Earlier this month, Marianne Engelman Lado from the Northeast office and I travelled back to Uniontown, Alabama, a small, quiet, predominantly African American town that received over 4 million cubic yards of poisonous coal ash from the December 2008 TVA disaster in Kingston, TN.
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.
Betsy Lopez-Wagner is a press secretary at Earthjustice's headquarters in San Francisco, CA.