New Report Shows Environment at Risk in Indiana and U.S.
“America’s Environment At Risk,” a report that documents the ways in which the Bush administration has allowed businesses to degrade the environment and compromise public health, was recently released in Indiana during a press conference held in front of the Stout power plant in downtown Indianapolis.
The report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a public interest watchdog organization, shows how oil companies, electric utilities, and the nuclear, coal, and auto industries have watered down or completely gutted the cornerstone laws designed to protect America’s environment and public health.
Along with the report, Hoosier Chapter forest coordinator Greg Foote made the following statement:
“The Sierra Club is concerned with the rollbacks currently being proposed by the Bush administration and views these as a grave error for the future of our natural resources and wildlands.
“For the first time in years, citizens are united. We have learned how much we really do have in common—with a shared sense of responsibility, a willingness to take action—either individually or as a community—to help out—and we have the faith that what we do will make a difference.
“Hoosiers have been more active in their communities. Attendance at national parks and forests has skyrocketed as we feel the need to come home to the land that shapes our character, nourishes our spirit, and currently is in need of protection.
“This report, ‘America’s Environment at Risk,’ documents not only the rollbacks proposed by the Bush administration but also the possible impacts these rollbacks would have on our local communities.
“Our environment is at risk, and Hoosiers are experiencing this in local ways and voicing their concerns.
“Indiana currently has 485 rivers, lakes, and streams impaired by agricultural runoff, sedimentation, toxic chemicals, and other material that make the waterways too polluted for safe fishing and swimming.
“The Bush administration has initiated a review of a program of the Clean Water Act designed to clean up these and the other 20,000 impaired water bodies across the country. The president’s proposed changes to the Clean Water Act, still in draft form, would make clean-up strategies voluntary, decrease EPA’s responsibility for ensuring that states follow the law, and substitute more studies for real clean-up requirements.
“In addition, after 30 years of debate, a two-year rulemaking period, more than 600 public hearings, and a record-breaking 1.6 million supportive public comments, the U.S. Forest Service adopted the Roadless Area Conservation Rule to protect 58.5 million acres of wild national forest land from most logging and road-building.
“The logging industry has worked hand-in-hand with the Bush administration to not only stall implementation of the Roadless Rule but to undermine it completely.
“Indiana has 8,000 acres of these roadless forests that would be protected under the now-stalled roadless rule in our Hoosier National Forest. This forest provides critical habitat for endangered species and ample recreation opportunities for residents of Indiana.
“Over 9,600 Hoosiers called on the administration to protect our national forest during the public comment period. Despite the overwhelming public support for protecting our last wild forests, President Bush is likely to weaken protections for our last pristine forests and water down the protections of the Clean Water Act.
“We call on President Bush to respond to the families who hunt, fish, hike, and camp—not to campaign contributors on destroying public forests for private profit.
“We are asking the public to send a loud and clear message once again: Tell the Bush administration to stop the rollbacks on our land, water, and air and not to trample on our environmental laws. Tell the Bush administration that it’s time to listen to the public, not the polluters.”
To read the report, go to www.environmentatrisk.org and click on “Reports.”
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