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Ahead of Trump 'Utter Fantasy' Speech on Environmental Record, DC Flooding Sparks Warnings on Danger of Climate Inaction

"We don't have time for more lies. We must address the climate crisis now," says Sen. Bernie Sanders

A park bench sits under water in East Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. on July 8, 2019, after a storm caused flooding.

A park bench sits under water in East Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. on July 8, 2019, after a storm caused flooding. (Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Flooding in Washington, D.C. on Monday prompted calls for climate action as well as renewed scorn for the Trump administration's abysmal environmental record.

The heavy rains came the morning President Donald Trump gave an afternoon speech in which he boasted of supposed environmental accomplishments. "Is this a joke?" said Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "It's like an arsonist talking about how valuable his work is to the fire department."

The National Weather Service has a flood warning in place for the District of Columbia until 6pm, and earlier in the day some spots in the metro area saw over three inches of rain fall in an hour. Flash flooding in the area triggered commuter train stoppages, flight delays, washed-out roads, flooding at Metro stations, and even pools of water in the White House basement. 

"This is not the 'usual' flooding," the National Weather Service said in a tweet.

The deluge drew the attention of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who urged swift action to address the climate crisis. She said in a tweet, "Each day of inaction puts more of us in danger."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also noted the flooding and other recent extreme weather, and the coinciding of the downpour with Trump's speech. "We don't have time for more lies," he tweeted. "We must address the climate crisis now."

Ahead of Trump's address, green groups on Monday panned the expected content of the White House speech as "utter fantasy"  and an "attempt to greenhouse gaslight the public" on the president's "record of dirtier air and dirtier water." 

The Sierra Club fired of a Twitter thread documenting the administration's attacks on clean air and water:

"Trump's environmental policy is a fun-house version of what is actually required for leadership," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "This administration has never met an environmental protection it wasn’t eager to overturn. The corporations profiting off of fossil fuels, chemicals, pesticides and factory farms, on the other hand, have a firm friend in the administration."

"As the world continues to ring the alarm bell," said Hauter, "the Trump administration cheers on polluters. This is not what American leadership looks like."

"True leadership," she continued, "would be phasing out fossil fuels for 100 percent clean, renewable energy and holding industry accountable for its pollution that endangers our air, water, and food.”

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