Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Stop Another Flint: Tell Congress to Protect Our Communities from Toxic Lead Pipes


It’s time for Congress to put families first and ensure you and your family have access to safe drinking water. Your health depends on it.

"I don’t trust the water. It could be five years from now, and I’ll still never drink this water."

That was Ariana Hawk talking about Flint’s water last week after Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced he was ending free bottled water for Flint residents. She’s right not to trust the water. Ariana’s children developed rashes after being exposed to the lead-contaminated water, and 11 people died from Legionnaires Disease.

Flint is just the tip of the iceberg. Over 10 million U.S. homes still get their water delivered by lead pipes, just like the ones that sparked the crisis in Flint four years ago. It’s time for action!

Sign the petition to Congress: Does your community have access to safe drinking water »

This week marks the four-year anniversary of the Flint water crisis, and while state and city officials might say the crisis has ended, Flint doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s going on in our country.

Even in cities like Youngstown, Ohio, we do not know that sources are safe to deliver water to homes, schools, and public buildings. Some places, like small rural communities, might not even know that their water is unsafe because testing is not as consistent.

After Flint drew the national spotlight, those responsible were held accountable and people started paying attention to their water infrastructure. But millions of Americans continue to drink, cook, and bathe in water that’s delivered to their homes by toxic lead pipes and is unsafe.

Send a message to Congress that you, your family, and your neighbors should not be putting their lives at risk by drinking water »

- Lori D'Orazio, ReBuild USA

Now help the children in Flint by signing the EDF's petition:

Tell Congress: Enough delay. It's time to address the Flint lead crisis, and act to protect all Americans from lead.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

For the Love of Tucson: Sign the Community Letter to the President of TEP

Looking ahead to a bright future for Tucson. 

"We are looking ahead, as is one of the first mandates given us as chiefs, to make sure and to make every decision that we make relate to the welfare and well-being of the seventh generation to come.”
-Onondaga Chief Oren Lyons


Climate change is real and it’s progressing faster than scientists first predicted. We aren't talking about some distant dilemma. The devastating impacts are already being felt around the world. In Tucson, we are experiencing record temperatures - every year hotter than the last. There is no more time to waste. We need to get carbon dioxide below 350 ppm immediately.


Sustainable Tucson is greatly concerned about TEP’s unambitious goal of transitioning to 30% clean energy by 2030.  TEP is proposing modernizing the Sundt Generating Station by replacing two 1950's era steam units with ten natural gas-fired combustion engines.  These RICE units would create significant greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, the project expects to cause an increase in emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter (fine particles PM2.5 and coarse particles PM10) and volatile organic compounds.

Renewable energy, supplemented by energy storage systems, is a better option for many reasons. But TEP has refused to consider it - even though the Arizona Corporation Commission strongly urged TEP to turn in this direction.


Our advocacy team and other community members have been actively fighting the permit process for installation of the RICE units. Duane Ediger took a week off of work to study the TEP's permit to see if it met the Pima County code. With the help of the Sierra Club, Duane uncovered some inconsistencies that he shared with the community so we could submit relevant comments to the Pima Department of Environmental Quality. 

While awaiting a response, Duane worked with Sierra Club's Grand Canyon Chapter, Sustainable Tucson, and Arizona Interfaith Power and Light to draft a public letter to David G. Hutchens, President of Tucson Electric Power Company.

The letter explains that:

We need electricity generation that will leave a legacy of environmental recovery and take us off the path of harm. We implore you, together with all utility managers, to reduce and eliminate fossil fuel-burning plants from your energy mix as quickly as possible. We call on you to use the best and most recent data as you reconsider your current Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and its reliance on natural gas. Your next IRP should focus on clean renewable energy and energy efficiency rather than fossil fuels in order to ensure that the next seven generations of Pima County residents and the surrounding communities have a chance to enjoy, treasure, and protect the beauty of our Sonoran Desert free of the pollution that fossil fuels cause to our water and air. We urge you to start immediately in the heart of Tucson by installing solar plus storage at and near the IGS.

Please join Sierra Club's Grand Canyon Chapter, Sustainable Tucson, Arizona Interfaith Power and Light and many individuals and organizations in calling on TEP to act for the well-being of present and future generations.

