By: Thomas Hynes
Certain members of Congress are trying to sneak through a dirty deal to undo environmental protections by trading away vital safeguards in exchange for an agreement to raise the debt ceiling and allow our country to pay its bills. If successful, it could roll back or weaken our most important environmental laws, such as the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and eliminate key protections that communities have relied on for decades to protect themselves from irresponsible polluters.
The stakes are enormous for everyone and especially for already-vulnerable communities across the country. If the permitting scheme under consideration is successfully attached to debt ceiling negotiations, it could mean greater exposure to oil spills, gas leaks, air pollution, water pollution, which could have significant public health implications, including increased risks of premature death.
We must call on the President to emphatically reject attempts to use the debt ceiling crisis as a opportunistic wedge to gut bedrock environmental laws, rubber stamp dirty fossil fuel, mining, and nuclear infrastructure, and silence the voices of communities who’ve been fighting to protect their health and neighborhoods from polluting projects for years.
The negotiations around these issues are happening now and are expected to be resolved at any moment.
Will you take a few minutes to tell President Biden that he must insist on a clean debt ceiling bill that both honors America’s debts and leaves the country’s environmental and public health protections intact?
We must stop incentivizing the fossil fuel industry to build more infrastructure, such as pipelines and export terminals, that would further lock the world into this dirty energy system. As United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres so succinctly put it last year, “Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness.”
We must immediately transition to clean and renewable energy if we are to meet the aggressive emission targets needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Prolonging that transition ignores climate science. It also perpetuates environmental racism by keeping the communities that suffer the greatest injuries from these projects from having a fair say about those impacts. It is possible for America to ensure its debts are honored without locking in dirty energy projects and sacrificing the health of our communities and planet.
Tell President Biden that we cannot afford this dangerous deal.