Do you like the regulations that protect our air and water? Let Congress know you do - they are asking.
by Katharine Pelzer, Fair Climate Project Intern, NWF
As you may have noticed, lawmakers in Washington have been debating EPA's authority to use the Clean Air Act to limit harmful emissions such as greenhouse gases which cause global warming.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Representative Fred Upton's Dirty Air Act (H.R. 910). The passage of the bill represents what many call the largest assault on public health, clean air, and clean water in years.
This is unacceptable.
Public health groups and medical professionals are up in arms since prevention of the EPA from exercising these common sense safeguards will lead to tens of millions more hospital visits and cases of asthma. In a related effort, Physicians for Social Responsibility is calling communities to sign on to a letter "to stand up to protect children, people with chronic health conditions and communities bearing too much of the burden of carbon monoxide pollution, which causes causes birth defects, infant deaths, strokes and heart attacks, to call for the EPA to lower the CO standards released."
Low-income and minority communities will bear the brunt of the consequences if Congress curbs U.S. EPA's Clean Air Act regulations.
We all must speak up and tell our Senators to reject attempts to put communities in harm's way. We must demand that our congressional representatives let the EPA do it's job: to protect our communities from polluters and help ensure clean air and water for future generations.
|Highway to Hell and the Roads Along the Way (Part 2 of 2) |
By Nellis Kennedy-Howard, Fair Climate network member and National Campaign Associate for Honor the Earth, an organization to promote energy justice in Native America way of life.
For those who do not live close enough to the tar sands to see the immediate impacts, the tar sands still have an effect on you. How? The tar sands present a major source of pollution that will only further exacerbate global warming. Being such an 'unconventional' and 'unique' oil (aka: dirty oil), the tar sands emit three to five times more greenhouse gases than conventional oil. A recent study by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center revealed that the tar sands project has higher emissions than 97 nations combined.
This is not a sustainable project and the Canadian government is merely turning a blind eye to the consequences its actions. Sadly, the US is the largest consumer of the tar sands oil as 60% of tar sands oil is sent to the US.
The U.S. Department of State is currently going through the permitting process for the latest and largest tar sands pipeline. TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline would move up to 900,000 barrels of tar sands oil daily from Alberta, Canada to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast, traversing 2,000 miles through rivers, farmland and forests from Montana to Texas. Unless we stop it, this pipeline would effectively open the entire U.S. market and international markets to this environmentally damaging and costly high-carbon fuel.
|A cherished home to many indigenous peoples is turning into Big Oil's toxic playground. |
What has this done to the local First Nations communities in Canada? With all boom & bust situations like this, local communities are hit hard with social ills from the sudden influx of miners and workers inundating the area. The tar sands are no different. Alberta has the highest school dropout and divorce rates in Canada. Sadly, Alberta women suffer the highest level of spousal abuse in Canada. Drug use has also risen exponentially since before the project began. It should come as no surprise that the local First Nations who survive on subsistence living are now experiencing overwhelming rates of rare cancers and various illnesses.
The social ills, cultural consequences and environmental impacts are having an irreparable effect on the land and the indigenous way of life. The tar sands project is a living curse that grows larger and larger every day.
This project has changed their entire way of life. And they are fighting back.
You can read the rest of the blog and take action to support the First Nations peoples in their fight against the most destructive project on the planet here.
African-American landowners grow networks and longleaf pines!
by Amadou Diop, NWF's Southern Forest Restoration Manager in Atlanta, GA
On Saturday March 26, 2011, NWF hosted a landowners' workshop and field day in southwest Georgia. "Field days" are a common way to share what farming strategies have been working on the land. A typical gathering place for minority landowners in the deep south is at one of the rural community churches, in this case the St. Paul AME Church in Jakin, GA.
|Amadou Diop (pictured in yellow shirt) speaks with rural landowners about opportunities around integrating longleaf pine restoration into their farming practices. |
African-American landowners still control a significant portion of the land in the southeast (more than in any other part of the US), but most of them have not yet been able to fully benefit from their land-based assets. Minority and other underserved rural landowners typically lack the knowledge to manage their forests and market the products and services that derive from them. This is in part due to their limited access to available public and private resources.
