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02/27/2012

Californians Unite Under New Environmental Campaign

“A strong and lasting economy depends upon a healthy environment, and a healthy, clean environment is vital to our success.” Such is the standard for Sierra Club California’s newly launched Protect California-A No Regrets Campaign which had its debut in the state capitol earlier this month.

A flailing economy, and aggressive right-wing legislative attacks on the environment led Kathryn Phillips, Director of Sierra Club California, to spearhead this new campaign along with other allied environmental organizations. Their cause for action: The environment, which came under attack during the last few weeks of 2011 when big polluters and legislature introduced bad environmental rollback laws in Sacramento, and although most of the bills were killed, the remainders still pose a threat.

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The idea that everyone—but especially a new generation of legislative staffers and term-limited legislators—needs to be reminded about that the public supports cleaning up and protecting the state’s environment, drives the campaign. The campaign is waged inside the Capitol, through hearings and briefings.  At the district level around the state, Sierra Club members will play a key role through emails, calls, and visits to remind legislators that their constituents care about the environment.

The campaign especially highlights “motherhood-and-apple-pie” environmental issues that polls show Californians care about deeply. These include air pollution, water pollution, toxics exposure, parks closures, and protecting the great outdoors.

One of the benefits of the campaign is that it allows the Club and a range of allied environmental, environmental justice, and faith-based groups to have a proactive and constant presence in the Capitol at a time when the difficult political environment has discouraged many activists. It has also helped the Club strengthen relationships with these allies.

“We’re hoping that after six months of this campaign, our friends and staff in the legislature will understand critical environmental issues more, they’ll feel stronger and better equipped to challenge the right’s efforts to roll back protections,” says Phillips. “We hope this will help change the tone at the Capitol and re-empower environmental activists here and around the state.”

By Jessie Tucker

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