Mad at Trump, activists will also target Baker at climate rally

8 groups organized event on Boston Common

BOSTON (State House News Service) – Activists in the climate debate plan Friday to call on Gov. Charlie Baker to step in after the “latest assault by the Trump administration on America’s climate leadership.”

Eight environmental groups have organized a 5 p.m. event on Boston Common, across the street from the State House, to bring attention to Trump’s review of federal auto efficiency rules and proposed cuts in appropriations for federal environmental agencies.

The rally is the latest sign that Baker, a Republican, will continue to be drawn into debates spurred by actions of the new leader of his party. A media advisory circulated Friday morning said activists will target Baker, who is largely in sync with their message if not all of their policy prescriptions.

“A giant Charlie Baker puppet will field questions from the crowd on the Trump administration’s latest attacks on climate, as well as Baker’s own plans to get Massachusetts back on track to meet Global Warming Solutions Act requirements,” the advisory said.

Unveiled Thursday, Trump’s budget blueprint makes major investments in the U.S. military and law enforcement and “returns the responsibility for funding local environmental efforts and programs to State and local entities, allowing EPA to focus on its highest national priorities.”

It eliminates more than 50 Environmental Protection Agency programs for $347 million in savings, discontinues funding for the Clean Power Plan and other climate change programs for $100 million in savings, and reins in Superfund costs by funding the Hazardous Substance Superfund Account at $762 million, $330 million below the current annualized level. The plan would provide a slight increase in funding for drinking and wastewater infrastructure projects.

At the Department of Energy, Trump’s budget plan provides $120 million to restart licensing activities for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. According to the plan, the investments “would accelerate progress on fulfilling the Federal Government’s obligations to address nuclear waste, enhance national security, and reduce future taxpayer burden.”

The rally co-sponsors are 350 Massachusetts, Mass Power Forward, Green Justice Coalition, Neighbor to Neighbor, West Roxbury Saves Energy, Massachusetts Chapter of the Sierra Club, Mothers Out Front and Climate Action Network. Speakers include New York Times author Juliet Schor; Maria ElenaLentona of Neighbor to Neighbor; Josh Lynch of Green for All; and Rev. Fred Small, Minister for Climate Justice at Arlington Street Church and musicians.

A rally organizer said Friday that nearly 1,000 people had been invited and 153 have indicated on Facebook that they are going. “I expect the rally to be on the small side compared with some of the major mobilizations post-inauguration,” the organizer said in an email.