Sierra Club

Currents newsletter

Volume VI, #142
Dec 16, 2008

"If you're not an environmentalist you're a goober, and you can't get elected."

-- Texas State Sen. Kip Averitt, chair of the Natural Resources Committee, on the change in the political landscape.

In this issue

1) Take Action: Four Steps to a Clean Slate
2) Take Action: Save Virginia’s Coasts
3) Bush Rollbacks: Endangered Species Act
4) New Report: Clean Water Protections Failing

1) Take Action: Four Steps to a Clean Slateobama

  1. End the rush to build new coal plants by requiring them to limit their global warming emissions
  2. Approve plans by 18 states to require cleaner cars
  3. End mountaintop removal coal mining by stopping companies from dumping waste and rock into valleys and streams
  4. Restore America's international leadership in the fight to end global warming by publicly committing the US to cut its carbon emissions at least 35% by 2020

What do these four things have in common? They can all be done by President-elect Obama on day one of his administration, independently of Congress. These four decisions can jumpstart a clean energy economy and start reducing global warming pollution immediately, giving us a ‘clean slate’ of energy policies for 2009.

Currents action alert arrowAsk President-elect Obama to adopt the Clean Slate Agenda!

2) Take Action: Save Virginias Coasts!
Despite the positive clean energy momentum sweeping the country, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) is still promoting dirty and destructive oil and gas drilling, proposing to open up 2.9 million acres off Virginia's coast to 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!


3) Bush Rollbacks: Endangered Species Act
Hands tiedA tidal wave of opposition did not stop the Bush administration from finalizing a controversial plan to change how the Endangered Species Act is implemented by the federal government.

In addition to allowing government agencies to decide for themselves when a project could hurt endangered species, the final plan expressly ties agency scientists' hands when it comes to protecting wildlife from global warming.

4) New Report: Clean Water Protections Failing
Clean WaterA joint investigation by the House Oversight and Transportation Committees has found that enforcement of the Clean Water Act has deteriorated significantly over the past two years. The result of a fractured Supreme Court ruling and unclear policy guidance from the Bush administration, this negative trend was worsened by the direct involvement of lobbyists and big polluters in the decision making, according to the report. 

In the past two years more than 300 Clean Water Act cases have been dropped and EPA field staff are warning that they can no longer ensure the safety of our nation's waters. As this report highlights, it's essential that Congress pass the Clean Water Restoration Act to reestablish the longstanding protections of the Clean Water Act.

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