The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Bill Snape, (202) 536-9351 or

300 Groups Urge President Obama to Pledge Veto of Any Attack on Clean Air Act

Diverse Coalition Seeks Protection for America’s Best Law for Fighting Pollution, Climate Change


More than 300 groups, representing millions of people, sent a letter to President Barack Obama today urging him to pledge a veto of any legislation that would weaken the Clean Air Act, the nation's most important tool for fighting pollution and curbing global climate change. The letter was signed by faith, youth, civil rights, indigenous, health, environmental-justice and conservation groups around the country.

"We urgently need President Obama's moral leadership to protect the air we breathe and ensure future generations have a healthy, livable climate," said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Members of Congress siding with big polluting corporations are bent on weakening the Clean Air Act, and we simply can't let that happen."

Today's grassroots outpouring follows statements last week by Bill Daley, the president's chief of staff, that the administration would not allow "any legislation that impedes the need to improve our health and safety." Daley was responding to a question about Congress blocking or delaying Environmental Protection Agency climate regulations.

"Daley's pledge last week that the administration would block any legislation that stands in the way of improving health and safety is just the kind of leadership we need to protect clean air, and what the American public expects from their leaders,"said Debbie Sease, national campaign director for the Sierra Club.

The letter reads:

"The Clean Air Act provides powerful, cost-effective, and proven tools to combat pollution. It is the best tool in place to combat greenhouse gas pollution on a national scale. It must not be weakened, nor should the ambitious enforcement of its provisions to combat greenhouse gas pollution be deferred. If big polluters and their allies in Congress get their way, your EPA will be prevented from implementing the Clean Air Act to protect our public health and environment by reducing dangerous carbon dioxide pollution that will permanently alter our climate.

"We need you to provide the leadership you promised. We need you to stand up to big polluters and their congressional allies and publicly state that you will veto any legislative moves to repeal, weaken or delay the Clean Air Act's ability to curb greenhouse gas pollution."

"The Clean Air Act has always enjoyed broad bi-partisan support among the people of the United States. We know it saves lives and protects the health of everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us. Now EPA is proposing long-delayed and badly-needed additional protection for our health and climate. We should not yield to short-sighted arguments that would trade the long-term health of the country for the short-term economic benefit of a few businesses," said Marcia Cleveland of the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

Among the diverse list of organizations signing the letter, which was spearheaded by the Climate Reality Check Coalition, are:

National advocacy groups: Sierra Club; NAACP; Center for Biological Diversity; Indigenous Environmental Network; Friends of the Earth; Public Citizen; 1Sky;; Greenpeace; Rural Coalition; Environment America; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Oceana; Progressive Democrats of America

Faith groups: Interfaith Power & Light chapters from Michigan, Utah, Wisconsin, New York, Colorado, Connecticut and Greater Washington; Lutheran Environment Group; Friends Committee on National Legislation; The Shalom Center; Unitarian Universalists United Nations Office; United Church of Christ Environmental Ministries; Christians Caring for Creation; Fellowship of Reconciliation; Interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives; Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns; Pax Christi Metro New York; Holy Innocents Episcopal Church Little Lake

Indigenous, labor, youth, environmental-justice and local groups:United Confederation of Taino People and Kickapoo Peace Circle; Labor Network for Sustainability; Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment; Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives; Grassroots Coalition for Environmental and Economic Justice; Sierra Student Coalition; Kids v. Global Warming; Federation of Fly Fishers; Kentucky Mountain Justice; Western Nebraska Resources Council; Tennessee Forests Council; Texas Drought Project; Missourians for Safe Energy; Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture); Clean Air Carolina; Montanans Against Toxic Burning; Georgians for Smart Energy; Northwest Environmental Advocates; Winward Ahupua'a Alliance

Click here (.pdf) to see a full list of the more than 300 organizations signing the letter.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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