Public Comments 2018 (147-

The New Progressive Alliance periodically makes Public Comments by itself or with other organizations to federal agencies and legislative bodies in the United States and Canada in support of the Unified Platform. They are reproduced here in full and also briefly mentioned with our other activities in the Annual Reports and on our website under "News." 

 

  • Public Comment 147: January 2018 - Congress-Clean Budget
  • Public Comment 148: February 2018 - Minnesota Public Utilities Commission - Stop Pipeline
  • Public Comment 149: February 2018 - Gov. Inslee - Stop Methanol Refinery
  • Public Comment 150: February 2018 - Port Kalama - Stop Methanol Refinery
  • Public Comment 151: March 2018 - Congress Oppose Poison Pill Riders
  • Public Comment 152: March 2018 - Congress Oppose Attacks on Clean Water
  • Public Comment 153: May 2018 - Idaho Dept. of Lands - Stop 3 Rail Bridges
  • Public Comment 154: May 2018 - USCG - Stop 3 Rail Bridges
  • Public Comment 155: May 2018 - Support CA Disclosure AB2188
  • Public Comment 156: May 2018 - Congress Oppose Ideological Extreme Riders
  • Public Comment 157: May 2018 - Canada Stop Kinder Morgan Pipeline
  • Public Comment 158: May 2018 - Congress Oppose Recessions and 15.3 Billion Dollar Cuts

 

 

 

Public Comment 147: January 2018 - Congress-Clean Budget

January 11, 2018

Dear Members of Congress,

We, the undersigned organizations as a part of the Clean Budget Coalition, write to ask you to oppose any FY 2018 omnibus or other spending measure which includes ideological poison pill policy riders.

The majority in Congress are quietly trying to slip in special interest wish list items via poison pill riders into the year-end funding packages.

Appropriations bills continue to be misused to undermine essential safeguards through partisan poison pill “policy riders” – provisions that address extraneous and unpopular policy issues. Slipping unrelated and damaging issues into must-pass appropriations bills as a means to win approval is a dangerous strategy for the public.

Poison pill riders are unpopular as standalone legislation, and the public opposes using them to roll back public protections. The American people support policies to:

• Restrain Wall Street abuses;
• Ensure safe and healthy food and products;
• Secure our air, land, water and wildlife;
• Safeguard fair and safe workplaces;
• Guard against consumer rip-offs and corporate wrongdoing;
• Defend our campaign finance and election systems;
• Provide access to justice and fair housing;
• Protect civil rights; and
• Guarantee continued access to vital health care services including reproductive health care, and more.

The Majority budget is rigged for billionaires and big business and could be especially dangerous when combined with their tax plan which features deep cuts that endanger our health and safety, our workplaces and wallets, as well as, our environment and our economy. In addition, any omnibus passed through Congress must go far beyond the obviously inadequate sequester funding levels, to robustly fund agencies and programs to protect the public.

There is an indisputable difference between partisan policy riders that hurt the public and popular policy solutions that are necessary and will help many. Policy solutions with broad bipartisan support are not only appropriate; they are necessary to address urgent situations or to extend essential services. Examples include extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), providing disaster funding to deal with catastrophic storms and wildfires, and protecting Dreamers.

We urge Members of Congress to support increasing the spending caps to fund pivotal programs for the American people with parity between defense and nondefense funds, while opposing any flawed omnibus that includes poison pill policy riders.

Sincerely,

National Groups

9to5, National Association of Working Women

Action on Smoking and Health

AFL-CIO

AFSCME

Alaska Wilderness League

Alliance for Retired Americans

American Association for Justice

American Bird Conservancy

Americans for Financial Reform

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

Association of Reproductive Health Professionals

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Bend the Arc Jewish Action

Black Women’s Health Imperative

Carmelite NGO

Catholics for Choice

Center for Biological Diversity

Center for Justice & Democracy

Center for Progressive Reform

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Clean Water Action

Coalition on Human Needs

Common Cause

Communications Workers of America (CWA)

Consumer Action

Corporate Accountability International

Daily Kos

Defenders of Wildlife

Democracy 21

Earthjustice

Earthworks

Economic Policy Institute Policy Center

Endangered Species Coalition

Environment America

Family Equality Council

Free Press Action Fund

Friends of the Earth

Government Accountability Project

GreenLatinos

Grounded Solutions Network

Hip Hop Caucus

Hispanic Federation

Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings

ICAST (International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology)

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Interfaith Power & Light

Jewish Women International

Just Foreign Policy

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

League of Conservation Voters

Main Street Alliance

NAACP

NARAL Pro-Choice America

National Abortion Federation

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)

National Association for College Admission Counseling

National Association of Consumer Advocates

National Association of Social Workers

National Black Justice Coalition

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Coalition for LGBT Health

National Coalition for the Homeless

National Council for Occupational Safety and Health

National Council of Jewish Women

National Education Association

National Employment Law Project

National Fair Housing Alliance

National Immigration Law Center

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

National Low Income Housing Coalition

National Partnership for Women & Families

National WIC Association

National Women’s Health Network

National Women’s Law Center

Natural Resources Defense Council

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

New America’s Open Technology Institute

New Progressive Alliance

Newtown Action Alliance

PAI

People For the American Way

Physicians for Social Responsibility

PLACE

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

PolicyLink

Population Connection Action Fund

Population Institute

Power Shift Network

Progressive Congress Action Fund

Public Citizen

Public Knowledge

Rachel Carson Council

Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need

Safe Climate Campaign

Service Employees International Union

Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS)

Sierra Club

SiX Action

Stand Up America

States United to Prevent Gun Violence

The Arc of the United States

The Bright Lines Project

The Center for Reproductive Rights

The Impact Fund

The Wilderness Society

U.S. PIRG

UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza)

Union of Concerned Scientists

United Church of Christ, OC Inc.

United Steelworkers

Voces Verdes

Voices for Progress

Woodstock Institute

Workplace Fairness

Young Invincibles

 

State Groups

AIDS Alabama, Inc.

Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey

Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness

Arizona Housing Alliance

CALPIRG

CASA of Oregon

Church Women United in New York State

ConnPIRG

COPIRG

Earth Action, Inc.

Empower Missouri

Equality California

Florida Alliance for Consumer Protection

Florida PIRG

Georgia PIRG

Habitat for Humanity Virginia

Housing Action Illinois

Housing Community Development Network of NJ

HousingWorks RI

Illinois PIRG

Indiana PIRG

Iowa PIRG

Kentucky Equal Justice Center

Maryland PIRG

Massachusetts Consumers Council

MASSPIRG

Monarch Housing Associates

Montana Environmental Information Center

MontPIRG

MoPIRG

NCPIRG

New Jersey Association on Correction

New Jim Crow Movement – California & Florida

NHPIRG

NJPIRG

NMPIRG

Ohio CDC Association

Ohio PIRG

Oregon PIRG (OSPIRG)

PennPIRG

PeterCares House

PIRG in Michigan (PIRGIM)

Public Justice Center

RIPIRG

TexPIRG

The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado

Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition

Virginia Housing Alliance

Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

WASHPIRG

WISPIRG

 

