with Paulina Firozi


Even after recent setbacks in Congress, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expanding her push for her Green New Deal.

The unconventional congresswoman found an unconventional way of sharing her message: On Wednesday, the online news publication The Intercept published a seven-minute video narrated by the New York Democrat in which she describes her pitch to drastically curb climate-warming emissions all while providing healthcare and jobs to Americans.

The film, called “A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” illustrated with hand-painted watercolor art several proposals that fall broadly under the Green New Deal umbrella.

The film is the latest indication that Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives will continue to push their climate plan despite its failure in the Senate and continuing headwinds from Republicans who have derided the Green New Deal as a socialist government takeover, sometimes describing parts of it inaccurately while doing so. 

The Senate voted 57 to 0 in March to defeat the non-binding resolution, with all Republicans and four Democrats blocking it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had forced a vote on the plan, which he called a “far-left wish list.” Most Senate Democrats dodged directly weighing in on the measuure by voting "present."

In the video, Ocasio-Cortez imagines herself a decade in the future as an ex-congresswomen, and describes a future in which Democrats retake both the Senate and White House in 2020 and pass a version of the Green New Deal.

"When I think back to my first term in Congress, riding that old-school Amtrak in 2019, all of this was still ahead of us,” she said in the video.

Ocasio-Cortez trumpeted several potential energy and environmental projects, such as building high-speed trains and restoring wetlands. She also promoted far-reaching proposals such as universal healthcare and a federal job guarantee as part of her climate plan, which had given some moderate Democrats pause. 

The video comes as the Sunrise Movement, the young activists whose protests on Capitol Hill spurred discussion in Washington of the Green New Deal, prepare an eight-city tour to promote their vision for a lower-carbon economy ahead of the 2020 election.

The interest in the Green New Deal is still apparent online too. By Wednesday evening, the Intercept said the video amassed 2 million views on YouTube, Twitter and other platforms in eight hours.


— More from AOC: Ocasio-Cortez blasted some of her Republican colleagues after Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) demanded she apologize to a fellow GOP congressman after invitating her to visit a coal mine in Kentucky. Another Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer also told an NBC affiliate program that he doesn’t “see any upside to bringing” Ocasio-Cortez in for a visit because it’s “not likely” she would change her stance on coal. “But Ocasio-Cortez has a movement of millennials that follow her," Comer said, according to NBC News. “She is smart, and I think that we need to be very prepared when we debate her on issues that we’re having a hard time with. There's still a future for coal, but we need to make sure that we're debating the right people on that issue.”

This latest back and forth follows after Barr publicly called on Ocasio-Cortez to apologize for criticizing Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) in an unrelated dispute before her visit. Following Barr’s request, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez told the Courier-Journal: “Luckily, we still have open borders with Kentucky. We don’t need Congressman Barr to meet with coal miners and have a town hall, though we’d love his participation if we do.”

— Perry parries resignation rumor: The Energy Department is denying reports that Energy Secretary Rick Perry is planning his departure. In a statement, press secretary Shaylyn Hynes said there is “no truth that Secretary Perry is departing the administration any time soon. He is happy where he is serving President Trump in leading the Department of Energy.” Earlier on Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported Perry is preparing to leave the administration, “finalizing the terms and timing of his departure.” “While Perry’s exit isn’t imminent and one person familiar with the matter said the former Texas governor still hasn’t fully made up his mind, three people said he has been seriously considering his departure for weeks,” per the report.

 — More questions about Bernhardt meetings: Interior Secretary David Bernhardt met with a lawyer for a Native American tribe associated with a dispute that plagued former interior secretary Ryan Zinke. Previously unreleased records reveal that Bernhardt met in April 2018 with a lawyer who may have been involved in a fight over requests from two tribes to operate a Connecticut casino, the Guardian reports. The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin and Lisa Rein reported in February that a grand jury is investigating Zinke’s role in blocking those requests. “The meeting was disclosed in daily summary cards released by the agency but had not been recorded in earlier calendars,” the Guardian reports. “It raises fresh questions about Bernhardt’s potential conflicts of interest.”

— “The trend of flood and rebuild . . . must end”: The Senate Environment Committee held a field hearing in Iowa to address how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has handled damage that resulted in the wake of severe Missouri River flooding this spring. During the hearing, several U.S. senators criticized the agency, including Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who said the river should not have a flooding issue to begin with, the Associated Press reports. “The trend of flood and rebuild, flood and rebuild must end,” Ernst said. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called on the Corps to ramp up efforts to prevent flood damage. “They are too slow, too bureaucratic and they don’t have enough money,” said Gillibrand, a 2020 presidential hopeful.

