Posted on 06 April 2011.
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.
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.
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.