- · the threat, fear and reality of pipeline explosions or leaks – (1986 to 2012, “pipeline accidents have killed more than 500 people, injured over 4,000, and cost nearly seven billion dollars in property damages” – that averages out to 173 people a year injured and/or killed as well as $269 million a year in damage (See http://www.propublica.org/article/pipelines-explained-how-safe-are-americas-2.5-million-miles-of-pipelines)
- · to devaluation of their property,
- · to enduring degradation of the natural environmental,
- · to the loss of agricultural crop production and
- · to a variety of jobs and business operations. (See http://www.njspotlight.com/pipeline_roundtable/ )
Friday, July 10, 2015
Presidential Hopefuls -- Will You Protect Our Environmental Rights?
Bernie Sanders, what is your position on ensuring people have a right to get a healthy glass of waterout of their household faucet, one free of contamination and toxins from industry?
Hilary Clinton, do you agree children have a right to a healthy breath of fresh air free from pollution that won’t induce asthma attacks?
Jeb Bush, do you agree that businesses and workers who depend upon healthy rivers and environments should be respected and protected?
Rand Paul, do you agree that people should have a right to preserve the sanctity of their homes and properties and not be forced to leave because of a toxic spill or explosion from a pipeline or nearby industrial complex?
Ted Cruz, should industries who cause earthquakes in our US communities be allowed to continue despite the damage and dangers they cause?
Marco Rubio, do you believe that corporations have a greater right to use cancer-causing chemicals in their operations than kids have to live full and healthy lives?
Our Presidential candidates spend a lot of time talking about protecting our rights to free speech, our right to bear arms, our right to freedom of religion and to use our property as we see fit; they spend a lot of time talking about jobs, tax incentives for the corporations and the top 1% in our nation. But they spend very little time talking about our rights to the clean and healthy environments necessary to support healthy lives, sustainable jobs, effective children’s education, enduring energy supplies and good health.
Given how broadly and deeply pollution and environmental degradation impacts us all, how is it that we allow our politicians to avoid these kinds of questions. Every one of us knows someone who has been impacted by environmental degradation:
illness, flooding, loss of property value, the stress of perpetual industrial noise, stinky air, loss of a favored swimming spot, a child with autism or asthma….
In New Jersey communities are losing their drinking water supplies to perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) contamination by the industrial operations of Solvay Specialty Partners, a plastics company. (See http://articles.philly.com/2014-07-22/news/51888511_1_solvay-specialty-polymers-health-department-pfna)
In Pennsylvania shale gas extraction, drilling and fracking, is spewing toxic chemicals causing increased illness in surrounding communities such as nose bleeds, skin irritation, hair loss, burning, and sinus problems and exposing residents to cancer causing contaminants pollution. (See http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/10/30/toxic-chemicals-and-carcinogens-skyrocket-near-fracking-sites-study-says; http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/09/10/respiratory-skin-problems-soar-near-gas-wells-study-says )
In Oklahoma where earthquakes were a relative rarity, in 2014 they had 585, including 15 that measured over 4.0 on the Richter scale, because of industrial operations associated with fracking. (See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/a-disaster-waiting-to-happen-in-oklahoma-the-link-between-fracking-and-earthquakes-is-causing-alarm-in-an-oilrich-town-10158524.html)
In states across the nation, pipelines are taking (through eminent domain and strong arm tactics) public and private lands and subjecting communities to:
(To see a recent pipeline explosion captured on video: http://rt.com/usa/267163-texas-cuero-explosion-fire/ )
We all need to know from our political candidates where they stand on the rights of people to a healthy environment.
In Pennsylvania and Montana strong constitutional provisions have recognized that the right to life, There is currently an effort afoot to advance passage of strong environmental rights provisions in every state and to advance the call for constitutional rights at the federal level too (See www.ForTheGenerations.org ). But in every instance legislative leaders will be needed to advance the call for, and passage of, these kinds of constitutional provisions. And so we need to get good people in office who value our right to life more than they value a corporation’s desire for profits.liberty, happiness, good jobs and healthy economies is dependent upon protecting peoples’ environmental rights.
And so every political candidate for office, from the local town council to those running for the Oval Office should be required to answer whether they support passage of constitutional provisions in state constitutions, and at the federal level, that will recognize and ensure peoples’ rights to pure water, clean air and a healthy environment.
Things you can do to help raise awareness about environmental rights:
When you have an opportunity to ask a political candidate her position on the peoples’ rights to pure water, clean air and a healthy environment, or what does he think about constitutional protection for environmental rights, take that chance to get him/her on the record and ask.
For The Generations wants to hear your story – how have you, a member of your family, a friend, or your community been impacted by environmental degradation – tell us your story, send us pictures, help us spread the word about how decisions and actions that degrade our environment are degrading our lives. If you have a photograph or a news clip please share it on our For The Generations Facebook page wall at https://www.facebook.com/forthegenerations. You can also use the hashtag #ForTheGenerations on your images, posts and stories and we'll be sure to share some of your submissions.
If your community wants to learn more about constitutional environmental rights, why they are important and how to pursue them in your state, send a message to ForTheGenerations@delawareriverkeeper.org and we will arrange for a speaker to come to your community. And be sure to download a copy of our Toolkit for Action at www.ForTheGenerations.org.