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makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

Statement: New York commits to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

The New York Legislature has passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, putting the Empire State on a path to carbon-neutrality by 2050.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Trump administration’s rollback of the Clean Car Standards drives America in reverse

The Energy & Commerce Committee, as well as the Consumer Protection & Commerce and Environment & Climate Change Subcommittees held a joint hearing today to examine the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back the Clean Car Standards, and oil companies’ potential involvement. The Clean Car Standards were set to double fuel economy, and would have cut global warming pollution in half for cars sold in 2025

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

House Natural Resources Committee advances key measures to protect oceans and coasts and fund Land and Water Conservation Fund

Our gratitude goes out to the committee for backing a bill that protects both America’s East and West Coasts by banning oil drilling in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf planning area and the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf planning area. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Statement: Maine on the cusp of a clean energy future

The list of states committing to power themselves with 100 percent clean energy could soon include the Pine Tree State. The Maine Legislature passed a bill last night that would increase the state’s renewable energy standard to 80 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. Both the Senate and House votes were overwhelming and bipartisan with the Senate voting unanimously 34-0 for the bill. It now heads to Gov. Janet Mills’ desk for her expected signature.

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News Release | Environment America

Trump administration’s replacement to Clean Power Plan sends U.S. in the wrong direction on climate change

The Trump administration today announced its rule to replace the Clean Power Plan, which was put into place in 2015. The Clean Power Plan was on track to cut carbon pollution from the electric power sector by 32 percent by 2030. At a time when even steeper cuts are necessary to avert the worst impacts of climate change, this new replacement plan is expected to slow the power sector’s transition to clean, renewable energy and could lead to an increase in emissions from nearly 30 percent of coal plants.

> Keep Reading

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