October 25, 2011
In an editorial published in last Friday’s Los Angeles Times, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lisa Jackson called on U.S. Representatives to stop their unrelenting assault on our nation’s landmark environmental laws, including “an unprecedented rollback of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and our nation’s waste-disposal laws, all of which have successfully protected our families for decades.” (Read this excellent article, “‘Too Dirty to Fail’?” here).
Jackson lambastes the myth that protecting the environment and public health hurts the economy, calling it “a choice that’s been proved wrong for the four decades that the EPA has been in existence. No credible economist links our current economic crisis — or any economic crisis — to tough clean-air and clean-water standards.”
In today’s anti-environment climate in Washington and here in Illinois, clean air and clean water have become more politicized than ever. That’s why we need YOU to participate in the public process. In the next days and weeks you’ll hear more from us about how to get in touch with agency officials and your legislators to let them know that you support strong protections for clean water, including:
- Ask Illinois EPA to deny permits that would allow a coal fired power plant to dump more mercury into the Illinois River, and that would allow a strip mine to open upstream of Canton Lake, a drinking water and recreational resource for over 20,000 residents of Fulton County.
- Urge your Senators to vote against legislation that would strip EPA of its ability to protect clean water from toxic coal ash. Less than a week after the U.S. House passed H.R. 2377, an identical bill was introduced in the Senate. Like H.R. 2273, the Senate bill seeks to eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to ensure that storage and disposal of coal ash waste protects the health of our rivers and communities. Not yet numbered, leading champions for the bill are U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and John Boozman (R-Ark.). Like the House version, the Senate bill lacks common sense safeguards that would protect communities from irresponsible coal ash dumping, and leave regulations up to the states. As the bill moves through the Senate, we will need your help to block or defeat it, and will let you know how best to make your concerns loud and clear.
- Let your legislators know that you support their efforts to defend Farm Bill conservation programs, our nation’s primary defense against agricultural pollution, which is not covered by the Clean Water Act. See Prairie Rivers Network Farm Bill priorities here.