http://votenader.org/press/000608scletter.html
 
Ralph Nader's letter to the Sierra Club

 

Carl Pope
Executive Director
Sierra Club

 

Dear Mr. Pope:

Thank you for the opportunity to address the Sierra Club's concerns,
which have such an important bearing on the future of this world. At
stake in the coming years is no less than the natural commonwealth that
sustains all life. Over the past 20 years, we have lost significant
opportunities to protect human health, to create a more prosperous, yet
less wasteful economy, and to expand the progress we have made in
safeguarding the biosphere. In particular, the current Administration,
which offered such great initial promise for the advancement of
environmental protection, has largely bowed to the will of entrenched big
business interests at the expense of human health, biodiversity and the
environment. We have lost nearly eight years, time we could ill afford to
waste, given the planet's pressing environmental challenges. Not only has
this crucial time been lost, but the current Administration has actually
made matters worse by giving the nod to big business in several key
areas: global trade, energy, natural resources, agriculture, and
biotechnology.

Corporate-managed global trade, fervently promoted by President Clinton
and Vice-president Gore, seriously threatens the world environment
because it entails the single-minded pursuit of short-term profit at the
expense of long-term ecological life support systems. Our national energy
policy is dismally outdated considering the projected advancements of
twenty-five years ago. Antiquated technology continues to threaten human
health, natural resource supply and the biosphere, not to mention
long-term prosperity. Forests in the United States and worldwide are
threatened as never before, despite obvious practical alternatives to
wood fiber. Small scale agriculture is being squeezed out by urban sprawl
and giant, vertically-integrated agribusiness corporations. Despite the
seriousness of these problems, given the requisite political will, they
are surmountable.

Unfortunately, our politicians­kept afloat by empty rhetoric and
corporate campaign contributions ­undermine clear solutions to the
problems raised in your letter (among many more) because as campaign cash
has poured in, their integrity has drained away. Historically, our
government has protected our environment in the United States in response
to vigorous citizen action. It is imperative, then, that we encourage and
nurture this long-standing American tradition. Yet over the last two
decades, our elected representatives have increasingly turned deaf ears
to the hard work of citizen activists while furthering the agenda of big
political patrons­oil, chemical, mining, timber, biotechnology and other
industries­at the expense of our air, soil, water and the living world.
We must reverse this trend and reinvigorate our citizen democracy to
implement solutions of which we are all aware, rather than pin our hopes
on politicians indentured to big business and its allies. To this end, I
have entered the political arena.

I hope your questions and my responses, which follow, stimulate broader
and better environmental thinking by candidates for all elected offices.

GLOBAL WARMING

Q. What binding, concrete emissions reductions would you advocate the
U.S. immediately adopt as part of a global leadership commitment to fight
global warming? Would you veto the transportation appropriations bill, or
other legislation, that included the rider to make it impossible to even
consider increasing fuel economy? Would you close the loophole that
allows sport utility vehicles to be much less fuel efficient, and produce
much more CO2 emissions than passenger cars?

Our response to global warming must include the following: Increased use
of renewable energy and diminished use of fossil fuels, especially for
electric power generation; improved fuel efficiency of all vehicles;
improved efficiency of all appliances and industrial equipment; the
elimination of all subsidies for fossil fuel and nuclear development and
production.

I believe, as a start, we need to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and make the
seven percent reductions promised by the United States by the budget
years 2008-2012 a real seven percent. There should, however, be no
misleading bookkeeping by counting the as yet unmeasurable forest
sequestration or buying phony emissions credits from the former Soviet
states or by counting the production of nuclear power plants under the
Clean Development Mechanism. The U.S. commitment must be real so other
nations, especially the developing nations, follow our lead. Most
importantly, the Kyoto Protocol must have provisions to make sure the
agreement is adequate or commensurate with the threat. A seven percent
reduction is just the beginning and the Protocol must be flexible enough
to incorporate future scientific discoveries that may very well tell us
that we need to cut our greenhouse gas emissions to far greater levels at
a more rapid pace.

