STATEMENT: The state of our union can only be as strong as the state of our environment

Media Contacts
Lisa Frank

Executive Director, Washington Legislative Office, Environment America; Vice President and D.C. Director, The Public Interest Network

WASHINGTON – In anticipation of President Joe Biden delivering the State of the Union address on Tuesday, Lisa Frank, executive director of Environment America’s Washington Legislative Office, released the following statement:

“While the State of the Union address typically focuses on the economy, the state of our union can only be as strong as the state of our environment. Without clean air, clean water and a stable climate, no amount of economic growth can make our society thrive. On this count, Americans can thank President Joe Biden for much, but major challenges remain. Only by putting the environment at the center of our decision-making can we secure a stronger union for generations to come.”

Clean Water

“The United States is blessed with some of the earth’s mightiest rivers and deepest lakes, but as our nation progressed, the cleanliness of our water regressed. We can thank President Biden for removing lead pipes so we can have safer drinking water. But there’s still trouble in the water. In 2020, industrial facilities released into U.S. waterways at least 193.6 million pounds of toxic substances, including chemicals known to cause cancer. The Biden administration should tackle the pollution of our waterways with the same zeal with which it tackles lead pipes.”

Clean Air

“No human can survive without clean air to breathe. Thanks to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, thousands more children will soon be riding clean, electric school buses, instead of dirty diesel buses that provide a daily dose of toxic pollution. Little lungs, and big ones too, may also benefit from the Biden administration’s pending proposal to rein in deadly soot pollution, which kills an estimated 85,000-200,000 Americans every year. Adopting the strictest possible standard could save nearly 20,000 lives per year.” 

Climate Change

“No president has accomplished more to thwart climate change in such a short period of time. Thanks to President Biden’s actions and the landmark clean energy investments he secured from Congress, Americans can more easily go solar, ditch a gas-guzzler for a clean electric vehicle and save energy at home. The president must also reject projects that put the goal of a stable climate further from reach, especially ConocoPhillips’ proposed Willow project, a “carbon bomb” that requires refreezing the melting Arctic to drill for more oil. That’s absurd. America has a wealth of renewable energy, an ever-shortening timeline to act on climate and ever-shrinking habitats for caribou and polar bears. Given these facts, President Biden should reject the Willow project.

“A clean environment is not a by-product of American prosperity. Rather, a clean environment is the necessary precondition for true prosperity. If President Biden, and all of us, put the environment at the center of these decisions and actions, we’ll all reap the benefits.”