— EPA releases new asbestos rule: The Environmental Protection Agency issued a finalized rule it says aims to give the agency control over who can produce or import asbestos. But some critics say the agency has not gone far enough to block asbestos products from entering the market. “This new rule gives us unprecedented authorities to protect public health from domestic and imported asbestos products and gives us the ability to prohibit asbestos products from entering or reentering the market,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement. Melanie Benesh, a legislative attorney with the Environmental Working Group, told the Washington Examiner that the EPA’s move is a “half step at best.” “If EPA is serious about protecting Americans from asbestos exposure, EPA should quickly release its full risk assessment under [the Toxic Substances Control Act] and issue a total ban on all uses of asbestos. That is the only way to ensure this deadly carcinogen can never be allowed on the market again,” Benesh said.


— Satellite confirms NASA data about the warming planet: A new study suggests independent satellite records confirm a key NASA temperature data set that called the last five years were the hottest on record. “If anything, the researchers found, the pace of climate change could be somewhat more severe than previously acknowledged, at least in the fastest warming part of the world — its highest latitudes,” The Post’s Chris Mooney writes. “The temperature record provided by the satellite, which runs from 2003 through 2018 at present, supports NASA’s finding that 2016 was the hottest year on record and, generally, that the warming trend continues just as the surface thermometers have claimed, finds the study led by NASA’s Joel Susskind.”

— A mix-up of creatures are washing up on California shores: There are pockets of unusually warm water along the state’s coast left over from warm water events the began five years ago — first when the Gulf of Alaska warmed to record temperatures and a warm “blob” spread down the coast and later because of an El Niño, The Post’s Scott Wilson reports. The continued warmth has brought tropical species that are not traditionally along this coastline. “Last year, scientists identified a yellow-bellied sea snake that had washed up on Newport Beach in Orange County, the first time the tropical species had ever been found in California in a non-El Niño year,” Wilson writes. “Then, last month, an olive Ridley sea turtle was spotted by lobster fishermen off Capistrano Beach, in part because a sea gull was resting on its back. The turtle migrates on warm currents, one of which may have swept it so far north."

— In parts of Kentucky, a water crisis has dragged on for decades: The water turns brown, tastes salty or has a urine-colored tinge, The Washington Post’s Frances Stead Sellers writes in this deep dive into the state’s water problems. It has been an ongoing issue for years in Martin County and “other pockmarked parts of coal country,” where the crisis came to a head last year when service was shut off, water board members resigned and the state’s attorney general opened a criminal investigation into mismanagement claims. Over the weekend, Gov. Matt Bevin (R) held a meeting, insisting work was being done to address the issue. “We’ve done more in the last three months than was done in the previous three years,” he said. Bevin said he had not decided whether to declare a state of emergency after the Kentucky House passed a resolution calling on him to take action. State Rep. Chris Harris (D) warned that water issues in Martin County represent a broader problem. “As the infrastructure deteriorates around the country, we are going to see more and more Martin Counties,” he said.


— The energy industry’s #MeToo moment: Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has vehemently denied allegations about a toxic culture that includes sexual harassment at its Denver office following a 2017 letter penned by a former employee there. Robin Olsen wrote about “a culture of treating women as sexual playthings who are present at work merely for men’s sexual gratification,” Bloomberg reports. “Even as the #MeToo movement — and the backlash against it — rolls through the corridors of power, the energy industry has largely escaped the scandals that have ensnared scores of prominent men in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Washington and beyond,” Bloomberg writes. “Jennifer Brice, an Anadarko spokeswoman, said in a statement to Bloomberg that the company has taken steps to address complaints, including launching sexual-harassment and unconscious-bias training, increasing awareness of Anadarko’s 24-hour anonymous hotline, and strengthening its policy on retaliation.” Chevron agreed last week to acquire Anadarko. 



  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission holds an open meeting.

— Two dozen magazine covers about climate change: For Earth Day, The Post created “a different way to read about climate change: an all-cover issue of The Washington Post Magazine, with each cover illustrating an aspect of climate change that The Post wrote about in the past year or so.”  

Correction: An earlier version of this newsletter incorrectly characterized Rep. Andy Barr's comments to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The congressman did not rescind his invitation to her to visit Kentucky.