Speak up to Protect Wildlife from Capitol Hill’s Top 4 Environmental Attacks this Week

Extra extra! Detroit River Catches on FireThousands Extinct in the Everglades… No Public Access Allowed on Lake Champlain… Bogus headlines? For the moment yes but these hypothetical events move closer to reality this week with the legislative agendas of the House and Senate. Clean-Air and Water-Act-gutting, public-land-drilling, habitat-destroying bills and amendments stain everything from the Farm Bill to the Energy Production Act. If passed this legislation will mar the air, water, and public lands we (and the cute brown bear cub below) depend on.

  1. The “Border Bill” threatens to ignore environmental laws which protect important wildlife species like brown bears. (Photo: Steve Hillebrand for USFWS Headquarters/Flickr)
    Representative Bishop’s (R-UT) Border Bill (H.R. 2578) creates a 100-mile zone along U.S. Canadian and Mexican borders which will allow U.S. Border Patrol to regulate land while ignoring 16 essential conservation and environmental laws. If you live along the 100-mile buffer zone, call your local representative’s office and let them know what hiking, fishing, and hunting you could be missing out on  should the bill pass.
  2. The House will also be looking at the Strategic Energy Production Act (H.R. 4480), a package of strategic drilling bills that jeopardizes access to public lands while undermining leasing reforms intended to safeguard air, water, fish, and wildlife in these drillable areas. The underlying message is drill, drill, drill, anyplace, anywhere, anytime. Additionally, the bill will expedite drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska without considering important wildlife areas for caribou and migratory birds.
  3. On the Senate side, Senator Inhofe’s  (R-OK)  Congressional Review Act Resolution (S.J.Res. 37) would undo the EPA’s Mercury & Air Toxics Standards for power plants and would block the agency from reissuing similar safeguards. These standards and safeguards are designed with the public in mind for they protect the public from power plants’ mercury and toxic air pollution. (In case you missed it, here’s Sen. Inhofe’s attempt to misrepresent NWF’s statements on the rule, now that’s a headline that should be bogus)
  4. Farm Bill amendments are threatening the Clean Water Act’s ability to protect America’s important waterways. Alger County, Michigan (Photo: James Marvin Phelps/Flickr)
    The drama surrounding the Farm Bill continues in the Senate. Currently, the bill is bogged down with over 300 amendments, many of which wreak havoc on the environment. Attacks are most evident on the Clean Water Act.  Amendments (S.A 2165 and S.A. 2177) by Senator Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator Paul (R-KY) prohibit the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA from finalizing and implementing pending Clean Water Act guidance. The Rubio Amendment (S.A. 2261) by Senator Rubio (R-FL) would block EPA’s ability to hold the state of Florida to Clean Water Act numeric nutrient standards. Far from benefiting the American public, these amendments would further damage an already precious resource.

What can you do to oppose this week’s heavy-handed attacks on our environment? Look up your Senators and Representative’s numbers or e-mails. Urge a NO vote on all of these anti-environmental legislation (bills and amendments are listed here for reference). And remember, your voice counts! I’m off to give the offices of Senator’s Stabenow and Levin and Representative McCotter a call—you should get cracking too.