I would veto any legislation which included riders that make it
impossible to consider increasing fuel efficiency. I would close the
loophole that allows sport utility vehicles to avoid the same CAFE
standards as cars. And, taking into account many years of unconscionable
inaction by this industry, I support raising the CAFE standard to at
least 45 miles per gallon for cars and 35 miles per gallon for light
trucks, to be phased in over five years. According to the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) we need to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 70 percent immediately just to keep
global warming from getting any worse.

Workers at Honda and Toyota are introducing "super efficient" mass
production cars this year that get between 60 and 80 miles per gallon.
These automakers have proven that private industry can go it alone when
it comes to technological innovation. Partly in light of their efforts, I
would end Vice President Gore's Partnership for a New Generation of
Vehicles (PNGV), which amounts to a giveaway of at least one billion
taxpayer dollars to the very profitable Big Three automobile corporations
with no strings attached. The agreement has no teeth, provides nothing to
speed the mass production of cleaner cars and indeed has achieved nothing
in the past seven years. For years, the U.S. auto industry, and the
government, have produced "promising prototype" cars which have gone
nowhere. I prefer to rely on long-delayed updated CAFE standards,
improved air pollution requirements and competition in the marketplace to
stimulate the production of cars with greatly reduced environmental
impacts.

Q. Would you forcefully advocate reform of the WTO, international trade
agreements and rules to enhance environmental protection worldwide,
rather than allowing them to continue to harm our air, water, forests and
climate?

Among the most fetid examples of political cowardice and collusion
between elected representatives and big business of the past thirty-five
years are the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
and the revised General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) into
federal law. These agreements have little to do with the benefits of
trade for citizens of member countries. The agreements were designed,
largely by corporate lobbyists, as a "pull-down" mechanism and to
facilitate the movement of capital across national boundaries. Such
one-dimensional monetized logic tramples long-standing efforts around the
world­some very successful­to protect the environment because
environmental safeguards are very often considered 'non-tariff barriers
to trade' and thus become targets for removal. Even proposed
environmental protections will often suffer under the chill emerging from
probable World Trade Organization (WTO) scrutiny. Almost all members of
Congress failed to read the NAFTA or GATT agreements before voting,
instead relying on biased U.S. Trade Representative and business
summaries. President Clinton cut last minute backroom deals to secure
votes for passage of NAFTA and followed with GATT, having done nothing to
safeguard the environment from attack by the imperative of trade. The WTO
preempts all environmental treaties, while NAFTA trumps all but three
such treaties.

Five years of WTO operation have made clear what a grave threat the trade
organization is to the world environment. Already, corporate interests
have used the WTO to undermine or threaten to meddle with US Clean Air
rules, our Endangered Species Act, the Kyoto global warming treaty, an EU
toxics and recycling law, our long-horned beetle infestation policy, EU
eco-labels, and US dolphin protection.

Global trade should provide nations with the familiar benefits of
securing products and services not easily available within their borders.
In the long run, trade agreements that protect the environment will prove
to be the most prudent for the global economy. Unfortunately, as NAFTA
and the WTO have shown us, the current Administration adheres to a
near-sighted "trade uber alles" philosophy which harms the environment in
order to secure massive short-term profits for giant multinational
corporations.

The WTO is so committed to corporate commerce at the expense of the
global environment, due process and openness, that it cannot be
internally reformed. I advocate initiating the six month withdrawal
procedure to end US membership in the WTO. Promptly re-negotiating global
trade treaties so that their architecture is designed to raise global
environmental standards is necessary to ensure protection of our air,
water, forests and climate. In addition, I opposed Permanent Normal Trade
Relations (PNTR) for China, the effect of which will be to greatly
strengthen the WTO and to accelerate global environmental degradation.

Q. Would you require a public environmental assessment before the US
Trade Representative's office challenging the environmental or public
health standards adopted by other nations as trade barriers?

Under the current operation of the WTO, I would require that public
environmental assessments be made before the US Trade Representative's
office challenges, as trade barriers, the environmental or public health
standards adopted by other nations. These environmental assessments,
however, must carry some legal weight, rather than being simple advisory
opinions. The USTR must be compelled to adhere to the Precautionary
Principle, which states that practices and products must be proven safe
before being approved for trade. This principle applies to standards in
other countries which may be stronger than our own.

