Demand A Strong EPA For Our Bays
Let’s not trash the EPA. Reject Scott Pruitt as its new chief. Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works recently boycotted the vote for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This comes as widespread, bipartisan concerns are being raised about Pruitt's record of challenging the core mission of the agency he’s been asked to lead. Many question Pruitt’s future commitment to protect public health, enforce the law, and hold corporations accountable to maintain healthy water, air, and land in their business practices. Pruitt has sued the EPA on behalf of regulated industries more than a dozen times in an attempt to weaken regulations such as the federal Clean Water Act. These regulations form the bedrock of our work at Heal the Bay and our sister organizations across the nation. They are hard-fought gains that were direct responses to past disasters. We cannot go back. A silenced, weakened EPA is a threat to our Bays. The U.S. Senate will vote on the appointment of Pruitt as EPA chief in the coming hours amid growing concerns about a broad directive from the new administration to censor EPA research, indefinitely. As a trusted ocean and watershed advocate, Heal the Bay is guided by the best science, not emotion. Over the last 30 years, we have seen first-hand how the EPA and its partner organizations can improve public health for Angelenos through environmental policies and regulations. A weakened EPA means turning back the clock on our critical programs in Greater Los Angeles that monitor beach water quality, prevent unsafe consumption of locally caught fish, protect our dwindling wetlands, and keep our streams and watersheds healthy to buffer communities from climate change. Scott Pruitt won’t do it. Our vital work is far from over. Sea level rise poses a real and immediate threat to many U.S. cities that are unprepared to adapt to the impacts of climate change. We need strong EPA leadership and funding now more than ever. These issues affect us all. Sign this petition urging the U.S. Senate to reject Pruitt’s nomination for EPA chief. Tell our elected officials to maintain strong EPA funding for programs that affect our Bays nationwide. Call your local senators directly in the next 24 hours to make sure your voice is heard.
Tell Congress to Maintain EPA & NOAA Funding
Protect Our Oceans. Protect Our Health. Protect Our EPA & NOAA. The White House recently proposed debilitating budget and workforce cuts for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) starting this October when the 2018 fiscal year begins. Every department seems to be affected; from environmental justice programs and science education, to research and monitoring. In the new administration’s plan, many critical ocean grants, programs, and services will be completely eliminated unless our representatives and legislators vote against the cuts in Congress. This comes at a critical time when America’s coastal infrastructure is failing in the face of intensifying storms and rising seas associated with climate change. We should be doubling down on efforts to prepare and defend our coastlines. We should be empowering scientists, researchers, and youth in America to become stewards for our ocean and environment. We should be investing our hard-earned tax dollars into the next generation of ocean innovation. Instead, the proposals drastically reduce fundamental resources to prepare and respond to environmental emergencies. The White House’s plan includes slashing the EPA budget by 31 percent — to the tune of $2.6 billion — and reducing staff by more than 3,200 people. The EPA is already operating on a lean budget – federal funding has been decreased by over $2 billion since 2010. Nearly three-quarters of the EPA’s annual budget goes toward funding grants for states, tribes, and contractors. These grants aid crucial environmental cleanup, monitoring, and preparedness efforts. Commonly known for its weather forecasting services, NOAA also leads the nation on climate monitoring, fisheries, and ocean services. NOAA’s annual budget is $5.6 billion, a small fraction of the overall federal budget. The administration proposed a stiff 17% cut to NOAA’s overall budget. And, a 22% reduction in funding for NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, which creates and operates weather satellites. This program also houses the National Centers for Environmental Information – an essential environmental science research center and repository of climate data. Additionally, climate protection programs would suffer a nearly 70% cut, which would thwart efforts to prepare for sea level rise, adapt to hotter urban areas, and buffer our communities for increased storm intensity and flooding. This is particularly important as previous worst case scenario projections for sea level rise in Southern California – 5.5 feet by 2100 – are now being revised to predict even more extreme impacts as ice sheets at our planet’s poles are melting faster than expected. Beach tourism and the coast recreation economy are valued at close to $90 billion, so EPA’s investment of $10 million annually in beach water quality monitoring makes fiscal and public health sense to ensure that beachgoers are healthy and safe. However, the Beach Grant Program would suffer complete elimination. This vital program supports weekly water quality sampling at beaches across the country, and, helps to sustain thriving marine life and public awareness of pollution for the 90 million people visiting our nation’s beaches annually. Environmental education through the EPA would be cut by over 90% - a disservice to preparing and educating our youth, who are the future stewards of our nation. And, communities who are already the most under-served would be disproportionately impacted by the planned 78% cuts to environmental justice programs. Funding would be completely zeroed out for several targeted programs, including the national estuary program – long-term management planning to improve water quality and living conditions for 28 critical estuaries located along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts and in Puerto Rico, and Sea Grant – a well-leveraged scientific research partnership with top universities throughout the nation. Removing the Sea Grant program would cut funding for important fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, and public health research at 33 universities across the country – this is hands-on and applied research that informs management and protection of our economically and environmentally beneficial coastal and ocean resources. The new administration’s proposals would cripple our efforts to safeguard marine habitats, threatened animals, and coastal resilience – placing entire communities and ecosystems at a further disadvantage. The White House has said it is committed to promoting clean water and clean air, but these proposed actions demonstrate otherwise. It seems virtually impossible to maintain basic environmental and public health protections, given such deep cuts and job losses. Please help Heal the Bay and many other trusted environmental groups nationwide in our effort to keep the EPA and NOAA from being disabled. Tell your State Senators, Congressional Representatives and Legislators that funding for the EPA and NOAA is important to you, your family, your business and community.
