Friday, November 04, 2005

Environmental Round-Up

DJW wants you to get the blues for a greener Illinois:
Illinois Sierra Club fundraiser Sunday at Kingston Mines in Chicago

Sunday night the Sierra Club Political Committee for Illinois is having a party ay Kingston Mines at 2548 N. Halsted from 5 to 8 pm, with Charlie Love and the Silky Smooth Blues Band performing.

Tickets are $35 and a few legislators will speak as well, including Kathy Ryg, Sara Feigenholtz, Mattie Hunter and John Cullerton.

The money goes to the state Sierra Club political committee, which is actively involved in electing environmental candidates, so if you are free Sunday night (short notice, I know), come on out.

For more, check out Jack Darin's Sierra Club blog here.
Barack Obama wants the EPA to stop the poisoning of our children. From the AP:
Sen. Barack Obama said Friday he will block all of President Bush's nominees to key positions in the Environmental Protection Agency until it issues long-overdue regulations limiting people's exposure to lead paint from house remodeling.

EPA spokeswoman Eryn Witcher said the agency will issue the regulations before the end of the year. Obama's office said the senator will reconsider if he gets a promise from EPA in writing. Senate rules and privileges effectively allow any senator to block a nomination. ***

Nearly 5 million households carry the risk of lead exposure if home repairs and renovations aren't carried out carefully, EPA says. About 1.4 million children under the age of 7 could be affected. ***

Before settling on the regulatory route, the Bush administration last year looked at asking home renovation and remodeling companies to adopt protective practices voluntarily, at the urging of Stephen Johnson, then the deputy administrator and now head of EPA. ***

"I find it unbelievable that the EPA would continue to drag its feet despite the fact that their own analysis found that these rules could prevent 28,000 lead-related illnesses each year," Obama said.

And your Chicago Tribune says that the Endangered Species Act is, well, endangered:
Congress is taking steps to rewrite the Endangered Species Act for the first time in the law's 32-year history to make it more friendly to landowners and builders, a move decried by conservationists and welcomed by developers.

Environmentalists view the act as a signature accomplishment that has been vital in protecting the nation's natural heritage, from bald eagles to whooping cranes. But critics of the 1973 legislation have long charged that it shows more concern for the northern spotted owl and snail darter than for workers and property owners.

The House passed a bill to significantly rewrite the law in September, and the Senate is expected to adopt at least some of those changes. The House bill would require, for example, that the government pay developers if the act prevents them from building, and it would eliminate the government's ability to designate a creature's "critical habitat" where building is forbidden. ***

"This is a reckless bill that would have profound consequences on protecting the nation's endangered species," said Robert Dewey, vice president of government affairs for Defenders of Wildlife. "As a general matter, it hardly matters what you do if you don't protect their habitats."
And the efforts of the DC GOP and their corporate masters to use our nation as their toilet brings us back to the Sierra Club fundraiser and DJW:
I think we tend to send too many dollars and other resources to D.C. to essentially complain about the Republican extremists running the show and play defense, when we could be supporting the progressives helping to run the Democratic governments in states and cities across the nation (especially in the Capital of Blue America), so this state Sierra Club funder is consistent with that thought.
So head on over to Kingston Mines and get your jam-on.

UPDATE: From the AP

The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it would propose regulations by the end of the year to limit people's exposures to lead paint during home remodeling.

EPA Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock told Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in a letter that EPA staff are working diligently to propose a regulation by Dec. 30.

Obama said last Friday that he would block high-level EPA nominations until he received that commitment. In response to EPA's letter, he removed a senatorial "hold" Monday on President Bush's nomination of Susan Bodine to become EPA's assistant administrator for solid waste and emergency response. ***

"Too many children have needlessly suffered from lead-paint poisoning, and we've already waited far too long to take action to protect them," Obama said, citing EPA figures estimating that lead paint from home remodeling leads to illnesses in 28,000 people each year.

I find it interesting that Obama -- one of the newest members of the Senate -- seems to understand how to control the adjenda, despite being in the minority party, far better than so many in the party's leadership.

2008 Dammit.

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