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Victory in helping to Curb Toxic Pollution May 31, 2006 11:58 AM

Update on Union of Concerned Scientists action against toxic pollution!

Victory--Thank You for Helping to Curb Toxic Pollution

Last week, UCS and activists like you achieved an important victory: you helped preserve our right to know what toxic chemicals are being released in our neighborhoods!

Thousands of UCS activists urged House members to support amendments to the Interior Appropriations bill. One successful amendment preserved the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), an initiative that has helped make communities around the country safer and healthier by providing critical information on toxic chemicals released into our land, water, and air. UCS activists also demonstrated strong support for a Sense of the Congress resolution on curbing global warming.

Your Right to Know About Toxics in Your Community
At the end of 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to significantly limit the information that companies are required to provide through the TRI about their release of toxic chemicals—like mercury, lead, and dioxin—into local communities.

Over the winter, 110,000 Americans submitted comments regarding the proposed change, with an overwhelming majority rejecting the proposal. 31,265 of these comments—more than one in four—came from UCS activists like you.

Your comments helped encourage Congress to step in. Last week, almost 15,000 UCS activists took the next step and contacted their representatives in support of an amendment offered by Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Hilda Solis (D-CA) that prevents changes to the TRI. On Thursday of last week, a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives voted 231 to 187 in favor of the amendment to preserve this important public safety initiative. Click here to see how your representative voted.

This action was part of the UCS Scientific Integrity Program, which works to improve the way in which science informs policy making. Federal and state policy makers need access to adequate information if they are to make informed decisions that protect our health, safety, and environment. While the battle is not over, this is an important step in ensuring the TRI continues to assist communities in curbing toxic pollution.

Sense of the Congress Resolution on Global Warming
During the House Appropriation Committee’s recent consideration of the Interior Appropriations bill, Representative Norm Dicks (D-WA) offered an amendment to insert a Sense of the Congress resolution calling for mandatory action to reduce global warming emissions. The resolution was accepted by the committee, but stripped from the final bill on procedural grounds without a vote.

Fortunately, the initial inclusion of the global warming provision created an opportunity to educate House members about the critical issue of global warming and the solutions available today. Its removal sparked an important global warming debate on the House floor on May 18, with several members speaking in favor of the resolution including Representative Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), author of the House Climate Stewardship Act. The letters that UCS activists sent to House offices last week laid an important foundation as we seek to pass the resolution as part of another bill this session. We will let you know when this new bill comes to the House for a vote.


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