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, including 39,986 miles in Georgia, 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planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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 Georgia, 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 Georgia

TSPLOST Failure is a Setback for Clean Air and Transit

Atlanta, GA---A transportation referendum that would have increased spending on transit, sidewalks and bike lanes in the Atlanta Region seemed poised to fail today.

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News Release | Environment Georgia

Join Environment Georgia for Election Day Activities: Vote YES for Transit

Volunteers will be turning out the YES vote for transit all day, join us for any or all!

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News Release | Environment Georgia

217 Atlantic Coast Environmental Groups and Other Stakeholders Unite Behind Atlantic Offshore Wind

Savannah, GA—Today, 217 environmentalists, conservationists, clean energy advocates, businesses, and local and state officials from up and down the Atlantic Coast are united in calling for bold action to accelerate the development of offshore wind.  The coalition released a letter to the Obama Administration to show strong support for progress made to date and to urge continued leadership to ensure we see several wind farms spinning off our coasts within the next few years.

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News Release | Environment Georgia

New Carbon Pollution Standards will Protect Georgians Health

Atlanta, GA—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed historic new limits on carbon pollution from new power plants.  Carbon pollution fuels global warming, which leads to poor air quality that triggers asthma attacks and other respiratory problems.  Scientists also predict that global warming will lead to more devastating floods, more deadly heat waves and the spread of infectious diseases. Coal-fired power plants are the largest single source of carbon pollution in the U.S., yet there are currently no federal limits on this pollution from power plants.  The proposed Carbon Pollution Standard will correct that for new power plants by limiting emissions to more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution for each megawatt of electricity produced.

Jennette Gayer, Environment Georgia State Advocate issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement:

“Today’s proposal from the Obama administration is an historic step in protecting  Georgians health and our environment.  By setting the first-ever standards for the largest source of the carbon pollution that fuels global warming, President Obama and EPA Administrator Jackson are standing up for Georgians—and putting our health above the demands of the polluter lobby.
 
“Along with the steps being taken to cut other dangerous power plant pollutants such as soot, smog, mercury and other toxic pollutants and the new standards for fuel efficiency, these carbon pollution standards will mark historic progress in protecting our health, reducing waste, and encouraging job creating innovation in the clean energy economy.

“Georgians understand the value of clean air, and while the polluter lobby can be expected to trot out the same tired attacks and tactics, they won’t stop the progress and they will have to clean up their act.

“Now that standards have been proposed, we look forward to demonstrating the strong public support for clean air and healthy families, and to making sure that the proposed standards are finalized later this year.  We also applaud Administrator Jackson for continuing to work with scientists, economists and public health officials on a process for addressing carbon pollution from existing power plants.  The health and safety of current and future generations depends on us tackling this problem.”  

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