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planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

Chairman Oberstar Takes Action to Protect American Waters

Chairman Jim Oberstar (MN – D) introduced the America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act today, a bi-partisan bill that would restore Clean Water Act protections to thousands of streams across the country and the drinking water for millions of Americans. Environment America applauded Chairman Oberstar for his continued leadership on protecting and cleaning America’s waterways.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Energy Efficient Buildings Would Save American Families Almost $1,300 per Year While Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

American families could save almost $1,300 every year on their energy bills by 2030 if the government invests in the energy efficiency of our buildings today, according to a new report by Environment America. Saving energy in our buildings would also help America’s fight against global warming by reducing projected greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by 37 percent.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment America

Building Better: How High-Efficiency Buildings Will Save Money and Reduce Global Warming

America is the largest consumer of energy in the world, and the majority of this energy comes from dirty and dangerous sources like coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power. Our continued reliance on these fuels contributes to global warming, undermines our energy independence, and costs American families and businesses more and more money every year.

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Report | Environment America

State Leadership and the National Clean Cars Program

America’s dependence on oil threatens our economy and harms our environment. Roughly half of all the oil we use in the United States goes into the gas tanks of our cars and light trucks. The oil we use in our vehicles is also a major contributor to global warming.

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News Release | Environment America

Environment America Urges Passage of Wilderness Protection Bill

This afternoon, the House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 1769, The Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act, sponsored by Representative Dave Reichert (R-WA). This important legislation will protect as wilderness over 22,000 acres of pristine forestlands and will increase protections for two rivers. Environment America urged Representatives to pass the bill.

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