Local Groups

AFGE Council 238

Alfred E Smirh Resident Association, New York, NY

Antioch Urban Ministries, Inc. DBA Matthew’s Place, Atlanta, GA

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., Utica, NY

Clarksburg-Harrison Regional Housing Authority, Harrison County, WV

Family Emergency Shelter Coalition (FESCO), Hayward, Alameda County, CA

Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness, Kansas City, MO

Harrington Investments, Inc., Napa, CA

Homeless Solutions, Inc., Morris County, NJ

Homestead Affordable Housing, Inc., Holton, KS

Housing Authority of the City of Columbia, MO

Lake County Crisis Center, Lake County, OR

Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County, PA

Plymouth Housing Group, Seattle, WA

ROSE Community Development, Portland, OR

Seattle Human Services Coalition, Seattle, WA

Sitka Community Land Trust, Sitka, AK

South Florida Community Development Coalition, Miami-Dade, FL

South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice

Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Springfield Housing Authority, Springfield, IL

The Architects Collective, Los Angeles, CA

Toledo Area Jobs with Justice & Interfaith Worker Justice Coalition, Toledo, OH

YWCA-GCR, Inc., New York, NY

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Chicago, IL

 

Public Comment 148: February 2018 - Minnesota Public Utilities Commission - Stop Pipeline

February 25, 2018

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
121 7th Place E, Suite 350
Saint Paul, MN 55101-2147

The New Progressive Alliance at http://newprogs.org/  urges you to reject the Line 3 tar sands pipeline because it threatens Indigenous rights, makes us more independent on fossil fuels, and threatens our water supply..

While the Minnesota Department of Commerce has completed revisions on the Final Environmental Impact Statement,  it missed the cultural resources survey despite the fact that five Indigenous Nations have repeatedly asked for it to be included.

Tar sands are the most polluting and extreme form of oil extraction. This pipeline would be a catastrophe for Indigenous rights, clean water, and the climate. It would put wild rice, lakes, and rivers at risk and lead to billions of dollars in damages from climate change. When decision day comes, with full information at hand, the PUC should say no to this dangerous project. 

This pipeline threatens our water, climate, and communities. With or without the survey, the PUC has plenty of reasons to reject this pipeline now. It's a catastrophe for Indigenous rights, clean water, and the climate and should not be built.

 

Public Comment 149: February 2018 - Gov. Inslee - Stop Methanol Refinery

February 25, 2018

             

Governor Jay Inslee

Office of the Governor

PO Box 40002

Olympia, WA 98504-0002

The New Progressive Alliance at http://newprogs.org/  urges you to oppose the proposed methanol refinery in Kalama, Washington. The reasons are increased pollution, increased utility costs for both electricity and natural gas, and because it is a bad business plan.

  1. Increased Pollution

Documentation for the below comes from the following sources.

In December 2014, Columbia Riverkeeper and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center submitted 319 pages of comments to the FERC and the state EIS scoping processes at Kalama, urging “the Port to prepare an EIS that fully and accurately discloses the wide reaching impacts of the proposed methanol export facility.”

In April 2016 the New Progressive Alliance urged the Washington state Draft Environmental Impact Statement to be updated to address the Kalama Natural Gas to Methanol Refinery increased dangers and pollution from fracking and natural gas, would use a lot of power which would be reflected in higher electricity rates, water use and contamination, and is founded on a bad business plan.

  • This would be the largest methanol refinery in the world.
  • It would dump up to 53 tons of toxic and hazardous pollutants into the air annually and emit over a million tons of carbon dioxide a year.
  • Methanol is flammable in liquid and gas states, and it is considered highly toxic to humans and animals. Just one gallon of spilled methanol depletes the oxygen from 198,000 gallons in the Columbia River. 
  • A Methanol Plant also produces waste that includes heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, various air pollutants, nickel, copper, and zinc oxide from the catalysts used in the refining process.
  • Air pollution that includes carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and fine particulate matter.
  • They will burn 30 percent of the huge amount of natural gas used, adding to local pollution.
  • The Kalama methanol refinery will emit over a million tons of carbon dioxide a year.
  • Kalama methanol refinery’s air pollution risk is massive. They propose to emit up to 53 tons (106,000 pounds) of toxic and hazardous pollutants into the air annually. By comparison, Emerald Kalama Chemical released six tons of toxic and hazardous pollution in 2015, according to the EPA.
  • The plant also could emit up to 62 tons (104,000 pounds) of very fine particulate matter — dust and soot particles — annually. Fine particulate matter can enter into the respiratory system and cause long term health impacts. 
  • The plant would buy gas extracted by fracking. Specifically this plant would use at least 300,000 dekatherms of fracked gas per day (270,000 as raw material plus at least 30,000 for power generation) – one third as much gas as the entire state of Washington. Fracking, a dangerous technique for getting natural gas out of shale, has been linked to serious health risks, groundwater contamination, and other environmental impacts. Fracking companies refuse to even reveal the chemicals they are "fracking" with, nobody is monitoring the pollution to water and our aquifiers, and nobody is factoring the release of methane as a GHG. Of the 750 chemicals that can be used in the fracking process, more than 650 of them are toxic or carcinogens, according to a report filed with the U.S. House of Representatives in April 2011. For more documentation on Fracking see “The Environment,” #5, at http://www.newprogs.org/the_environment_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty
  • The Kalama Refinery would be fed by a new 3.1-mile, 24-inch diameter natural gas pipeline that will divert natural gas from the existing Northwest Pipeline. The New Progressive Alliance in the below documentation shows the danger of transporting fossil fuel, especially by pipes. For documentation on transporting fossil fuels by pipes and other means  see “The Environment,” #12, at http://www.newprogs.org/the_environment_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty
  • For pollution the Methanol Refinery discharges 200 gallons of wastewater per minute. The Methanol Refinery would also make a huge demand on water resources, using more than 2,500 gallons of water per minute or about 4 million gallons a day for cooling and gas forming, 90 percent of which is consumed during the process or lost as vapor to the atmosphere. It makes no sense that Kalama sell off millions of gallons of its fresh water every day when farmers and fishermen operated under emergency drought restrictions last summer. For more documentation on the dangers to fresh water   see “The Environment,” #14, at http://www.newprogs.org/the_environment_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty

 

  1. Higher Utility Costs for Electricity and Natural Gas

The Kalama Natural Gas to Methanol Refinery would use a lot of power which would be reflected in higher electricity rates, increased dangers and pollution from fracking and natural gas, water use and contamination, and is a bad business plan.

Methanol refining requires a lot of electricity. The plant would use 200 megawatts of electricity daily - equal to the amount of electricity used by ALL Cowlitz County residents. The plant would also use 1/3 as much gas as the entire state of Washington. These demands would most likely increase gas and power costs for Washington residents and businesses.

III.      The Kalama Natural Gas to Methanol Refinery is a bad business plan.

Northwest Innovation Works, owned by the Chinese Government and British Petroleum, wants to build this Methanol Refinery even though it has never built or run a methanol refinery. Indeed, the proposed technology has never been used to make methanol commercially.

The plan uses America for cheap energy and to dump pollutants, ships methanol for thousands of miles overseas to China, and then China uses it to make plastics which are then shipped back across the ocean to the United States.

The United States signed the United Nations Agreement COP 21 in 2015. The agreement states “Each party shall…provide…a national inventory report of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals…of greenhouse gases…” (Article 13, paragraph 7)  This means reporting so we will be compared with other countries. Therefor the United States will be in a poorer position for future bargaining just because of this one Methanol Refinery.

As China’s economy cools, it remains to be seen whether the huge profits that analysts envision for Northwest methanol exports are sustainable. In fact, the world methanol market has been oversupplied as recently as 2008, when many plants were just starting up. While the new proposed refineries would meet a near-term demand for cheap methanol in China, it remains to be seen what the Pacific Northwest will have gained after the gold rush fever abates. What it will have lost because of pollution, water depletion, and electricity usage is clear.

