In a time when environmental issues are no longer recognized by federal entities nor included in political dialogue, it can be quite depressing and nearly inductive to indifference as one that remains concerned about the Earth and its most vulnerable. This righteous battle against the forces that commodify and threaten our environment has expanded to include every chamber of Congress and every government organization originally designed to do the opposite, overwhelming activists and advocates alike.
Nevertheless, combatting anti-environmental action can be easy when there is so much of it. Below you will find a simplified—and limited—list of approaching legislation or current action that can be opposed in the form of phone calls and letters to your congressional representatives (or, even your mayor and city council members for applicable local issues).
Originally, I compiled this information in preparation for a letter-writing workshop at the University of San Francisco, but felt that it could be utilized further if published. The upcoming legislation introduced below represents numerous attempts to weaken or eliminate environmental regulations and destroy protections on national lands, for none other than exploitative American industries and their bought out government officials.
As a general rule, when calling or writing to congressional representatives, it can sometimes be more effective to address your concerns to their office location in closest proximity to your registered address. However, for purposes of uniformity and convenience, the Washington, D.C. information is listed as the template guideline.
Pertaining to U.S. Senators
Opposing the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA)
Despite its title, the Regulatory Accountability Act would not hold anyone accountable, but rather make it much harder to enact new environmental protections for air and water quality and general health. This bill will facilitate corporate polluters to block new health and safety standards and dodge responsibility for the environmental damage caused. Ask your Senator to vote against S. 951, the Senate Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA), for the purposes of maintaining the processes that allow us to update food safety measures, establish environmental protections, and safeguard the general public.
General Opposition to Attack on National Monuments
Ryan Zinke, current U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and others within the administration, have launched numerous efforts to remove the status of protected lands and national monuments. This unprecedented review of over 11 million acres of historically or culturally rich lands led to a sharp reduction of Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monuments, leaving lingering fears to the continuation of this process. The President’s action to scale back our treasured monuments was arguably motivated by a major lobbying session of the uranium industry, that announced the existence of mineral deposits within the previously placed boundaries.
More recently, three new protected areas have been added to this list for review, including a 130,000-arce region in Montana in close proximity to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. This is nothing less than a major assault to our natural spaces, indigenous culture, and former President Theodore Roosevelt’s Antiquities Act itself. Encourage your Senators to help stop this wrongdoing by demanding that President Trump reverses these actions and values the American people and its indigenous communities over exploitative industries.
General Opposition to Offshore Drilling and Seismic Blasting
The Atlantic, Pacific, Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and Arctic Ocean are currently being sought after with hungry eyes for dirty energies, as announced by the Department of the Interior’s draft proposal that includes oil and gas lease sales on all coasts. It is no secret that the operations of these industries are destructive in nature. If pursued, the marine ecosystems and economies of our coasts will be threatened by inevitable oil spills and disruptive extraction processes. Ask your Senators to act against these unnecessary threats and take direct action to protect the coasts, as well as their creatures.
Pertaining to U.S. House Representatives
Opposing the SECURE American Energy Act
The “Strengthening the Economy with Critical Untapped Resources to Expand American Energy Act,” or SECURE American Energy Act (H.R. 4239), is a dangerous piece of legislation coming before Congress. Ultimately, if passed, it will facilitate oil and gas companies in offshore drilling and seismic blasting, strip presidential power to establish marine national monuments, and prioritize fracking methods. The ability to install and maintain safeguards at the federal level—as well as the direct protection of marine mammals and migratory birds—would be limited or weakened with the passage of this bill. The section of the legislation titled “Opportunities for the Nation and States to Harness Onshore Resources for Energy Act’ (ONSHORE), undeniably gives control of American lands to a handful of western states and private interest groups. Urge your representative to vote against H.R. 4239 and guarantee that you will be watching how they vote on similar legislation in the future.
Opposing the Streamlining Environmental Approvals (SEA) Act
The “Streamlining Environmental Approvals Act” or SEA Act (H.R. 3133) was introduced in the House of Representatives with the solitary objective of weakening the core provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Falling in line with the common theme, the creation of this bill was motivated by the pursuits of the fossil fuel industry and its offshore drilling efforts, thus prioritizing seismic oil exploration over ocean ecosystems. Within the summary sentence, the purpose is stated clearly to “reduce unnecessary permitting delays,” fast-tracking the destructive exploration process. Warn your Representative about the threats this bill poses, including the simple fact that seismic airgun blasts can deafen and kill whales and dolphins.
Opposing the Termination of the Environmental Protection Agency
H.R. 861 seeks to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by December 31st, 2018. Although the current EPA, and administrator Scott Pruitt, have proven to be in complete opposition to any form of authentic environmental protection, its presence has historically been necessary to human health and the environment by enforcing regulations created by Congress.
Happy writing my friends!