Monday, October 23, 2017

Submit a public comment on rejecting the proposed Rosemont mine.


The Rosemont mine will encroach on sacred Tohono O'odham land, will use more of Tucson's already depleted water, and will threaten streams that flow into Tucson's water supply - not to mention destroying the habitat for a nearly extinct Jaguar!

Please, submit a public comment rejecting the proposed Rosemont mine.

A little inspiration before you write:

Frances Causey's doc, "Ours is the Land."

The Jaguar song!

According to Rosemont Mine Truth

State regulator seeks public comment on key Rosemont mitigation plan that it has not made available for review.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on a crucial mitigation plan for the proposed $1.9 billion Rosemont Copper Mine without providing the plan for the public to review.

Instead, the ADEQ has only provided the public a brief, four-paragraph summary of an amended proposal submitted by Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals’ Arizona subsidiary Rosemont Copper Company.

The ADEQ summary outlines Rosemont’s latest proposal to modify a Sonoita Creek farm so it can qualify as conservation credits to compensate for the expected loss of desert wetlands caused by its massive copper mine.

The regulatory agency has already granted “conditional” approval of the plan before the plan has been released to the public. The ADEQ opened a public comment period on its conditional decision on Oct. 6 and is set to close 30 days later on Nov. 6.

Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, a Tucson-based citizens group opposed to the Rosemont Mine, on Thursday requested the state to post Rosemont’s proposed mitigation plan on its website and to extend the public comment period for 60 days from the date the plan is posted.

“It is impossible for the public to comment on ADEQ’s decision if ADEQ does not provide the public the underlying document on which it based its preliminary decision,” Gayle Hartmann, president of SSSR states in a letter to the agency.

Hartmann stated that the state’s “failure to post for public review the materially relevant information on which ADEQ has based its preliminary decision and failure to give the public a reasonable amount of time to review that information would violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the Arizona Administrative Procedure Act and its Regulatory Bill of Rights.”

The ADEQ is required under the federal Clean Water Act to certify that Rosemont’s proposed mitigation plan for Sonoita Creek Ranch will not violate applicable Surface Water Quality Standards. The state issued a CWA Section 401 certification in February 2015 for Rosemont’s previous mitigation plan for the creek.

Rosemont subsequently submitted a “Final Habitat Mitigation and Monitoring Plan” for Sonoita Creek Ranch to the ADEQ on Sept. 14. Rosemont followed up nine days later with its application for a 401 certification that included a project description and maps. The state issued its conditional certification soon after and opened the public comment period on Oct. 6.

The ADEQ, however, has not made the Final Habitat Mitigation and Monitoring Plan and Rosemont’s certification application available for public review.

This information is crucial in the overall approval process for the mine.

Rosemont still needs to obtain a Clean Water Act permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers into order to build the mile-wide, half-mile deep open pit copper mine.

The Army Corps must determine whether Rosemont’s Final Habitat Mitigation and Monitoring Plan fully compensates for the expected destruction of water resources by the proposed mine. Sonoita Creek Ranch restoration has been considered the linchpin in Rosemont’s mitigation plan.

A 2015 technical report commissioned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sharply criticized Rosemont’s previous Sonoita Creek Ranch mitigation plan. The EPA-contracted technical report concluded that Rosemont’s Sonoita Creek Ranch mitigation plan “will not function as designed.”

Arizona Department of Enviromental Quality.(ADEQ) posted:

PUBLIC NOTICE | Preliminary Decision to Issue an Addendum to a State Water Quality Certification of a Federal Action to Rosemont Copper Company

Pursuant to the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 and in accordance with Arizona Administrative Code R18-1-401, the ADEQ Director intends to issue a conditional State 401 water quality certification for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) CWA 404 Individual Permit to the following:

Applicant Information

Rosemont Copper Company
Katherine Arnold, Director, Environment
5255 E. Williams Circle, Suite 1065
Tucson, AZ 85711
Project Name: Sonoita Creek Ranch Mitigation, Addendum to the Rosemont Copper Project
Project Location: Sonoita Creek Ranch, Santa Cruz County
Application No.: SPL-2008-00816-MB
LTF No.: 68057

Review Documents

Original Published Public Notice | View/Print >
Draft Clean Water Act 401 Certification | View >

Public Comment Period 

Dates: Oct. 6, 2017 – Nov. 6, 2017
Comments may be submitted as follows:
     By Email | Send Email > 
     By Mail (Must be postmarked or received by Nov. 6, 2017):
       ADEQ
       Rosi Sherrill
       Surface Water Section Project Manager
       1110 W. Washington Street, MC5415A-1
       Phoenix, AZ  85007 
You may also review the above documentation in person at the ADEQ Record Center | Learn How >

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Comments needed: Protect access to birth control.