Please consider sharing this with people and communities who might also like to sign.

http://renewnow.us/

Tell Congress: Don’t let Trump destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau


Petition to Congress:
"Block and resist any attempt by Mick Mulvaney and Donald Trump to destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by changing its structure or funding."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
Tell Congress: Don’t let Trump destroy the CFPB
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is the one Wall Street watchdog completely devoted to protecting Americans from the predatory and abusive financial industry.
So of course Donald Trump wants to destroy it.
Trump’s agent of destruction is Mick Mulvaney, the interim director of the CFPB, who previously tried to eliminate the agency he now heads. And Mulvaney just asked Congress to radically restructure the CFPB to put it under Trump’s thumb, setting up a massive fight.1
CREDO members stood with Sen. Warren to fight for the creation of the CFPB and to defend it, and now our voices are needed once again.
Mulvaney has called the CFPB “a sick, sad joke” and requested a budget of $0 for the entire agency.2 Mulvaney has already curtailed the CFPB’s desperately needed payday lending rule, giving a massive handout to predatory and exploitative payday lenders who intentionally trap people in cycles of debt with interest rates in excess of 300 percent.3
Now, his official report to Congress asks legislators to make major changes to the watchdog’s structure. Mulvaney wants Trump to have more power over who leads the agency and to force the agency to beg right-wing Republicans for funding instead of having an independent funding base from the Federal Reserve. Also on Mulvaney’s wish list is giving Republicans in Congress veto power over any new rule that watchdog puts out.4
His overall goal is to remove the political independence that the agency’s creators, like Sen. Warren, thought so essential to it being able to fight Wall Street. We can’t let that happen.
If you want to know why Donald Trump and Republicans are so desperate to destroy the CFPB, just take a glance at its record:
In less than six years the CFPB extracted $12 billion from corporations and returned it to a total of 29 million defrauded Americans. Most of that money was paid in large sums, as in 2015 when the agency forced two debt-buying companies — Encore Capital Group and Portfolio Recovery Associates — to pay $79 million in refunds and penalties to tens of thousands of people the companies had fleeced. The CFPB has also engaged in policymaking, issuing new rules for home-mortgage lenders in 2013 that took aim at banks’ pattern of intentionally lending money they know borrowers can’t repay, at high interest rates. In 2016, the agency also instituted new guidelines for payday lenders in an attempt to stop loan sharks from targeting desperate people boxed out of traditional financial services due to debt and bad credit.5
CREDO members and progressive allies have successfully defended the CFPB in the past, but now we are needed once again. We cannot let Trump give Wall Street a massive victory.
Tell Congress: Don’t let Trump destroy the CFPB. Click below to sign the petition:
- Josh Nelson, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. Bess Levin, “Trump official lays out point-by-point plan to screw over consumers,” Vanity Fair, April 3, 2018.
  2. Meagan Day, “The Bankers’ Coup,” Jacobin, April 2018.
  3. Levin, “Trump official lays out point-by-point plan to screw over consumers.”
  4. Day, “The Bankers’ Coup.”
  5. Ibid.