 

Conclusion:

Please consider the total pollution, the higher electricity rates, and this bad business plan and oppose the proposed methanol refinery in Kalama, Washington.

 

Public Comment 150: February 2018 - Port Kalama - Stop Methanol Refinery

Port of Kalama

SEIS@KalamaMfgFacilitySEPA.com

 

February 25, 2018

             

The New Progressive Alliance at http://newprogs.org/  urges you to oppose the proposed methanol refinery in Kalama, Washington. The reasons are increased pollution, increased utility costs for both electricity and natural gas, and because it is a bad business plan.

  1. Increased Pollution

Documentation for the below comes from the following sources.

In December 2014, Columbia Riverkeeper and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center submitted 319 pages of comments to the FERC and the state EIS scoping processes at Kalama, urging “the Port to prepare an EIS that fully and accurately discloses the wide reaching impacts of the proposed methanol export facility.”

In April 2016 the New Progressive Alliance urged the Washington state Draft Environmental Impact Statement to be updated to address the Kalama Natural Gas to Methanol Refinery increased dangers and pollution from fracking and natural gas, would use a lot of power which would be reflected in higher electricity rates, water use and contamination, and is founded on a bad business plan.

  • This would be the largest methanol refinery in the world.
  • It would dump up to 53 tons of toxic and hazardous pollutants into the air annually and emit over a million tons of carbon dioxide a year.
  • Methanol is flammable in liquid and gas states, and it is considered highly toxic to humans and animals. Just one gallon of spilled methanol depletes the oxygen from 198,000 gallons in the Columbia River. 
  • A Methanol Plant also produces waste that includes heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, various air pollutants, nickel, copper, and zinc oxide from the catalysts used in the refining process.
  • Air pollution that includes carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and fine particulate matter.
  • They will burn 30 percent of the huge amount of natural gas used, adding to local pollution.
  • The Kalama methanol refinery will emit over a million tons of carbon dioxide a year.
  • Kalama methanol refinery’s air pollution risk is massive. They propose to emit up to 53 tons (106,000 pounds) of toxic and hazardous pollutants into the air annually. By comparison, Emerald Kalama Chemical released six tons of toxic and hazardous pollution in 2015, according to the EPA.
  • The plant also could emit up to 62 tons (104,000 pounds) of very fine particulate matter — dust and soot particles — annually. Fine particulate matter can enter into the respiratory system and cause long term health impacts. 
  • The plant would buy gas extracted by fracking. Specifically this plant would use at least 300,000 dekatherms of fracked gas per day (270,000 as raw material plus at least 30,000 for power generation) – one third as much gas as the entire state of Washington. Fracking, a dangerous technique for getting natural gas out of shale, has been linked to serious health risks, groundwater contamination, and other environmental impacts. Fracking companies refuse to even reveal the chemicals they are "fracking" with, nobody is monitoring the pollution to water and our aquifiers, and nobody is factoring the release of methane as a GHG. Of the 750 chemicals that can be used in the fracking process, more than 650 of them are toxic or carcinogens, according to a report filed with the U.S. House of Representatives in April 2011. For more documentation on Fracking see “The Environment,” #5, at http://www.newprogs.org/the_environment_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty
  • The Kalama Refinery would be fed by a new 3.1-mile, 24-inch diameter natural gas pipeline that will divert natural gas from the existing Northwest Pipeline. The New Progressive Alliance in the below documentation shows the danger of transporting fossil fuel, especially by pipes. For documentation on transporting fossil fuels by pipes and other means  see “The Environment,” #12, at http://www.newprogs.org/the_environment_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty
  • For pollution the Methanol Refinery discharges 200 gallons of wastewater per minute. The Methanol Refinery would also make a huge demand on water resources, using more than 2,500 gallons of water per minute or about 4 million gallons a day for cooling and gas forming, 90 percent of which is consumed during the process or lost as vapor to the atmosphere. It makes no sense that Kalama sell off millions of gallons of its fresh water every day when farmers and fishermen operated under emergency drought restrictions last summer. For more documentation on the dangers to fresh water   see “The Environment,” #14, at http://www.newprogs.org/the_environment_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty

 

  1. Higher Utility Costs for Electricity and Natural Gas

The Kalama Natural Gas to Methanol Refinery would use a lot of power which would be reflected in higher electricity rates, increased dangers and pollution from fracking and natural gas, water use and contamination, and is a bad business plan.

Methanol refining requires a lot of electricity. The plant would use 200 megawatts of electricity daily - equal to the amount of electricity used by ALL Cowlitz County residents. The plant would also use 1/3 as much gas as the entire state of Washington. These demands would most likely increase gas and power costs for Washington residents and businesses.

III.      The Kalama Natural Gas to Methanol Refinery is a bad business plan.

Northwest Innovation Works, owned by the Chinese Government and British Petroleum, wants to build this Methanol Refinery even though it has never built or run a methanol refinery. Indeed, the proposed technology has never been used to make methanol commercially.

The plan uses America for cheap energy and to dump pollutants, ships methanol for thousands of miles overseas to China, and then China uses it to make plastics which are then shipped back across the ocean to the United States.

The United States signed the United Nations Agreement COP 21 in 2015. The agreement states “Each party shall…provide…a national inventory report of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals…of greenhouse gases…” (Article 13, paragraph 7)  This means reporting so we will be compared with other countries. Therefor the United States will be in a poorer position for future bargaining just because of this one Methanol Refinery.

As China’s economy cools, it remains to be seen whether the huge profits that analysts envision for Northwest methanol exports are sustainable. In fact, the world methanol market has been oversupplied as recently as 2008, when many plants were just starting up. While the new proposed refineries would meet a near-term demand for cheap methanol in China, it remains to be seen what the Pacific Northwest will have gained after the gold rush fever abates. What it will have lost because of pollution, water depletion, and electricity usage is clear.

 

Conclusion:

Please consider the total pollution, the higher electricity rates, and this bad business plan and oppose the proposed methanol refinery in Kalama, Washington.

 

 

Public Comment 151: March 2018 - Congress Oppose Poison Pill Riders

OPPOSE POISON PILL CAMPAIGN FINANCE RIDERS IN FY18 OMNIBUS BILL

 

March 1, 2018

 All Members of Congress: 

We strongly urge you to oppose all campaign finance riders from being included in the FY18 Omnibus Appropriations legislation passed by Congress.  

Senate and House leaders have prevented floor consideration of any significant campaign finance reform measures for years. Instead of following regular order in the consideration of such legislation, they have instead attempted to attach riders to appropriations bills that would gut or seriously undermine campaign finance provisions, while not allowing up-or-down votes on the provisions.

One potential rider to the FY18 Omnibus Appropriations bill would gut the prohibition known as the Johnson amendment, which prevents Section 501(c)(3) organizations from engaging in campaign activities. 

A letter signed by more than 5,500 charitable nonprofits, religious organizations, and foundations strongly opposes any proposal to eliminate or weaken the longstanding Johnson amendment. 

In addition, more than 4,300 faith leaders representing every major religion have signed a letter strongly opposing attempts to repeal, amend, or otherwise tamper with the protections in the Johnson amendment.

The letter criticizes proposals that would “politicize the charitable nonprofit and philanthropic community by repealing or weakening current federal tax law protections that prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations from endorsing, opposing, or contributing to political candidates.” 

