Mon-Tues: Three quick environmental/ environmental justice actions!

Although this week has a very important bill – H.R. 5 – the Equality Act, we’re not starting there. Our representatives, Brownley and Carbajal, have already cosponsored this bill, so we’re moving on to environmental legislation. You can add your thanks for their support of H.R.5 in any of the calls below. Legislators, like most people, like to be noticed for doing the right thing. (Check here for your own reps. on the cosponsor list. Note – there are zero GOP cosponsors.)

Action #1: Call your senator to support Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination to become the First Native American Secretary of Interior.

Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) (contributions of over $675,000 from the oil and gas industry), has publicly stated that he’ll block the confirmation of the first Indigenous nominee for Secretary of the Interior, along with the amoral support of his state’s Rep. Matt Rosendale (contributions of $+27k from oil and gas) and the rest of the oil-soaked GOP.

Rain Bear Stands Last, executive director of the Global Indigenous Council, (GIC) stated “After Zinke and Bernhardt, it probably is a radical idea to have a Secretary of Interior who will protect public lands and not plunder them. Preserve endangered species and not blow them away to hang as trophies on a wall. Who will uphold the federal-Indian trust responsibility and address the crippling disparities in federal services to Indian Country. The only endangered species threatened by Secretary of Interior Haaland might be Daines’ and Rosendale’s extractive industry cronies.

Daines’s own constituents are wondering what he’s thinking, as the state has a $7 billion outdoor recreation economy that supports over 71,000 jobs. In 2019, only 5,891 Montanans worked in “fuels.”

Take nothing for granted. Call your senators and tell them you expect their commitment to making Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM) our next Secretary of the Interior. (Contact information near bottom of post)

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Sen. [___] to support Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination as Secretary of the Interior.

More script if you want it: She will bring back balance and common sense to the Department of Interior– something that has been sorely lacking for the past four years,” and “ensure a balanced approach to our public lands that is right for wildlife conservation, our communities and future generations.

Email script from NativeMovement.org: I am writing to urge you to vote to confirm Representative Deb Haaland to the position of Secretary of the Interior. Representative Haaland’s historic nomination to this position is one that should be celebrated by all Alaskans. I support Representative Haaland’s nomination first and foremost for the signal it sends to Alaska Natives and Indigenous peoples around the world: that the United States is turning a new page on its relationship with the first peoples of this continent. As an enrolled citizen of the Laguna Pueblo, Representative Haaland has first-hand experience with the Department of the Interior and its effects on the everyday lives of Indigenous people and on all those whose livelihoods depend on federally managed land.

Representative Haaland is extremely qualified for this position:

  • As the vice-chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, including chairing the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Sub-Committee, Representative Haaland has immediate experience in relevant federal land management issues.
  • Representative Haaland’s family background in the military and her experience on the House Committee on Armed Services are relevant to Alaska’s important relationship with our armed forces.
  • As an entrepreuner and the former chairwoman of a tribal development corporation, Representative Haaland knows how public lands act as economic drivers for rural communities.
  • As an Indigenous woman, Representative Haaland brings a unique, historic and irreplaceable perspective to the Department of Interior.

On matters of policy, Representative Haaland aligns with Alaska’s best interests in many areas, including:

  • Recognizing climate change as an imminent threat, especially to Alaska Native and minority communities.
  • Prioritizing tribal communities and government-to-government consultation in land management decisions.
  • Advocating for missing and murdered Indigenous Women.

For these reasons and more, I urge you to cast your historic vote to confirm Representative Deb Haaland as our first Indigenous Secretary of the Interior.

Action #2: Support the WATER Act – Clean water is a human right.

(Update – this bill is being introduced on Thursday.) During a pandemic, access to clean water is literally lifesaving. However, our water infrastructure is in a state of emergency. According to EPA estimates, raw sewage overflows at least 23,000 times each year, over 1.7 million people lack access to basic plumbing facilities or running water, almost 200,000 households have no wastewater system and up to 10 million homes get water through lead pipes. And now, water may be unaffordable. Even before the pandemic, 14 million households were unable to afford their water bills, whose prices increased more than 40% since 2010. At this rate, more than a third of households may not be able to afford their water bills five years from now. The WATER Act, which will make clean, affordable water and sewage services availage to millions of American, along with jobs, is long past due. (Contact information near bottom of post)

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep./Sen. [___] to immediately cosponsor and support the new version of 2019’s [Rep. – H.R.1417/Sen. – S.611 Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability Act. Maybe it was easy to ignore our crumbling water and sewage infrastructure before the pandemic, but now it’s clear that access to clean, affordable water and adequate sewage are literally life-saving.

Additional script to those who didn’t cosponsor the 2019 bill: Reviewing the records, I noticed that [Rep. Brownley/Sen. Feinstein (or put in your own)] did not cosponsor the earlier version of this bill and I will be watching to see that they correct that now.

Additional script to those who did: I want to thank [Rep. Carbajal) for cosponoring the earlier version of this bill.

MORE INFORMATION: The WATER Act will provide a major federal investment to renovate our nation’s old water pipes, stop sewage overflows, address water contamination and help avert a looming water affordability crisis. The WATER Act of 2021 will be the same as last year’s version. Fact sheet from Food and Water Watch here. Read the Sanders/Lawrence analysis of our current situation here. The new bill isn’t listed on congress.gov yet but it will be identical to last year’s bill H.R.1417/S.611 Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability Act of 2019. In 2019, Sanders’ Senate bill S.611 was supported by just 3 senators and they weren’t ours and Rep. Brenda Lawrence’s H.R.1417 was supported by 87 legislators, including Carbajal, but not Brownley.

