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ACTION ALERTS–ACTION URGENTLY NEEDED

Action call #1

ROCKY FORK STATE PARK TO HOST PUBLIC MEETING ON PARK BUSINESS PLAN.   PLEASE PARTICIPATE IN THE FUTURE OF ROCKY FORK STATE PARK!

Rocky Fork State Park is 2,058 acres of scenic wilderness in Unicoi County, in the southern Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee. Designated a Tennessee State Park in 2012, it was officially opened in 2015. The park is predominately Appalachian cove forest, one of the most biologically diverse habitats in North America. The lush forest supports numerous Federally Listed Species including the world’s fastest flyer, the Peregrine Falcon, the Yonahlossee Salamander, Woodland Jumping Mouse and at least one rare species of damselfly. Black Bear also make their home here. The park is part of the Unicoi Bear Reserve.

A decades-long struggle between private sector developers and an alliance of government agencies, activists and land-conservancy organizations, ended in 2012 with the land secured for public ownership and enjoyment within the Cherokee National Forest. But now, this unique and fragile watershed may once again be threatened by the construction of RV campgrounds. You can help prevent the over-development of this incredible landscape by participating in the upcoming public meeting with representatives from Tennessee State Parks (TDEC) and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and/or submitting comments online.

Tennessee State Parks is seeking public input to inform Rocky Fork State Park’s business plan. The public is invited to hear about current and future park improvement projects and submit comments on Monday, Nov. 12 at Flag Pond School, 110 Schoolhouse Rd, Flag Pond, TN.

There will be a public open house from 4:30-5 p.m. local time followed by the meeting from 5-6 p.m. Representatives from the Tennessee Department of Transportation will also be in attendance.

Meetings have been or will be held at 33 state parks beginning Sept. 20. The current and proposed plans for all Tennessee State Parks business plans can be viewed at https://tnstateparks.com/about/planning-process. Public comments on the proposed plans will be accepted 30 days from the date of each park’s meeting. Comments can be submitted online at  https://stateoftennessee.formstack.com/forms/tspbusiness_plans_comment.

Meeting information is also listed at https://www.tn.gov/environment/ppo-public-participation/ppo-public-participation/ppo-general.html.

Action call #2

PLEASE SPEAK UP FOR CLEAN WATER IN TENNESSEE!

Water is a way of life in Tennessee.  Our waterways where we swim, fish, and float also provide us with safe drinking water.  Keeping them clean and protected is a top priority. 

The State recently proposed changes to Tennessee’s Clean Water Rules that are detrimental to Tennessee’s natural heritage and growing economy. These proposed rules will make it harder for citizens like you to participate in environmental decision-making and easier to pollute and pave over our waterways without addressing existing pollution and degradation. In many cases, the EPA says the State’s proposed revisions fail to meet the minimum requirements of federal law. Clean water is at stake in Tennessee, and these changes say it’s okay to let dirty waters stay dirty!

Speak up for our waterways and drinking water before October 16th.
Your voice matters. Go to www.SaveTNwater.org to tell your legislators and regulators to say NO! on proposed rule changes that would undermine clean water protections.

Action call #3

Please call your Representative concerning upcoming votes, inclusions in Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies House Appropriations Bill for 2019.

The House is set to vote as soon as this week (7/16-20) on a measure that would condemn the idea of a carbon tax.

1-Oppose Denunciation of Carbon Tax. The House voting to say a carbon tax will never be considered.  The Evangelical Environmental Network* states that  “The best policy to address climate change is a revenue-neutral carbon tax. It doesn’t grow the size of government, is not a regulatory approach, and uses the ability of the market to allocate resources efficiently to advance the common good. As such, it is in keeping with proper financial stewardship — an added moral bonus.”

2-Oppose Repeal of Clean Water Rule.  The 2019 spending bill for the Army Corps of Engineers would repeal the Obama-era waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, ensuring it can’t take effect while the Trump administration finishes developing a replacement.**  This rule addresses major pollution of our water sources.   “The Obama administration said that the drinking water supplies for 117 million Americans rely on protection by the rule, which it had dubbed the Clean Water Rule. Wildlife, recreation and navigation activities also depend on those waterways, the previous administration argued.”***  [Editorial (J.Nelson):  The government cannot give up on ensuring that Americans have clean water to drink, which it seems to be having trouble doing lately.]

