Tea Party leaders in the House have dramatically stepped up their assault on America's environmental and public health safeguards. Last week alone they used about 50 floor votes and more than 30 policy riders on spending bills to undermine the protections that keep our air safe, our water clean, and our public lands intact.
Another barrage of anti-environment bills is on its way. The upcoming debate in the full House on funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department will likely feature votes on even more policy riders designed to prevent the government from upholding basic environmental standards.
These attacks could continue into the fall unless Americans put a stop to it.
Public outcry has helped contain some of damage, but we must raise our voices even louder in the coming weeks. We must tell lawmakers they cannot repeal the safeguards that protect our families and favorite places.
And we must do it now before more damage is done. For never in my 40 years as an environmental advocate have I seen such a concerted effort to undermine bedrock environmental laws.
Not even Newt Gingrich's 1995 campaign against the environment can match it. Back then, conservative leaders proposed 17 policy riders designed to handcuff the Environmental Protection Agency. This year, the House has added more than 20 riders that tie the EPA's hands, with at least another 10 targeting other environmental agencies.