Bush administration attacks have forced Bluewater Network (BWN) and other environmental groups to fight to preserve hard-won gains achieved during the Clinton Administration.
Earth Island’s Bluewater Network believes the best defense is a good offense. BWN introduced legislation in California that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles. BWN met with top EPA officials to demand tougher pollution regulations on thrillcraft. And BWN is demanding that the Coast Guard increase protection of US shores from oil spills.
The Bush team has made good on its promise to begin a rollback of snowmobile restrictions in our national parks. Faced with a lawsuit from the industry, the Department of Justice announced that it will not defend the National Park Service’s (NPS) decision to phase out snowmobiles at Yellowstone. After 10 years of scientific study and numerous public hearings, Bush is requiring the NPS to complete yet another impact study and solicit another round of public comment on the issue.
Bluewater is fighting the Bush rollback attempt through legal challenges and lobbying on Capitol Hill. At Bluewater’s urging, more than 50 members of Congress have joined a bipartisan coalition to oppose the administration’s efforts.
Partly due to arguments by Bluewater, the EPA has rejected California’s attempt to waive a critical requirement of the Clean Air Act. California refiners have been using MTBE, a natural gas derivative, to meet the Clean Air Act’s oxygen requirement. Although it makes gasoline burn cleaner, MTBE is being phased out in California because it is a serious groundwater pollutant. Ethanol, derived from corn and other plant-based sources, is a cleaner-burning alternative that reduces global warming gas emissions by 35 to 100 percent per gallon.
In June, the EPA ordered California to replace MTBE with ethanol. The EPA found that California’s analysis did not properly account for the air quality benefits of ethanol and was based on the unproven assumption that refiners would voluntarily make fuels cleaner than the law requires.
The EPA’s ethanol decision should preserve air quality, put biomass wastes to good use, reduce dependence on foreign oil and minimize the risk of oil spills.
Bluewater is sponsoring California Assembly Bill 1058, a ground-breaking bill that would require the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from passenger vehicles. AB 1058, authored by Assemblymember Fran Pavley, is gaining considerable momentum. Bluewater has built a coalition of 60 public interest groups and businesses to help get AB 1058 passed and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has passed a resolution urging the legislature to enact it.
The State Assembly will vote on the bill in 2002 and Bluewater needs your help to ensure its passage.
California residents: Urge your Assembly member to support AB 1058. US residents: Encourage your congressperson to support similar legislation at the federal level. For more information, visit the Bluewater Network website: http://www.bluewaternetwork.org. – Anne McCaw
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