Conservation Legislation — & How You Can Act!

There’s a lot of wreckage these days in congress, and that’s slowly working it’s way toward destroying our public lands. Flint may well be the future for all of us; at the rate these bills are going, seems like bad water might be the best we can hope for.

I’ll use the list below to keep track of various pieces of conservation, natural resource, and environmental legislation, as well as action items for each as I know of them. If I’m missing anything, or you have updates, etc, to offer, please let me know. [Most recent edits: February 13th, 2017.]

Awaiting Presidential Signature:

House Joint Resolution #38: Sponsored by Bill Johnson (R, OH), HJR 38 repeals the Stream Protection Rule signed into law by President Obama, and which protected water quality in coal communities. HJR 38 has passed both the House and the Senate and is awaiting President Trump’s signature. ACTION: Call your senators and representatives to voice your disappointment — this is a major loss for water quality and environmental protection.

In the Senate:

Senate Joint Resolution #11: Sponsored by John Barrasso (R, WY) on January 30th, SJR 11 strips air quality protections. SJR 11 is currently before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. ACTION: Call your senators to voice your concerns and opposition — this is a bad bill, both for immediate quality of life and for long-term health, and making sure it doesn’t go anywhere should be a matter of common sense.

Senate Joint Resolution #18: Sponsored by Dan Sullivan (R, AK), SJR 18 (the same bill as HJR 69, below) would strip protections for vulnerable wildlife (including grizzly and wolf cubs). The bill is currently in front of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. ACTION: You may try calling Sullivan directly, but more effective actions may include calling members of the committee as well as your representatives to voice your concerns.

House Joint Resolution #36: Sponsored by Rob Bishop (R, UT), HJR 36 repeals the BLM Methane Rule signed into law by President Obama, and which protected communities from excess methane pollution. The House passed HJR 36 by a 221–191 vote February 3rd. ACTION: HJR 36 next goes to the Senate, though a vote has not yet been set. Call your senators to voice your concerns and opposition — this is a bad bill, both for climate change and for communities, and actually makes businesses less efficient.

Cabinet Appointment: Scott Pruitt, Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt made it through committee when, after Democrats boycotted, Republicans pushed him through anyway. He’s now awaiting a senate vote, and is likely to be confirmed, but Pruitt has a long history of industry favoritism, has said that he favors deregulation, and doesn’t believe the EPA should need to enforce regulation. Oh, and he thinks climate change is “a religious belief.” ACTION: Call your senators, and demand they vote NAY on Pruitt.

Cabinet Appointment: Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior. Zinke has said he believes states should control public lands, has questioned forest service jurisdiction, and has dubious connections to big money and coal. Zinke passed committee, and is awaiting a senate vote. ACTION: Call your senators, and demand they vote NAY on Zinke.

In the House:

On the floor:

None currently.

In committee:

House Joint Resolution #46: Sponsored by Paul Gosar (R, AZ), HJR 46 paves the way for drilling in national parks and monuments. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources on January 30th. ACTION: You can call Gosar directly ((202) 225–2315) or fax ((202)226–9739; consider faxzero.com for free faxes), but more effective actions may include calling members of the committee as well as your representatives to voice your concerns.

House Joint Resolution #52: Sponsored by Dan Newhouse (R, WA), HJR 52 would roll back Fish and Wildlife mitigation policy, thereby lessening at-risk species conservation protections. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources on January 31st. ACTION: You may call Newhouse directly ((202) 225–5816), but more effective actions may include calling members of the committee as well as your representatives to voice your concerns.

SCHEDULED FOR A VOTE THIS WEEK!
House Joint Resolution #69: Sponsored by Don Young (R, AK), HJR 69 would strip protections for vulnerable wildlife (including grizzly and wolf cubs). The bill is currently in front of the House Committee on Natural Resources. ACTION: You may try calling Young directly, but more effective actions may include calling members of the committee as well as your representatives to voice your concerns.

House Resolution #520: Sponsored by Mark Amodei (R, NV) and introduced January 13th, the bill is currently in front of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and allow new mining projects in National Forests. ACTION: You may call Amodei directly ((202) 225–6155), but more effective actions may include calling members of the committee as well as your representatives to voice your concerns.

House Resolution #622: Sponsored by Jason Chaffetz (R, UT) and introduced January 24th, Chaffetz has not yet taken this bill, which would strip the law enforcement powers of USFS and BLM rangers and much more, off the table (unlike HR #621, which he did table). The bill has been referred to both the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Agriculture. ACTION: You can call Chaffetz directly ((202) 225–7751) or fax ((202) 225–5629; consider faxzero.com for free faxes), but more effective actions may include calling members of each of the committees as well as your representatives to voice your concerns.

House Resolution #637: Sponsored by Gary Palmer (R, AL), the “Stopping EPA Overreach Bill of 2017” (as Palmer has titled it) would bar ANY federal agency from regulating greenhouse gases, and would restrict the Clean Air Act, ESA, NEPA, Fed Water Pollution Control Act, and Solid Waste Disposal Act from imposing regulations on climate change. Climate change isn’t going to magically go away, which is what this bill presumes. The bill, introduced January 24th, is currently before several of the house committees. ACTION: You can call Palmer directly ((202) 225–4921), but more effective actions may include calling members of each of the committees as well as your representatives to voice your concerns.

House Resolution #861: Sponsored by Matt Gaetz (R, FL) and introduced February 3rd, this bill proposes to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency. While this could be a smokescreen designed to make Pruitt (see below) appear more palatable, the bill is still before several committees, and you should take action. ACTION: Call your representatives to voice your concern, and urge them to ensure this bill doesn’t progress to a floor vote.

House Resolution #1030: Originally sponsored by Lamar Smith (R, TX) and introduced in 2015, Republicans are trying to get this bill, deceptively titled “Secret Science Reform Act of 2015,” going again. A careful reading of the bill shows that it would prevent the EPA from using many of the best scientific studies; it would also prohibit using studies of one-time events, such as the Gulf oil spill or the effect of a partial ban of chlorpyrifos on children, which fueled the EPA’s decision to eliminate all agricultural uses of the pesticide, because these events — and thus the studies of them — can’t be repeated. ACTION: ACTION: Call your representatives to voice your concern, and urge them to ensure this bill doesn’t progress beyond the current committee hearing.

Tabled, courtesy your actions:

House Resolution #621: Sponsored by Jason Chaffetz (R, UT) and introduced January 24th, Chaffetz has since said this bill has been tabled — which is good, because it would have sold off up to 3.3 million acres of public land for private use.

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Anything I’m missing? Let me know — I’ll gladly make additions. Let’s work together to support our public lands and beautiful outdoor spaces, as well as clean air and water!

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