Clean Water Action and all of the other activists and allies working for strong, comprehensive climate and energy legislation are still waiting for the introduction of new climate and energy legislation by US Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (I-CT). These senators have been working with Senator Graham (R-SC) to craft a bill capable of passing the Senate since earlier efforts stalled. A draft was released during the middle of May.
Clean Water Action finds the release of the draft an encouraging step toward addressing the necessary reductions in climate changing pollution and allowing the U.S. to regain a leadership role in the global clean energy economy of the future. The timeline remains uncertain but both Senate leadership and President Obama have indicated a commitment to action this year. Encourage Senators Klobuchar and Franken to support quick action on comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation and support improvements to the bill that ensure real pollution reductions and a lasting clean energy economy.
In a related matter, the U.S. Senate voted down 47 – 53 a resolution by Senator Murkowski (R-AK) to remove the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate global warming pollutants under the Clean Air Act. Both Senators Klobuchar and Franken voted against the resolution. The EPA established sound scientific evidence showing the public health impacts of these pollutants. Senator Murkowski and the 46 other Senators who voted to support Big Oil and Dirty Coal wanted Congress to make the science go away. We need to remain vigilant to protect the Clean Air Act as an important tool in the fight against global warming and cannot stand by and let politics trump science.
Clean Water Action continues our work to protect environmental and human health from toxic chemical exposure through our involvement in the Healthy Legacy Coalition. This past year, we educated over 500 Minnesotans about how to reduce their toxic chemical exposure in their homes and actively support protective policies with our Healthy Home Presentations. If you would like to host a Healthy Home, Healthy Water Presentation in your community, contact Kim LaBo.
The potential invasion of Asian Carp has been one of the dominant Great Lakes issues as of late. Asian Carp are voracious eaters that have been moving up the Mississippi River system threatening native species wherever they go. An electric fence was constructed near Chicago to prevent the carp from traveling from the Illinois River through the artificial canal system and into Lake Michigan. Unfortunately, last year Asian Carp DNA was found in the waterway beyond the electric fence sparking fears the fish have breached the barrier and will establish themselves in the Great Lakes. Efforts since then have focused on a dual track of determining the extent of the immediate problem and finding a long-term solution. Initial results are promising that they have not established themselves in the Great Lakes, yet, but efforts will continue to determine the extent of the Asian Carp invasion.
Clean Water Action and allies in the Healing Our Waters coalition continue to push authorities and Congress to propose a permanent solution that reestablishes an ecological separation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River system. The Supreme Court recently declined to hear a lawsuit brought by Michigan, Minnesota’s Attorney General and others to close the system of locks leading into Lake Michigan. Senator Klobuchar and other Members of Congress have also introduced several bills that call for ecological separation but none have moved through Congress thus far.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was a new $475 million initiative in the 2010 budget passed by Congress last year. Over $9.5 million for 14 projects in Minnesota appear on the latest list finalists for GLRI funds. The Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act was introduced in Congress to permanently establish the GLRI as a Congressional program. It also adds provisions to ensure the money is used most effectively to protect and restore the Great Lakes. Senators Klobuchar and Franken were original cosponsors. Contact your Representative today to ask them to support and cosponsor H.R. 4755.