Americans voted for many things this past Election Day, but one thing we did not vote for was a sweeping attack on our environment. Yet President Bush is already acting as if we did.
If you don't have time to read my letter, then please go straight to the BioGems website at http://www.savebiogems.org/takeaction.asp and send messages to your U.S. senators and representative telling them to stand up in defense of our environment.
Barely two weeks after the election, the Bush administration repaid big corporate campaign contributors with a massive new loophole in the Clean Air Act that will allow them to dramatically increase air pollution and harm the health of millions of Americans.
Days later, it was the timber industry's turn to cash in. On Thanksgiving eve, the administration proposed new rules that would allow it to put all 155 national forests on the chopping block for logging and other commercial activities without having to take public input or study the devastating impacts on wildlife.
It's no accident these special interest handouts were announced after Election Day. They are a radical departure from the values of conservation that most Americans hold dear.
But the worst is yet to come. The White House has signaled clearly that the sacrifice of our clean air and national forests is only the leading edge of a much broader attack that will come early this year. It will be a determined and systematic effort to dismantle our nation's entire framework of environmental protection.
Last year, the U.S. Senate was the firewall that saved us from President Bush's most destructive raids on the environment. Not any more. Key Senate committees in the new Congress will be chaired by stalwart allies of polluting industries who are flat-out hostile to our environmental laws.
Industry lobbyists are already circling, ready to plunder the public treasures they have coveted for so long: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Alaskan rainforest, the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, and many more of our last wild places.
No one voted for these environmental disasters on Election Day, but they will come to pass if we don't unite right now to prevent them.
The president's campaign to undermine our environmental laws could be derailed instantly if millions of Americans would hold Congress accountable for its upcoming votes. The fate of our natural heritage will be determined by a handful of moderates, Democrat and Republican. Senators on both sides of the aisle won close races this past Election Day by promising to protect the environment. It's time to make them keep their word.
Please go to the BioGems website at http://www.savebiogems.org/takeaction.asp and send electronic messages directly to your U.S. senators and representative. Tell them to defend 30 years of bipartisan environmental progress by putting a stop to the Bush administration's assaults.
And if you want to do even more for the environment, please forward this message to as many people as you can. Remember, the White House can continue this sweeping attack on our environment only if Americans remain silent. Thank you for speaking out.
Board of Trustees
Natural Resources Defense Council
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BioGems: Saving Endangered Wild Places
A project of the Natural Resources Defense Council