Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sierra Club and Clean Air Council Rally Against the TRAIN Act

Public Health, Environmental Organizations Call for an End to Attempts to Gut Environmental Safeguards at Philadelphia Rally

Angered by the passage of the TRAIN Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, major public health advocacy and environmental groups rallied at 5:30 pm on September 27th outside of U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s office to call for an end to right-wing attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In one of the largest environmental rallies in recent years, over 50 activists called on Congress to halt efforts to undermine forty years of public health victories thanks to the EPA and landmark protections like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

Republican Attacks

The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act (H.R. 2401) is the most dangerous in a recent tide of Republican-sponsored bills that threaten to expose Americans to harmful pollutants in our air and water. Over the last several years, right-wing Republicans in Congress have declared war on the EPA, introducing legislation that would defund the agency, dismantle it or strip it of its authority to safeguard the American public. Major Republican presidential candidates have stated repeatedly that the EPA should be defunded or eliminated, which would gut decades of environmental legislation.

Speakers: Governor Rendell

The activists were joined by former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who urged them to keep raising their voices against far-right Republicans in Congress. “ Regulations don’t hurt jobs---they create them”, he said.

Speakers: William Kramer

“Our representatives voted in favor of this bill and against protecting our families from dangerous and deadly pollution,” said William Kramer, an organizing representative with the Sierra Club. “We need to tell our Congressmen, especially Patrick Meehan, James Gerlach, and Michael Fitzpatrick, that American families want clean air and water that is safe to drink.”

Speakers: Professor Amy Sinden

“We’ve had enough of these attempts to roll back the protections that keep us safe,” said Temple University Professor Amy Sinden. “ This right-wing war on the EPA won't save jobs or help the economy and will instead hurt jobs and damage the economy while at the same time making people sick and damaging our most important natural resources. It’s time to stand up and tell Congress that we want the EPA to continue keeping us safe from polluters.”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Protect Our Environment: Defend The EPA

The Sierra Club is rallying at the office of Senator Casey (20th and Market Streets) at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, September 27. Guest contributor Steve Harvey explains the importance of this event:

Attack On Environmental Regulations

As you may be aware, extreme right wing Republicans in Congress have declared war on the Environmental Protection Agency. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last week sent a memo to House Republicans that identifies ten supposedly "job-killing" regulations that he wants to target this fall and winter. Can you guess how many of these regulations involve the EPA? 7 out of 10. (Two involve the NLRB and one involves health care.)

Attack On The EPA

These same extreme right wing Republicans have declared that they want to drastically cut funding for the EPA. Their strategy is to underfund the EPA so it will not be able to do anything about regulating greenhouse gases. And several of the Republican presidential candidates have proudly and loudly boasted that they want to all but eliminate the EPA. And of course they deny that human activity is causing climate change, despite all the science to the contrary.

Jobs vs. Economy Is False Choice

This is a radical agenda that is being driven by Tea Party politics. The war on the EPA won't save jobs or help the economy. It will hurt jobs and hurt the economy while at the same time making people sick and damaging our most important natural resources -- air, water, and soil (no, not coal, gas, and oil). This war on the EPA is not about protecting jobs; it's about protecting the profits of corporate polluters who donate large sums of money to extreme right wing Republicans. War on the EPA may be good for the profits of corporate polluters, but it's bad for the economy. It's bad for our quality of life. It's bad for our children.

Bowing To A Minority

What bothers me most about all of this is that it is being driven by a minority of citizens. An extremely vocal minority of Americans with a bunch of really bad ideas can make their voices heard and can shape government policy in a very bad way, while the majority of us sit by and wonder why this is happening. This has got to change and I believe we can change it.

Fighting Back

Right now we are planning a rally to be held in Philadelphia on September 27 at 5:30 p.m. at Senator Casey's office at 2000 Market Street (at the corner of 20th and Market) in downtown Philadelphia. The title of the rally is Protect Our Environment: Defend the EPA. It's being coordinated by Sierra Club organizer William Kramer. We will also be doing a delegation visit up to Senator Casey's office at 4:30 pm so if you are available to join us for that please let us know. We want Senator Casey to know that we will stand behind him and other responsible elected officials as they stand up and defend the EPA.

Support The Rally

Will you please do two things: (1) put the date on your calendar and plan on joining us for one hour to attend the rally, and (2) help with some phone banking to convince others to join us? Our goal is to get at least 30 people to attend the rally. Wouldn't it be great if we had far more than that? The objective is to get press coverage of the rally to bring attention to the extreme right wing Republicans' war on the EPA.

