Health of America Under Attack

Rodger Schlickeisen

Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen

As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) comes under attack this week, the National Journal’s Energy and Expert blog asked, What Should Obama do with EPA’s Carbon Rules?

Defenders’ President and CEO Rodger Schlickeisen says, “President Obama: Stand firm behind EPA.” Read on to hear more…

Spring is in the air. And for many parts of the country, the sun is shining, birds are singing and flowers are beginning to bloom. It’s that time of year when we feel a natural pull to step outside, shake off the winter blues and take a deep breath of fresh air. But what if that air was suddenly dangerous to inhale? What if simply stepping outside and taking a deep breath actually risked your health?

That’s exactly what we face if members of Congress who seek to strip the administration of its ability to reduce life-threatening air pollution such as mercury, lead and carbon dioxide are successful in tacking certain policy riders onto the budget resolution this week. And it isn’t just the health of Americans they will put at risk –greenhouse gas pollution that contributes to climate change will continue to threaten our air, water, lands and wildlife as well.

Forty years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency was borne out of an environmental crisis that – with the glaring assistance of Ohio’s Cuyahoga River – could no longer be ignored. Now, instead of a single river catching fire, our entire planet is heating up. The impacts of climate change are already being felt by our wildlife and natural resources across the country, and they only promise to get worse. We can’t wait any longer to act.EPA Logo

The partisan-gridlock that paralyzes the current Congress has made it virtually impossible for effective clean energy legislation to progress. Which means that right now, the only mechanism protecting our fundamental right to breathe clean air and drink clean water is the EPA.

President Obama needs to take a firm stand behind the EPA and uphold its mission to protect American air, water and lands from harmful substances in addition to greenhouse gas pollution. Unlike the members of Congress who are shamelessly kowtowing to the selfish interests of the dirty polluters who bankroll their campaigns, the President should demonstrate that he is not willing to sacrifice the health of American people and natural resources to profit oil and coal companies who, in his own words, are “doing just fine on their own.”

We shouldn’t have to make a choice between the health of our country and whether or not our government has the money to run. By taking a strong stand against riders that would handcuff the EPA’s ability to regulate harmful greenhouse gas emissions, President Obama will send the message that dirty polluters won’t get away with dirtying our air and water.

Learn more:

Read the full question and other responses on the National Journal’s Energy and Environment Expert Blog.

See how Defenders is working to protect American lands and wildlife from the harmful effects of climate change.

2 Responses to “Health of America Under Attack”

  1. Deborah Kanca

    Hello Ms Leutwiler. I have been donating and receiving correspondances from Defenders for some timenow, it broke my heart to learn of the polar bear mom who swam desperately for days and miles with her 2 cubs, 1 drown, and the pathetic photo of the terrorized mom and her cub clinging to life on a tiny piece of ice. My thought is to use some of the $$ you receive to build platforms that they can climb onto.. There is no ice for them and its not going to show up anytime soon It could take years for the climate system to reverse itself . So do something practical so you dont have to watch again and again their misery.. Or .. is there a Law against that??? I dont think so. It would help a little better than nothing.. Sincerely DK

  2. Caitlin Leutwiler

    Thank you for your comment Deborah, as well as all of your support! Unfortunately, there really is no substitute for sea-ice, which is always changing and in constant motion. No manmade structure we can put in its place when it’s gone. To read more about why not, see our blog post about the value of sea-ice here: http://www.defendersblog.org/2011/03/the-value-of-sea-ice/

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