The letter from charitable groups provides the following explanation for support of the Johnson amendment:

 

Nonpartisanship is a cornerstone principle that has strengthened the public’s trust of the charitable community. In exchange for enjoying tax-exempt status and the ability to receive tax-deductible contributions, 501(c)(3) organizations – charitable nonprofits, including religious congregations, and foundations – agree to not engage in “any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”

 

That provision of law protects the integrity and independence of charitable nonprofits and foundations. It shields the entire 501(c)(3) community against the rancor of partisan politics so the charitable community can be a safe haven where individuals of all beliefs come together to solve community problems free from partisan divisions.

On another matter, a draft Senate Appropriations bill includes a rider that would gut the limit on political party spending coordinated with a candidate. This provision was upheld by the Supreme Court as necessary to prevent donors from using the political parties to massively circumvent the limits on the amount they could give directly to candidates. We strongly oppose including this provision in the FY18 Omnibus Appropriations bill.

In the last Congress, a campaign finance rider was enacted to prevent the SEC from finalizing regulations which would require public corporations to disclose their campaign activities to shareholders. This year’s draft version of the SEC rider would go even further and prevent the SEC from even studying such a rule.

The SEC has a vital role to play in ensuring corporate transparency for shareholders. More than 1.2 million investors and members of the public petitioned the SEC to create a rule requiring uniform corporate political disclosure – the most signers to a petition in SEC history. 

The last Congress also enacted a rider to prevent the IRS from implementing new regulations that would provide clear guidance to non-profit groups about the regulation of their campaign activities. This IRS rider would prevent nonprofit groups from obtaining a clear definition of campaign activities to assist them in complying with the law. The rider would also prevent the public from obtaining information about secret contributions spent in support of campaigns – information that citizens have a right to know. In preventing new IRS regulations, Congress is leaving in place a chronically broken IRS definition of “political campaign intervention” that allows those willing to game the system to pour secret money into our elections. 

The IRS and SEC campaign finance riders currently in the law keep the American people in the dark about the hundreds of millions of dollars in secret contributions that have flooded our elections in recent years. Secret contributions prevent citizens from holding officeholders and big donors accountable for corrupt practices. We strongly oppose including the IRS and SEC riders in the FY18 Omnibus Appropriations bill.

Another damaging campaign finance rider would prevent any requirement for federal contractors to disclose their political spending. Requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending protects the federal contracting process by assuring the public that their tax dollars are not being used to reward contractors in return for campaign finance support.

Any effort to rewrite the nation’s campaign finance laws or to restrict related campaign finance measures should be done by regular order through the legislative process. This should not be done through the back-door misuse of the appropriations process that prevents members of Congress from voting on the specific provisions.  

We strongly urge you to oppose the inclusion of any campaign finance riders in the 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill.

 

Signed,

 

California Clean Money Campaign

Campaign for Accountability

Campaign Legal Center

Center for Media and Democracy

Common Cause

CREW

Democracy 21

Every Voice

Franciscan Action Network

Free Speech for People

Friends of the Earth US

Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility.

Issue One

MapLight

New Progressive Alliance

Norman Eisen, former chief White House ethics lawyer, 2009-2011

Public Citizen

People For the American Way

Represent.Us

Revolving Door Project

Richard Painter, former chief White House ethics lawyer, 2005-2007

U.S. PIRG

United to Amend

Voices for Progress

 

 

Public Comment 152: March 2018 - Congress Oppose Attacks on Clean Water

March 1, 2018

 

RE: Over 115 groups oppose attacks on clean water safeguards in spending legislation for FY18

 In this letter to all members of congress:

Our organizations, along with our millions of members and supporters, urge you to oppose the inclusions of damaging ideological riders in any final spending legislation for Fiscal Year 2018, including those that attack much needed clean water protections.

In particular, three damaging policy riders that assault important water safeguards were included in the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill that the Senate Appropriations Committee released in November of last year. These include:

 

  • Section 424 creates confusion about exemptions allowing polluters to more easily dump dredged or fill material into our waterways, destroying fish and wildlife habitat and flood storage capacity and degrading water quality downstream.
  • Section 433 would resurrect the Yazoo Backwater Pumps Project in Mississippi, essentially reversing the Bush administration's “veto” of this project and would lead to the unacceptable damage of 200,000 acres of ecologically-rich wetlands.
  • Section 434 would set a damaging precedent by exempting the Trump administration’s repeal of the Clean Water Rule from many requirements under the law.

 

Section 434 is especially radical. This provision aims to shield the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ repeal of the Clean Water Rule, which provides protections for the sources of drinking water of 117 million people, from public and legal scrutiny. This rider attempts to cut out the public’s ability to have a voice in the actions of their government and prevent court challenges to the Trump administration’s plan to allow polluters to dump into our waterways. If enacted, this rider would encourage the agencies to ignore Clean Water Act and Administrative Procedure Act requirements that they meaningfully consider public comment. It could also interfere with the court's’ ability to review if the repeal is “arbitrary or capricious.” 

 

It is hard to imagine a more undemocratic provision, especially when you consider that the Clean Water Rule was adopted after years of scientific research and public engagement. The water bodies at the center of the Clean Water Rule serve critical functions, including protecting the drinking water sources of one in three Americans, protecting essential fish and wildlife habitat necessary for a robust outdoor recreation economy, and providing critical ecosystem services such as water storage that can aid in protecting communities from flooding and drought. 

 

Additionally, the rider would create significant uncertainty around implementation, compliance, and enforcement of the Clean Water Act itself. It would allow the EPA and Army Corps to withdraw safeguards for waterways that clearly deserve to be protected from pollution, such as tributary streams, and leave many of them in a state of limbo. This would put our precious water bodies at risk of uncontrolled pollution, jeopardizing the clean water our children and grandchildren drink from and swim and play in.

Lastly, Section 434 could allow for numerous activities outside of the law from our governmental agencies by exempting the repeal from “any provision of statute or regulation that establishes a requirement for such withdrawal.” Taken at face value, this sweeping language could even allow the agencies to violate anti-corruption laws while withdrawing the Clean Water Rule.

Ultimately, this rider shows that the Trump administration’s allies in Congress recognize that the administration’s scheme to get rid of the Clean Water Rule and the drinking water protections it provides are unlawful.

In conclusion, we urge you to reject all policy riders attacking safeguards for the streams, wetlands, lakes, rivers, and other waters that our families, communities, and economy depend on, as well as broader attacks on our environment and public health. We want to reiterate our disappointment at seeing such politically-motivated attacks on important clean water safeguards in the underlying appropriations bill and urge you to remove these and all damaging, ideological provisions from any final spending legislation for Fiscal Year 2018.  

