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Trump Replaces Rex Tillerson With Someone Who May Be Worse

Pompeo nomination bodes ill for environment and foreign policy

Twitter is now the accepted format to make major political announcements. President Trump announced on the social media site that CIA Director Mike Pompeo would replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

Trump’s tweet proclaimed that “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!”

Don’t be so quick to break out the champagne and glasses. Pompeo, a congressional member in Kansas until last year when he became the Director of the CIA, is as bad for the environment and the country as Tillerson. He may even be worse.

Pompeo’s troubling voting record

Looking at his congressional voting track record is telling. The League of Conservation Voters gave him a lifetime score of four percent. One amendment he introduced indicates why he received such a low score. The amendment to HR 5538, an appropriations bill for 2017 for federal agencies would prevent funds from the bill being used for an EPA Clean Air Act rule. The rule modernizes the EPA’s risk management programs regulations. President Obama released an executive order in 2013 to improve chemical safety after several catastrophic chemical facility incidents occurred in the U.S.

Pompeo co-sponsored a bill in 2011 to exclude manure as being a hazardous substance and pollutant or contaminant. The bill would exclude excrement from livestock, including feces, urine, and urea. Jim Ruen, an agricultural issues consultant, opposed the bill, saying, “We are talking about concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) units with thousands of animals and tens of thousands or more tons/gallons of manure.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a CAFO as an animal feeding operation with 1,000 head of beef cattle, 700 dairy cows, 2500 swine weighing over 55 pounds, 125,000 broiler chickens, or 82,000 laying hens or pullets.

Pompeo’s environmental voting record should come as no surprise. His top contributors in the 2015/2016 election cycle came from the oil and gas industries, which gave him $186,600. Koch Industries gave $71,000 of that amount.

Pompeo’s environmental voting record is not the only one that is concerning. He sponsored opposing the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, which regulates the international trade in conventional arms, ranging from small arms to battle tanks. The treaty went into effect on December 24, 2014. His resolution opposing the treaty stated that it “poses significant risks to the national security, foreign policy, and economic interests of the US.” However, the treaty states that it reaffirms the “sovereign right of any state to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system.”

Opposition to Pompeo’s nomination comes from environmental and progressive groups, and a Republican Senator

Environmental and progressive groups oppose the nomination of Pompeo. That includes a coalition of progressive foreign policy groups called Win Without War, whose director Stephen Miles said that his nomination is “deeply troubling.” He added that as CIA Director, “Pompeo has been accused of radically politicizing the agency and colluding with ideologically driven organizations to misrepresent intelligence.”

“We’ve gone from Exxon’s CEO to the Koch Brothers’ most loyal lapdog,” said 350.org Executive Director May Boeve. “Trump’s state department is a vehicle for big oil and billionaires, regardless of whether Tillerson or Pompeo [is] at the helm.”

“Selecting Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State means Donald Trump wants to turn our global diplomatic efforts over from Exxon to the Koch Brothers,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune.

Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, is also opposed to Pompeo’s nomination, as well as the nomination Gina Haspel to take over as CIA Director. “I cannot endorse his nomination of people who loved the Iraq War so much that they want an Iran War next,” Rand said in a statement.

“Director Pompeo has not learned the lessons of regime change and wants regime change in Iran,” he added.


Image credit: Gage Skidmore, courtesy Flickr

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