We demand that The United States Senate not confirm Jeff Sessions as Attorney General
As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, the Attorney General of the United States must be independent of politics and respect the dignity of all Americans. The Attorney General has a duty to enforce the rule of law fairly and pursue equal justice under the law. One of the core functions of the Department of Justice is to protect Americans’ civil rights, and to defend those who have been denied them. Another key function of the Department of Justice is to protect our security, but never sacrifice our civil liberties. Not only has Senator Sessions been a staunch opponent of reforming the tragic shortcomings in our criminal justice system, he holds a number of views that are inconsistent with how most Americans believe justice should be applied under our Constitution.
We Demand that the U. S. Senate not confirm Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor
Andrew Puzder is among Trump's more controversial Cabinet picks because he has publicly opposed the overtime rule and various other Department of Labor regulations, and because the fast-food industry, from which Puzder hails, is a top wage-theft enforcement target at the department. Puzder is CEO of CKE Restaurants, which includes Carl’s Jr. and Hardee's. It’s actually very hard to imagine a worse choice for Labor Secretary than Andy Puzder. The Labor Secretary’s job is to look out for American workers. Trump's Labor nominee has opposed increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour and efforts to expand eligibility for overtime pay. It would be kind of funny if it wasn’t so serious. During the election, Trump made a lot of promises to create good jobs. But he’s filling his cabinet with CEOs and right-wing billionaires who have spent their lives undermining working people’s rights to come together in unions, while fighting minimum wage increases, paid sick leave and family leave policies. The evidence clearly demonstrates that protecting the rights of the people who work at Puzder’s company or its franchisees doesn't seem to be his priority. Puzder has run a business model that has produced widespread labor abuses at the companies. According to data compiled by Bloomberg BNA, over the previous seven years, about 60 percent of all Labor Department investigations of Carl's Jr. Restaurants found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. While working people at his fast food chains sometimes were making below minimum wage, Puzder was taking big compensation packages. In 2012, he made 291 times as much as workers at his restaurants. Now, he could be in charge of enforcing our nation’s labor laws—from ensuring workplace safety to investigating wage theft. His companies had the fourth highest incidents of wage theft reported to the government. ‘Wage theft is a rampant, everyday problem in the fast-food industry: Nearly nine out of 10 fast-food workers across the country report having money stolen from their paychecks by their boss,’ Kendall Fells, the Fight for $15 national organizing director, told Bloomberg BNA via e-mail. Bloomberg reported. “Fells referred to a 2014 poll commissioned by the campaign of more than 1,000 fast-food workers nationwide. The survey documented such common worker complaints as being forced to perform tasks before clocking in or after clocking out, having the cost of uniforms deducted from their paychecks, and not receiving breaks during long shifts.” Puzder’s Carl’s Jr. restaurant chain also has a history of sexist television. He thinks it’s appropriate to peddle sex to kids if it sells the product. “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers,” said the CEO in a 2011 press release, according to Fortune. “We target hungry guys, and we get young kids that want to be young hungry guys.” Let’s target Puzder’s nomination instead. Just Say No Puzder at Labor. This petition will be delivered to the full Senate and to the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee of the U.S. Senate
Protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
The Department of Education is proposing eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. The stated purpose of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is to “encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs”. To qualify for PSLF forgiveness, people must not only work full-time in a public service position, but also make 10 years’ worth of full, on-time, income-based monthly payments toward their Federal student loans. Who receives PSLF forgiveness? Teachers, Government Employees, Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Employees, Police Officers, Fire Fighters, Park Rangers, Military Personnel, and other qualifying public service workers. 400,000 Americans have chosen to serve their Government and Communities over the past 10 years, and each of these Americans should be able to count on the PSLF benefits promised to them. Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education seeks to end PSLF without having conducted a detailed study to determine how much actual money this dramatic policy reversal and broken promise would even save. The plan to eliminate PSLF is an not only an insult, but also an outrage to everyone who has dedicated the past ten years of their lives working in public service positions. Ending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is a terrible idea that should be opposed at all costs. We ask that Members of Congress block the Department of Education’s proposal to kill this vital financial assistance program.