This event was an attempt to address these challenges by informing landowners about opportunities around longleaf pine restoration, available programs and services, and connecting them with the resource providers. For many participants, this was the first time they heard about longleaf pine and the available cost-share programs for restoration through Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency.
The church meeting room was filled with over a hundred landowners from three states. Jakin is at the apex of where southwest GA, southeast AL and the FLA Panhandle come together. It is also just a few miles from the Apalachicola River, one of the most biologically diverse river systems in the U.S. with headwaters above Atlanta.
Our event provided a mix of presentations on longleaf pine restoration, Farm bill programs, and carbon markets, as well as a sumptuous southern homestyle lunch, and outdoor time looking at new longleaf stands and the integration of grass-fed beef rotational grazing systems. The Field day session provided an opportunity for landowners to see first-hand several longleaf stands and the integration of grass-fed beef rotational grazing systems and pine straw is harvesting. Just as important, leaders from public agencies and regional minority groups such as the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and McIntosh Seed were in attendance.
To learn more about the importance of longleaf pine restoration to decreasing the negative impacts of global warming and carbon pollution, click here.
For more information on this project, please contact Amadou Diop.
EPA Environmental Education Regional Grants- $1.9 million
Application Due: May 2, 2011
Eligible Applications: Local education agency, college or university, state education or environmental agency, nonprofit organization, or a noncommercial educational broadcasting entity
EPA is seeking grant proposals from eligible applicants to support environmental education projects that promote environmental stewardship and help develop knowledgeable and responsible students, teachers, and citizens. This grant program provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques as described in this notice. Under this solicitation EPA expects to award environmental education grants from the 10 EPA Regional offices. EPA expects approximately $1,943,000 to be available for grants in amounts of a minimum of $15,000 and a maximum of $100,000. Each of EPA's 10 Regions anticipates funding a minimum of 2 grants resulting in a minimum number of grants issued to be approximately 20 grants nationwide. For more information, contact Karen Scott at EEgrants@epa.gov or read the full solicitation at http://www.epa.gov/education/pdf/solNotice2011.htm.
2011 Healthy Communities Grant Program
Application Due: May 2, 2011
Eligible Applicants: State and Local governments, public and private nonprofit organizations, Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments, K-12 schools or school districts; and non-profit organizations (e.g. grassroots and/or community-based organizations).
The Healthy Communities Grant Program is seeking projects that: "Target resources to benefit communities at risk (environmental justice areas of potential concern, places with high risk from toxic air pollution, urban areas) and sensitive populations (e.g. children, elderly, others at increased risk)." Assess, understand, and reduce environmental and human health risks. "Increase collaboration through community-based projects." Build institutional and community capacity to understand and solve environment and human health problems. "Achieve measurable environmental and human health benefits.
DOE Weatherization Formula Grants- Likely to be approximately $210 million
Application Due: Varies by program year
Eligible Applications: Agencies that administer the WAP program
DOE requests proposals for the Weatherization Assistance Program Formula Grant. The purpose of WAP is to increase the energy efficiency of dwellings owned or occupied by low-income persons, reduce residential expenditures, and improve health and safety. Lead applicants must be agencies that administer the WAP program. Proposals due date varies by prime applicant's program year. Grantees will be notified as soon as an update on FY 2011 funding becomes available. For planning purposes, until a final budget is passed and signed by the President, grantees should proceed with their respective plans using the same funding level as the DOE 2010 appropriated funds. For more info, contact Meghaan Hampton at Meghaan.Hampton@netl.doe.gov or go to: https://www.fedconnect.net/FedConnect/?doc=DE-FOA-0000446&agency=DOE.
Currently, the Fair Climate Project is working to create an online resource for funding updates. Stay tuned on this development!