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Currents newsletter

June 30, 2009: Volume VII, #25

"Global warming is the defining environmental issue of our time."

-- Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) during the American Clean Energy & Security Act debate on June 26.

In this issue

1) Take Action: Don't Let Toxic Waste Slip Through the Cracks!
2) Take Action: Don't Drill in Alaska's Bristol Bay
3) Victory: Coal Ash Sites Disclosed
4) Energy Independence: Celebrate July 4th by Becoming More Energy Independent

1) Take Action:
Don't Let Toxic Waste Slip Through the Cracks!
With one of its last pen strokes, the Bush Administration Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exempted 1.5 million tons of hazardous waste from vital laws that safeguard our communities while excusing thousands of companies from complying with rules that protect human health and the environment. Just some of the hazardous waste that could slip through the cracks includes mercury, lead, and arsenic -- which are potent neurotoxins and carcinogens. The Obama administration must act now!

The EPA will consider withdrawing this dangerous rule and is asking the public to submit comments.

Currents action alert arrowTell the EPA to restore vital public health and environmental safeguards!

2) Take Action: Don't Drill in Alaska's Bristol Bay 
Spawning SalmonSecretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is currently reviewing existing and new Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leasing programs that call for a massive expansion of drilling leasing in our nation’s Arctic waters, including the fish-rich Bristol Bay and southeast Bering Sea.

Now is the height of the salmon season and millions of sockeye and red salmon are returning to their home streams to spawn. These fish recently swam through waters that are currently slated for leasing, which threatens this multi-million dollar industry and the thousands of fisherman that rely on the salmon runs.

Currents action alert arrowWrite to Secretary Salazar and tell him to permanently remove Bristol Bay from the OCS Leasing Program.

3) Victory: Coal Ash Sites Disclosed
Coal Ash SpillOn Tuesday, June 29, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released information regarding the locations of 44 "high hazard potential" coal combustion waste facilities (or coal ash impoundments), previously kept a secret from the public. On June 19, Sierra Club and its allies filed a Freedom of Information Act request to force EPA to make these sites known to the public.

According to the EPA list, the states with the most "high hazard" coal ash waste sites are Arizona, North Carolina, and Kentucky, but there are also sites in Ohio, West Virginia, Montana, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.

Now that EPA has compiled this list of "high hazard potential" sites, the next step is to clean these sites up expeditiously, so that they no longer present a hazard to downstream communities.

4) Energy Independence: Celebrate July 4th by Becoming More Energy Independent
July 4This Saturday is America’s birthday, so why not take this Independence Day as a starting point to work on becoming a little more energy independent yourself? Wish a real happy birthday to the U.S. by becoming energy efficient. Use our page of energy efficiency tips to give the gift that keeps on giving with energy bill savings and less impact on our planet.

Have a happy, safe and efficient 4th of July!

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

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