Vote for the Environment
The next few years will be critical for the future of the environmental movement. With the upcoming elections, we have an opportunity to cement our efforts for a more sustainable future – or erase years of progress. By getting out and voting for the environment, we can make an impact on some of today’s biggest environmental issues, including:
A controversial topic that is sure to be impacted by the upcoming elections is offshore oil drilling. This process of extracting oil from underwater wells not only produces pollution that ends up in our oceans and comes with the risk of massive oil spills, it also entrenches us in the dirty energy production of the past. This election will effectively decide the future on the expansion of offshore drilling. We encourage you to use your voting powers to make sure that we no longer put our oceans and livelihoods at risk with this dangerous practice.
KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE
A key environmental issue in the upcoming election is the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline — an oil pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf shores of Texas. Controversy surrounding the pipeline stems from the risk of potential leaks in the pipe, the environmental impact of tar sands mining, and disturbance of tribal lands and historical sites. Water supplies also risk contamination in the case of a spill, potentially affecting 1.5 million people. The original bill granting the pipeline’s expansion was blocked, but this decision could be overturned in 2013. It is up to you to head to the polls this election season to ensure the Keystone XL Pipeline is not approved.
In the upcoming election, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, will be a highly contested environmental issue. There are various environmental implications of this process, including contamination of local drinking water, earthquakes due to cracking tectonic plates, air pollution, and food contamination. Several states have begun to consider limiting or banning hydraulic fracturing. And in May 2012, Vermont became the first state to ban the practice altogether. In June, New Jersey approved a measure that would prevent fracking in the state, and in July, vetoed a bill that would lift the ban on hydraulic fracturing. Your vote will help in deciding whether or not this risky practice will continue.
WIND TAX CREDIT
As 2012 draws to a close, so does an essential incentive for U.S. companies to use renewable energy sources. The Production Tax Credit (PTC) provides a tax break to companies using renewable energy. Thanks to the PTC, many companies – including Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss & Co., and The North Face – have increased reliance on wind energy to power their businesses. Incentives to purchase renewable energy sources have also increased the research behind wind energy. The PTC is set to expire at the end of 2012. Failure to extend the PTC would eliminate thousands of jobs and stunt the growth of the renewable energy industry. With your vote, you can show your support for the renewal of the PTC.
ENERGY EFFICIENT VEHICLE STANDARDS
In June 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized regulations that require vehicle manufacturers to double the gas mileage of cars and light trucks by 2025. This new standard will spur technological innovation, save consumers money at the gas pump, reduce our dependence on oil, and prevent hundreds of millions of tons of carbon emissions from spewing into our atmosphere. It took 20 years for us to reach this point. Use your vote to ensure that we continue to progress.