Philadelphia Sierrans Protest Passage of Bill to Weaken EPA
On September 27, activists with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Sierra Club rallied outside Senator Bob Casey's office in downtown Philadelphia to protest passage of the TRAIN Act by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Introduced by Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK), the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act would undermine the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to curb air pollution and protect public health.
"Our representatives voted in favor of this bill and against protecting our families from dangerous and deadly pollution," Sierra Club organizer William Kramer, below, said at the rally. "We need to tell our Congressmen that American families want clean air and water that is safe to drink."
The Sierra Club and other environmental and health advocacy groups immediately warned that the TRAIN Act will undermine four decades of public health victories thanks to the EPA and landmark protections like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
"We call on the U.S. Senate to stand strong and reject the TRAIN Act and its deadly impacts on public health," the Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund said in a joint statement on September 23, the day the bill passed the House. "The House today showed they have bought the false argument that we need to choose between protecting lives and creating jobs. Now we need the Senate and the President to protect our right to breathe."
Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, above, joined the ralliers and urged them to keep raising their voices against far-right attacks on the EPA in Congress. "Regulations don't hurt jobs—they create them," Rendell said.
Over the last several years, anti-environmental members of Congress have declared war on the EPA, introducing legislation that would defund the agency, dismantle it, or strip it of its authority to safeguard the American public.
The TRAIN Act would create a special committee to oversee the EPA's rules and regulations, and require the agency to consider economic impacts on polluters when it sets standards concerning how much air pollution is too much.
"We've had enough of these attempts to roll back the protections that keep us safe," said Temple University law professor Amy Sinden, above at right. "This right-wing war on the EPA won't save jobs or help the economy—it will hurt jobs, damage the economy, make people sick, and damage our most important natural resources. It's time to stand up and tell Congress that we want the EPA to continue keeping us safe from polluters."
The EPA estimates that implementation of its new standards would create jobs and save up to 12,000 American lives each year.