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300+ Groups Ask Senate for Stronger Climate Bill

Posted Aug. 26, 2009 / Posted by: NBerning

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kassie Siegel, Center for Biological Diversity, 760-366-2232 x302 (office), 951-961-7972 (mobile), ksiegel@biologicaldiversity.org Nick Berning, Friends of the Earth, 202-222-0748 (office), 703-587-4454 (mobile), nberning@foe.org

Broad alliance expresses concern with House legislation and demands improvements

A broad coalition of more than 300 faith, human rights, social justice, and environmental groups sent a letter to U.S. senators today calling for energy and climate legislation that is much stronger than the Waxman-Markey bill that passed the House of Representatives June 26. That bill contained massive giveaways to polluting special interests and would fail to ensure a rapid transition to clean energy. The groups plan to hand deliver the letter to senators’ state offices next week as part of a larger, grassroots mobilization demonstrating far-reaching support for bold leadership in the fight to solve the climate crisis. In the letter, the groups express “profound concern” about the House bill and ask senators to usher in “the transformational change and greenhouse emissions reductions required to avert catastrophic climate impacts.”

The letter calls for legislation that:

  • Reduces atmospheric CO2 concentrations to a safe level of below 350 parts per million;
  • Maintains existing Clean Air Act protections against global warming pollution;
  • Minimizes the use of offsets and other loopholes;
  • Protects vulnerable populations and communities;
  • Promotes abundant clean energy; · Eliminates polluter giveaways; and
  • Adheres to preexisting U.S. commitments to the rest of the world.

Comments from a few groups that signed the letter follow:

“We haven't yet seen the bold leadership from Congress that's required to solve the climate crisis,” said Church World Service Director of Education and Advocacy Rajyashri Waghray. “We're sending this letter to demonstrate broad grassroots support for such leadership.”

“We have to have a stronger climate bill than the watered-down version that passed the House,” said San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society Conservation Chair Drew Feldmann.

“We're organizing on the ground, in communities around/throughout the country, to mobilize the everyday people who will feel climate impacts, and to defeat the entrenched, polluting special interests in Washington and pass a truly strong bill in the Senate,” said Appalachian Voices Legislative Associate JW Randolph.

“The everyday people of America have been left out of the climate debate. We are building a grassroots movement that reflects the diversity of America, to mobilize everyday people who are experiencing the affects of climate change. We aim to defeat entrenched fossil fuel polluting special interests in Washington and pass a truly strong climate bill,” said Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

“There's an impressive breadth of groups on this letter, and it demonstrates that the status quo isn't acceptable. Congress must pass a bill that actually gives us a fighting chance of avoiding runaway global warming. There's no other option,” said Tyson Slocum, who directs Public Citizen’s energy program.

Other organizations signing the letter include 350.org, the Center for Biological Diversity, Center on Race Poverty and the Environment, Central California Environmental Justice Network, Corporate Ethics International, CREDO, Communities for a Better Environment, Franciscan Sisters of Mary, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Friends of the Earth, Global Exchange, Greenpeace, International Rivers, Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility United Church of Christ, Rainforest Action Network, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, and many others.

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