As 2012 begins and election year politics accelerate, you are probably hearing some gloomy predictions about how our environment will fare this year. There is good reason for the concern: many in Congress are dedicated to eliminating long-standing environmental protections. Fossil fuel industry supporters are pulling out all the financial and rhetorical stops in their lobbying and electioneering.
But I’m not gloomy. Here’s why:
Earthjustice and our allies accomplished great victories in 2011. Our defense of the national forest roadless rule and successes in other cases to protect wildlands and wildlife enable millions of Americans to renew their spirits in wild places across the country, while magnificent and miraculous creatures are better able to thrive on the land and in the sea. By finally achieving safeguards against toxic air pollution from coal-burning power plants after the courts repeatedly ordered action, millions more can breathe healthier air, drink cleaner water, and get their power from cleaner sources.
The list of accomplishments is much longer, but here’s the point. We are blessed with strong laws, courts that are willing to enforce them, and citizens who care enough to let their voices be heard. Well-financed industries and hostile members of Congress were unable to block progress when we have the law and the people on our side.
I am confident that 2012 will bring more victories. We will continue to use the law to protect wild places, propel the clean energy economy forward, and safeguard our health. Millions of people will speak out to Congress, to agencies making environmental decisions, and in local communities to demand that we move forward, not backward, on environmental protection.
You are a critical part of this fight. Your voice must be heard, and your support for our work is essential. The bluster of electoral politics and the backroom pressures in Congress will be no match for what we can do together.
Hikers enjoy the scenery of the Boulder-White Clouds roadless area in Idaho’s Sawtooth National Forest.
(John McCarthy / TWS)