Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government. It conjures up an image of a guy in a $5,000 suit slipping money into a senator’s pockets. It’s seemingly taboo to lobby, and as a public policy major I find my answer to the often-repeated question of “So, are you going to sell out and become a lobbyist when you graduate?” being “Absolutely not!”
But, as I learned during my time here, “lobbying” has a much-more layered definition.
Throughout the U.S. oil and gas boom, frackers have countered public concerns about water contamination with the assurance that drilling operations target deposits that sit much deeper than drinking-water aquifers. This picture is not entirely accurate, according to recent research.
Every day, just in the course of normal activities, we are exposed to an unbelievable range of toxic chemicals that we may not know about. Of the 80,000 plus chemicals that have been approved to be on the market in the United States, approximately 24,000 are “secret”. Literally, we don’t know what they are.
On April 27, 2013, thick, black smoke rose high above southwest Detroit from the flames at a nearby industrial facility. Three thousand residents were then ordered to leave their homes and evacuate the area. These residents are no stranger to poor air quality as their neighbors include a coal-fired power plant, a car factory, a water waste management plant, and the Marathon Ashland Petroleum oil refinery, one of 150 oil refineries in the country.
This year, Earthjustice and California’s Butte Creek received a major assist from an unexpected source. Thanks to Pacific Gas & Electric’s Centerville Powerhouse—which when functioning diverts water from the creek—breaking, the creek is receiving maximum water flows for the first time in decades. The full flows are providing clean, cool water, which will greatly help to reduce stress and mortality of salmon as they travel home to spawn.
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