Person

Erich Pica

Erich Pica is a left-of-center environmentalist currently working as president of the United States branch of Friends of the Earth and its lobbying arm Friends of the Earth Action. [1] Pica has endorsed the Green New Deal, a proposal that would prohibit the use of conventional energy sources within a decade and press other left-wing political priorities. [2]

While Pica is a staunch critic of Republicans,[3][4] he has criticized otherwise environmentalist-friendly Democrats including President Barack Obama,[5] Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY),[6] Hillary Clinton,[7]  and Vice President Joe Biden for insufficient environmentalist purity. [8] In 2011, Pica led a group of environmentalist groups that sued then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the State Department over her dealings with pipeline lobbyist Paul Elliott, [9] who also had been the deputy director on Clinton’s 2008 campaign. [10]

Background

Pica worked for Friends of the Earth before taking over the organization as its president in 2009. [11] He had worked for the organization for ten years before his promotion, most recently as director of domestic programs. [12]

Political Views

Energy Policy

Pica publicly advocates for Friends of the Earth on major environmental issues like the Keystone Pipeline, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Green New Deal. Underlying all of Pica’s commentary is a commitment to eliminate the use of conventional energy sources. [13] Pica complained that the radical Green New Deal “missed an opportunity” by not explicitly calling for a ban on conventional energy. [14]

Pica described former Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement of a “middle ground” environmental plan as a “presidential disqualification.” [15]

Radical-Left Political Economy

Pica has written that environmentalists must “dismantle the political and corporate systems that destroy our planet.” [16] He further advocated a “mass movement of people” to target politicians and businesses that did not agree with his agenda. [17]

Views on Politicians

Democratic Party

Erich Pica has criticized Republican and Democratic politicians for their insufficient environmentalist zeal. When President Barack Obama negotiated the Copenhagen climate deal in 2009, Pica publicly debated whether the accord was “a strong deal or a just one–it isn’t even a real one.” [18] He condemned the Copenhagen agreement as disastrous for people around the globe and that it favored wealthy nations. [19] Further, Pica added President Obama to the list of politicians he would have investigated for considering the approval of the Keystone pipeline. [20]

Pica came out strongly in the 2016 presidential campaign advocating for self-described socialist Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton. [21] Pica’s organization, Friends of the Earth Action, was the first national organization to formally support Sanders. Pica selected Sanders over Clinton because of her “equivocation” on the Keystone pipeline issue as the key factor along with Sanders’s support of carbon taxes. [22]

Pica is highly critical of former Vice President Joe Biden’s environmental plan. Pica labeled Biden’s $1.7 trillion investment to reach net-zero carbon emissions as “anemic.” Pica also commented that Biden’s plan was “foolish” as it expects the continued use of nuclear power, biofuel (ethanol), and fossil fuels. [23]

Pica also accused Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) of a failure of leadership over his appointment of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to be ranking Democratic member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. [24]

Republican Party

After President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Pica called for global sanctions against the United States. [25] Pica had previously suggested that Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil and Trump administration appointee for Secretary of State, should be “strung up” in court. [26]

