices, and staff from the House Committee on Agriculture to discuss congressional relations between the Forest Service and congressional offices.
USS Duluth Crewmembers Association representatives (left to right) Don Rowe (Mentor, Ohio), James Shepard (Burleson, Texas), and Dan Streu (Duluth, MN) stopped by my Duluth office for a visit and an update on our efforts to request that the Secretary of the Navy name a new LPD amphibious U.S. Navy ship for the city of Duluth and in honor of the USS Duluth LPD-6, commissioned in 1966 and later decommissioned in 2005. I have worked with the association on a number of projects over the past 6 years including our successful efforts to bring an anchor from the decommissioned USS Duluth to its new home on the Lakewalk on the shores of Lake Superior.
My District Director Jeff Anderson joined area housing stakeholders in a housing issue roundtable hosted by my colleague, U.S. Senator Tina Smith. The roundtable was hosted by Ecolibrium 3 in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Representatives from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, City of Duluth, Duluth Housing & Redevelopment Authority, Center City Housing, CHUM, Lifehouse, and area realtors shared housing needs in the Twin Ports. Senator Smith and I are committed to making sure the federal government is a partner in building quality, affordable housing here in Minnesota.
Our Week in Two Harbors
The Two Harbors Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual membership meeting at the Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors. Members heard from MNDOT officials about North Shore road construction projects. Attendees also received an update from a panel of local leaders including Mayor Chris Swanson, Lake County Administrator Matt Huddleston, Lake View Hospital’s Greg Ruberg, the DNR’s Kevin Johnson and Jay Belcastro from Lake Superior School District. My District Director Jeff Anderson attended this meeting on my behalf.
Our Week in Pine City
Locals gathered at the Pine City Senior Center where they received an update from Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen about the announcement from Social Security Administration last week that benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase 2.8 percent in 2019.
Our Week in Eveleth
The Alcohol and Mental Health Community Solutions public forum was hosted by the Opioid Abuse Response Strategies North Workgroup (OARS) in Eveleth last week. Presenters discussed how alcohol and methamphetamines top the list as the major substance abuse issues in northern Minnesota, even in light of the national opioid crisis. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tom Whiteside attended the event.
On This Day in History - October 22, 1962
President John F. Kennedy Announces Blockade of Cuba as Missile Crisis Threatens to Ignite Nuclear War with the Soviet Union
Like virtually every other major newspaper around the world, the New York Times front page announced the U.S. blockade of Cuba with bold headlines.
Fifty-six years ago today, President Kennedy spoke to the world from the Oval Office, announcing that the U.S. had imposed a quarantine on Cuba in an effort to force the Soviet Union to withdraw offensive nuclear missiles they had secretly installed on the island. In the end, the Soviets removed the missiles, moving the world away from the brink of nuclear war.
Some 15 years later, as a young Congressman, I met in Havana with then Cuban President Fidel Castro in what became a successful effort to free the last U.S. prisoners from the ill-fated 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. Castro predicted it would be many decades before diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba would be normalized. At the time, I thought him overly pessimistic, but in the end, his assessment proved to me true.