For the sake of the planet, tell Scott Pruitt to RESIGN NOW

The petition to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reads:
"American taxpayers will no longer condone your corrupt administration, bankroll your expensive trips or tolerate the dismantling of our environmental protections to help your industry cronies. Resign now."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
Tell Scott Pruitt: Resign
Scott Pruitt has to go.
Every day, another news story breaks about Pruitt's corrupt dealings as Trump's anti-environmental EPA administrator. He is ruling the EPA as his own personal fiefdom – taking first-class flights, using government resources for personal gain and giving away favors to his friends.
Meanwhile, as Pruitt's ethical violations are making headlines, he is continuing to quietly scrap every rule that stops polluters from destroying our health and environment.
In hardly more than a year on the job, Pruitt has already made a name for himself by:
  • Taking shady favors from lobbyists. Pruitt rented his Washington condo from an energy lobbyist's wife for an outrageously low price, then approved a pipeline project for the lobbyist's client.1
  • Wasting taxpayer funds on luxury travel. Taxpayers have spent more than $163,000 on Pruitt's first-class flights, charter flights and a ride on a military jet. The EPA even looked into getting him his own private jet.2
  • Giving giant, unapproved raises to favorite staffers. Pruitt used an obscure law to get around the fact that the White House rejected pay increases for two staff members he brought from Oklahoma. He gave them raises of 33 and 52 percent.3
  • Using EPA staff for personal errands. Pruitt assigned an EPA staffer to help him find housing during work hours and on the taxpayer's dime.4
  • Dismantling environmental protections to help out his industry friends. Newly released emails document Pruitt's long history of coziness with industry polluters.5 The biggest scandal of all is Pruitt's willingness to sell out our climate's future and our clean air and water to funnel money back to his corporate cronies.
As one news story put it, the "'Most Blatantly Corrupt Trump Official' award is so close Scott Pruitt can taste it."6 New revelations about his ethical violations continue to break as he tears apart the agency he is supposed to lead. Even some congressional Republicans have started calling for Pruitt to step down.7
Enough is enough. Scott Pruitt has to go.
Tell Scott Pruitt to resign. Click the link below to sign the petition:
- Brandy Doyle, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. Eric Lipton, "Pruitt had a $50-a-day condo linked to lobbyists. Their client’s project got approved." The New York Times, April 2, 2018.
  2. Margaret Hartmann, "EPA Mulled Leasing a Private Jet, and Other Scandalous Scott Pruitt Revelations," New York Magazine, April 4, 2018.
  3. Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, "Top Pruitt aide at EPA also shopped for housing on his behalf," Washington Post, April 2, 2018.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Brady Dennis and Steven Mufson, "Thousands of emails detail EPA head’s close ties to fossil fuel industry," The Washington Post, Feb. 22, 2018.
  6. Bess Levin, "Most Blatantly Corrupt Trump Official' award is so close Scott Pruitt can taste it," Vanity Fair, March 30, 2018.
  7. Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis and Josh Dawsey, "EPA’s Scott Pruitt faces intensifying scrutiny, criticism of his ethics decisions," The Washington Post, April 3, 2018.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Business owners! Entrepreneurs! Sign the letter to save NET NEUTRALITY

Do you own your own business, or know someone who does? Whether you are a local shopkeeper or a tech entrepreneur, a plumber or dog walker, the internet needs your help – right now!
Small and medium sized businesses will be devastated if Comcast and Verizon end net neutrality. Big Cable wants to create fast lanes and slow lanes on the internet based on who can pay them the most, making it impossible for many businesses to compete with the big guys.
This is urgent: Congress may vote very soon on the CRA resolution to overturn the FCC’s disastrous repeal of net neutrality. There’s still a few more members of Congress we have to convince to save a free and open internet. That’s where you come in.
Members of Congress take business owners from their districts very seriously – especially small businesses. We need to help them understand that net neutrality is an important reason why small businesses can compete in a global marketplace.
Just ask Jennie Stewart, an Alaska entrepreneur and founder of CustomMousePad.com:
“In 2002, when Yahoo was the Web’s main search engine and Amazon still mostly sold books, I founded a family-run Alaska-based e-commerce company selling custom mouse pads.
Over the last 16 years, our company has created custom-printed merchandise for more than 23,000 customers in Alaska, nationwide and internationally, including Hilton Hotels, Chevy, NBC, PBS and even the Alaska state government. We employ 30 people.
We’ve only been able to do that thanks to net neutrality, which has been the law and state of the internet since we started. But the FCC’s December vote to repeal all net neutrality protections, once in effect, threatens to wipe out our business.”1
If we can show Congress that the majority of business owners support net neutrality, along with 86% of Americans2, we will stand a much better chance of winning the votes in the Senate we need to save the open internet.
If you are not a business owner, no sweat! You can still help by forwarding this email to someone who is. We will be delivering the letter to Congress on May 2, and our goal is to get many thousands more businesses to sign on before then, so we need as much help as we can get in finding supporters.
- Carli Stevenson, Demand Progress
Sources:
1. Juneau Empire, “Sen. Murkowski, Don't vote for the FCC's Net Neutrality Repeal,” April 16, 2018.
2. Public Consultation, "Overwhelming Bipartisan Public Opposition to Repealing Net Neutrality Persists," April 17, 2018.
#SAVENETNEUTRALITY

Submit a public comment: TELL THE EPA - RESTRICT THE USE OF GLYPHOSATE


Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are now accepting public comments on their proposed reapproval of the pesticide, glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. If the EPA reapproves glyphosate, it will enable chemical companies to sell this toxic pesticide for another 15 years. Now’s your chance to tell EPA to restrict the use of this hazardous weedkiller!

