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makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

Action Urged to Protect Children’s Health from Toxic Chemicals

Today at The University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, Senator Frank Lautenberg was joined by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and other environmental health experts to examine the impact of toxic chemicals on children’s health.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

National Parks Under Threat from Underfunding

Visitorship to national parks is on the rise but parks are threatened by underfunding according to a new report, The Best of America Under Threat from Underfunding released today by Environment America. The group warns that as our parks draw more and more visitors, they could face budget cuts in the coming year- leaving park managers with fewer resources for maintenance, upkeep and stewardship.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment America

The Best of America Under Threat from Underfunding

America’s national parks are the nation’s most treasured places- where visitors can experience the best of America’s great outdoors, wildlife, history and culture. However, even as more people are visiting parks, operating budgets for the majority of national parks are at risk of being cut. Nearly three-quarters of parks that saw an increase in visitorship last year face a budget cut in the next fiscal year.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

In Celebrating Clean Air Act’s 40th Anniversary, Senators Urged to Protect Landmark Clean Air Law

This week, Environment America and Physicians for Social Responsibility are celebrating the Clean Air Act’s 40 years of success in protecting public health and cleaning up the environment. However, despite this impressive track record, the groups warned of efforts in Congress to weaken the heralded law and block its ability to hold the biggest polluters accountable.

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News Release | Environment America

Following ‘Snowmageddon’ & Record Summer Heat, New Report Says Global Warming to Bring More Extreme Weather

In a year where record summer heat followed the winter of ‘Snowmageddon,’ Environment America released a new report Wednesday documenting how global warming could lead to extreme weather events becoming even more  common in the future.  The report also highlights the damage caused by recent extreme weather events in the United States, including the snowstorms that paralyzed the Mid-Atlantic region in February, the floods that claimed 30 lives in Tennessee in May, and the 2008 California drought and subsequent wildfires that burned through 1.2 million acres of land.   

> Keep Reading

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