Overwhelmed yet? Me, too. This administration is not wasting time executing its hateful agenda.
This administration is conducting what Boston College professor of American History, Heather Cox Richardson calls “shock events.” These are explicitly designed to divide progressive allies. Ironically, I have never seen the left so spontaneously stand collectively in defiance and work so cohesively together, whether it be the Women’s March, the phone campaigns, or the nearly daily protests that have transpired since, people are showing up in droves to defend our democracy where ever it is being attacked.
There is one area – one thing – that I feel compelled to focus on. That is our environment.
And our efforts locally to protect it are more important than ever. The Environmental Protection Agency is about to be the next victim of the whims of this administration, as the new president has already put a freeze on all contracts and grants, imposed a gag order on EPA staff, and vowed to cut the agencies workforce by 50%. Despite overwhelming, bi-partisan support for the strong environmental regulations that protect our air and water, this administration is advancing a pro-oil and coal agenda that seeks to dismantle forty plus years of federal regulations that have protected our environment and literally saved lives.
Right now, in Oregon, we are on an unprecedented path to Clean Air that has become only more urgent under this the new administration. While a climate denier takes over the EPA, and our federal government begins its plan for systemic undoing of the agency charged with ensuring we have clean air, water and land, the state of Oregon still has broad authority to deliver on these commitments.
In 2017 Oregon will rewrite our regulations for industrial air polluters and rules governing the use of diesel engines. NCA and our partners have spent countless hours working on this. And we will continue to do so, through every day of the 2017 legislative session overseeing the nearly dozen clean air related bills and until the Cleaner Air Oregon program presents the new health based industrial air emissions standards for adoption.
We know there are thousands of people who have stood behind us for years, thousands more that have mobilized in the last 12 months to fight toxic pollution in their neighborhoods. We want to thank you for your support, and let you know we need your time, energy and generosity, like never before. So, if you are looking for a place to make a difference, think global and act local:
1. Lobby Day for Clean Air, February 15th- this is our chance to march on Salem for clean air! Please join us, with our partners from Oregon Environmental Council, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, League of Women Voters, Beyond Toxics, and Eastside Portland Air Coalition. More information and to RSVP.
2. Do you live in one of the 12 neighborhoods served by the NE Coalition of Neighborhoods office? NECN is looking to set up a Northeast Action Team (NEAT) to address toxic air pollution. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org at NECN for more information.
3. VOLUNTEER. Contact Nakisha@whatsinourair.org. We have more opportunities than ever to help with events, to organize friends to write letters, and we can train you and provide materials to talk to your neighborhood association about air pollution in your community. In addition, Nakisha can help you get in touch with neighborhood activists who are already working in your community.
If clean safe air is important to you, despite the dismal news from Washington DC, there is reason to be hopeful and optimistic here in Oregon. But it is not going to happen without you. Let’s work together in Oregon to make it happen.