Environment America

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Environment America
Founded 2007 [1]
Type 501(c)(4) Nonprofit
Location
Fields Environmentalism
Members Over 1,000,000 [2]
Key people

Margie Alt Executive Director [3]

Ana Aurilio Federal Advocacy Director [4]
Website www.environmentamerica.org

Environment America is a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations.[5] The public interest group[6] researches environmental issues in the United States and advocates for strong environmental policy [7] through lobbying[8] and the mobilization of public support.[7]

History[edit]

On November 5, 2007, Environment America separated from the state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG) and announced its intent to take control of the organization's national environmental advocacy program.[1] The federation combined several small, state-based advocacy groups that had separated from the U.S. PIRGs earlier in the year.[1] As a result of the separation of the organizations, the PIRGs’ scope of work was précised to consumer and social justice issues while Environment America became responsible for the group’s previous environmental work.[1]

National work[edit]

Environment America works to publicize and ameliorate controversial environmental challenges in the United States. Their areas of interest include the use of renewable energy sources,[9] climate change,[10] water pollution,[11] air pollution,[12] fossil fuel dependency,[13] environmental conservation,[14] and offshore drilling.[15] The organization's Research and Policy Center educates the public on the country's environmental conditions by releasing reports on topics such as wind energy policy,[16] the presence of mercury in contaminated fish,[6] companies’ compliance to the Clean Water Act,[17] the benefits of energy efficient buildings,[18] the increasing frequency of extreme weather in the U.S.,[19] high precipitation rates,[20] the importance of fuel efficient cars,[21] and high levels of carcinogens in waterways.[22]

The public interest group has sought to influence the nation's environmental stance through politics. Environment America publishes an annual scorecard of U.S. Congress members based on how they voted on environmental issues in that year's session[23] and, in 2009, reviewed more than 100 environmental policies adopted by states in previous years.[24] The organization has endorsed pro-environment candidates during national elections.[25] In 2008 and 2012, they joined the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters and Clean Water Action in endorsing Barack Obama’s reelection to office.[26]

Besides supporting political candidates, Environment America and the Sierra Club have worked together on various environmental efforts in order to further their similar missions. These joint efforts include moving forward the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act in 2007,[27] opposing amendments to the Climate Security Act in 2008,[10] supporting the EPA's proposal for a fuel economy label,[28] supporting the National Ocean Policy in 2010,[11] and opposing the bill H.R. 850,[29] and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011.[30]

State work[edit]

Environment California

Environment California has supported several environmental campaigns within California including statewide bans on plastic bags,[31] the reduction of energy inefficient appliances,[32] and the expansion of the state's solar metering program[33] and solar energy production.[34] The advocacy group has also worked to reform California’s renewable energy policies.[9] Through the organization of rallies and the signing of petitions across the state,[35] the state affiliate raised public support for a law that Governor Jerry Brown signed in 2011 which mandates that 33% of the state's energy will come from renewable sources by 2020, an increase from the previous requirement of 20%.[36]

In light of California's recent transition to solar energy, the environmental group released reports on public school's energy consumption,[37] solar projects on school campuses,[38] Californian cities' solar power production,[39][40] "green job" training programs within the state,[41] and the high costs of fossil fuels.[13] In 2010, Environment California also helped sponsor a cash rebate program that encouraged residents to install solar water heaters in their homes.[42]

Environment Texas

In 2009, Environment Texas and the Sierra Club filed similar lawsuits against Chevron Phillips for violating pollution limits[43] and the Shell Oil Company for illegal air pollution emissions.[44] Shell Oil Company agreed to pay a $5.8 million settlement, reduce emissions from its Deer Park refinery by 80%, upgrade chemical units, and reduce gas flaring.[45] The following year, the environmental groups sued the largest oil refinery in the United States, Exxon Mobil, for violating the Clean Air Act through the release of illegal emissions from refineries and chemical plants in the Texas Gulf coast.[46]

PennEnvironment

PennEnvironment has released several reports that analyze environmental concerns in Pennsylvania including counties' recycling fees,[47] the dumping of toxic chemicals by industrial facilities into the state’s waterways,[48] and the building of roads and logging in the Allegheny National Forrest.[14] Another report release by the state affiliate found that power plants fueled by coal in the state release large amounts of pollution that contribute to unhealthy smog and put susceptible populations at risk.[12] In 2011, PennEnvironment condemned the government's decision to reject stricter air pollution regulations that would diminish ground-level ozone, the main component of harmful smog.[49]

In 2012, PennEnvironment, along with the Sierra Club, sued PPG Industries for the contamination of lagoons and a solid waste landfill at the company's Ford City site near the Allegheny River which resulted from the disposal of glass polishing waste .[50] Chemical testing revealed high levels of arsenic, lead, antimony, iron and chromium at the site.[50] The environmental groups claimed that the company violated the Clean Water Act and Resources Conservation and Recovery Act and failed to follow an administrative order issued by the DEP under the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law to clean up the site in 2009.[50]

State affiliates[edit]

As of February 2010, Environment America consisted of 29 state affiliates:[51]

  • Environment Arizona
  • Environment California
  • Environment Colorado
  • Environment Connecticut
  • Environment Florida
  • Environment Georgia
  • Environment Illinois
  • Environment Iowa
  • Environment Maryland
  • Environment Maine
  • Environment Massachusetts
  • Environment Michigan
  • Environment Minnesota
  • Environment Missouri
  • Environment Montana
  • Environment Nevada
  • Environment New Hampshire
  • Environment New Jersey
  • Environment New Mexico
  • Environment New York
  • Environment North Carolina
  • Environment Ohio
  • Environment Oregon
  • PennEnvironment
  • Environment Rhode Island
  • Environment Texas
  • Environment Virginia
  • Environment Washington
  • Wisconsin Environment

