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Demand a COVID response that protects public health, not polluter profits

Delivery to U.S. Congress

What’s At Stake

COVID-19 has upended life as we know it around the world. Thousands of people across the U.S. are getting sick, millions have lost their jobs, their healthcare, and their income. We are in a crisis. And in the middle of this crisis, oil, gas, coal, petrochemical, and other polluting industries are using the pandemic as an excuse to call for loosening restrictions that limit emissions from power plants. These regulations keep polluters in check, and any rollbacks would put our public health at risk. Stripping away critical environmental protections will not aid our efforts to recover from COVID-19. We must speak up and tell our members of Congress that our public health should not be sacrificed for polluter profits.

The federal government has the ability and the means to support every American struggling to cope with this crisis, but the administration is acting as if its only concern is the profits of the fossil fuel industry. COVID-19 is a crisis that demands decisive and compassionate action. Congress must guarantee access to clean, safe water; prevent power utility shutoffs; and help communities’ efforts to fight air, climate, and water pollution

Instead, the administration is taking steps to further entrench the world’s most destructive industry – which is responsible for the very air pollution that makes COVID-19 even more deadly for communities in proximity to industry operations. In times like these, we need the government to protect our public health and our families, not the polluters that are worsening this crisis. Despite this need, some lawmakers are pushing to shield corporations from their legal responsibilities even if they force people to return to work during the pandemic.

The fossil fuel industry has untold influence in Washington – and we have you. Together, we can protect our public health by telling our members of Congress that bailouts for the fossil fuel industry are unacceptable. We need swift action to address the COVID-19 crisis, and to uplift the message that it’s we, the people, who need help – not polluters.

Al Bello / Getty Images

John Sileo hugs his grandfather, Domenik Sileo, through a plastic drop cloth hung up on a homemade clothes line during Memorial Day Weekend on May 24, 2020 in Wantagh, New York. It is the first time they have had contact of any kind since the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic lockdown started in late February.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.

Important Notice

Your message is delivered to a public agency, and all information submitted may be placed in the public record. Do not submit confidential information.

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