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Great Lakes Article:

NRDC's EARTH ACTION: The Bulletin for Environmental Activists



In This Issue:


--Action Alerts--


1. AIR POLLUTION: Speak out to stop the Bush administration from gutting the Clean Air Act


2. ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION: Urge your senators to strengthen environmental provisions in this year's farm bill



You will also find these alerts in NRDC'S Earth Action Center, which includes tools for taking action easily online, at


(Please do not reply to this message; see the instructions below for how to unsubscribe or contact NRDC with questions or comments.)



Action Alerts




Speak out to stop the Bush administration from gutting the Clean Air Act


In our last alert we asked you to call the White House and urge the Bush administration not to weaken the Clean Air Act. The White House reportedly received thousands of calls (thank you!), but the administration is nevertheless about to launch the largest assault on the Clean Air Act in over thirty years. In response to pressure from the nation's worst polluters -- which, not coincidentally, are its largest campaign contributors -- the administration is poised to carve gaping loopholes into a key part of the Clean Air Act that would result in thousands of premature deaths, tens of thousands of new cases of serious illness and birth defects, and the loss of scenic vistas, pristine lakes, and healthy forests.


The "New Source Review" program under the Clean Air Act requires approximately 17,000 of the nation's oldest and dirtiest power plants, oil refineries, and other industrial facilities to install up-to-date pollution control devices whenever they significantly increase their air pollution. The rules are responsible for eliminating and preventing the release of millions of tons of harmful pollutants into the air that we breathe.


For years, though, big polluters have been lobbying to weaken the NSR rules with new loopholes and rule relaxations, to relieve themselves of the responsibility to clean up their own pollution. These exemptions would not only violate the Clean Air Act, they would also allow the nation's dirtiest plants to indefinitely spew pollution at levels that have not been considered acceptable in decades. In fact, many plants would actually be able to *increase* pollution dramatically under the loopholes without cleaning up.


== What to do ==

Send a message to EPA administrator Christie Whitman urging her agency not to weaken the New Source Review rules of the Clean Air Act.


== Contact information == You can send a message to EPA administrator Whitman directly from NRDC's Earth Action Center at Or use the contact information and sample letter below to send your own message, and feel free to add your own reasons why you don't want more pollution in the air you breathe.


Administrator Christie Whitman U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20460 Fax: 202-501-1450



== Sample letter ==


Subject: Don't weaken New Source Review rules


Dear Administrator Whitman,


I am deeply concerned that the Bush administration is on the verge of weakening the Clean Air Act's New Source Review program. The regulations comprising that program protect the health of my family and their natural environment. Because the NSR rules cannot be changed without your approval, I am asking you to withhold your signature from any new rule or proposal that would weaken the air quality protections and pollution clean-up measures required by NSR.


The NSR program requires that the nation's approximately 17,000 power plants, oil refineries and other major industrial facilities install up-to-date pollution control devices whenever plant modifications significantly increase air pollution. In the years since it was enacted, NSR has been responsible for eliminating and preventing the release of millions of tons of harmful pollutants into the air. The NSR program protects local, regional and national air quality, public health, and national parks and other beautiful places. If the Bush administration caves in to industry pressure, the result may be harm to the health of my family and community, in addition to hazy vistas, dead lakes, and poisoned forests where we seek natural beauty and recreation.


More than 140 million Americans already live in areas with unhealthy air. EPA should be committed to improving air quality and strengthening protections, not rolling back those already in place. State and local air regulators across the country have already taken a stand against the NSR rollbacks. Please stand with them for protections for public health and the environment, not the big polluters, and refuse to sign any measure or support any effort that would weaken the New Source Review program.




[Your name and address]



Urge your senators to strengthen environmental provisions in this year's farm bill


In late November 2001, we asked you to contact your senators about environmentally harmful provisions in the farm bill (S. 1731). Although deep disagreements in certain areas prevented the bill from coming to a floor vote in 2001, party leaders have announced they intend to work together to try again, and the bill is scheduled to be on the Senate floor within the next week.


While the current version of the bill contains increased funding for farm conservation and clean energy programs and strengthens environmental protections for farm and rural properties, the bill still contains several troubling provisions. The bill would make new funds available for factory farms to subsidize the construction of massive animal waste lagoons that are prone to break, spill, and leak, contaminating water bodies and drinking water supplies. The bill also includes incentives for destructive logging in our national forests.


== What to do ==

Contact your senators and urge them to support measures to bring a more environmentally friendly farm bill to the Senate floor.


== Contact information == You can email or fax your senators directly from NRDC's Earth Action Center at If you prefer to call your senators, the Capitol switchboard number is 202-224-3121.

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