Chuck Fleischmann:   DC  202-225-3271    Oak Ridge   865-576-1976          https://fleischmann.house.gov/contact/email

Jimmy  Duncan:   DC     202-225-5435    Knoxville    865-523-3772                 https://duncan.house.gov/contact

*EEN     https://www.creationcare.org

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/396948-house-to-vote-on-measure-denouncing-carbon-tax

**https://www.agri-pulse.com/articles/10937-house-spending-bill-repeals-obama-wotus-rule

***http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/339691-epa-seeks-to-repeal-obama-water-rule

 

Action call #4

New Senate Bill Would Protect Existing National Monuments: Urge your Senators to support Senate Bill S.2354

Background

(excerpted from Backpacker magazine article: https://www.backpacker.com/trips/senate-bill-nms-protect)

The bill, S.2354, is a response to the White House’s rollback of protections for Utah public lands.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) joined 16 other democratic senators this week to introduce a bill that would legally codify the boundaries of more than 50 national monuments established since the Antiquities Act of 1906, and block the President from changing them. The bill comes in response to the Trump administration’s recent rollback of protections for national monuments in Utah.

The bill, dubbed the America’s Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States (ANTIQUITIES) Act of 2018, would establish that only Congress has the power to reduce national monument boundaries. It would also require that the government survey, map, and create management plans for presidentially-designated national monuments within two years, and direct “additional resources” to their maintenance.

“President Trump’s unprecedented attack on public lands is not just an affront to the overwhelming majority of Americans who cherish these precious places — it’s also illegal,” Udall said in a press release. “This legislation makes it crystal clear that monuments designated through the Antiquities Act of 1906 may not be altered by future presidents because only Congress has the authority to change a national monument designation.

Since the White House’s decision to diminish Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments by proclamation in December, environmental activists and tribal groups have argued that the Antiquities Act of 1906 doesn’t give the president the authority to reduce or revoke a national monument designation, a position that some legal scholars support. The administration is currently contesting two lawsuits seeking to halt those changes.

What you can do

Without delay, urge your senators  to support S.2354, America’s Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States (ANTIQUITIES) Act of 2018 sponsored by Senator Udall and 20 others.  Now in  Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  [Especially FOR ALEXANDER, who is on the committee!!-Please work to bring this bill to the floor.] (contact information in Political Guide )

Action call #5

Urge your Representatives to oppose H.R.3990, National Monument Creation and Protection Act

Background

The cynically titled H.R. 3990, which is now in the Natural Resources Committee, does not protect national monuments, it restricts future designations of national monuments.

H.R. 3990 “would prohibit the president from creating new national monuments larger than 85,000 acres, and require state and county approval for any monument larger than 640 acres.”

What you can do

(1) Urge your representative (see contact information in Political Guide ) to oppose H.R. 3990

Action call #6

THE FIGHT FOR TWO NATIONAL MONUMENTS

Background

Of the ten national monuments Pres. Trump is seeking to reduce in size and/or to open to resource exploitation, the two hardest hit are both in Utah. Grand Staircase-Escalante would be cut by 47% (from 1.9 million to just over 1 million acres) and Bears Ears by 83% (from 1.3 million to just over 200,000 acres). (Many extraordinary places lie on the excluded lands, e.g., parts of the Kaiparowits Plateau, Paria Canyon, the Hole-in-the-Rock corridor.) This plan has been challenged by at least five lawsuits brought by various coalitions of conservation groups, Native American Tribes, scientific societies, and businesses.
The Justice Department has filed a motion asking that cases filed in federal district court in Washington, DC, be transferred to the federal district court in Utah, arguing that these cases implicate primarily local interests and thus should be decided in Utah. This argument misconstrues what the cases are about: they challenge decisions made by the President of the United States that assault nationally significant federal public lands and resources. Members of the Utah Congressional delegation, fearing – with good reason – that Trump’s proclamations would be found illegal, have moved to translate the Administration’s
plans into legislation (NL 337 ¶3C). Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) and Chris Stewart (R-UT) have introduced bills that severely shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments respectively. The latter bill tries to fool the public by pretending to create a new national park; the former appears to create two national monuments. Grazing would be among the primary purposes of the new national park, which would be run by a management council consisting of Utah county officials, without ensuring oversight or input from the National Park Service. House committees have held hearings on both bills.

What you can do

(1) Urge your representative and senators (see contact information in Political Guide ) to resist any legislation that diminishes the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments or diminishes their existing protections.

(2) Legally, national monuments can be modified only through an Act of Congress.  Tell your members of Congress to stand up for our public lands (see Political Guide for addresses)

(3) Support all efforts that defend national monuments.