References

  1. “Leadership – Friends of the Earth Action.” Friends of the Earth Action. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://foeaction.org/about-us/leadership/ ^
  2. Pica, Erich. “Role of Carbon Tax in Green New Deal.” TheHill. February 22, 2019. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/431189-role-of-carbon-tax-in-green-new-deal. ^
  3. “Erich Pica and Mary Sweeters.” BillMoyers.com. July 17, 2009. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://billmoyers.com/content/erich-pica-mary-sweeters/. ^
  4. Earth, Friends Of the. “U.S. Exit from Paris Agreement Will Accelerate Climate Crisis.” Common Dreams. June 01, 2017. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2017/06/01/us-exit-paris-agreement-will-accelerate-climate-crisis. ^
  5. Goldenberg, Suzanne. “Concern over Close Ties between Obama, Clinton and Tar Sands Lobbyists.” The Guardian. October 06, 2011. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/oct/06/obama-clinton-tar-sands-lobbyist. ^
  6. Adragna, Anthony. “Coal-friendly Manchin Becomes Top Democrat on Senate Energy Committee.” POLITICO. December 11, 2018. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/12/11/manchin-senate-energy-natural-resources-committee-1058526. ^
  7. [1]DeMelle, Brendan, and Brendan DeMelle. “Hillary Clinton’s State Department Sued Over Alleged Tar Sands Lobbyist Contact.” HuffPost. July 18, 2011. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-sued_b_863864. ^
  8. [1] Grandoni, Dino, and Jeff Stein. “Joe Biden Embraces Green New Deal as He Releases Climate Plan.” The Washington Post. June 04, 2019. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/06/04/joe-biden-embraces-green-new-deal-he-releases-climate-plan/?utm_term=.1c28173f1a72. ^
  9. DeMelle, Brendan, and Brendan DeMelle. “Hillary Clinton’s State Department Sued Over Alleged Tar Sands Lobbyist Contact.” HuffPost. July 18, 2011. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-sued_b_863864. ^
  10. Goodell, Jeff, and Jeff Goodell. “Is the Keystone Pipeline Really Dead?” Rolling Stone. June 25, 2018. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/is-the-keystone-pipeline-really-dead-235881. ^
  11. “Meet Erich Pica.” Friends of the Earth. Accessed June 21, 2019. https://foe.org/about-us/our-president/ ^
  12. Kessler, Daniel. “Erich Pica Takes Over Friends of the Earth.” TreeHugger. September 19, 2009. Accessed June 21, 2019. https://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/erich-pica-takes-over-friends-of-the-earth.html. ^
  13. Pearce, Tim. “AOC Reacts To Pelosi’s ‘Green Dream’ Comment: ‘I Think It’s A Great Term’.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Reacts To Pelosi’s ‘Green Dream’ Comment: ‘I Think It’s A Great Term’. February 07, 2019. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://dailycaller.com/2019/02/07/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-nancy-pelosi-green-dream/ ^
  14. Pearce, Tim. “AOC Reacts To Pelosi’s ‘Green Dream’ Comment: ‘I Think It’s A Great Term’.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Reacts To Pelosi’s ‘Green Dream’ Comment: ‘I Think It’s A Great Term’. February 07, 2019. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://dailycaller.com/2019/02/07/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-nancy-pelosi-green-dream/. ^
  15. Bledsoe, Paul. “Biden May Be The ‘Perfect Person’ to Enact A True Green Deal, But He Needs A Better Climate Plan.” Forbes. May 16, 2019. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulbledsoe/2019/05/16/biden-may-be-the-perfect-person-to-enact-a-true-green-deal-but-he-needs-a-better-climate-plan/#611ce278f7e4. ^
  16. “Readers Respond to the 8.5.18 Issue.” The New York Times. August 16, 2018. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/15/magazine/readers-respond-to-the-8-518-issue.html. ^
  17. “Readers Respond to the 8.5.18 Issue.” The New York Times. August 16, 2018. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/15/magazine/readers-respond-to-the-8-518-issue.html. ^
  18. Corn, David, and Kate Sheppard. “Obama’s Copenhagen Deal.” The Nation. June 29, 2015. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.thenation.com/article/obamas-copenhagen-deal/. ^
  19. Corn, David, and Kate Sheppard. “Obama’s Copenhagen Deal.” The Nation. June 29, 2015. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.thenation.com/article/obamas-copenhagen-deal/. ^
  20. Goldenberg, Suzanne. “Concern over Close Ties between Obama, Clinton and Tar Sands Lobbyists.” The Guardian. October 06, 2011. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/oct/06/obama-clinton-tar-sands-lobbyist. ^
  21. [1] Wagner, John. “Sanders Wins Support of Environmental Group That Sees Clinton ‘equivocating’.” The Washington Post. August 01, 2015. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/08/01/sanders-to-win-support-of-environmental-group-that-sees-clinton-equivocating/?utm_term=.84bf863896cc. ^
  22. Wagner, John. “Sanders Wins Support of Environmental Group That Sees Clinton ‘equivocating’.” The Washington Post. August 01, 2015. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/08/01/sanders-to-win-support-of-environmental-group-that-sees-clinton-equivocating/?utm_term=.84bf863896cc ^
  23. Erickson, Bo. “Joe Biden Rolls out Climate Policy amid Questions over His Climate Credibility.” CBS News. June 04, 2019. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/biden-rolls-out-climate-policy/. ^
  24. Adragna, Anthony. “Coal-friendly Manchin Becomes Top Democrat on Senate Energy Committee.” POLITICO. December 11, 2018. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/12/11/manchin-senate-energy-natural-resources-committee-1058526. ^
  25. Siciliano, John, and Rich Pedroncelli. “Tom Steyer: Trump’s Paris Exit a ‘traitorous Act of War’.” Washington Examiner. June 01, 2017. Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/tom-steyer-trumps-paris-exit-a-traitorous-act-of-war. ^
  26. “Trump’s War on Science: Exxon CEO Expected to Head State, While “Enemies List” Alarms Energy Dept.” Democracy Now! Accessed June 15, 2019. https://www.democracynow.org/2016/12/12/trumps_war_on_science_exxon_ceo. ^

Connected Organizations

  1. Friends of the Earth (Non-profit)
    President, Friends of the Earth-US
  2. Friends of the Earth Action (Non-profit)
    President
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