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d State PIRG Alumni Network (2007). "State PIRG Alumni Newsletter". State PIRG Alumni Network. Retrieved 2013-01-11. [dead link]
  2. ^ Gator Times (2010). "Environment America Fellowship Program". University of Florida Gator Times. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  3. ^ The Huffington Post (n.d.). "Margie Alt". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  4. ^ The Washington Post (n.d.). "Why She Matters". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  5. ^ Howard, Jordan (2011-09-02). "Green Groups Struggle With Obama's Mixed Environmental Record". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  6. ^ a b Hiar, Corbin (2011-12-16). "Why the EPA's Forthcoming Power Plant Rule Is a Big Deal". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  7. ^ a b Gator Times (2010). "Environment America Fellowship Program". University of Florida. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  8. ^ Guillen, Alex (2013). "Lobbying Roundup". Politico. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  9. ^ a b Shauk, Zain (2009). "Legislators pass renewable energy bills". Glensdale News-Press. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  10. ^ a b Sierra Club (2008). "Letter to Senator". U.S. Climate Network. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  11. ^ a b Sierra Club (2010). "Letter to House and Senate Leaders". Physicians for Social Responsibility. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  12. ^ a b Hopey, Don (2011). "Pa. second in U.S. for smog-producing pollution". Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  13. ^ a b Seba, Tony (2010). "Cheap Hot Water? Just Add Sunshine". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)[dead link]
  14. ^ a b Cotton, Josh (2012). "Enviro group, reps at odds on ANF". Time Observer. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  15. ^ Hulse, Carl (2008-09-12). "Democrats Reluctantly Embrace Offshore Drilling". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  16. ^ U.S. Colorado Senator Office (n.d.). "Environment America Report Enhances Case for Wind PTC Extension". United States Senator for Colorado. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  17. ^ The National Clean Water Network (n.d.). "Environment America Releases New Report on Clean Water Act Compliance". Clean Water Network. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  18. ^ Koch, Wendy (2012-03-08). "As gas prices soar, studies tout energy efficiency". USA Today. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  19. ^ Klernan, Kate (2013). "Blizzard provokes climate change debate among scientists". The Brown Daily Herald. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  20. ^ Gram, Dave (2012-07-31). "Report: USA's heavy rain events rising due to climate change". USA Today. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  21. ^ Lew, Denise (2012). "Powering Down Oil?". The Connection. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  22. ^ Goodenow, Evan (2012). "Lake Erie ranks in nation’s top 50 for carcinogens dumped into water". The Chronicle-Telegram. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  23. ^ Nichols, Lee (2010-01-08). "Congressional Scorecard: Making the Green Grade". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  24. ^ Learn, Scott (2009-12-04). "U.S. states have taken big steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions, report says". Oregonian. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  25. ^ Greene, Brian (2012). "Environmental Groups Endorse Obama". US News. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  26. ^ The Washington Post (2012-04-18). "Obama endorsed by major environmental groups". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  27. ^ Boxer, Barbara (2007). "U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works". U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  28. ^ Sierra Club (2010). "Sierra Club Comments EPA Proposed Fuel Economy Label". Sierra Club. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  29. ^ Lee, Bill (2011). "Letter to Congressmen Hastings and Markey". National Parks Conservation Association. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  30. ^ Sierra Club (2012). "Letter to Senator". European Commission. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  31. ^ Lee, Mike (2012). "Bill to ban plastic bags advances in Sacramento". U-T San Diego. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  32. ^ Lee, Mike (2006). "Even in energy-efficient world, devices' drain powerful". U-T San Diego. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)[dead link]
  33. ^ Cox, John (2012). "State expands solar metering program". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  34. ^ Shih, Gerry (2009-10-16). "Consumers Pay the Price". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  35. ^ Wycoff, Ann (2009). "The Whirlwind Tour: Windmills in California". Wandermelon. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  36. ^ McGreevy, Patrick (2011-04-13). "Gov. Brown signs law requiring 33% of energy be renewable by 2020". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  37. ^ Keller, Ben (2012). "Schools go solar to save cash, revive programs". The Business Journal. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  38. ^ United Press International (2012). "Survey: California schools going solar". UPI. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  39. ^ Turner, Dan (2012-04-24). "Cloudy skies for L.A.'s solar efforts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  40. ^ Seba, Tony (2012). "Five Reasons Why California Cities Will Build One Million Solar Roofs and 12 Distributed GW by 2020". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  41. ^ Smith, Kevin (2011). "Green jobs gaining traction in California". Redlands Daily Facts. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  42. ^ Littlefield, Amy (2009-06-30). "California's fossil fuel use slated to grow". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-02-017.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  43. ^ Seba, Erwin (2009-08-19). "Green groups sue Chevron Phillips over pollution". Reuters. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  44. ^ "Exxon Mobil sued over oil refinery, air laws". NBC News. Associated Press. 2010. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  45. ^ Mouwad, Jad (2009-04-24). "Shell Settles Air Pollution Accusations". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  46. ^ "Exxon Mobil sued over oil refinery, air laws". NBC News. Associated Press. 2010. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  47. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (2011). "DEP blocks Pa. counties from collecting recycling fees". The Morning Call. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  48. ^ Adkins, Jared (2012). "Pennsylvania Water 7th Most Polluted In Nation". WESA. Retrieved 2013-01-04. [dead link]
  49. ^ Sapatkin, Don (2011). "Smog in Phila.'s air actually worse than people think, environmental group says". Philly. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  50. ^ a b c Spencer, Malla (2012). "PennEnvironment, Sierra Club sue PPG over Ford City site". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  51. ^ The Public Interest Network (n.d.). "Action in the States". The Public Interest Network. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 

External links[edit]