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makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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

New Data Shows Solar Jobs Growing in Georgia

Atlanta, GA - Solar in Georgia now employs 3,924 people, a 23% increase from 2015, according to new data released today by the Solar Foundation. . Metro Atlanta was home to the most solar jobs (2,406) followed by Chatham and Bibb Counties. The Solar Foundation data breaks down solar jobs in Georgia by county, congressional district and metro area.

Atlanta, GA -
Solar in Georgia now employs 3,924 people, a 23% increase from 2015, according
to new data released today by the Solar Foundation. . Metro Atlanta was home to
the most solar jobs (2,406) followed by Chatham and Bibb Counties. The Solar
Foundation data
breaks down solar jobs in Georgia by county, congressional district and metro
area.

 

The new numbers come from the Solar Foundation’s 2016 solar
jobs census. In 2016, solar jobs grew in 44 states including GA; solar now
employs over 260,000 people nationwide.

 

The growth in solar jobs reflects the growth of solar itself.
In 2016, solar was the number one new source of energy capacity installed in
the United States. As solar grows, it has also reduced climate-warming
emissions and helped to combat air pollution in Georgia.

 

Jennette Gayer from Environment Georgia released the following
statement:

 

“Lately, Americans have had a hard time agreeing on some
important issues facing our country. But I think we can all agree that solar
energy is good for our economy, good for our environment and good for our local
communities.

 

“As the numbers released today show, solar continues to grow
rapidly in Metro-Atlanta and throughout Georgia, providing good local jobs for Georgians
that also help to protect the environment.

 

“Every solar job we add in Georgia means we will continue to
reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and protect public health --
all  while putting people to work in
their communities.

 

“Ultimately we know we can and must repower our lives using
100 percent renewable energy in Georgia and across the country. We encourage
leaders in all sectors to help solar continue to grow and meet this challenge.
In doing so, Georgians will continue to benefit.”

 

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center

Renewable Energy 100

America’s institutions of higher education can play a crucial role in the fight to prevent the worst impacts of global warming. Colleges and universities across the country should aggressively deploy clean energy on campus, setting a goal of getting 100 percent of their energy from clean renewable sources.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Georgia

Environmental Groups File Clean Water Act Suit vs. Pilgrim's Pride

[Atlanta, GA] –  Environment Georgia called on Pilgrim’s Pride to clean up its act, as its sister organization in Florida filed a lawsuit under Clean Water Act against the company for dumping pollution into a river there.  The complaint filed in federal court alleges that the second-largest chicken producer in the world committed 1,377 days of Clean Water Act violations at its Florida processing plant since 2012, by discharging wastewater into the Suwannee River that exceeds pollution standards by as much as triple the legal limits.  

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Call your representative and senators every day. Here's how. | Margie Alt

There’s a lot unfolding in Washington, D.C., right now, and you may be wondering: “What can I do to voice my concerns?”

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Georgia Researcy & Policy Center

New Report Finds $58.1 Million in Volkswagen Settlement Funds Headed to Georgia Could Help Accelerate All-electric Transportation Revolution

A new report from US PIRG and Environment Georgia finds that $58.1 Million from the Volkswagen (VW) settlement is headed to Georgia to help clean up the state’s transportation system and recommends using the funds to purchase electric vehicle fast charging stations for the state’s highways along with an aggressive expansion of all-electric transit buses to replace aging, dirty, diesel buses. The report finds that this amount of investment could purchase up to 174 fast charging stations and 61 all-electric, zero-emissions buses, reducing dangerous pollution and saving money, all while accelerating further market transformation to an all-electric transportation system.

> Keep Reading

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