Bring on the Backlash!!!
Everyone who relies on clean water for fishing and swimming, and indeed for all of the functions of water in our environment, should be outraged at the reckless and destructive vote in the U.S. House this week to cripple the Clean Water Act. The Dirty Water Act all over again, only this time, unlike in 1995 when Newt Gingrich led the attack, there weren't even any hearings to examine the repercussions of savaging the nation's foundational clean water law. The other big difference this time is that it is erstwhile pro-environment Democrat and Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Nick Rahall, acting at the behest of King Coal, who joined his Republican colleague Rep. Mica, darling of Florida's real estate developers, to lead the charge. Shame on them and all the shills!
And bless elder statesman Sherry Boehlert, former Republican Congressman from New York, for speaking out to decry the renewed assault on the Clean Water Act. Rep. Boehlert, a strong supporter of clean water protection, led his fellow Republican moderates to join Democratic colleagues to thwart a veto-proof victory in the House for the Gingrich Dirty Water Act. On Wednesday, Rep. Boehlert called for a repeat of 1995's public backlash, not just against this terrible new bill but the whole anti-environmental agenda. His Huffpost Green piece concludes:
"It's sad that we have to repeat all this now, with a new class of conservatives, filled with even more irrational exuberance, trying to undermine basic environmental protections, and led again by some senior members who should know better. But I hope the rest of the story is also repeated, with the scale and scope of the rollbacks waking up the public and leading to the tide being reversed."
Bring on the backlash! Stand up for clean water! No one should be spared who had the temerity, or rather timidity, to vote for this bill! Take action to hold your legislator accountable or thank them for supporting clean water.
Speaking of shills for developers, a serious blow was also dealt this week in Puerto Rico. Gov. Fortuno issued a blatantly dishonest plan for the Northeast Ecological Corridor, billed as a conservation plan, but actually calling for fragmenting and developing parts of this ecological treasure and vital Leatherback turtle nesting area. But we have the opportunity here, as well, to turn the situation around by showing solidarity with our Puerto Rican Chapter as they build the public backlash against the Governor's destructive ploy. As Sierra Club organizer Camilla Feibelman reminded us, borrowing from Yogi Berra and Frank Jackalone, "It ain't over 'til it's over, and even then it ain't over!" So let's all stand up for sea turtles and take action to help protect Puerto Rico's natural jewel.
And here's an action to take of a different sort: answer the Nominating Committee's call to consider serving on the Sierra Club's Board of Directors, and be part of leading the organization forward. The NomCom is looking for Club members who want to take on this exciting and challenging, and also rewarding and satisfying role, bringing their strategic and creative thinking to help guide the Club in maximizing our reach and impact in pursuit of the Club's mission. The application information is here. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2011.
Finally, I'd like to invite you to a very special upcoming Open House conference call about technology and activism. On Wednesday, July 27th, the Activist Network will host two panelists - Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director, and Jared Duval, my fellow Board member and author of Next Generation Democracy: What the Open-Source Revolution Means for Power, Politics, and Change. It should be a very interesting discussion about the latest wave of activism, spurred by the Internet. RSVP and call-in details here.