Sierra Club
Currents newsletter

May 5, 2009: Volume VII, #18

"Maybe we can be an example of hope to all of those people across the country who are struggling through these tough economic times."

-- Kansas State Treasurer Dennis McKinney, a Greensburg native. Greensburg is prospering by rebuilding "green" after a tornado devastated the town.

In this issue
1) Take Action: Protect EPA's Authority to Regulate Global Warming Pollution
2) Take Action: Streams and Communities from Hazardous Mining Waste
3) Celebrate: Green Your Cinco de Mayo
4) Utilities: EPA Considers Tougher Pollution Rules

1) Take Action: Protect EPA’s Authority to Regulate Global Warming Pollution
Solar PanelCongress is moving forward with a bold plan to address global warming and create millions of new jobs by promoting clean, modern and cheap energy sources like wind and solar power.

However, the current draft of the bill would strip the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its authority to use the Clean Air Act to regulate global warming pollution.

Currents action alert arrowTell Congress not to strip the EPA of the ability to clean-up or shut down the oldest and dirtiest coal plants.

2) Take Action: Protect Streams and Communities from Hazardous Mining Waste
Keep our streams pristine!The Obama administration has taken a step towards undoing a destructive 11th hour rulemaking by the Bush administration, which repealed the Stream Buffer Zone rule. Though laxly enforced during the previous administration, the Stream Buffer Zone rule was intended to prevent companies from mining through streams. Unfortunately thousands of miles of streams have already been damaged or destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining, and communities throughout the Appalachian region suffer daily from contaminated drinking water, increased flooding, and a decimated landscape.

Please thank the Obama administration for restoring the Stream Buffer Zone rule and encourage them to enforce it to protect the Appalachian region from further destruction.

Currents action alert arrow Thank the Obama administration.

3) Celebrate: Green Your Cinco de Mayo Cinco de Mayo
Though officially a celebration of the Battle of Puebla, when the Mexican fighters defeated a French military force twice as large, Cinco de Mayo (May 5th ) in the U.S. is a good excuse for people from all backgrounds to come together and enjoy each other’s company (and perhaps a good drink or two).

Brush up on your Spanish and learn how you can make a difference on the redesigned Sierra Club Spanish-language website, and check out our tips for how to make this Cinco de Mayo green.  


4) Utilities: EPA Considers Tougher Pollution Rules
Coal PlantThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering new rules that would limit the amount of toxic selenium and other pollution that coal plants could discharge into waterways. While mercury is the best known of coal’s toxic pollutants, selenium in fish can also be extremely toxic to people, causing hair and fingernail loss, kidney and liver damage, and damage to the nervous and circulatory systems. The EPA's move came in response to a growing body of evidence showing high levels of selenium pollution coming from across the utility sector.

The Sierra Club first identified the problem last year at the Mitchell coal-fired power plant in West Virginia, and initial findings suggest the problem is widespread, caused by both coal plants and mountaintop removal coal mining operations.

Learn more about toxic selenium pollution. (pdf) 

Currents is the Sierra Club's weekly e-mail update providing you with facts, stories, quotes, and "take action" features.

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