A 21st CENTURY ECONOMY

Q. What policies would your administration advocate to help shift the
United States to a 21st Century economy that reduces its heavy dependence
on natural resource extraction and combustion?

As we move into the 21st Century, we should seize the opportunity to
adopt an energy future that is based on renewable energy and conservation
and end our unhealthy dependence on subsidized fossil fuels. Renewable
energy opportunities in solar, wind and biomass are plentiful and the
benefits for the economy and the environment and human health and safety
are substantial. Continuing our dependence on subsidized fossil fuels
will mean more unnecessary air pollution, more dirty water, more toxic
waste, increased global warming and an increase in respiratory aliments
such as asthma. According to several national studies air pollution is
responsible for 64,000 deaths each year. The EPA notes that coal burning
power plants account for 66 percent of the sulfur oxides that are
produced each year. Sulfur oxides are responsible for much of the acid
rain that has polluted lakes and rivers and killed fish and plant life.
Nitrogen oxides from cars, buses and trucks contribute to the unhealthy
brew of smog that irritates our lungs. Carbon dioxide from power plants
and the infernal internal combustion engines, that power our vehicles, is
fueling global warming. The costs of unnecessarily using fossil fuels far
outweigh the benefits, given the readily expandable alternatives.

Combining renewable energy sources and remarkably expansive conservation
technologies can help us reduce pollution, spark domestic economic
development and diversify our mix of fuel supplies so we are less
dependent on foreign sources of oil and less likely to have to explore
for oil in environmentally sensitive areas, as Paul Hawkins, Amory Lovins
and Hunter Lovins illustrate in their book, Natural Capitalism.

As a country we should achieve the following goals in the energy sector:

1. Increase energy efficiency and conservation.

Increase the efficiency of energy use in homes, buildings and industry by
30 percent by 2010.

Increase the CAFE fuel efficiency standards for cars, light trucks and
vans. New cars should meet the 45 mpg minimum and light trucks should
meet the 35 mpg minimum by 2005. The technology of lead times has
advanced greatly over the last twenty years and the auto industry has
wasted many years by its opposition lobbying. Jack Doyle's new book,
Taken for A Ride, documents the foot-dragging by the auto industry on
fuel efficiency.

Require all purchases and leases by the federal government provide
advanced standards for renewable energy sources. State and local
procurement agencies should do likewise. I have worked with several of my
associates over the last several years to move the federal government to
embrace more sound environmental purchasing programs. Our reports: The
Stimulation Effect: Proceedings of a National Conference on Uses of
Government Procurement Leverage to Benefit Consumers and the Environment
and Forty Ways to Make Government Purchasing Green, and our newsletter
Energy Ideas, have sparked significant action by government purchasing
officials to green the government.

2. Increase the use of renewable energy sources.

Increase the percentage of the nation's energy from renewable sources to
at least 25 percent by the year 2010.

Cap emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide.

3. Eliminate subsidies for extraction of oil and gas and coal.

  The Green Scissors Report prepared by a coalition of environmental
protection and taxpayer groups proposes the following important cuts:

Close the loophole in the "gas guzzler tax" that exempts light-duty
trucks (mini-vans and sport utility vehicles) and automobiles heavier
than 6,000 pounds.

Eliminate funding for DOE's hapless Coal Research and Development
program, saving $125.4 million a year, and approximately $627 million
over five years.

We must also reform extraction policies in this new century. A first step
would be to reform the 1872 Mining Act which amounts to a giveaway of
billions of dollars worth of taxpayer-owned minerals per year. We should
require a fair market return to taxpayers for extraction of
publicly-owned minerals. For example, a royalty requirement of 8 percent
could raise roughly $1 billion over five years. We should eliminate
mineral patenting, the giveaway of public lands. This would save at least
$10 billion in potential new patents waiting to be filed. Finally, we
should require companies to post adequate reclamation bonds and establish
a national program to clean up abandoned mines.