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

National Groups

Alaska Wilderness League

Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

American Rivers

American Sustainable Business Council

Center for Environmental Health

Clean Water Action

Defenders of Wildlife

Earthjustice

Earthworks

Elders Climate Action

Endangered Species Coalition

Environment America

Environmental Protection Network

Green For All

GreenLatinos

Greenpeace

Hip Hop Caucus

Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings

League of Conservation Voters

National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association

National Medical Association

National Parks Conservation Association

National Wildlife Federation

Natural Heritage Institute

Natural Resources Defense Council

Nature Abounds

New Progressive Alliance

Ocean River Institute

Physicians for Social Responsibility

PolicyLink

Power Shift Network

Progressive Congress Action Fund

Rachel Carson Council

River Network

Rural Coalition

Save EPA

Sierra Club

Upstream Policy

Waterkeeper Alliance

WE ACT for Environmental Justice

 

Regional Groups

Columbia Riverkeeper, Washington state and Oregon 

Environmental Law & Policy Center, Midwest

The Wetlands Initiative, Midwest

Freshwater Future, Great Lakes 

Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, Great Lakes

Friends of the St. Joe River Association, Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana

Gulf Restoration Network, Gulf Region

Lower Mississippi River Foundation, Lower Mississippi Region

Mississippi River Collaborative, states bordering Mississippi River

Southern Environmental Law Center, Southeastern US

Winyah Rivers Foundation, North and South Carolina

Citizens Campaign for the Environment, New York State and Connecticut

 

Local & State-based Groups

Alabama Rivers Alliance, Alabama 

Cahaba River Society, Birmingham, Alabama

Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Arkansas

Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers, Arkansas

California Coastkeeper Alliance, California

Community Water Center, Sacramento, California

Endangered Habitats League, Southern California

Erin Brockovich Foundation, Claremont, California

Friends of Harbors, Beaches, and Parks, Orange County, California

Friends of the River, California

Parents for a Safer Environment, California

Physicians for Social Responsibility, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, San Francisco, California San Francisco Baykeeper, Oakland, California

Save The Bay, Oakland, California

San Juan Citizens Alliance, Colorado

Tampa Bay Waterkeeper, Tampa Bay, Florida

Center for a Sustainable Coast, Saint Simons Island, Georgia

Bluestem Communications - Mississippi River Network, Chicago, Illinois

Committee on the Middle Fork Vermilion River, Urbana, Illinois

Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited, Illinois

Prairie Rivers Network, Illinois

Hoosier Environmental Council, Indiana

Indiana Wildlife Federation, Indianapolis, Indiana

Kentucky Waterways Alliance, Louisville, Kentucky

Louisiana Audubon Council, New Orleans, Louisiana

Friends of Casco Bay, South Portland, Maine

Natural Resources Council of Maine, Augusta, Maine

Maryland Chapter Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association, Maryland

Public Justice Center, Baltimore, Maryland

Charles River Watershed Association, Weston, Massachusetts 

Massachusetts Audubon, Lincoln, Massachusetts

Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, Massachusetts

Mystic River Watershed Association, Arlington, Massachusetts

Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America , Grand Rapids, Michigan

Pearl Riverkeeper, Madison, Mississippi

Minnesota Environnental Partnership, St. Paul, Minnesota

Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, Saint Louis, Missouri

Great Rivers Habitat Alliance, Saint Louis, Missouri

Clark Fork Coalition, Missoula, Montana

Montana Audubon, Helena, Montana

Montana Conservation Voters Education Fund, Montana

Montana Trout Unlimited, Montana

Montana Wildlife Federation, Montana

Nebraska Chapter - Sierra Club, Omaha, Nebraska

Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Waterkeeper, Clayton, New York

Izaak Walton League Central Ohio, Central Ohio

Oregon Environmental Council, Oregon

PennEnvironment, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

PennFuture, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Council of Churches, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Congaree Riverkeeper, Columbia, South Carolina

Edisto Riverkeeper, Aiken, South Carolina

Harpeth Conservancy, Brentwood, Tennessee

Tennessee Clean Water Network, Tennessee

Utah Rivers Council, Salt Lake City, Utah

Virginia Conservation Network, Richmond, Virginia

Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Richmond, Virginia

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Seattle, Washington

A.D. Sutherland Chapter-Izaak Walton League of America, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Superior Rivers Watershed Association, Ashland, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Division of the Izaak Walton League of America, Amherst Junction, Wisconsin Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Madison, Wisconsin

OVEC-Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Huntington, West Virginia

 

Public Comment 153: May 2018 - Idaho Dept. of Lands - Stop 3 Rail Bridges

May 9, 2018

Subj: Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad bridge expansion project (USACE Application No. NWW-2007-01202)

 

The New Progressive Alliance at http://www.newprogs.org/     urges you to reject BNSF’s proposal to build three new rail bridges in the Sand Creek/Lake Pend Oreille watershed.

Please consider the following adverse effects:

  • Lake Pend Oreille is the biggest fresh water Lake in Idaho. Lake Pend Oreille is Idaho’s largest and deepest lake. It is home to threatened bull trout and an entire ecosystem of aquatic life; the lake provides a regional drinking water source and is a major tourism asset. In 2017 alone, four trains derailed in this area near waterways. Just a single fossil fuel train derailment could damage and change Lake Pend Oreille forever.
  • Water quality – increased transport of hazardous materials through the watershed and the possibility of derailment into our local waterways threatens water quality.
  • Wildlife habitat – filling wetland and nearshore areas of the lake for additional bridge construction damages sensitive wildlife habitat beyond repair. The proposed project is within the range of bull trout and its critical habitat.
  • Traffic – increased train traffic flow through at-grade rail crossings may cause more traffic congestion, not less, as proposed by BNSF. Rail traffic is expected to increase to 114 trains per day (from 58 per day now) by 2025.
  • Emergency response – increased train traffic flow through at-grade rail crossings may cause emergency response delays.
  • Noise – increased train traffic may result in more whistle-related noise pollution at and around rail crossings.
  • Economy – increased train traffic may impact local businesses, property values, aesthetics and the tourism industry.

 

The proposal is to build three new rail bridges in the Sand Creek/Lake Pend Oreille watershed and the record on transportation of fossil fuels is not good. We should not be expanding unsafe fuel transportation with pipelines, trains, and other devices. (See reference 536. For a list of pipeline accidents since 2000 see reference 3296.) There has been a huge expansion in pipelines and dangerous fuel transportation by rail and truck.

For verification see  references 7, 8, 11, 13, 18, 19, 24, 31, 47, 55, 57, 62, 138, 154, 165, 214, 304, 310, 319, 331, 335, 337, 338, 341, 381, 383, 384, 395, 427, 447, 457, 487, 501, 508, 510, 512, 530, 536, 538, 539, 543, 548, 549, 566, 567, 568 - 574, 577, 578, 586 - 588, 596 - 598, 605, 606, 640, 721 - 724, 734 - 736, 778 - 780, 784, 849 - 855, 891, 974 - 981, 1081, 1082 - 1093, 1120, 1204 - 1212, 1354, 1389 - 1430, 1564-1565, 1603-1619, 1695-1697, 1734-1737, 1742, 1743, 1775, 1792-1809, 1978-1986, 2155-2175, 2242, 2251, 2320, 2459-2468, 2575-2579, 2812, 2825-2834, 2987-2989, 3175, 3189, 3231, 3284-3315, 3494-3496, 3882-3887, 3916, 3917 of this article “The Environment” located at: http://www.newprogs.org/the_environment_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty

The proposed project involving three bridges encourages rail activity with cumulative impacts that affect communities far beyond Sandpoint, Bonner County and North Idaho.  The New Progressive Alliance urges you to reject BNSF’s proposal to build three new rail bridges in the Sand Creek/Lake Pend Oreille watershed.

 

Public Comment 154: May 2018 - USCG - Stop 3 Rail Bridges

May 8, 2018

The Honorable Steven M. Fischer

Thirteenth Coast Guard District

915 2nd Ave., Rm 3510

Seattle, WA 98174

 

Email: D13-PF-D13BRIDGES@uscg.mil

 

Subj: needed Environmental Impact Statement for Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad bridge expansion project (USACE Application No. NWW-2007-01202)

Dear Mr. Fischer:

The New Progressive Alliance at http://newprogs.org/  urges you to require an Environmental Impact Statement rather than merely an Environmental Assessment for BNSF’s proposal to build three new rail bridges in the Sand Creek/Lake Pend Oreille watershed.