No on HJ69/SJ18: killing wolf pups in dens, hibernating bears, stealjaw toe traps on bears
Tell your Senator and President Trump to vote NO on H.J. 69/S.J. Res. 18! 225 heartless House Members voted to overturn a federal rule – years in the works, and crafted by professional wildlife managers at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – to stop some of the most appalling practices ever imagined in the contemporary era of wildlife management. Denning of wolf pups, killing hibernating bears, spotting grizzly bears from aircraft and then shooting them after landing, and trapping grizzly bears and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and snares. The stuff of wildlife snuff films. And not just on any land. On our country’s national wildlife refuges. More specifically, on 16 national wildlife refuges covering 76 million acres, all in the state of Alaska. In this case, Alaska has a bloodthirsty Board of Game, whose members enthusiastically implement a draconian policy called “Intensive Management.” That policy dictates that state managers drive down wolf, bear, and coyote numbers to boost caribou and moose numbers for hunters — turning Alaska’s wildlife refuges into what retired Arctic National Wildlife biologist Fran Mauer calls “game farms” — the very thing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acted to stop through a rigorous, science-based, and legal federal rulemaking process that was overturned by today’s vote. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shouldn’t run refuges like game farms, as Alaskan officials want to do. Only the U.S. Senate and President Trump can now stop this unwinding of a decision by a professional wildlife management agency. Please contact your U.S. Senators and tell them to steer clear of a disgraceful resolution, and to honor limits in the conduct of wildlife policy in the United States of America. From the Humane Society (http://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/02/u-s-house-sanctions-killing-hibernating-bears-wolf-pups-dens-federal-refuges-alaska.html
STOP Trump In Allowing Legal Trophy Hunts Of Elephants And Lions in Zimbabwe!
The Trump administration announced Wednesday that the remains of elephants and lions legally hunted in Zimbabwe and Zambia can now be imported to the United States as trophies, reversing a ban under former president Barack Obama. Zimbabwe is currently in turmoil, with President Robert Mugabe under house arrest as a military coup unfolds. In criticizing the decision, the Humane Society of the United States called the ban on Zimbabwean elephant imports unreasonable because Zimbabwe is “one of the most corrupt countries on Earth.” The organization noted that Mugabe celebrated his birthday last year by dining on an elephant!! African elephants and lions are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and it is beyond barbaric to kill these majestic creatures for sport! Stop the ivory trade! Stop trophy hunting! Stop being a horrible person Mr Trump!
RI Delegation: Stand up to Trump-Pence
Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States, and we have every reason to believe his Administration will attempt to remake America as a less tolerant, a less equal, and a more dangerous place. We cannot let that happen. We call on you to be leaders at the federal level in resisting the Trump-Pence agenda. Rhode Islanders—and legislators in less-blue regions of the country—are counting on you. Be fierce in your opposition to any and all proposals that will divide, attack, or endanger our communities and our most vulnerable. We're not looking for you to build bridges or make compromises with the Trump-Pence Administration. We're looking for action. Republicans have proudly fought Obama for every inch over the last 8 years, and have prevented many good things from happening. Now we need you to be the ones to stand up and say "No!" to the dangerous policies of Donald Trump and his allies, and not give up an inch. And when you stand strong against Trump, we will have your back.