The Water Act of 2021 will:

  • Provide $35 billion a year to drinking water and wastewater improvements; 
  • Create up to nearly 1 million jobs across the economy and protect American workers;
  • Prioritize disadvantaged communities with grants and additional support;
  • Expand technical assistance to small, rural and indigenous communities;
  • Dedicate and increase grants for indigenous communities;  
  • Fund projects to address water contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS);
  • Help homeowners replace lead service lines;
  • Provide more than $1 billion a year to update water infrastructure in public schools;
  • Upgrade household wells and septic systems; and
  • Promote safe, affordable, publicly controlled water for all.

Action #3: Support H.R. 803 -“Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act.”

(Update – this bill is being voted on in the House on Wednesday.) Last year, Congress fell short of securing critical protections for wilderness and public lands throughout the West. H.R. 803 – Colorado Wilderness Act of 2021 [Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act“] would protect 2.7 million acres as wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers, moving us closer to achieving our national goal of protecting 30 percent of U.S. lands and oceans by 2030. It would conserve wildlife habitat and migration corridors in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, and California and expand recreational access for all and support Indigenous Tribes and local economies. (1 page explainer here.)

So far, only three legislators have cosponsored this bill to create a more diverse, sustainable and equitable legacy for one of our greatest treasures — our public lands. The House is scheduled to consider this legislation starting Wednesday. Tell your Representative that you want a ‘YES” vote on H.R. 803 and more support for environmental bills in the future. Because this IS our future. (Note: Below the call script, in the list of the parts of this bill, you will see individual cosponsors, including Rep. Salud Carbajal whose re-introduced Central Coast Heritage protection Act, is included.) (Contact information near bottom of post)

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep. [___] to support H.R. 803 – “Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act.”

More script if you want it: What just happened to Texas demonstrated why environmental protection should be a priority. Scientists say that in order to truly respond to the climate and biodiversity crises and create a more sustainable future, we must protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. This bill will help us move toward that, along with expanding recreational access and supporting local economies.

MORE INFORMATION: Specifically, H.R. 803 would:

  • Designate more than 600,000 acres of wilderness in 32 distinct areas across Colorado through the HR 803 – Colorado Wilderness Act.
  • Protect Arizona’s Grand Canyon from new mineral extraction activities, especially uranium mining through the Grand Canyon Protection Act. (H.R. 1052 – Rep. Grijalva, D-AZ)
  • Enhance and preserve Northern California’s special public lands and expand economic and recreational opportunities through the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act. (H.R. 878 – Rep. Huffman, D-CA)
  • Secure the first-ever Wild and Scenic River protections for Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula through the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. (H.R. 999 – Rep. Kilmer, D-WA)
  • Provide increased outdoor recreation opportunities in Los Angeles, California — one of the most park-poor regions of the country — through the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act. (H.R. 693 – Rep. Chu, D- CA)
  • Secure lasting protections for Central California’s Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain through the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act. (H.R. 973 – Rep. Carbajal, D-CA)
  • ( Expand the boundary of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (CA) by roughly 191,000 through the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act. (H.R. 1075 – Rep. Schiff, D-CA)
  • Safeguard some of Colorado’s most ecologically and historically significant public lands while bolstering the region’s ample outdoor recreation opportunities through the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act. (H.R. 577 – Rep. Neguse, D-CO)
  • Expand equitable access to the outdoors by protecting the only federal grant program focused exclusively on increasing access to public lands in communities where it’s needed most through the Outdoors for All Act.
  • Additional informational resource materials here.

Contacts

  • Rep. Julia Brownley: email(CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Extra credit: Read this update from Jim Hines, our Sierra Club representative.

Good Morning Friends:
 It’s off and running for a busy week for me….weather here in SoCal is amazing…80 degrees it will be today……so glad my ancestors decided to move here in the 1840s.
First off this week..a phone meeting with the Chief of Staff to Vice President Kamala Harris…..
…then a call with the Legislative Affairs Office of the National Park Service  to make them aware of new national park units we are planning to have established….they did not even know about one right here where I live in SoCal…but they are new…so tomorrow they will know…..
……meeting with California state wildlife officials about mountain lion protection in southern California….
….will speak with a staffer at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management about the future of offshore oil drilling in federal waters of the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast from where I live……
….as well as staff of U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein’s office about a bill to phase out the use of nylon long line fishing nets which lie for miles under the ocean’s surface to catch a targeted commercial fish species but also entangle and kill whales and other marine mammals. The federal waters of the Santa Barbara Channel are the only place in U.S. waters where these nets are still allowed. 
…..tomorrow morning (Tuesday) I will watch the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on the nomination by President Biden of New Mexico congresswoman Deb Haaland to be U.S. Secretary of the Interior…when confirmed by the full Senate she will become the first native American to hold a cabinet post….I have now called every member of the committee…..whew!  She is great. I have met her twice. 
….on Wednesday and Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives wil vote on our package of 8 national public land protection bills (including 2 right here where I live in SoCal) …..I made a lot of calls to members of the House this past week and a few more still to call……(I.V. – H.R. 803 – “Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act“, Action #3 above)
…..The Sierra Club Protect Wild Utah campaign I work on will also take center stage this week as our team gears up for a virtual lobbying event on Capitol Hill in DC….2021 will be the year that Utah wildlands get the protections they deserve…yes Bears Ears National Monument will be re-established. …going to take some time though. 
We are on our way folks to righting the wrongs of the past when it comes to protecting our widlife and wild places across the American west…but we will get it done in ’21.

for the wild,
Jim 

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