We plan to phone bank on September 21, 22, and 26 from 5:30 to 9. You can do it any or all of those nights. We are going to meet at a location in downtown Philadelphia to make the calls (Clean Air Council, 135 S. 19th Street) or YOU CAN EVEN DO IT FROM YOUR OWN HOME. Last week I made calls from home while watching the Phillies game. It's really easy to do. We can train you how to make the calls in about 5 minutes.

Let Us Hear From You

If you can attend the rally on September 27, contact William Kramer, william.kramer(at)sierraclub.org. If you can help with the phone bank, contact Steve Harvey, steve.steveharvey.harvey(at)gmail.com.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ozone Hurts Now: Postponing Regulation Hurts Milions

On September 2, President Obama ordered the EPA to withdraw the Ozone Rule, a proposed regulation that would have protected millions of Americans from smog and pollution. The President has heard from those that generate the smog and pollution. He needs to hear from the millions of Americans who suffer from ground level ozone.

Ozone Hurts Millions

Ground level ozone is part of the smog that plagues our country, particularly during the summer. The EPA has summarized its harmful effects:

Breathing ozone, a primary component of smog, can trigger a variety of health problems including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion. It can worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. Ground-level ozone also can reduce lung function and inflame the linings of the lungs. Repeated exposure may permanently scar lung tissue.

Ground-level ozone also damages vegetation and ecosystems. In the United States alone, ozone is responsible for an estimated $500 million in reduced crop production each year.

Sierra Club’s Response

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune expressed his disappointment in the president’s decision:

"The Sierra Club condemns the Obama administration's decision to delay critical, long-overdue protections from smog, an acidic air pollutant that when inhaled is like getting a sunburn on your lungs. By putting the interest of coal and oil polluters first, the White House seems to be saying that 'clean air will have to wait.'

"A healthy economy requires clean air and healthy people, and these protections from smog would have improved our communities and saved billions of dollars in health costs. Half of U.S. families live in places where it is literally unsafe to breathe the air, and kicking the inhaler down the road will do nothing to protect our children.”

Your Chance To Respond

The Tea Party’s concerns are daily headlines. We need to hear your concerns about smog and pollution. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Tell how you have been affected by ozone action days. Sample letters are below but your own words are much more effective. When you send a letter, direct a copy to Bryan Crenshaw, ebciii(at)bcrenshaw.com and William Kramer, william.kramer(at)sierraclub.org.

Sample Letters

Obama's Delay Means More Sick Kids

To the Editor:

As a parent/health professional/teacher, etc., I am appalled that President Obama chose to delay vital protections from smog pollution. After the summer we have had, full of orange alert/bad air days, I had hoped that my children/patients/students would have been able to breathe easier soon. But by putting the interests of coal and oil polluters before those of our community, the president has left us all at risk.

The science clearly says that we need stronger protections from smog, and this president says he believes in science. Letting polluters run wild won’t create jobs or save lives. It will just cause more asthma attacks and illnesses.

I will be watching closely to make sure the president stands strong on other environmental or health protections. I'm doing my part to leave a better world for future generations, and I hope that President Obama will do the same.


Your Name

Obama Misses Chance to Help (City/State) Families Breathe Easier

Dear Editor,

With over 500 dirty coal-fired power plants across the United States, including Plant Name in Town, it’s hard to breathe easily. Burning coal releases deadly air pollution that is making us sick from asthma attacks, cancer and heart disease.

So I was shocked to read that President Obama had decided to delay issuing stronger protections from smog. Science based standards would have saved lives and prevented disease, but instead, polluters will get to continue spewing pollution into our air.

The science clearly says that we need stronger protections from smog, and this president says he believes in science. Letting polluters run wild won’t create jobs or save lives. It will just cause more asthma attacks and illnesses.


Your Name

Cars Get an Extended License to Pollute

To the Editor,

State-ans should be appalled at the Obama administration's failure to protect families from car and truck pollution. Gas-guzzling vehicles generate smog and inflame our lungs, but the president just delayed issuing stronger protections until at least 2013.

By delaying new smog protections, President Obama has sentenced our children to years of more deadly air pollution that is making us sick from asthma attacks and heart disease

Why do oil companies matter more than our children? Smog pollution costs us billions of dollars in health costs each year. President Obama missed his chance to clean up the air for future generations.

I will watch carefully to see if the president breaks any more promises to our children. There is too much at stake to let anything get in the way of science.


Your Name