07 February 2014

Cause for concern (on the environment) in State of the Union from Earthjustice & NRDC 29JAN14

WHILE there were good things for the environment in Pres Obama's State of the Union speech there was also reason for concern. First, he did not mention the keystone xl pipeline. The environmental community is gearing up for an escalation of the battle over keystone xl as it is feared the Obama administration will approve it. And while the president called for an end to massive tax breaks and subsidies big oil and gas get year after year, he failed to make firm commitments to clean renewable energy and conservation. So too much of our government's environmental policies are being dictated by the very industries who pose the greatest threat to the environment. From EarthJustice, and a call to action from the NRDC, click the link to send a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy telling her to impose strict limits on carbon pollution from power plants.....
Earthjustice: the earth needs a good lawyer
President Obama addresses Congress during his 2013 State of the Union speech. (Official White House photo by Chuck Kennedy)
For those of us who care passionately about the environment, President Obama’s State of the Union address last night contained a few hopeful points—but there was even greater cause for concern.
On the positive side, the President spoke of reducing subsidies for the oil and gas industries. He committed to setting new fuel efficiency standards for trucks and limits on carbon pollution from power plants. He called for increased investment in solar, and said loud and clear that climate change is a fact we must deal with. We applaud these commitments.
But the President also claimed that his “all of the above” energy strategy—one that embraces risky offshore oil drilling, hazardous “fracking” for gas, and continued reliance on fossil fuels—is working. And he vowed to promote massive new investment in fossil fuel development and use.
To that we must say: Mr. President, an “all of the above” energy strategy comes at too great a price to our health and the state of our environment. We can do better—for ourselves, and for future generations.
In the coming months, Earthjustice’s legal and legislative experts will be doing everything in their power to defend the President’s pro-environment initiatives from attacks by the oil, gas, and energy industries. Fuel efficiency standards must be improved, climate pollution from power plants must be reined in, and solar power must be allowed to succeed.
At the same time, we will be fighting to ensure that the President’s “all of the above” energy strategy doesn’t translate into “more of the same.” We simply cannot afford a future dominated by continued carbon combustion, the risk of devastating offshore oil spills, and the runaway boom in fracking for gas that scars our lands and threatens our health.
It is time to implement a different strategy focused on developing the “best of the above:” solar, wind, renewables.
Together, we can and will do better. But to advance clean energy in the face of powerful resistance from an entrenched fossil fuel industry, we will need you by our side in the days and months ahead.
I hope you will continue to stand with us as we fight to protect our natural world and forge a saner and more sustainable energy future.
Thanks for all that you do.
Trip Photo
Trip Van Noppen
President, Earthjustice
Donate Today!
Earthjustice flag
 View online:   Having trouble viewing this email? Read our blog post.

©2014 Earthjustice | 50 California St., Suite 500, San Francisco, CA  94111 | 1-800-584-6460 |
 Alert Tools 
 Photo Credit:   President Obama addresses Congress during his 2013 State of the Union speech. (Official White House photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Demand limits to carbon pollution

brown water

Take Action Now

Frances Beinecke Obama Reaffirms Commitment to Climate Action in State of the Union
From Frances Beinecke's Blog:
President Obama forcefully reaffirmed his commitment to curbing carbon pollution in the State of the Union Address last night.  He said unequivocally that climate change poses significant threats to our environment, our health, and our economy.
“Climate change is a fact,” he said. “And when our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”
The single most important thing we can do to confront climate change is reduce carbon pollution from power plants. Last night, President Obama reiterated his commitment to have the Environmental Protection Agency implement those carbon pollution limits.
This is an historic turning point. Power plants kick out 40 percent of the carbon pollution in our country. The U.S. limits mercury, arsenic, and soot from power plants. And yet, astonishingly, there are no national limits on how much carbon these plants can dump into our atmosphere. That’s not right, and the president intends to fix it.
The EPA is scheduled to release draft standards for existing power plants in June that must deliver deep reductions here at home and set the stage for U.S. climate leadership abroad. In the coming months, NRDC will rally public support for strong standards and make sure the administration meets its deadlines.
On Tuesday, President Obama connected these carbon standards and a host of clean energy policies to his ongoing effort to fight climate disruption. Yet our nation can’t lead on climate change if we perpetuate our dependence on fossil fuels at the same time,
While the president’s speech touted natural gas, his administration is still not addressing the human impacts of the shale gas boom. One in 20 Americans now lives within a mile of an oil or gas fracking site, and many towns are struggling with contaminated water supplies, health concerns, and gutted property values that can follow in fracking’s wake.
The president called for strengthening standards that protect our air, water, and communities from unchecked natural gas development. That sounds good, but the president has said the same thing before.  It’s time to deliver, and there’s much that he can do without waiting for Congress. For starters, he could make sure his administration strengthens the weak standards it has proposed for fracking on public lands.  As of now, that proposal allows companies to keep fracking chemicals secret and store contaminated wastewater in open-air pits prone to leaking. No additional fracking should be permitted on public lands until strong standards are in place.  And there is still no timetable for standards to curb the massive leakage of heat-trapping methane up and down the gas system.
The safer world President Obama wants to leave our children can’t be built on polluting energy production. He needs to reject projects that would vastly expand the production of the dirtiest fuels, particularly the proposed Keystone XL pipeline for dirty tar sands oil.
These actions would build on the president’s robust clean energy successes. Last night he celebrated breakthroughs in energy efficiency and renewable power. Jobs in the solar industry expanded 20 percent over the 14-month period ending in November, and now nearly 143,000 Americans work for solar companies. The fuel efficiency standards the president issued last year will cut carbon pollution from new cars in half by 2025 and save consumers $1.7 trillion at the gas pump. President Obama has pledged to build on these successes and bring clean energy benefits to more Americans.
But as the president said in his address, we must act with urgency. Climate change is already threatening our communities with supercharged storms, drought, and heat waves. If we don’t move forward now, our children will suffer the consequences.
We can build a safer, more stable world. We do it by cutting carbon pollution, curbing dangerous energy production, and shifting from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy solutions.   That’s the way to break our addiction to all fossil fuels—including natural gas. President Obama declared his commitment to that future, and NRDC will help work to support it.  It won’t be easy, but we all have a moral obligation to do so—for ourselves, for our children, and for our planet.

Take Action Now

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a nonprofit environmental organization with 1.4 million members and online activists, and a staff of scientists, attorneys and environmental experts. Our mission is to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things.

For more information about NRDC or how to become a member of NRDC, please contact us at:

Natural Resources Defense Council