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 nearly 2 million miles of America’s streams, including 4,279 miles in Massachusetts, 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planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies.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 Massachusetts, 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 Massachusetts

Environment Massachusetts, Congressman James McGovern, and State Legislators Take a Tour of Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Energy Efficient Residence Hall

Today, Congressman James McGovern, State Representatives James O’Day, Vincent Pedone, and John Mahoney, Environment Massachusetts, Gilbane Building Company, and representatives from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) gathered to tour WPI’s energy efficient and sustainable residence hall, East Hall. East Hall was built in accordance with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards; its construction demonstrates the feasibility as well as the environmental and economic advantages of energy efficient building design.

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News Release | Environment Massachusetts

Massachusetts Ranks 10th in U.S. for Solar Jobs

Environment Massachusetts today released new data showing that Massachusetts has the 10th most solar-related jobs in the country with approximately three times as many solar jobs now as there were at this time last year.

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News Release | Environment Massachusetts

Leading the Nation in Efficiency: Maynard Becomes the 100th Town to Adopt Massachusetts’ “Stretch Code”

In an important step for energy efficiency, the Department of Energy Resources announced yesterday that more than 100 cities and towns in Massachusettshave adopted the “stretch code,” an optional set of energy efficiency standards for homes and businesses that is up to 20% more efficient than the base requirements. Manyard and Shirley this week became the 100th and 101st towns, respectively, to adopt this progressive code.

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News Release | Environment Massachusetts

Organizations say Scott Brown's votes"endanger public health"

A broad coalition of national, regional and Massachusetts advocacy groups is taking Senator Scott Brown to task for backing legislation that would "severely endanger public health." On April 6th, Brown voted in support of a proposal that would have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from reducing carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases.

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News Release | Union of Concerned Scientists

Report: Worsening ozone pollution in a warming world could bring increase in respiratory illnesses, health costs to Massachusetts

Unchecked global warming could threaten public health and increase health costs in Massachusetts by exacerbating ground-level ozone—the primary component of “smog”—according to a peer-reviewed report written by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), and released today by UCS and Environment Massachusetts. 

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