Nicole Cairns, Online Deputy Director, Power Shift, Washington, DC
Written by Myriam Fallon. Cross posted from the Greenpeace Campaign Blog.
Yesterday afternoon I gathered with 20 other concerned citizens outside Senator Casey’s Philadelphia office to ask the Senator to stand up and protect our health, air and environment.
A few short hours after we gathered outside, the Senate began voting on several amendments that all aimed to limit the EPA’s ability to regulate pollution from big industries by dismantling the Clean Air Act.
In the 40 years that the Clean Air Act has been in place, it has saved hundreds of thousands of lives by protecting the quality of the air we breath. Research also shows that between 1990 and 2020 Americans will receive $30 in economic benefits for every $1 spent cleaning up pollution.
Looking at these numbers, it comes as no surprise to me that these amendments were being backed by the Koch brothers, who regularly spend their billions on supporting climate denying research, organizations and legislation.
So we rallied outside with banners and signs asking the Senator to “protect people, not polluters” before everyone went into the building to talk directly with the Senator’s staff. Together we made it clear that any legislation that limits or suspends the Clean Air Act is unacceptable and should be voted down. We made sure Casey’s staff could see that his constituents care about the air we breath as well as the environment in which we all live. We cannot afford to stop regulating industries like the coal companies who pour pollution into our air causing thousands of deaths every year in Pennsylvania alone.
Our demonstration marked the culmination of weeks of pressure from Casey’s constituents in which he received hundreds of phone calls, as well as thousands of emails, petitions, and letters. Despite the thousands of voices that spoke out, yesterday he voted in favor of the Stabenow amendment, which would have put a two year suspension on the Clean Air Act.
He was one of only seven senators to support the amendment. This vote shows that Casey is willing to bend to industry pressure at the expense of his constituents.