Thursday, March 4, 2010

March 4 Environmental Roundup from FRIENDS OF THE EARTH



Friends of the Earth
Environmental Roundup: March 4, 2010
The Dirty Truth of Canada's Tar Sands
In Canada's tar sands, giant oil corporations are turning huge tracts of the pristine Boreal Forest into a wasteland of open pit mines, smoke stacks and toxic ponds -- and indigenous communities living downstream are being poisoned in the process. We used the attention trained on Canada's Olympics to expose Big Oil's dirty track record in the tar sands and launch our campaign to stop a new pipeline, the Keystone XL, which would pump more tar sands oil into the United States. President Obama has the power to deny the permit for this new pipeline. And Friends of the Earth activists have already sent nearly 10,000 letters calling on the president to do just that.
New Attack on the Clean Air Act
The Clean Air Act -- the most potent existing tool to cut climate-warming pollution -- is again under attack. Last month Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced a resolution aimed at prohibiting the Clean Air Act from being used to fight global warming.

Today, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) is sponsoring similar legislation because he is under the misguided impression that helping the dirty coal industry is good for his state (where mountaintops are regularly blown to pieces). Sen. Rockefeller's bill would prevent the EPA from enforcing the Clean Air Act for two years. We've seen this show before. Once "temporary" rollbacks are put in place, they often become permanent.

Click here to send your senators a message asking them to OPPOSE the Rockefeller bill.
Stopping President Obama's Nuclear Bailout
On February 16, President Obama moved forward with a pre-emptive bailout of the nuclear industry, announcing an $8 billion taxpayer-backed loan guarantee to build two new reactors in Georgia. Our policy experts have been hard at work highlighting how these risky new loan guarantees are a bad deal for taxpayers and a step backwards from the clean energy future we need. And we've gotten this message out in top media outlets and with new TV ads.
Today, the South Carolina Supreme Court will hear Friends of the Earth's potentially precedent-setting challenge against a new reactor project in that state that is a prime candidate for the next bailout award. Our appeal could overturn a law that forces the state's citizens to pay up front for nuclear reactors, even if construction is abandoned. Read more about our nuclear campaign.
Who Owns Your Genes?
Did you know that around 20 percent of the human genome has been patented? It's shocking, but corporations can patent -- and get the sole rights to study and test -- the very genetic material that shapes our personality, our appearance and the diseases we are more prone to develop. This corporate control over our genes has serious public health consequences: it suppresses scientific innovation and limits patients' access to potentially life-saving screenings. Read more about gene patenting and how we're fighting back.

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As Jim Hightower explains it, is that “the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans possess more net worth today than the bottom 90 percent of us combined. Worse, these privileged few and their political henchmen have structured a new economic ‘normal’ of long-term joblessness, low wages, no benefits or worker rights, miserly public services, and a steadily widening chasm between the rich and the rest of us.” We must restore sanity to this nation.