The National Environmental Policy Act requires an Environmental Impact Statement for actions "significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." An Environmental Assessment usually finds that no significant impact is likely and approves the action.

Clearly this calls for an Environmental Impact Statement.  Lake Pend Oreille is the biggest fresh water Lake in Idaho. Lake Pend Oreille is Idaho’s largest and deepest lake. It is home to threatened bull trout and an entire ecosystem of aquatic life; the lake provides a regional drinking water source and is a major tourism asset. In 2017 alone, four trains derailed in this area near waterways. Just a single fossil fuel train derailment could damage and change Lake Pend Oreille forever.

The proposal is to build three new rail bridges in the Sand Creek/Lake Pend Oreille watershed and the record on transportation of fossil fuels is not good. We should not be expanding  unsafe fuel transportation with pipelines, trains, and other devices. (See reference 536. For a list of pipeline accidents since 2000 see reference 3296.) There has been a huge expansion in pipelines and dangerous fuel transportation by rail and truck.

For verification see  references 7, 8, 11, 13, 18, 19, 24, 31, 47, 55, 57, 62, 138, 154, 165, 214, 304, 310, 319, 331, 335, 337, 338, 341, 381, 383, 384, 395, 427, 447, 457, 487, 501, 508, 510, 512, 530, 536, 538, 539, 543, 548, 549, 566, 567, 568 - 574, 577, 578, 586 - 588, 596 - 598, 605, 606, 640, 721 - 724, 734 - 736, 778 - 780, 784, 849 - 855, 891, 974 - 981, 1081, 1082 - 1093, 1120, 1204 - 1212, 1354, 1389 - 1430, 1564-1565, 1603-1619, 1695-1697, 1734-1737, 1742, 1743, 1775, 1792-1809, 1978-1986, 2155-2175, 2242, 2251, 2320, 2459-2468, 2575-2579, 2812, 2825-2834, 2987-2989, 3175, 3189, 3231, 3284-3315, 3494-3496, 3882-3887, 3916, 3917 of this article “The Environment” located at: http://www.newprogs.org/the_environment_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty

The following adverse effects should also be considered.

  • Water quality – increased transport of hazardous materials through the watershed and the possibility of derailment into our local waterways threatens water quality.
  • Wildlife habitat – filling wetland and nearshore areas of the lake for additional bridge construction damages sensitive wildlife habitat beyond repair. The proposed project is within the range of bull trout and its critical habitat.
  • Traffic – increased train traffic flow through at-grade rail crossings may cause more traffic congestion, not less, as proposed by BNSF. Rail traffic is expected to increase to 114 trains per day (from 58 per day now) by 2025.
  • Emergency response – increased train traffic flow through at-grade rail crossings may cause emergency response delays.
  • Noise – increased train traffic may result in more whistle-related noise pollution at and around rail crossings.
  • Economy – increased train traffic may impact local businesses, property values, aesthetics and the tourism industry.

 

The proposed project involving three bridges encourages rail activity with cumulative impacts that affect communities far beyond Sandpoint, Bonner County and North Idaho. All of these adverse impacts need to be thoroughly evaluated through an Environmental Impact Statement. The New Progressive Alliance urges you to follow the National Environmental Policy Act and require an Environmental Impact Statement.

 

Public Comment 155: May 2018 - Support CA Disclosure AB2188

May 2018

The Honorable Marc Berman Chair, Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee State Capitol, Room 5135 Sacramento, CA 95814

 

Cc: The Honorable Kevin Mullin and other Members of the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee

 

RE:  AB 2188, the Social Media DISCLOSE Act (Mullin) – Support

Dear Assemblymember Berman:

The organizations listed below are pleased to support AB 2188, the Social Media DISCLOSE Act.

An estimated $1.4 billion was spent on online political advertising nationally in 2016 (per Borrell Associates), an astounding 789% increase from 2012.  Nearly $600 million of it went to social media ads.  Virtually none of them disclosed who paid for them, including at least $100,000 in Facebook ads by Russian entities.

The congressional Honest Ads Act (S. 1989), introduced with bipartisan support and endorsed by both Facebook and Twitter, is an important response to this threat and lack of transparency because it requires online platforms to display disclosures on political ads and to provide a publicly available database of all such ads.  But it applies to only federal elections and requires only the name of the committee or person paying for the ad, not any of its top funders.

AB 2188 is a California version of the Honest Ads Act that applies to California elections and that will have a significantly greater impact because it leverages last year's California DISCLOSE Act (AB 249), now law, by requiring the paying committee to clearly list its top three funders.

AB 2188 will:

 Require online platforms such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter to include a “Who funded this ad?” or “Paid for by” link, next to their “Promoted” or “Sponsored” label, that will take viewers to the committee’s profile page on the platform or to a website with AB 249’s required disclosure information.

 Require committee profile pages on social media platforms to display their AB 249 top three contributor disclosure in the top cover photo where viewers can easily see it after clicking “Who funded this ad?”

 Require social media platforms to keep a publicly accessible database of the political ads that committees pay for, and to include a link or tab on the profile page of any committee that pays for an ad on the platform for voters to view, similar to the Honest Ads Act’s requirements.

AB 2188 is a simple yet powerful extension of last year’s AB 249.  AB 249 already requires electronic media ads to include a “Who funded this ad?” link to a website with the required top three contributor disclosure. Technically, however, ads on social media and some online platforms like Google ads do not make this possible.  

AB 2188 is a direct analog of the bipartisan Honest Ads Act for California elections, and also provides significantly more information to voters because it links to existing AB 249 requirements that social media profile pages clearly list their top 3 funders, with ballot measure ads required to use AB 249’s nation-leading earmarking rules to show the true funders even if they try to hide behind front groups.

Californians are crying out for this kind of disclosure.  More than 100,000 Californians signed petitions for the California DISCLOSE Act last year.  AB 249 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses.

This strong support for disclosure extends to political ads on social media platforms.  A February 2018 poll of 617 likely California voters by the California Clean Money Campaign found that 73% of California voters favored “requiring social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to provide on political advertisements a clear link to a page with their top true funders”.  Support was overwhelming across the board, with 81% of Democrats, 68% of Republicans, and 76% of independents in support.

AB 2188 closes the current disclosure loophole for online platforms to provide Californians the information they want and need about who's funding social media political ads which skyrocket in importance every election.

For these reasons, the organizations listed below respectfully SUPPORT AB 2188 and request your AYE vote.

 

Public Comment 156: May 2018 - Congress Oppose Ideological Extreme Riders

May 17, 2018

Dear Members of Congress,

As a part of the Clean Budget Coalition, we, the undersigned organizations write to ask you to oppose any FY 2019 appropriations measures which include ideological poison pill policy riders.

Time and time again, members of Congress attempt to quietly slip in special interest wish list items that couldn’t pass as standalone legislation into must-pass funding packages as poison pill riders.

Appropriations bills must not be misused to undermine essential safeguards. Slipping unrelated and damaging issues into must-pass appropriations bills as a means to win approval is a dangerous strategy for the public.

