Sierra Club

Currents newsletter

Volume VI, #140
Dec 2, 2008

"We want the debate to be about science, not fear and hypocrisy. We hope next year's wave of new politics means a return to science."

-- John Hart, aid to Sen. Coburn (R-OK)

In this issue

1)Take Action: Save Virginia's Coasts
2) Vision for America: What are Your Top Priorities?
3) Toxic Trailers: EPA Finally Takes Action on Formaldehyde
4) Toxic Trailers: Mining through Streams, Permission Granted

1) Take Action: Save Virginia's Coasts!
The Minerals Management Service (MMS) is considering opening up 2.9 million acres off Virginia's coast for oil and gas drilling. While drilling only 50 miles from shore won't solve our energy problems, it will endanger some of our country's most fragile ecosystems and robust coastal economies.

The industry is already sitting on 68 million acres of unused leases; there is no reason to open up more of our valuable coastline.

Currents action alert arrowSave Virginia's Coasts -- Tell the MMS not to go through with this lease sale!

2) Vision for America: What are Your Top Priorities?
Late last week, the Sierra Club, along with 28 other members of the environmental community laid out its vision for how America can transition to a green economy under the administration of President-elect Obama. Our plan lays out the environmental community's top priorities (pdf), complete with policy recommendations on everything from reducing our dependence on oil to protecting communities from the effects of global warming.

What would your plan look like?


3)Toxic Trailers: EPA Finally Takes Action on Formaldehyde
Under pressure from the Sierra Club, the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) is finally working to determine how to protect people from exposure to toxic formaldehyde. The move comes after thousands of families were exposed to harmful levels of formaldehyde from emergency housing provided by the federal government, causing burning eyes, coughing, headaches, rashes and breathing difficulties.

Although the EPA has finally recognized the problem and scheduled public meetings around the country, none were set for the Gulf Coast, where the most people have been affected. Sierra Club is urging EPA to listen to Gulf Coast residents' concerns, and EPA has now signaled that it might add another public meeting.

4) Breaking News: Mining through Streams, Permission Granted
The U.S. EPA signed off today on the Bush administration’s last minute repeal of the stream buffer zone rule, which prohibits mining within 100 feet of streams. The repeal clears the way for an increase in devastating mountaintop removal mining, where coal companies blast the tops off mountains to reach thin seams of coal below and then simply dump the waste into nearby valleys and streams.

Today's decision will finalize the repeal, despite the objections of EPA scientists, top decision makers in Kentucky and Tennessee, and 2 out of 3 American people.

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