The comment to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reads:
“I strongly oppose the Department of Health and Human Services’ new rule that guts the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit. I also stand firmly against employers using religion to discriminate against women.”
Take action now ►
Donald Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just gutted the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) birth control benefit.1 Its new rule would allow any employer to use religion or morality as an excuse to ignore the ACA and refuse to provide employee health plans that cover no-cost contraception. Millions of women could lose access to birth control because of their employers’ personal religious beliefs.
We need to show that there is massive opposition to this anti-women attack and go on the record against it now.
Like other bigoted right-wing Republicans before him, Trump is using the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to enact a blatantly discriminatory policy. The RFRA was designed to protect religious minorities, but Republican extremists have used it to pass anti-LGBTQ laws in states across the country for years.
HHS’ new rule is another perversion of the RFRA. It would:
  • Give employers the power to deny their employees contraceptive coverage based on a religious or moral objection.
  • Allow religiously affiliated universities to completely deny their students birth control coverage.
The ACA’s birth control benefit gave 62.4 million women access to no-cost birth control and saved them an estimated $1.4 billion a year.2 It is one of the ACA’s landmark reforms that reduced the cost of health care for women and made sure that insurance companies could not charge a person more for care based on their sex or gender. ACA provisions like the birth control benefit moved the fight for gender equality one huge step forward. This latest attack proves, once again, that Trump and his right-wing sexist regime are determined not only to demolish the ACA, but roll back women’s health and rights by any means necessary.
Trump Republicans want to control women’s bodies and keep women in their place. They just passed a 20-week abortion ban in the House. They continue to advance policies that would significantly reduce access to contraception and defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers at the state and federal levels. And they refuse to call votes on bills to ensure equal pay or paid family leave.
Under Trump, Republicans’ war on women and vendetta to destroy the ACA are escalating rapidly. We need to make sure that every single attack is met with massive public opposition. Will you submit a comment now?
Comments needed: Protect access to birth control. Click the link below to submit your comment.
- Nicole Regalado, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Add your name:
Take action now ►
References:
  1. Amy Goldstein, Juliet Eilperin and William Wan, “Trump administration narrows Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate,” The Washington Post, Oct. 6, 2017.
  2. National Women’s Law Center, “The Affordable Care Act’s Birth Control Benefit Is Working for Women,” accessed Oct. 10, 2017.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tell Congress: No legal immunity for the gun industry

Who is responsible?


Tell Congress:
“Repeal immunity for the gun industry by passing the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act.”