Action call #7

TAX BILL OPENS ANWR’s COASTAL PLAIN TO DRILLING

The new tax bill, signed by Pres. Trump in December, includes a provision that lifts the decades-old ban on oil drilling in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. In 1980, when wilderness was first designated for a major part of the Refuge, the Coastal Plain (also known as the 1002 Area,) was not included. In the subsequent decades, the oil&gas industry, championed by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), repeatedly tried to open the 1002 Area to drilling – efforts that had to be fought by wilderness advocates. In 2015, the US Fish and Wildlife Service made a 12.28 million acre wilderness recommendation for the Arctic Refuge that did include the 1.5 million-acre Coastal Plain, the biological heart of the most pristine ecosystem in the nation; but Congress has not acted on this recommendation. On April 20, the Department of the Interior, with a fast-tracked “notice of intent” (NOI) began the environmental review process for a lease sale in the Refuge. This process would normally take years, but Trump and Interior Secretary Zinke are rushing to get drills in the ground before another administration can reverse their decision. The information gathered during the comment period following the NOI will
inform what will be discussed in the Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed lease sale. Drilling in the Coastal Plain would permanently harm one of the greatest biological resources on Earth, and would threaten an Alaska Native tribe’s (the Gwich’in’s) food sources and way of life. It would worsen climate pollution, thereby harming communities already bearing the brunt of the changing climate as they are forced to adapt to rising seas, melting ice, and changing migration patterns.

What you can do

The comment period on the NOI, which ends June 19, provides the first opportunity to emphasize that no oil and gas development activities should be allowed on the Coastal Plain, and to draw attention to the rushed process while reinforcing the values of the Refuge. Write to Sec. Zinke on the USDI website (www.doi.gov) and request that the Bureau of Land Management include a “no leasing” alternative in its environmental review.

Action call #8

THE LAND & WATER CONSERVATION FUND EXPIRES SEPTEMBER 30

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a critical source of funding for public-land acquisition. Although
the LWCF is authorized to receive $900 million annually (derived from revenues from off-shore oil&gas drilling), the actual amounts have been appropriated by Congress at just fractions of the authorized amounts. The LWCF’s authorization is set to expire at the end of this fiscal year, on September 30, 2018. None of the several bills that have been introduced in this Congress to reauthorize and better fund the program has received a hearing. Of special interest is S.596, introduced by Sen. Cantwell (D-WA), which would both permanently reauthorize the program and provide dedicated funding at LWCF’s fully authorized amount of $900 million annually. Also of interest are bipartisan bills S.896, introduced by Sen. Burr (R-NC) and H.R. 502, introduced by Rep. Grijalva (DAZ). Both seek permanent reauthorization of the LWCF program. Bipartisan support for the LWCF has been demonstrated in the Congress. Over 200 members of Congress (18% of them Republicans) recently signed on to a letter urging improved funding in FY19. Additionally, 28 House Republicans have written to Speaker Ryan urging immediate action on LWCF reauthorization so that the program does not expire.

What you can do

Without delay, remind your representative and senators (contact information in Political Guide ) of the urgent need to reauthorize the Land & Water Conservation Fund, which is set to expire Sept.30. Urge that the LWCF be permanently authorized, and that it be funded at the fully authorized amount.

Action call #9

INFRASTRUCTURE PROPOSAL COULD DEVASTATE PUBLIC LANDS

The infrastructure proposal released by the Trump Administration on February 12 guts environmental safeguards like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and National Environmental Policy Act to fast-track a variety of infrastructure, including natural-gas pipelines, toxic waste dumps, roads, and mines. The 53-page document’s provisions would restrict environmental reviews for infrastructure projects and limit public participation, reducing opportunities for impacted individuals and communities to make their voices heard in the decision-making process. Industry and state interests are prioritized at the expense of America’s most important assets.

What you can do

Tell your representative and senators ( contact information in Political Guide ) to reject any infrastructure plan that does not protect our air, water and health, or fails to guarantee expert analysis and public involvement.

Action call #10

FARM BILL NEEDS TO BE OPPOSED

[From Sierra Club Insider, 5/9/18]  The farm bill, HR.2, now wending its way through the U.S. House of Representatives is brazenly anti-environmental. It exempts pesticides from the Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts. It boosts logging, removes environmental reviews, and makes it easier to build roads in national forests. It undermines sustainable agriculture, makes it tougher for people to qualify for nutrition assistance, and tips the scales toward corporate interests and away from
small farmers. The bill is likely to come up for a full House vote this month.

What you can do

Urge your representative (contact information in Political Guide ) to oppose the Farm Bill, HR.2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Our up-to- the minute Newsletters and e-lerts give you the facts and instruct you about specific actions you can take.  Our Political Guide provides information on how to contact decision makers.  We often partner with sister organizations.

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Email Executive Director, Sandra Goss


Political Guide

Not sure which government representative you should contact? Consult this Political Guide