All these disasters are among the warning signs that U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) pointed to Thursday morning while urging his colleagues to take a bipartisan approach to addressing climate change.
“I would say to my colleagues, it might not be that wildfires are happening in your state this morning, but climate change affects every single American in one way or another,” Wyden said in a Aug. 16 speech on the floor of the Senate. “And we’ve got to find a way to create a bipartisan path to address its growing harm.”
"Today, the fires are so bad, the smoke is so thick, people in my home state are fleeing their communities to find pockets of breathable air," he said "Farmers have watched as crops are burned to the ground. Families located in evacuation zones flee their homes. Choking smoke throughout my state has left children and seniors afraid to go outside."
Wyden took the moment to criticize the Trump administration’s handling of the issue. He described his vote to confirm U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke as a disastrous miscalculation.
“I voted for [Secretary Ryan] Zinke,” said Wyden. “I now consider that to be one of the worst votes I’ve cast in my time in public service. Because he’s doing everything he can to roll back environmental protections, giving oil and gas executives free reign to exploit public lands, and he’s putting an end to common sense regulations that curb emissions of methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas. “
WW news intern Frankie Benitez contributed to this story.