Environment

The American Lung Association is bringing a clean-air case to the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will hear a case this October on climate issues. Specifically, the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. This rule is designed to force "upwind" states to take responsibility for the pollution they emit that lands in other states. It makes sense, right?

From: Trinity ConsultantsU.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of dismantling the rule in favor of dirty power plant operators. I mean, I'm sure they aren't personally dirty but they do represent the interests of fossil fuel advocates who don't want to be held liable for pollution. 

The promise of action of climate change has been up in the air for a while, and Obama has finally taken a firm stand (even if it was just as firmly ignored by most TV networks). But almost immediately following his speech the Supreme Court announced that it would take up the climate rule that was struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that forces "upwind" states to enact tougher regulations on polluters whose emissions drag down air quality in "downwind" states. Seems reasonable, right? Grist reports that the Court of Appeals took the side of high-pollution power plant owners whose general argument was, "Not my problem."

It's called the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, and losing it would cost the nation dearly in 2014.

  • 13,000 - 34,000 pollution related deaths
  • 1.8 million sick days
  • 400,000 asthma attacks
  • $280 billion lost in benefits

(Source)

Choppy waters ahead

The Supreme Court, and many other higher courts have been so pro-business in recent years that its actions have come under the scrutiny of Elizabeth Warren. To boot, since Justice Roberts' appointment to Chief Justice, the Supreme Court has become less and less open to environmental action. Just look at the blows environmentalists took in 2009!

Threatening to put the lives of thousands of people at greater risk in the name of a few less climate regulations is irresponsible. We haven't been shy about calling out big business on their efforts to overwhelm the American people. Check out our other posts on big business and climate change!

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Categories: Environment Big Business


Stephen Colbert: It's not Oil, It's Diluted Bitumen!

Stephen Colbert hilariously explains the real danger of the Keystone XL pipeline. WATCH:

While Colbert makes a great point with satire, the dangers of diluted bitumen are real. A 2012 article in the New York Times  laid out the dangers of a tar-sands pipeline spill: 

After the dilbit gushed into the river, it began separating into its constituent parts. The heavy bitumen sank to the river bottom, leaving a mess that is still being cleaned up. Meanwhile, the chemical additives evaporated, creating a foul smell that lingered for days. People reported headaches, dizziness and nausea. No one could say with certainty what they should do. Federal officials at the scene didn’t know until weeks later that the pipeline was carrying dilbit, because federal law doesn’t require pipeline operators to reveal that information.
The 2010 spill could have been worse if it had reached Lake Michigan, as authorities originally feared it might. Lake Michigan supplies drinking water to more than 12 million people. Fortunately, the damage was restricted to a tributary creek and about 36 miles of the Kalamazoo, used primarily for recreation, not drinking water.

The bottom line Keystone XL is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. This isn't your grandpa's oil being pumped in, but something much much worse, and it's up to us to stop it. Add your name to to tell President Obama no on KXL.

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Categories: Environment



The Real Sequestration Absurdity

In a world of Sequester turned Snowquester, Republicans are outraged that the Obama administration would cancel all White House tours indefinitely (beginning March 9th). Former NYC Mayor called the closing "absurd." Yet for the majority of American families there are greater problems to be addressed than White House tours temporarily ending. What we find to truly be absurd is that it's March 6th--5 days after the sequester-- and Congress still hasn't remedied cuts.

Here’s 7 cuts under sequester that make Democrats outraged:

1.  Education

·  Head Start will be cut by $406 million, kicking 70,000 children out of the program.

·  Special education is cut by $840 million.

2.  Medicare

·  $9.9 billion (yes Billion!) will be cut from Medicare

3.  Health Care

·  National Institutes of Health is cut by $1.6 billion.

·  Eliminates care for more than 373,000 ‘seriously mentally ill’ people, according to the White House.

·  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cut by $323 million.

·  Global health programs are cut by $433 million.

i.  Millenium Challenge Corp $46 million cut.

ii.  USAID $291 million cut.

·  Up to 424,000 HIV Tests would cut—thousands of people with HIV would lose access to life-saving medications.

4.  Natural disaster relief

·  FEMA’s Disaster Relief budget is cut by $375 million.

·  Funding for the government’s emergency response system will be significantly slashed.

5.  Energy, Scientific research, and Environmental protection

·  NASA cut by $970 million.

·  The National Science Foundation gets cut by $388 million.

·  Energy Department’s program for securing our nukes is cut by $650 million.

·  Nuclear Regulatory Commission is cut by $55 million.

6.  American Programs for the Poor

·  Public Housing support is cut by $1.94 billion.

·  More than 100,000 formerly homeless people would lose their current housing as a result of sequestration.

·  125,000 low-income families would be at risk of losing their housing cause of rental assistance cuts.

7.  Over 700,000 jobs lost under sequestration - harmful budget cuts could hit everyone from teachers to medical researchers.

(More Sequester content and figures from the Washington Post)

So while the GOP Congressman are introducing legislation to prevent the President from playing golf—yes, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) did indeed bring such an absurd amendment to CongressDemocrats are looking for solutions. Tonight the President has invited about a dozen Republican Senators to dinner in an effort to reach a bipartisan agreement.

Democracy for America continues to strongly call for no cuts on Medicare. We would love to see the President strike a deal but only a deal we can proud of where education, health care, and American jobs and housing for families can be protected.

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Categories: Healthcare Environment Budget and Taxes Economy and Jobs Education


Virginia’s Toxic Debate

In a moment of honesty, Virginia State Sen. Richard Saslaw claimed that the environmental effects of currently debated legislation should not be considered because he’s “not going to be here”. The state of Virginia is currently debating whether or not to lift a ban on uranium mining passed over 30 years ago.

Numerous environmental groups have come out against lifting the ban arguing that repealing the ban would impact Virginians “both directly, by increased environmental and occupational exposure to uranium and other toxic substances through the air, soil, or groundwater and accidents resulting from mining operations, and indirectly through stress and other heath effects related to community changes, including potential loss of recreation sites, declining property values, changes to the local economy, and the perceived stigma uranium mining.”

But State Sen. Saslaw doesn’t see these effects affecting him at all. As a politician, Saslaw’s job should be to work to the benefit of his constituents, not himself. He might not be here in 100 years, but his grandchildren will. Why would Saslaw not concern himself with the environmental effects of something so toxic as Uranium.

In addition to his interesting views on the environment, it seems Saslaw is the leader of the Democrats in the Virginia State Senate. Representing one of the most progressive districts in Virginia covering the city of Alexandria, Saslaw must assume the views of his district and hold himself apart from the Coal and Energy Commission.

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Categories: Environment


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