Restore the Borrower's Defense Against Repayment Program
The Department of Education has frozen the Borrowers Defense to Repayment Program. The Borrowers Defense Against Repayment Program was created to erase "the federal loan debt of student borrowers who were cheated by colleges that acted fraudulently". This program was originally negotiated by the Obama Administration, and set to go live on July 1st, 2017, but Betsy DeVos (head of the Department of Education) recently "froze" the new rules from going into effect, calling them "a muddled process that's unfair to students and schools". Mrs. DeVos has promised to create "a new rule-making committee to reconsider the matter from scratch", but she cannot be trusted to protect the financial interests of ordinary Americans, as has been made clear by her recent actions to eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. In fact, Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey made it quite clear that Mrs. DeVos is woefully disinterested in helping the American taxpayer, as "since Day 1, Secretary DeVos has sided with for-profit school executives against students and families drowning in unaffordable student loans." The Borrowers Defense Against Repayment Program was the most powerful, most needed Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Program on the books in 2017, and the most important program for the hundreds of thousands of students impacted by the closures of ITT Tech, Corinthian Colleges, and several other massive for-profit schools. Without the Borrowers Defense to Repayment Program, these Americans will be stuck with billions of dollars worth of Federal student loans that never should have existed in the first place. This program was created to allow Americans to discharge loans that were created due to false promises and fraudulent claims by the schools who swindled students into believing they were purchasing a valuable education, but who received nothing but frustration and stress for their time and money. The plan to eliminate the Borrowers Defense Against Repayment Program is an outrage to everyone who has been abused by for-profit schools, and it's elimination is sure to devastate the finances of thousands of American families. We ask that Members of Congress do everything in their power to force Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education to restore the Borrowers Defense Against Repayment Program.
Justice for Justin
In the early hours of Thursday June 29th, 2017 Justin Phelps was pronounced dead at his home in West Warwick, RI of an accidental drug overdose. Although Justin did not make it, he was not alone. Justin's former fiancee', Natasha, would remain in the household until morning. Under the "Good Samaritan Act", Natasha could have contacted emergency services getting Justin the help needed to save his life while also freeing her of any and all responsibility of his overdose. Instead of saving his life, she proceeded to get high and "go to sleep." After investigation the police determined that Natasha had stayed with Justin's deceased body for a duration of at least 8 hours. Officers on scene stated that she was not at fault and allowed her to leave. Justin's sister Ashley, who resides in the adjoining condo had started attempting to contact her brother Wednesday evening as early as 6 pm, both his and Natasha's phones would only repeatedly send her to voicemail. There were approximately 28 calls that would be ignored by Natasha that evening, Ashley never spoke to her brother again. Sensing something was amiss, she went next door. Knocking loudly, trying to gain entry into the house, she only found herself locked out. Several other friends of Justin had also tried to contact him; all ignored by Natasha. For more than half of my life the Phelps family has been my family, despite having our occasional differences like families often do. I love them and it breaks my heart to see them going through this. It hurts to breathe when I realize that I'm not going to just wake up from this, that I'll never see Justin again. We will never see Justin again. This could have easily been prevented had Natasha simply answered a phone or unlocked a door. Two weeks prior to this incident; Justin had overdosed, rescue was called by Ashley and Justin was revived using narcan. Natasha was furious with Ashley for contacting and "involving" the police, even though it saved his life. During the investigation Thursday morning while questioning Natasha she told the police that she had been asleep. She went on to give them her phone with a newly deleted call log and an old phone that she claimed to be Justin's; having no missed calls. Ashley quickly pointed out that this was not her brother's phone and provided evidence of the ignored calls on her cellphone but the officers dismissed it. I know that nothing can bring Justin back to us. What I cannot accept is that fact that Natasha walked away from this. Why do we have the Good Samaritan Act if there is no penalty imposed if it's neglected? Especially when the neglect results in death? The fact is that Justin could be alive right now and the only reason he is not is because his girlfriend did not want to involve police. This is not right and what I'm asking for is simply this; Justice for Justin. I would like to see Natasha held at least partially accountable for her actions, or in this case her lack thereof. Perhaps if it was made a punishable crime to neglect the GSA, unfortunate events such as this could be avoided in the future. I cannot even fathom the pain and suffering his family is enduring at this time and it is sincerely my belief that no one should ever have to.