Add your name:
Sign the petition ►

Tell Congress: No legal immunity for the gun industry
The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas was a tragic reminder that we are never going to address the epidemic of gun violence in our country without breaking the gun lobby’s control of Congress.
Fortunately, three Democrats – Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Adam Schiff – have introduced the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, which would revoke the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), the law that gives the gun industry legal immunity for negligence that leads to gun-related violence and death.1 We need to put massive pressure on the NRA’s Republican lapdogs and make it impossible for them to ignore this bill.
Gun manufacturers and gun dealers are the only industries in America that are protected from lawsuits when their products lead to violence and death.2 That’s not by accident. The NRA pushed its lackeys in Congress to pass the PLCAA in 2005. The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act would repeal the PLCAA and allow victims of gun violence to hold gun manufacturers and dealers accountable when their negligence leads to death.
The PLCAA is an appalling example of an industry using its money and lobbying power to subvert our judicial system. The courts should decide when and how companies are held accountable when their products lead to harm, and that process should be available to everyone. It isn’t the job of Congress to decide who’s allowed to pursue justice in our courts – especially if it’s driven by a political desire to reward gun lobbyists with deep pockets.
The one-sided gift to the gun industry would never have passed if Congress was not deeply in the pockets of the NRA. Can you demand that our elected officials prioritize their constituents over the gun lobby and repeal the PLCAA now?
Recently we, along with progressive allies, delivered more than 1 million petition signatures to key Republican leaders demanding that Congress act on gun control. It is clear that the National Rifle Association is feeling the pressure.
Its leaders just made a calculated, cynical nod to gun control by suggesting that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms should review the legality of bump stocks, which allowed the perpetrator of the Las Vegas massacre to use his semi-automatic weapons like automatic ones.3 It is a craven attempt to help their tarnished image and distract from the massive public demand that Congress finally act. We cannot let them get away with it.
It is time to put relentless pressure on Congress to break its blind allegiance to the gun lobby. We must demand that our elected representatives repeal the PLCAA and restore gun victims’ access to our justice system so that the gun industry can be held accountable when their negligence leads to violence and death in our communities.
Tell Congress to reverse this terrible mistake and spend its time reducing gun violence instead of handing the gun industry special privileges. Click the link below to sign the petition:
- Heidi Hess, Senior Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
1. Russell Blair, "As Promised, Connecticut Democrats Introduce Gun Control Bills," Hartford Courant, Oct. 5, 2017.
2. Center for American Progress, "Immunizing the Gun Industry," Jan. 15, 2016.
3. Addie Baird, "How the NRA and the far-right are quietly mobilizing to kill gun safety reform after Vegas," ThinkProgress, Oct. 5, 2017

Tell White House officials to end travel bans


Yesterday, a federal court found the third iteration of the White House's “travel ban” to be just as unconstitutional as the first two. While this halt is welcome, we cannot take it to mean that Trump will abandon his bigoted campaign promise to ban entry into the United States for some foreign nationals or those of Muslim faith.

It is time for the White House to hear directly from you. Click here to tell White House officials to end travel bans.

Discriminating against people due to their nationality or religion is against our nation's values. What's more, the White House's fixation on what is really a Muslim ban, one that they cannot prove will have any demonstrable effect on national security, has prevented us from addressing the serious issues that we face as a nation.

The people of Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Chad, Venezuela, and North Korea have endured harsh conditions under repressive regimes. Keeping refugees from reaching a safe haven makes our country culpable in their suffering. If we are to realize true equality for all human beings, we need to stop the paranoia and stereotypes that vilify innocent people for their faith, the color of their skin, or the language they speak.

Call the White House and tell them to abandon the travel ban. We are not going to tolerate religious tests as a qualification to enter the land of the free.

- Jim Zogby, Our Revolution


TALKING POINTS: WHAT YOU CAN SAY ABOUT WHY THE WHITE HOUSE SHOULD STOP THE MUSLIM BAN

*The White House's racist, unconstitutional Muslim ban has already been struck down three times in federal court.
*There is no concrete evidence to support Trump's assertion that banning travel from these countries will make us safer.
*The Muslim ban will keep families apart and endanger those attempting to flee violence and persecution.
*A Muslim ban is antithetical to American ideals of religious freedom, liberty, and equality for all.
*Paranoia and stereotyping have stoked division and hatred within our country.

https://go.ourrevolution.com/page/content/white-house-muslim-ban/?source=em171018-co

#notravelbans 

DEMAND A #JUSTRECOVERY


Hundreds of people are marching on Washington today to demand a #JustRecovery for communities devastated by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
The administration has only offered a negligent response that fails to provide communities what they need to save lives and get back on their feet.
Families impacted by these climate disasters in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are calling for a plan that puts people first, including:
  1. immediate decentralized distribution of aid into the hands of the people
  2. cancellation of Puerto Rico’s public debt
  3. creation of local jobs to rebuild communities and develop a more equitable and clean energy economy
Please write your Senators and join the national call for a #JustRecovery!
MESSAGE READS: (Please, feel free to personalize it for even more impact.)

SUBJECT: Families devastated by hurricanes need equitable recovery now

Over the last two months, hundreds of thousands of Americans have had their lives ripped apart by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are facing the biggest devastation they have seen in decades.

Yet the government has not provided communities what they need to save lives and get back on their feet. For many people impacted, emergency funds for adequate recovery and rebuilding are being held up by red tape at FEMA and HUD.

