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Currents newsletter

July 21, 2009: Volume VII, #28

"Leading military and security experts agree that if left unchecked, global warming could increase instability and lead to conflict in already fragile regions of the world. We ignore these facts at the peril of our national security and at great risk to those in uniform who serve this nation."

-- Former Senator John Warner (R-VA), now helping launch the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate.

In this issue

1) Take Action: Why is the Chamber Saying No to Clean Energy Jobs?
2) Take Action: Protect Our Clean Water from Mine Waste Dumping
3) Protect: Grand Canyon Area Protected from Mining, For Now
4) Study: Air Pollution Can Lower Kids' IQ

1) Take Action:
Why is the Chamber Saying No to Clean Energy Jobs?
Write a LTE!The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is trying to block the two most important tools we need to build the clean energy future -- a comprehensive clean energy and climate plan and the Employee Free Choice Act. We need these two vital pieces of legislation to shift U.S. energy production toward cleaner, cheaper sources like wind and solar and to give workers the tools they need to make sure the clean energy economy is one that works for everyone.

The Chamber ignores the enormous job -- creating potential of clean energy and the urgent need to address climate change. Even some of its own members support action on global warming, including companies like General Motors, Ford, Shell, Dow Chemical and Nike.

Currents action alert arrowPlease take a moment to write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper expressing why the Chamber needs to stop blocking the clean energy future.

2) Take Action: Protect Our Clean Water from Mine Waste Dumping 
AlaskaIn 1972, Congress made a commitment to clean up and protect our nation's waterways when they passed the Clean Water Act. However, in 2002, the Bush administration undermined this law by redefining "fill," effectively allowing mining companies to fill our nation's waterways with the toxic-laden waste material.

The Supreme Court's recent decision to allow the Kensington gold mine near Juneau, Alaska, to dump waste directly into Lower Slate Lake is based in part on this change to the definition of "fill." This rule puts all our nation's waterways at risk for pollution and destruction.

Currents action alert arrowSend a message to Obama administration officials Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, and Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, telling them to protect our clean water and undo the rule.

3) Protect: Grand Canyon Area Protected from Mining, For Now
Grand CanyonConservationists and Havasupai tribal leaders are applauding action announced Monday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to temporarily place 1 million acres of public lands surrounding the Grand Canyon off limits to new mining claims and exploration or development of existing, unpatented claims.

Havasupai Tribe Vice Chairman Matthew Putesoy said, "It is a good effort to protect the Grand Canyon from further drilling and protection of the groundwater, which could impact our drinking water. We are thankful for Secretary Salazar's actions."

However, the Grand Canyon and nearby communities are still under threat from uranium mining. The Sierra Club will continue to support our tribal partners, including the Havasupai Tribe, in protecting important sacred lands in and around the Grand Canyon.

Keep up to date on uranium mining in that area by visiting the Arizona Sierra Club Chapter's website.

4) Study: Air Pollution Can Lower Kids' IQ
PollutionResearchers from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health have found that prenatal exposure to air pollution can adversely affect a child's IQ. The study followed pregnant mothers in low-income New York City neighborhoods exposed to air pollution from motor vehicles and the burning of coal, diesel, oil and gas. Researchers found that the children exposed to high levels of air pollution had IQ scores that were almost five points lower than those of less exposed children.

This is yet another reason to support clean energy and to work with our Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships Program to help those who live in communities frequently exposed to this sort of pollution.

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

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