Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) introduced two bills on Thursday that would repeal exemptions for oil and gas companies under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. As a press release from the members noted, the bills were introduced:
… in order to ensure that the hydraulic fracking industry follows the same rules that other industries do in preserving our natural resources. This legislation is focused on ensuring the safety and the health of the communities where the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process is already taking place.
Polis’ bill, the “Bringing Reductions to Energy’s Airborne Toxic Health Effect (BREATHE) Act” (H.R. 1154), is based on the premise that oil and gas wells and their associated infrastructure can cause significant air pollution. The bill would require companies to cumulatively account for air pollution from all of their wells in one area by requiring aggregate permits, rather than individual permits for each well. The bill also adds hydrogen sulfide to the list of hazardous air pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act.
Cartwright’s bill, the “Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater Runoff Through Hydraulic Environmental Regulation (FRESHER) Act” (H.R. 1175), would require stormwater runoff permits for oil and gas construction and operations to protect surface water resources. This is essential because rain causes runoff from fracking sites that can contain sediment and other pollutants which end up in nearby waters. It would also mandate a study on the effects of oil and gas operations on surface water.
In additions to these exemptions from parts of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, the oil and gas industries enjoy loopholes in a handful of other laws including the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Superfund Act, the Community Right to Know Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.
At the same time oil and gas companies benefit from loopholes in laws designed to protect public health and the environment, they are making record profits. Last year, the largest five oil companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell — made $118 billion in profits. They also receive $2.4 billion in tax breaks every year, effectively making Americans pay twice for gasoline, both at the pump and through the U.S. Treasury. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives seems set to continue this preferential treatment of the oil and gas industry. Just this week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget preserves tax breaks for oil companies while calling for the sell-off of public lands. More benefits for big corporations, paid for by the middle class.
Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper, star of Silver Linings Playbook, didn’t know much about mental illness before he made the film.
Since then, the movie has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including every acting category, the first motion picture in over 30 years to earn that distinction. In the process, the movie has become a powerful vehicle for advancing a national dialogue on mental illness (Award winners will be revealed announced on Feb.24).
“I was ignorant,” Cooper said at a press conference on Feb.1, sponsored by the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., in which Andrew Sperling, NAMI’s director of federal advocacy participated.
In the movie, Cooper plays a young man living with bipolar disorder, who has lost his job, his house and his marriage. He is released from a state psychiatric hospital and returns home to live with his parents and begin to rebuild his life. His father, played by Robert DeNiro, lives with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Take a Step to End Slavery in our Lifetime: Participate in the 100 Postcard Challenge!
I am taking International Justice Mission’s (IJM) 100 Postcard Challenge. Will you join me?
IJM’s 100 Postcard Challenge is an easy way for you to get involved in the fight for freedom on behalf of children, women and men enslaved around the world. If you get 100 people to sign IJM’s Abolition Postcards, you will: 1) show your Members of Congress that people in your state care about abolishing modern-day slavery, and 2) grow the anti-slavery movement in your state by adding more voices to the cry for justice.
For my friends, who live in the same district as I do, I will hand out a postcard to you for you to sign, and I will send them back to DC en masse - we shall represent our district proudly for justice.
You can join in by signing up via the 100 Postcard Challenge website. IJM will send you your own set of 100 postcards to distribute, get signed, and collect, from your own district. All postcards will be hand-delivered to the appropriate Congressional or Senate office(s).
Love the folks over at SlaveryFootprint…
I’m sure you have heard of the fair trade movement. Purchasing fair trade products is an excellent way to exercise the purchasing power that we have as consumers. According to recent statistics, studies show that Fair Trade purchasing continues to be on the rise despite economic hardship….
Valentine’s Day is a major chocolate buying holiday, but gifts for your sweetheart should not come at the expense of worker rights! Forced labor, child labor and trafficking continue in the cocoa industry in West Africa.
Here’s how YOU can make a difference! […]
Download, print, and color this valentine (PDF) and mail it to Hershey today! It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t reach exactly by Feb. 14th. Volume is key. Leave a comment or reblog if you mailed any.
On January 17, the state legislature in New Jersey passed a crucial piece of legislation that will aid victims of human trafficking in New Jersey. This bill—called a “safe harbor” law—is an important step forward in the fight against slavery right here in our own country.
Safe harbor legislation protects minor victims of sex trafficking from being prosecuted for prostitution. This important legislation ensures that victims of trafficking are treated not as criminals, but as survivors of a crime. New Jersey is only the 10th state to pass this type of law.
"The Journey prepares individuals and congregants to engage in volunteer opportunities both in their communities and through HopeSprings’ existing partnerships with local HIV/AIDS Service Organizations. The Journey looks at issues such as:
- Learning the basic medical aspects of HIV/AIDS; its spread, immensity, complexity, risks, safety precautions, effective treatment and prevention methods, treatment and side effects, confidentiality and liability issues;
- Developing a heightened level of relational awareness and sensitivity especially toward those infected and affected by HIV;
- Developing skills allowing volunteers to effectively build authentic relationships in the HIV community;
- Learning effective communication skills, particularly reflective listening and story-telling to build and nurture Christ-based relationships with the individuals they serve;
- Helping to identify volunteer opportunities through HopeSprings and use the S.H.A.P.E. curriculum to determine where he/she feels called to serve; and
- Developing an appreciation as to why the church must respond to this pandemic.”
ACT: Contact Your Senator to support Trafficking Victims Protection Act
“There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today - more than any other time in history. But there is a simple step you can take now to ensure that this number starts to change.
In 2000, Congress passed an innovative bill called the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to combat modern-day slavery around the world. This year, the law must be renewed in order to sustain the life-saving programs it established. Please urge your Senator to endorse the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011. Take action and contact your Senator today!" (IJM).
Please support the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act
I write to express support for the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (S.1301).
As you may know, there are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today. The TVPRA would sustain and improve life-saving U.S. programs that combat slavery around the world and within our borders.
In particular, this legislation would give additional resources and diplomatic authority to the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP)—our government’s most important asset for combating modern-day slavery internationally. TIP’s skilled diplomats monitor slavery and press governments around the world to confront it. By providing grant funding to organizations like International Justice Mission, the TIP Office has enabled the rescue and rehabilitation of thousands of survivors of sex trafficking and labor slavery, and the prosecution and conviction of hundreds of trafficking perpetrators.
I urge you to co-sponsor the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and to protect the TIP Office’s small budget from further cuts. Please help maintain U.S. leadership in the fight against modern-day slavery by defending the programs that serve the most vulnerable among us.
Your Name Here
Image from: IJM
Today is World AIDS Day. Take a moment to reflect, and to educate yourself on the common myths about AIDS and HIV.
I remember in college, being completely shocked when a friend asked me, “Why can’t people just wear condoms? That’s why they get AIDS. [It’s they’re fault].” Only if it were that simple. I then told her, calmly as possible, about children infected by HIV/AIDS from their mothers, wives getting infected from unfaithful husbands, etc. It’s just not a “gay people disease,” which is another sentiment I heard from a friend at a church.
On a more positive note, one of my favorite memories from Bangladesh
will always be when we had the full staff training for all our local workers at our NGO. We played “HIV/AIDS Baseball”—through this process/game, many were enlightened on myths vs. facts. One man/co-worker was so thankful, that he promised to go share this information with his family.