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makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

Report | Environment America

Putting America On The Path To Clean Energy: A Presidential Plan Of Action For The First 100 Days

The paper, released today in Nevada, lays out twelve achievable yet ambitious actions “ ranging from increasing energy efficiency to installing more solar power“ that the next president should, at a minimum, take within the first 100 days in office. Environment America, along with a growing coalition of organizations, is calling on the presidential candidates to take a pledge for clean energy, promising to, if elected, meet all future energy needs with clean, renewable energy.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Candidates Urged To Lead America To A Clean Energy Future

A coalition of environmental, public health and clean energy businesses is urging the presidential candidates to pledge to turn things around and put America on a true clean energy path. The coalit ion gathered today at Sunset Park to release a new Environment America paper, Putting America on the Path to Clean Energy: A Presidential Plan of Action for the First 100 Days, laying out the immediate steps the 44th president should take to put America on a path toward true clean energy and energy independence within the first 100 days in office.  

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment America

Clean Energy, Bright Future: Rebuilding America Through Green Infrastructure

Our reliance on dirty energy is fueling global warming, harming our health, threatening our security and stalling our economy. Burning coal, oil and gas for energy and transportation is responsible for 80 percent of U.S. global warming pollution and most of our smog and soot pollution.

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Report | Environment America

Blazing a Trail: The Benefits of the Rio Grande Trail in New Mexico

New Mexico is a land of monumental beauty and contrast. From the majestic peaks in northern New Mexico to the white sand dunes of southern New Mexico, the state is full of natural splendor. These remarkable landscapes have made New Mexico a magnet for lovers of the outdoors who are attracted not only to the scenery but the myriad activities to enjoy--none more popular than trail recreation. It is estimated that over 40 percent of New Mexicans take to New Mexico’s trails every year.

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News Release | Environment America

Rio Grande Trail to Benefit New Mexico's Economy, Environment and Health

Although still in the planning stages, the Rio Grande Trail will provide hundreds of miles of new trail to hikers, bikers and joggers. Trail-related recreation is the most popular outdoor activity in the state with 41 percent of New Mexicans participating in some form of trail activity every year. This has translated into significant economic gain for the state—the outdoor recreation retail sales account for 4.6 percent of gross state product according to Blazing a Trail: The Benefits of a Rio Grande Trail in New Mexico, a new report released today by Environment New Mexico. The report highlights the need for trail funding from the New Mexico Legislature which convenes in session next week.

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