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 more than 38,000 miles of Washington's streams, 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planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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 Washington, 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

News Release | Environment Washington

Environment Washington Launches Campaign to Get Local Governments to Go Big on Solar

With solar energy on the rise across Washington and the country, Environment Washington announced the launch of a push to get cities and local governments to make sizable commitments to capturing the power of the sun. The “Shining Cities” campaign will engage and mobilize hundreds of members, volunteers and the growing ranks of stakeholders who recognize the tremendous environmental and economic benefits to convince local governments to expand their use of pollution-free solar power.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment Washington

Broad Coalition Calls on Gov. Inslee to Strength Pollution Controls for Industrial Farms

A broad coalition of environmental, health care, and racial justice organizations write Governor Inslee to express deep concerns with the Department of Ecology’s (Ecology) current draft of the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) discharge permit.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Washington

4,500 Washingtonians Submit Comments to Gov. Inslee, Ecology Calling for Stronger CAFO Permit, Drinking Water Protections

4,500 Washingtonians submitted comments to Gov. Inslee and the Department of Ecology (Ecology) calling for stronger state pollution controls for concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. Untreated manure from CAFOs is contaminating drinking water supplies and waterways across Washington with bacteria and nitrates, which can cause birth defects and other health consequences.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Washington

Impacted Communities, Broad Coalition to Gov. Inslee: WA’s Drinking Water, Waterways Need Stronger Factory Farm Pollution Control

Local homeowners and environmental justice leaders from communities impacted by factory farm pollution joined health professionals and a diverse coalition of regional and statewide organizations to call on Governor Inslee and the state Department of Ecology to protect public health and drinking water by strengthening a draft permit for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Washington State.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment Washington

Lighting the Way 4

American solar energy is booming. Hundreds of thousands more Americans each year are experiencing the environmental and consumer benefits of clean energy from the sun, often generated right on the rooftops of their homes or places of business. A growing number of states are leading America’s ongoing solar boom. Those states are not necessarily the ones with the most sunshine, but rather the ones that have opened the door for solar energy through the adoption of strong public policies.

> Keep Reading

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