Poison pill riders are unpopular and damaging, and the public opposes using them to roll back public protections. The American people support policies to:

  • Restrain Wall Street abuses;
  • Ensure safe and healthy food and products;
  • Secure our air, land, water and wildlife;
  • Safeguard fair and safe workplaces;
  • Guard against consumer rip-offs and corporate wrongdoing;
  • Defend our campaign finance and election systems;
  • Provide access to justice and fair housing;
  • Protect civil rights; and
  • Guarantee continued access to vital health care services including reproductive health care, and more.

This year, in addition to threatening the budget process with harmful riders, the White House proposed rescissions that would claw back funds already appropriated in past spending packages — reneging on bipartisan agreements, where the latest took more than 15 months to pass. Like poison pill riders, rescissions cater to ideological extremists, represent a breach of regular order and threaten Congress’ ability to reach bipartisan spending agreements.

We urge Members of Congress to oppose the White House rescissions package, to abide by the funding numbers agreed upon in that deal to fund the essential programs our nation needs for FY19, and to reject any flawed spending measures that includes poison pill policy riders.

Sincerely,

National Groups
Action on Smoking and Health
AFL-CIO
AFSCME
Alaska Wilderness League
American Association for Justice
American Federation of Teachers
Americans for Financial Reform
Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Black Women’s Health Imperative
Center for Reproductive Rights
Clean Water Action
Coalition on Human Needs
Common Cause
Communications Workers of America (CWA)
Compassion & Choices
Consumer Federation of America
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Democracy 21
Earthjustice
Endangered Species Coalition
Farmworker Justice
Friends of the Earth – US
Hip Hop Caucus
Hispanic Federation
Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings
Impact Fund
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW
Jewish Women International
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
League of Conservation Voters
League of Women Voters of the United States
Main Street Alliance
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Association for College Admission Counseling
National Association of Consumer Advocates
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Council of Jewish Women
National Education Association
National Employment Law Project
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
National Low Income Housing Coalition
National Women’s Health Network
National Women’s Law Center
Natural Resources Defense Council
New Progressive Alliance
Oceana
PAI
People For the American Way
PLACE
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Population Institute
Power Shift Network
Protect All Children’s Environment
Public Citizen
Public Knowledge
Rachel Carson Council
Restore America’s Estuaries
Safe Climate Campaign
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Sierra Club
The Arc of the United States
The Wilderness Society
U.S. PIRG
Union of Concerned Scientists
Voices for Progress
Workplace Fairness
Young Invincibles

State Groups
Hispanic Federation, Connecticut
Hispanic Federation, Florida
New Jersey Association on Correction, New Jersey
Public Justice Center, Maryland
Save Our Sky Blue Waters, Minnesota

 

Public Comment 157: May 2018 - Canada Stop Kinder Morgan Pipeline

May 19, 2018

 

Canadian Consulate General
1501 Fourth Avenue, Suite 600
Seattle, WA 98101-4328
United States

seatl@international.gc.ca 

Dear Honorable Ambassador,

The New Progressive Alliance with members in both Canada and the United States at http://newprogs.org/  urges the Canadian government immediately withdraw support for the Kinder Morgan pipeline in British Columbia. With the very unfortunate current policies of the United States, it is more important than ever for Canada to set a good example for us.

The Canadian tar sands are one of the largest and dirtiest pools of carbon on the planet. New pipelines like Kinder Morgan would allow for massive expansion of tar sands. This is an unacceptable risk for most of the world.

Climate Change and results already being felt are not a matter for controversy among the overwhelming majority of published credentialed scientists in the field. The danger is if we reach certain tipping points then we will not be able to recover. This will be disastrous for future generations. Climate Change is a matter of weather and physics. Politicians, rich people, the failure of people to believe, or government charades pretending to do something will have no effect. If we fail then future generations will likely judge us by this issue more than any other.

There is a huge cost to using fossil fuels because of climate change and the resulting damage to the economy, increased health costs, and environmental damage which is paid for by the government rather than fossil fuel industries. 

There is also a huge cost to using fossil fuels because of fossil fuel subsidies which far exceed renewable energy subsidies.   Worldwide global subsidies are $5.3 trillion dollars (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to 10 million dollars a minute, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund. The $5.3 trillion dollar subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. (see reference 2507 and those below) The costs to the United States alone is between ten and fifty two billion dollars a year and does not include health costs mentioned below as externalities.

These subsidies include tax breaks, incentives for production on federal lands (such as royalty fees that haven't been adjusted in 25 years) and tax deductions for clean-up costs. If state subsidies for oil, gas and coal production are also included, the total value climbs to $21.6 billion for 2013. It is estimated that the world will spend an extra $8 trillion over the next 25 years to prolong the use of non-renewable resources, an estimate that may be way too conservative in light of the IMF's estimate of 5.3 trillion dollars in 2015 alone mentioned above. One study showed the world wide costs for fossil fuel subsidies to be 5 trillion dollars a year and 6.5% of the Global Domestic Product. (See reference 3796.) That cost would be completely eliminated by eventually transitioning instead to 100% renewable energy. (100% renewable energy is technically feasible. See below "We Can Do It If We Want To.")

More than just the costs of massively subsidizing the failed fossil fuel business model is involved. There are also externalities - such as healthcare costs due to pollution, government guaranteed loans, environmental destruction through mountaintop removal for coal, tar sands oil drilling, fracking for natural gas, and wars for oil and uranium.  Also consistently ignored is the price for adjusting to the effects of global climate change - even if possible - is far greater than the cost of stopping global warming at this stage. What we have now is private profit and public risk with the tax payers picking up the tab.

Unlike the climbing costs of fossil fuels, the cost of renewable energy is declining and has been for decades. One should compare the total costs of fossil fuels with the total costs of renewable energy. Documentation for both the costs of using fossil fuels, externalities, and fossil fuel subsidies are below.

Documentation of climate change and the world wide costs are below. The New Progressive Alliance hopes that Canada will do the right thing by denying the Kinder Morgan pipeline and continue to provide the good example the United States needs.

 

Sincerely,

 

New Progressive Alliance

 

The below references are all in the article “The Environment” at http://www.newprogs.org/the_environment_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty

For documentation of climate change see references 10, 17, 32, 64, 78, 79, 81, 85, 88, 93 - 95, 102, 105, 107, 110, 113, 119, 122, 127, 128, 130, 144, 146, 152, 164, 170 - 172, 176, 177, 182, 185, 186, 204 - 206, 208 - 210, 221, 225, 228, 234, 246, 255, 272, 297, 311, 312, 317, 318, 322, 333, 335, 336, 343, 349, 357, 362, 368, 387, 391, 392, 394, 399, 400, 403, 413, 415, 417 - 419, 426, 440, 441 - 444, 455, 460, 464 - 467, 499, 502, 503, 505, 509, 511, 527, 532, 537, 550, 577, 578, 581, 592, 594, 600, 601, 634, 635, 650 - 652, 653 - 664, 666, 667, 690, 707 - 710, 750 - 760, 776, 801 - 808, 829, 840 - 842, 883 - 899, 1009 - 1023, 1122, 1123, 1124, 1125 - 1155, 1174, 1198, 1199, 1200 - 1202, 1213, 1215, 1238 - 1290, 1472-1524, 1652, 1664-1665, 1671-1682, 1715-1721, 1746-1771, 1851-1896, 2015, 2043-2089, 2123, 2152-2154, 2177, 2193, 2205-2223, 2250, 2267, 2302, 2325-2381, 2419, 2224-2539, 2574, 2598, 2626, 2636-2700, 2741, 2998-3142, 3179, 3210, 3274, 3350-3359, 3378-3435, 3450, 3451, 3516-3519, 3539, 3578, 3611-3772, 3895, 3897, 3898, 3902-3905, 3907, 3908, 3909, and 3915.