Congress needs to act immediately to ensure a just and swift recovery for communities ravaged by climate disasters. That means a plan that puts people first, including:

- Immediate approval and decentralized distribution of aid to communities in Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, and the US Virgin Islands;

- Immediate cancellation of Puerto Rico’s public debt & moratorium on debt payments;

- Creation of local jobs to rebuild communities and develop a more equitable and clean energy economy

I'm urging you to please take action on this today. Our communities need a just recovery now.

Thank you for your time,

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tell your senators: Reject any budget that endangers the Arctic Refuge!


It’s no secret that the Trump administration will stop at nothing—not even the law—to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

A leaked memo reveals that the Trump administration wants to change existing law to allow the use of seismic blasts and underground shock waves to explore for oil in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—its biological heart—and now it is trying to get Congress to open the Refuge to drilling.

The single time that oil exploration was allowed in the past, seismic equipment scarred the beautiful landscape of the Coastal Plain for decades. If allowed again, this activity could also be harmful to wildlife such as denning polar bears.

The Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to hundreds of iconic species, including caribou, polar bears, Arctic foxes, and migratory birds from all 50 states. The indigenous Gwich’in people—whose way of life has for millennia depended on the caribou that calve there each summer—call the 1.5 million acre Coastal Plain the “sacred place where life begins.”

For decades, the Arctic Refuge has been at the center of a political tug-of-war between those who want it protected permanently and others pushing to open it for fossil fuel development. Yet each time drilling proponents have tried to open up the Coastal Plain, they’ve failed. That’s because the majority of Americans want this special place permanently protected as wilderness.

The Refuge now faces another threat from President Trump: in a backdoor attempt to subvert the will of the American public, he has proposed a budget that calls on Congress to raise revenue by drilling on the Coastal Plain—and now some members of Congress have added a provision in this year’s budget to make this happen. Write your members of Congress now to urge them to keep the Arctic Refuge out of the budget process.

Drilling in the Arctic Refuge should be excluded from any budget proposal. It is irresponsible to put such a dangerous provision in legislation that should be used to fund the agencies and programs that protect our air, water, health and climate. We cannot and should not play politics with our national heritage, just to line the pockets of the oil and gas industry.

Please send a clear message to Congress: Reject any budget that recklessly endangers the Arctic Refuge!

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM MUST DO NO HARM


Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services released a disturbing new plan that redefines life as beginning at conception and removes all references to LGBTQ people and their health needs – while heavily emphasizing the role of religiously affiliated organizations.

This is yet another case of this administration treating religion as a license to discriminate against women and LGBTQ people.

Religious freedom is a fundamental American value and a basic tenant of our Constitution, but it can’t be used as a weapon to cause harm to others.

This is why the ACLU is throwing it's full support behind the Do No Harm Act. This bill – currently in front of Congress – amends the too-frequently-misused Religious Freedom Restoration Act to ensure that protections for religious freedom can’t be used as an excuse to harm others.

Contact your representative today and tell them to co-sponsor the Do No Harm Act.

This bill would clarify that the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act can’t be used to exempt any business or individual from laws that:

*Prohibit discrimination
*Require equal pay
*Protect child welfare
*Guarantee access to health care

This latest news out of HHS follows a pattern of attacks on women’s health and LGBTQ equality under the guise of religious liberty. Most recently, the notorious “birth control rules” authorize employers and universities to deny employees and students contraceptive coverage based on religious or moral objections.

And the Justice Department’s sweeping new guidance to federal agencies encourages a dangerously broad reading of religious freedom laws that could endanger women, LGBTQ people, and religious minorities.

The Do No Harm Act furthers true religious freedom. It clarifies that we’re all free to practice our faith, but not to use religion as an excuse to cause harm to others

The Do No Harm Act would limit the dangerous ways we have been seeing the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) used to justify discriminatory acts in this country over the past two decades.

Specifically, the Do No Harm Act would clarify that the RFRA can’t be used to exempt anyone from laws that prohibit discrimination, require equal pay, protect child welfare, or guarantee access to health care.

The Do No Harm Act furthers true religious freedom.

We’re all free to believe – or not – as we see fit, and to practice our faith. What we can’t do is use religion as an excuse to discriminate against or harm others.

Tell your members of Congress you want them to co-sponsor the Do No Harm Act today.

- Louise Melling
ACLU Deputy Legal Director