As many as 100 climate activists gathered downtown on Monday evening (January 9), joining in a nationwide day of protest calling on senators across the country to vote against several of president-elect Donald Trump's cabinet nominations.
Calling their actions a Day Against Denial, groups in at least 40 states organized by 350.org rallied and presented petitions to elected officials opposing Trump's picks, including former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state; former Texas governor Rick Perry as secretary of energy; Montana House representative Ryan Zinke as secretary of the interior; and Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt as the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"They're climate deniers, and we believe they won't take any action on climate change," said San Diego 350's Nicola Peill-Moelter. "In fact, they'll probably turn progress we've made backwards. We have very little time to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and transition to clean energy, and none of these cabinet picks have any interest in that. They have vested interests, really conflicts of interest, in the fossil-fuel industry and in seeing that sector expand rather than contract."
Diane Takvorian, executive director of the Environmental Health Coalition, called the nominees a "gang of thugs" who would "bring radical, terrible changes to society."
"Scott Pruitt is a climate-change denier," Takvorian continued. "He's a bedfellow of polluter lobbyists, and to have him head the Environmental Protection Agency is an attack on Americans. Pruitt boasts about leading the charge against pollution limits on toxic substances like soot and mercury that put us all at risk."
Confirmation hearings for the cabinet begin this week with at least eight nominees scheduled for consideration by Congress. Trump has expressed confidence that all of his picks will be confirmed — a likely proposition, given the last outright denial of an appointment came under George H. W. Bush in 1989.