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Environmentalists Fall Back to State-by-State Battle Lines

Veronica Eady, the Massachusetts director of the Conservative Law Foundation, told Democrats this month that with Donald Trump in the White House it will be up to them to protect the environment.

“A lot of the burden is going to fall on you to make the change that we are not able to make at the federal level. We are in your custody for the next four years,” the State House News Service reported she said.

Eady and other environmentalists met with Massachusetts legislative Democrats to map strategy before the climate change debate really hit the fan in January after President Trump announced plans to restart negotiations to build the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines.

Trump also ordered a “temporary suspension” of all new business at the department. That included issuing orders and work assignments to EPA contractors.

And in a real message about the Trump administration’s attitude, the phrase "climate change" was removed from the White House website.

More than a week before Trump rocked the environmentalists’ world, Rep. Stephen Kulik (D) said Massachusetts would have to double or even triple its environmental protection efforts to fight White House policy at the local level.

“It’s a very dangerous time, as we know,” Kulik, who serves as vice chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, said. “But we can make up for that, we can resist that as much as we can in Massachusetts and focus on what we know we can do right here.”

If all environmental politics is local now, those on the Green side of the aisle in California have a friend in Gov. Jerry Brown (D).

“Our state is known the world over for actions we’ve taken to encourage renewable energy and combat climate change,” Brown said in his State of the State address. “Whatever they do in Washington, they can’t change the facts, and these are the facts: The climate is changing.”

Brown and the California Legislature have created their own environmental plan that includes reducing state greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent and more investments in clean energy.

Without mentioning Trump by name, Gov. Brown made it clear that neither he nor the Legislature would back down from a fight over climate change.

“We can’t fall back and give in to the climate deniers,” he said. “The science is clear, the dangers is real. We can do much on our own and we can join with others — other states and provinces, even other countries — to stop the dangerous rise in climate pollution.”

While environmentalists may see an easy path to victory in Massachusetts and California, the situation is different in Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker may have been one of the GOP candidates wiped out of the presidential primary by Trump, but the Wisconsin Republican beat the White House to the punch when it came to wiping climate change off the state’s Department of Natural Resources website.