What’s happening in Washington

The president put someone in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency who has sued that same agency 14 times to weaken clean air, clean water and other environmental protections.

He signed an executive order to put the Keystone XL pipeline on a fast track to construction, another order designed to eliminate Clean Water Act protections for nearly 2 million miles of America’s streams, including 28,785 miles in New York, and a third order rolling back the Clean Power Plan, effectively allowing power plants to emit more pollution and adding more soot to the air we breathe and more climate-destabilizing carbon pollution to the planet’s atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Congress has passed legislation abolishing new stream water protections from coal mining in Appalachia, voted to make it easier to sell off public lands, and introduced bills to abolish the EPA.

After talking during the campaign about “abolishing” the EPA himself or “leaving just a little bit,” the president proposed a budget that would slash EPA funding by 31 percent. These cuts would virtually eliminate funding for proven programs needed to clean up the nation’s great waterways, from San Francisco Bay to Puget Sound; decimate environmental research and science programs, and effectively take the nation’s environmental cops off the polluter beat.

A “little bit” of environmental protection is not nearly enough—not when it comes to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the people and places we love. 

Most Americans want more, not fewer, protections for the people and places we love

These moves to dismantle our environmental protections violate core values shared by millions of Americans.

The vast majority of us believe the health of our children is more valuable than the dollars saved when a company dumps pollution into our air or water. The future of our children and life on our planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies. The idea that we’ve found some places so special, some would even say sacred, that we’ve declared them off-limits to development is one of our proudest achievements.

But our environmental values are meaningless if we don’t act on them, and stand up and defend them when they’re under attack— especially given the power of old but entrenched industries that are wed to a status quo that no longer serves our needs, and a worldview that puts their short-term economic interests above the health of the American people and the environment we share.

Our path forward

Our best chance of stopping these attacks will come in the U.S. Senate, where 41 votes will be enough to block most legislation.

Environment New York, together with our nationwide network of state affiliates, is urging our senators to stand up and protect our health and the places we love.

And if enough of us speak up, we can win.

Recently, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah filed a bill that would sell off 3.3 million acres of America’s public lands — an area the size of Connecticut. Several days later he withdrew the bill in the face of overwhelming public opposition, including 1,000 people in Montana turning out to a pro-public lands rally and this comment from an National Rifle Association member on Chaffetz’s Facebook page: “Rescind H.R. 621 the sale of public lands! It’s not your land to sell. It’s the people’s land. Many people use it for many purposes.” Hear and respect our voice.”

We can win, but only if we bring together people from all walks of life, from both sides of the political divide, and unite in action to defend the places we love.

Reckless proposals to roll back clean air, clean water and other environmental protections keep coming every week. We need to build support now to protect our health and environment.

Now, it's up to us

The leaders and activists of the past saw the result of decades of unchecked pollution in our smog-covered skylines and our toxic rivers. They worked against all odds and, ultimately, their values won the day. Our environmental forbears organized the first Earth Day, supported and passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Now the torch passes to us.

The children we know and love today can live cleaner, healthier lives in a greener world, but only if we can keep our environmental protections in place and make them stronger. It’s up to us.

Issue updates

Report | Environment New York

Getting Off Oil: A 50-State Roadmap for Curbing Our Dependence on Petroleum

America’s dependence on oil inflicts a heavy toll on our environment. There are many technologies and policy tools, however, that can curb America’s dependence on oil.

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Report | Environment New York

Toxic Chemicals on Tap: How Natural Gas Drilling Threatens Drinking Water

In light of the increased pressure to drill for more natural gas in states across the country, this report focuses on the dangers to drinking water from gas drilling. In particular, we examined hydraulic fracturing (often called “fracking”), a commonly used process gas companies employ to extract natural gas or oil reserves. Natural gas exists in bubbles underground, much like bubbles in carbonated soda.

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Report | Environment New York

Solar Hot Water Heating Could Cut NY’s Global Warming Pollution Equal to Taking 614,000 Cars Off the Road

New York could reduce pollution and dependence on fossil fuels through the deployment of off the shelf, cost-effective solar hot water technology, according to a new report by Environment New York.

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Report | Environment New York

National Solar Jobs Census 2010

The National Solar Jobs Census 2010 is the first attempt to quantify the current employment and projected growth of the United State solar industry and is based on a statistically valid sampling of employers throughout the nation.  The rapid increase of solar energy generation has warranted a credible study that examines the size and scope of the industry that until now, has been lacking.

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News Release | Environment New York

First Ever U.S. Solar Jobs Census Shows Growth in Solar Workforce

Environment New York today released a new report from the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit solar education and research organization entitled, “National Solar Jobs Census 2010: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce.” The report found that New York has the 9th most solar related jobs in the country with an estimated 3,500 people employed by the solar industry.

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