For documentation of the costs we face by not responding to climate change see references 146, 725, 762, 771 - 775, 809 - 812, 832, 875, 900 - 904, 1013, 1037 - 1039, 1128, 1157, 1158, 1201, 1313 - 1325, 1479, 1480, 1530, 1533-1551, 1585, 1631, 1666, 1683-1684, 1725-1727, 1752, 1772-1778, 1788, 1813-1824, 1833-1834, 1836-1837, 1906-1907, 1961, 1966-1968, 2053, 2104-2121, 2140, 2180, 2222, 2227-2234, 2248, 2309,2329, 2335, 2336, 2389-2392, 2394, 2395, 2399-2412, 2420, 2425, 2460, 2487, 2506-2512, 2526-2529, 2551-2554, 2598, 2600, 2642-2653, 2679, 2688, 2695, 2717-2719, 2739-2753, 2762, 2901-2905, 2939, 2944, 2964, 3001, 3030-3051, 3087, 3088, 3143, 3145, 3152, 3153, 3159, 3161, 3176, 3180-3208, 3316, 3352-3355, 3378-3402, 3437-3449, 3461, 3503, 3519, 3520, 3545-3547, 3599, 3633-3710, 3780-3846, 3875, 3896, 3897, 3902, 3903, and 3908.

 

Public Comment 158: May 2018 - Congress Oppose Recessions and 15.3 Billion Dollar Cuts

May 22, 2018

 

Dear Representative/Senator:

 

The undersigned 151 national organizations strongly urge you to reject the $15.3 billion rescissions package proposed by the Trump Administration as well as other rescissions messages that may be

subsequently offered. These cuts would violate the agreement enacted in the Bipartisan Budget Act by eliminating funds that make fairer levels of domestic appropriations possible, so that unmet needs in public health, education, job training, housing, and other essential areas may be addressed.

 

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is targeted for nearly half the cuts in the rescissions package. Nearly $2 billion of the rescinded funds could reduce CHIP’s capacity to respond if enrollment unexpectedly rises, as in the aftermath of a disaster, large layoffs due to plant closures, or an overall economic slowdown. Congress just enacted a long-overdue 10-year reauthorization of CHIP; it should not undermine that bipartisan agreement by tampering with CHIP in this package.

 

Another $5 billion would renege on the two-year Bipartisan Budget Act agreement, which in part counted on the availability of unspent CHIP funds to pay for needed increases in other services of importance to children and families.

 

The rescissions package also includes an $800 million cut to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, a program which according to the Congressional Budget Office will save $3 for every $1 spent between 2017 and 2026. It makes no sense to end such a cost-effective investment. Nor does it make sense to describe this package of cuts as putting “...our Nation on a sustainable fiscal path” when the recently enacted tax cuts, mainly for the wealthy and corporations, impose a $2 trillion cost.

 

Congress made important progress in the FY 2018 Omnibus appropriations bill because its bipartisan agreement allowed for increases in child care, opioid treatment, and other services. Congress should now turn its attention to building on this progress in FY 2019. Reneging on these hard-won bipartisan agreements now will make further gains extremely difficult. With the limited number of legislative days before you, please do not be distracted by undoing past progress.

 

We cannot emphasize enough that basic needs programs have lost ground after years of reductions, making it extremely important that you do not undermine the agreement to start to reverse these downward trends. Adult and youth job training has been cut nearly 15 percent since FY 2010, adjusted for inflation. If we are serious about helping people to get good jobs, we must undo these cuts. Many other services need rebuilding, such as home heating and cooling assistance (cut nearly 38 percent since FY 2010), juvenile justice programs (cut more than 40 percent), maternal and child health programs (cut 14 percent), and special education funding (cut between 7and 11 percent since FY 2010). In an analysis of more than 180 human needs programs, the Coalition on Human Needs found that nearly 70 percent are still at lower levels than in FY 2010.

 

Please reject this rescissions package, and turn instead to your real responsibility: to provide adequate resources to address the unmet needs for education and training, child care, housing, health care, and other essential services.

 

Sincerely,

 

Action on Smoking and Health

ADAP Advocacy Association

Advance CTE

African American Health Alliance

AFSCME

AIDS United

Allied Progress

American Association of People with Disabilities

American Association on Health and Disability

American Federation of Teachers

Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice -AAJC

Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges

Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs

Autism Society of America

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Bend the Arc Jewish Action

CAEAR Coalition

Campaign for Youth

Justice

Center for Community Change Action

Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO)

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Center for Popular Democracy Action

Center for Public Representation

Ceres Policy Research

Child Care Aware of America

Child Welfare League of America

Children's Defense Fund

Children's Leadership Council

Children’s Advocacy Institute

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

Coalition for Health Funding

Coalition for Juvenile Justice

Coalition on Human Needs

Community Access National Network (CANN)

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces

Council on Social Work Education

Disciples Center for Public Witness

Dominican Sisters Conference

Dominican Sisters of Peace

Ecumenical Poverty Initiative

Equal Rights Advocates

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Every Child Matters

Faith in Public Life

Families USA

Family Focused Treatment Association

Food & Water Watch

Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)

Forum for Youth Investment

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Friends of the Earth -US

Girls Inc.

Grounded Solutions Network

Health Care for America Now

Healthy Teen Network

HEAR US Inc.

Hispanic Federation

HIV Medicine Association

Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, USA-JPIC

Housing Works, Inc.

International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America,

UAW

Justice in Aging

Lakeshore Foundation

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

League of Women Voters of the United States

LIFT

Main Street Alliance

Mom2Mom Global

MomsRising

NAACP

NARAL Pro-Choice America

National Action Network

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Alliance of HUD Tenants

National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities

National Association of Counsel for Children

National Association of Regional Councils

National Association of Social Workers

National Association of State Head Injury Administrators

National Association for Bilingual Education

National Black Justice Coalition

National Coalitionfor the Homeless

National Coalition of STD Directors

National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low income clients)

National Council of Jewish Women

National Crittenton

National Disability Institute

National Domestic Workers Alliance

National Education Association

National Employment Law Project

National Employment Lawyers Association

National Housing Trust

National Indian Education Association

National Juvenile Justice Network

National Low Income Housing Coalition

National Network for Youth

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Organization for Women

National Urban League

National WIC Association

National Women's Health Network

National Women's Law Center

New Progressive Alliance

North American Passionists, JPIC

People Demanding Action

People For the American Way

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Poligon Education Fund

Provincial Council Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians)

Public Advocacy for Kids

Public Citizen

Rachel Carson Council

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition

Raising Women's Voices for the Health Care We Need

RESULTS

Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition

Safer Foundation

School Social Work Association of America

Service Employees International Union

Sinsinawa Dominicans

Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Western Province Leadership

Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sisters of Mercy South Central Community

SocioEnergetics Foundation

Somerset Development Company

SparkAction

StoptheDrugWar.org

Strategies for Youth, Inc.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy

The Arc of the United States

The Children’s Partnership

The John Leary Organization

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The United Methodist Church -General Board of Church and Society

Transportation Learning Center

Treatment Action Group

Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance

UnidosUS

United Church of Christ

United Methodist Women

Voices for Progress

  1. Haywood Burns Institute

WildWest Institute

Woodhull Freedom Foundation

Woodstock Institute

Workplace Fairness

Young Invincibles

Youth Service America

YWCA USA

ZERO TO THREE

 

 

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