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Earth Action, 3/8/06 March 08, 2006 2:49 PM

The Bulletin for Environmental Activists

March 8, 2006
In This Issue:

--Action Alerts--

1. Speak out to get dangerous soot pollution out of our nation's air

2. Tell your senators not to weaken the Endangered Species Act

--Updates on Previous Alerts--

Food safety laws

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

1. Speak out to get dangerous soot pollution out of our nation's air

Particulate pollution, also known as soot, comes from diesel engines, power
plants and other industrial sources, as well as from the fine dusts kicked up
by mining and agriculture operations. During the last 10 years, two thousand
studies have linked soot pollution to numerous serious health problems,
including asthma attacks, missed school days due to respiratory symptoms,
strokes, heart attacks, emergency room visits, hospital admissions, lung cancer
and premature death. Infants and children, people with asthma, the elderly and
people with heart or lung disease are especially at risk from inhaling this
widespread pollution.

Scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency have recommended that the
national standards governing the allowable levels of soot pollution be
strengthened, but EPA Administrator Johnson is ignoring these recommendations
and has instead proposed exempting agriculture and mining operations from the
requirements of the law, and weakening critical air quality standards for
cities and towns of under 100,000 people. These changes would effectively cause
more rural areas to suffer a disproportionate share of soot's dangerous health

The EPA is accepting public comments on its proposed changes to the soot
pollution standards through April 17th.

== What to do ==
Send a message, before the April 17th comment deadline, urging the EPA to
strengthen, not weaken, the soot standards and ensure safe air to breathe for
all communities.

== Contact information ==
You can send an official comment to the EPA directly from NRDC's Earth Action
Center at Or use the contact information and
sample letter below to send your own message.

Docket ID EPA-HQ-OAR-2001-0017
Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 6102T
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20460
Fax: 202-566-1749

== Sample letter ==

Subject:  Docket ID EPA-HQ-OAR-2001-0017 - particulate air quality standards

Dear Administrator Johnson and EPA staff,

I am writing to express my concern about air pollution, which can seriously
harm my and my family's health. We are facing an asthma epidemic among American
children, and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases among adults are
widespread and serious. Hundreds of scientific studies have found links between
particulate air pollution -- at levels people are breathing today -- and
respiratory problems, increased use of asthma medications, missed school days
from respiratory illness, emergency room visits, strokes, heart problems and
premature death.

The proposed standards for particulate matter are completely inadequate to
protect the health of children and sensitive adults. In addition, exempting
mining and agriculture operations from the coarse particulate matter standards
and removing protections from areas with populations under 100,000 would cause
more rural areas to suffer a disproportionate share of the health risks.

Instead, I strongly urge you to follow the advice of your Science Advisory
Board's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and strengthen both the fine
particle and coarse particle standards to levels that the science shows would
adequately protect the public. For the health of my family and of future
generations, I urge you to set standards that will make the air safe to breathe
in all of our communities.


[Your name and address]

2. Tell your senators not to weaken the Endangered Species Act

For more than 30 years, the Endangered Species Act has been an effective and
successful safety net for wildlife, fish and plants on the brink of extinction.
It has succeeded in preventing the extinction of the American bald eagle, the
gray wolf, whales and other marine mammals, as well as many other species. But
land developers and other special interests are using their money and influence
to try to weaken the act, and their strategy has already proved successful in
the House of Representatives.

Now that the fight has moved to the Senate, it is critically important that
senators hear from their constituents who support the Endangered Species Act
and the fish, plants and wildlife the act protects.

== What to do ==
Send a message urging your senators to vote against any legislation that would
weaken or undermine the Endangered Species Act.

== Contact information ==
You can email or fax your senators dire  [ send green star]
 March 08, 2006 2:50 PM

directly from NRDC's Earth Action Center at If you prefer to call your senators, the Capitol
switchboard number is 202-224-3121.

Updates on Previous Alerts

Last week we sent a special alert asking you to urge your representatives to
oppose a dangerous bill that would effectively eliminate more than 200 state
food safety and public health protections. You sent almost 16,000 messages in
record time (thank you!), causing representatives to delay last Thursday's
vote. Since then, eight governors, 39 attorneys general and many state
agriculture and food officials also have urged Congress to reject this
legislation. The food industry, however, has invested significant amounts of
time and money into gathering cosponsors for this special interest bill, and we
expect the bill to pass soon (perhaps as early as this afternoon). The good
news is that similar legislation has not been introduced in the Senate, and
seven senators have already announced their opposition to this sweeping
overhaul of food safety laws. Thanks again to all of you who contacted your
representatives; we'll be sure to keep you posted on new developments.

Subscription Information

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them, go to:

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About NRDC

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a nonprofit environmental organization
with more than one million members and online activists, and a staff of
scientists, attorneys and environmental experts. Our mission is to protect the
planet's wildlife and wild places and ensure a safe and healthy environment for
all living things.

For more information about NRDC or how to become a member of NRDC, please
contact us at:

Natural Resources Defense Council
40 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011
212-727-4511 (voice) / 212-727-1773 (fax)

Also visit:
BioGems -- Saving Endangered Wild Places
A project of the Natural Resources Defense Council

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