Progressives vs. Polluters: Standing Up for the EPA

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins | CEO

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Our communities deserve a voice at the table.

Polluters have had their way for too long, using their access and influence to spin news cycles and demonize the green movement. Meanwhile, working and middle-class communities are struggling just to get noticed. An incredible 75% of voters support the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to protect the public health, yet many in government just don't seem to get the message.

It's time for us to be heard. That's why, this weekend, I'm happy to be attending Netroots Nation 2011, where I will join thousands of committed Americans who share a deep desire to put government back on the side of people.

I will be sitting on a panel entitled "Progressives vs. Polluters: Standing up for the EPA" with US Senator Ben Cardin, David Roberts from Grist, and Miles Grant from the National Wildlife Federation.

On Saturday, 1:30PM CDT, you can watch the discussion online here. Watch the entire panel session below.

Phaedra with Senator Cardin and David Roberts at Netroots Nation.

My message will be clear: To the polluters who fight to protect industries that harm others, and use dirty politics to destroy the EPA: Your game is up. We are calling you out. Your rhetoric doesn't reflect reality.

The fact is that the EPA is good for our economy; 77% of Americans rightfully believe that we can both protect our land and water, and have a strong economy. An independent study has shown that two proposed rules would create 1.5 million jobs at a time when our nation desperately needs them. And, safeguards generate huge savings in health costs because of fewer heart attacks, emergency room visits and missed days from work.

So, why all the hate? Because some powerful business interests want to monopolize the American Dream; they don't want others to have the opportunity to get ahead in life.

At a time when 1 in 6 African American children have asthma, and 70 percent of Latinos live in areas that don't meet federal air quality standards, why else would they fight efforts to make our air just a little bit cleaner? Are we supposed to tell the most vulnerable Americans that they don't matter, that they don't count?

Of course not. All Americans deserve the opportunity to get a good job, live in a safe environment and work for industries that don't harm others.

Now is the time for us to get together, stand up, speak out and fight for these opportunities.

The moment has come for our voices to be heard.

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