Additionally, I would strongly promote the exploration of alternatives to
the traditional sectors of oil, gas, timber and mining. Henry Ford, in
1934, made the following remarkable statement:

I foresee the time when industry shall no longer denude the forests which
require generations to mature, nor use up the mines which were ages in
the making, but shall draw its materials largely from the annual produce
of the fields.

Industrial hemp illustrates how applicable Henry Ford's statement is
today. Oil derived from the plant can be used for paints, sealants and
plastics and a myriad of other products. Industrial hemp can be used to
make high quality paper and construction materials, sparing trees. Its
fibers can be used in textiles as well. Along with a host of other
plants, such as kenaf, industrial hemp has the potential to dramatically
reduce our dependence on petroleum-based products. Yet it is illegal to
grow industrial hemp in the United States due to misguided laws which
equate it with a drug, all scientific evidence to the contrary. Many
other western nations grow industrial hemp, including Canada, France and
the UK and export tons to the United States. I have already participated
in a formal petition that challenges the DEA to take industrial hemp off
of the proscribed list. The Resource Conservation Alliance monograph,
Issues in Resource Conservation, powerfully presents the argument for
allowing US farmers to grow industrial hemp.

 

One powerful way to promote these alternatives is through government
procurement. I would reshape the buying habits of the federal government
to promote environmentally beneficial products and alternative
technologies.

Q. Specifically, how would you accelerate the process by which business
write off the capital that they have invested in old technologies and
move as rapidly as is technically feasible into the new, more
environmentally sustainable production?

I would provide consumers with various tax incentives when they purchase
products that are certified beyond the normal technologies in
renewability and efficiency. I do not, however, support allowing
businesses to write off the capital that they have invested in old
technologies. They will simply pocket the cash and employ time-tested
tactics in delaying their conversion to environmentally sustainable
production. The Interface Corporation, which is a leading commercial
carpet and tile maker, is converting toward a nearly zero effluent
manufacturing process because it made both economic and environmental
sense for them to do so. This company did not require that the federal
government hold their hand to spur the radical changes they have employed.

Q. Would you deny proposals to license or permit commercial aviation at
the Homestead site as inappropriate in this environmentally sensitive
corridor?

The Everglades and the Biscayne Bay, two of the most treasured national
parks in our country, are coming under increasing pressure from
developers. Among the greatest threats to the parks are the increased
commercialization, urban development and growth from Miami. The
preservation of these parks is dependent on the vitality and the
integrity of both the area's hydrologic system and the bay ecosystem.
Plans to turn the former Homestead Air Force Base into a modern jetport
with up to 650 flights a day would irrevocably set back efforts to
improve and help preserve the integrity of the multifaceted south Florida
ecosystem. The proposed airport would have an adverse impact on the parks
by causing noise and groundwater pollution, hydraulic obstruction,
wildlife destruction and the threat of turning the last track of farmland
in South Florida into an industrial wasteland, which will directly
threaten the sustainability of our cherished ecosystem in Southern
Florida. Certain interest groups claim that there is a high demand for
such a facility to be built and stress that jobs should take precedence
over environmental factors. The conversion of this airport is, however,
unnecessary when one takes into account the existence of Miami airport to
its north. Miami airport is trying to become the "king of cargo trade"
with Latin America and has been expanding at a record rate, creating the
apparent demand for a commercial airport at Homestead. However,
transferring some of this demand to a Dallas facility would prove
beneficial to interstate commerce since Dallas is better situated for
cross country truck traffic.

There are no airports situated on the border of national parks in
America; the Everglades is the last place to consider changing that fact.
Proposals to license or permit the development of commercial aviation
facilities at the former Homestead Air Force Base should be denied.

PROTECTION OF OUR WILD FORESTS

Q. Do you support protecting all 60 million acres of our remaining
unspoiled wild forests, including the Tongass? Would you veto all bills
that include provisions to undo any aspect of this wild forest protection
policy? Do you support the elimination of commercial logging on public
lands?