Best known as the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, glyphosate is the chemical cornerstone of GMO-based agriculture. In fact, over the past two decades, Monsanto’s ubiquitous Roundup-resistant GMOs have made glyphosate the most-used pesticide in the history of the world. And that’s bad news for all of us.

Public Health
  • The world’s leading cancer authorities have classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen1. Farmers who use glyphosate are particularly at risk of getting the immune system cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • We are all encountering more glyphosate thanks to GMOs.  EPA estimates that our exposure to glyphosate residue in foods has quadrupled over the past 25 years, with 1-2 year olds far more highly exposed than adults.
Endangered Species
  • Glyphosate poses an existential threat to monarch butterflies and their epic migration by wiping out their host plant, milkweed, from farm fields throughout the Midwest2.
  • Roundup is incredibly toxic to frogs, and is likely contributing to the worldwide decline in amphibians3.
  • Glyphosate and its breakdown product are regularly found in surface waters, air, rainfall and soils throughout the U.S.
Agriculture
  • Sprayed in large quantities on Roundup-resistant GMOs, glyphosate has become a leading culprit in drift-related injury to traditional crops not resistant to Roundup.
  • Glyphosate released from the roots of GMOs can harm beneficial soil bacteria and promote the growth of soil fungi that cause plant disease.
  • Overuse of glyphosate has also triggered an epidemic of glyphosate-resistant weeds, one of the greatest challenges for U.S. agriculture since the boil weevil.  The industry’s response to these “superweeds” is to introduce “next generation” GMO crops that can be sprayed with additional pesticides to kill the glyphosate-resistant weeds, causing unprecedented damage to neighbors’ crops and wild plants4, a lose-lose proposition for farmers and the environment.

Despite these significant health, environmental, and agricultural consequences, EPA is poised to reapprove glyphosate for the next 15 years!Tell Scott Pruitt and the EPA how important it is to NOT approve glyphosate without serious restrictions needed to address its many threats!

-The Center for Food Safety
_________________
References:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Tell broadcast television networks: Don't ignore the climate crisis

The petition to ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and PBS reads:
"Increase real coverage of climate change, including its link with extreme weather and the policies needed to slow the climate crisis."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
In 2017, 79 percent of climate change coverage on broadcast television networks was about one topic: Donald Trump.1 Not the latest climate science. Not the extreme weather events already happening all around the world. The vast majority of coverage focused only on Trump's climate change denial and his steps to drag us backwards into the coal age.
Thanks to this terrible coverage, almost 90 percent of Americans don’t know that there is a scientific consensus on global warming.2 When news programs don't inform Americans about the climate, we all lose.
Until the media starts doing its job, we won't be able to build the political will to win the fight against climate change. Politicians at every level will be free to continue ignoring the issue and continue with the destructive policies that created this crisis.
The media accountability group Media Matters for America recently published a study looking at climate coverage in 2017 on broadcast television networks ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and Fox. Not only was 79 percent of the total climate coverage about Trump, but Trump dominated virtually all of the coverage on Sunday news shows – 94 of 95 minutes.3
News programs regularly mention that Trump rejects the reality of climate change without discussing the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is not only real, but that it is an urgent problem driven by the burning of fossil fuels. Programs also ignore the links between climate change and extreme weather events, public health and national security.4
The climate crisis is getting worse, and it's happening frighteningly fast. Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001.5 Last year was the third year in a row that scientists recorded a record winter low in Arctic sea ice, and scientists also found record low sea ice in the Antarctic. 6 Carbon dioxide emissions are increasing again after being flat for three years.7
The news media has a responsibility to report accurately on the biggest environmental threat facing the planet. Having a climate change denier in the White House is no excuse to ignore the issue. In fact, Trump's dangerous policies make accurate climate coverage more critical than ever.
Tell broadcast television networks: No more climate silence. Click the link below to sign the petition:
- Brandy Doyle, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. Kevin Kalhoefer, "How broadcast TV networks covered climate change in 2017," Media Matters for America, Feb. 12, 2018.
  2. Ruairí Arrieta-Kenna, "Almost 90% of Americans don’t know there’s scientific consensus on global warming," Vox, July 6, 2017.
  3. Kalhoefer, "How broadcast TV networks covered climate change in 2017."
  4. Ibid.
  5. NASA, "Climate change: How do we know?" accessed March 30, 2018.
  6. Chelsea Harvey, "The top seven climate findings of 2017," Scientific American, Dec. 29, 2017.
  7. Ibid.