What’s happening in Washington

The president put someone in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency who has sued that same agency 14 times to weaken clean air, clean water and other environmental protections.

He signed an executive order to put the Keystone XL pipeline on a fast track to construction, another order designed to eliminate Clean Water Act protections for nearly 2 million miles of America’s streams, and a third order rolling back the Clean Power Plan, effectively allowing power plants to emit more pollution and adding more soot to the air we breathe and more climate-destabilizing carbon pollution to the planet’s atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Congress has passed legislation abolishing new stream water protections from coal mining in Appalachia, voted to make it easier to sell off public lands, and introduced bills to abolish the EPA.

After talking during the campaign about “abolishing” the EPA himself or “leaving just a little bit,” the president proposed a budget that would slash EPA funding by 31 percent. These cuts would virtually eliminate funding for proven programs needed to clean up the nation’s great waterways, from San Francisco Bay to Puget Sound; decimate environmental research and science programs; and effectively take the nation’s environmental cops off the polluter beat.

A “little bit” of environmental protection is not nearly enough—not when it comes to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the people and places we love. 

Most Americans want more, not fewer, protections for the people and places we love

These moves to dismantle our environmental protections violate core values shared by millions of Americans.

The vast majority of us believe the health of our children is more valuable than the dollars saved when a company dumps pollution into our air or water. The future of our children and life on our planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies. The idea that we’ve found some places so special, some would even say sacred, that we’ve declared them off-limits to development is one of our proudest achievements.

But our environmental values are meaningless if we don’t act on them, and stand up and defend them when they’re under attack— especially given the power of old but entrenched industries that are wed to a status quo that no longer serves our needs, and a worldview that puts their short-term economic interests above the health of the American people and the environment we share.

Our path forward

Our best chance of stopping these attacks will come in the U.S. Senate, where 41 votes will be enough to block most legislation.

Environment America, together with our nationwide network of state affiliates, is urging our senators to stand up and protect our health and the places we love.

And if enough of us speak up, we can win.

Recently, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah filed a bill that would sell off 3.3 million acres of America’s public lands — an area the size of Connecticut. Several days later he withdrew the bill in the face of overwhelming public opposition, including 1,000 people in Montana turning out to a pro-public lands rally and this comment from an National Rifle Association member on Chaffetz’s Facebook page: “Rescind H.R. 621 the sale of public lands! It’s not your land to sell. It’s the people’s land. Many people use it for many purposes.” Hear and respect our voice.”

We can win, but only if we bring together people from all walks of life, from both sides of the political divide, and unite in action to defend the places we love.

Reckless proposals to roll back clean air, clean water and other environmental protections keep coming every week. We need to build support now to protect our health and environment.

Now, it's up to us

The leaders and activists of the past saw the result of decades of unchecked pollution in our smog-covered skylines and our toxic rivers. They worked against all odds and, ultimately, their values won the day. Our environmental forbears organized the first Earth Day, supported and passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Now the torch passes to us.

The children we know and love today can live cleaner, healthier lives in a greener world, but only if we can keep our environmental protections in place and make them stronger. It’s up to us.

Issue updates

News Release | Environment America

Interior Secretary Recommends Eliminating Protections for Ten of America’s National Monuments

Ten national monuments could soon lose some protections and be spoiled by mining, drilling, logging and overfishing, according to a U.S. Interior Department document leaked last night. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that President Donald Trump eliminate parts of four national monuments, including Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, and open six other national monuments to commercial industry that threatens the land, water and wildlife. Not only is this recommendation environmentally irresponsible, it defies public opinion. Ninety-eight percent of the record-breaking 2.8 million public comments to the Interior Department asked the federal government to maintain or expand protections for the national monuments under review. 

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News Release | Environment America

Special Interests Dim Opportunity For California To Commit To 100% Clean Electricity

Despite overwhelming support from 76 percent of its constituents, the California State Assembly today deferred a vote on the landmark Senate Bill 100, which would have committed the state to generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable and zero-carbon sources by 2045. Defying both what’s best for the Golden State and the will of the people, utility companies and electrical unions succeeded in their last-minute ploy to push the bill to next year’s legislative session.

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Blog Post

California Can Lead the Way to a Brighter, Healthier Future | Michelle Kinman

When you live in a state with 3,427 miles of shoreline, six of the top 10 U.S. metro areas with the worst year-round air pollution and refineries that process about 84 million gallons of petroleum every day, you don’t have the luxury of willful ignorance or cynicism about climate change and the devastation it can inflict.

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Blog Post

What to do when the Waffle House closes: Advice from an Irma evacuee | Jennifer Rubiello

Friday morning at 5 a.m. The sky is dark, but the roads are clear and I’m just a few miles away from my AirBnb in Murfreesboro, Tennessee — valuables, pup and nourishment in tow. After 18 hours of driving, I’m exhausted but grateful to be out of harm’s way.

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News Release | Environment America

Senate Budget Package Bypasses Harmful Riders

Today the U.S.  Senate passed a package of bills to provide emergency assistance to Hurricane Harvey victims, extend the debt ceiling and continue to fund government operations for the next three months.  The legislation is free of harmful, anti-environmental riders that have been inserted into spending legislation in the past and are pending on the House floor.  

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