Only four percent of old growth forests remain standing in the United
States. Since seventy-five percent of those old growth forests are within
our National Forests, the President has a particularly important
responsibility to be a good forest steward. Despite an impressive stream
of rhetoric on forest protection, when it comes to forests, President
Clinton and Vice-president Gore will be remembered for failing to stop
the so-called "salvage rider" in July 1995. This legislation created a
period of logging sales unprecedented in our national forests in recent
years. The rider prohibited public comment and judicial review by
classifying its prescriptions as "emergency" timber sales, even though
non-diseased trees­so-called "green sales"­ were included along with
diseased trees. Although the rider expired at the close of 1996, that
expiration date only marked the end of approximately 4 billion board feet
in sales, not the actual harvest. The legacy of one of the worst pieces
of public lands legislation ever will live on for generations, having
resulted not only in the removal of trees, but also the destruction of
many associated organisms.

About six months ago, the Administration declared a moratorium on road
building in the national forests as part of a plan to generate a plan to
protect our wild forests. This moratorium included loopholes that,
according to USPIRG, allowed logging, mining and road building on almost
25 million acres of National Forest Land. Nevertheless, the original
proposed plan to put areas greater than five thousand acres off limits to
logging and road building, was a good start. It is important to put the
plan in perspective, however: the proposed policy ignores over 600
million acres of publicly-owned lands that are critically in need of
protection.

Recently, the US Forest Service released its draft plan to protect these
large roadless areas. The plan does not propose to ban logging, though it
does prohibit road building. This would leave forests open to log removal
by other means, including cables and helicopters. Nor does the plan
include immediate protection of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, a
national treasure already peppered with clearcuts.

I advocate the immediate cessation of commercial logging on US public
lands and the protection from road-building of all 60 million acres of
large forest tracts remaining in the National Forest system. National
Forests produce less than five percent of total volume of timber consumed
in the United States. It is especially important that the Tongass
National Forest be protected immediately as it is the largest pristine
forest remaining in the United States as well as one of the last large
temperate rain forests in the world. I would veto all bills that might
include provisions to dismantle any aspect of this National Forest
protection policy. Furthermore, I consider it crucial to pursue public
and legislative support for such a plan to endure.

GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS

Q. Would you insist on more comprehensive, independent testing of GMO
foods before they are put on the market in the US and other nations?

Genetic engineering of food has far outrun the science that must be its
first governing discipline. Many unknowns attend the insertion of genes
across species, from ecological risks to food allergies. These unknowns
beg for investigation. About 90 percent of the public wants labeling of
genetically-engineered foods. I advocate mandatory labeling of all GMO
foods as well as comprehensive safety testing to be carried out by the
FDA and USDA. The book Genetically Modified Food: Changing the Nature of
Nature by Martin Teitel and Kimberly Wilson, to which I contributed the
forward, is the primer that all government officials should read to
understand the threat posed by the GMO industry. The Clinton-Gore
Administration has been extremely cozy with the GMO industry; safety
assurances were given by industry on a voluntary basis until recently.
The regulatory budget for environmental and human health safety
assessment has been tiny in comparison to research and other monies
budgeted to aid industry aims. Recently, the Administration supported
only the voluntary labeling of GMO foods. Under the new plan, the FDA
will require companies to disclose the planned release of GMO products
into the food supply merely 120 days before their introduction. No
testing will be required. This decision represents a staggering failure
by the Administration to recognize the precautionary principle and
protect human heath and the environment.

CLEAN WATER AND LARGE ANIMAL FEEDLOTS

Q. Would you require the elimination of waste lagoons at CAFOs (Confined
Animal Feeding Operations), requiring the permitting of such facilities,
and establish a moratorium of the creation of new CAFO's?

A recent survey indicated that the American public views confined
animal-feeding operations unfavorably. In one poll conducted by Snell,
Perry and Associates, 80 percent of the 1,000 registered voters that were
questioned favored the creation of uniform, national standards to limit
air and water pollution from CAFOs. This exemplifies the unease with
which Americans regard industrial corporate farming that is both creating
a race-to-the bottom atmosphere by shoving small farmers to the side and
is also scarring counties across America by causing widespread water
contamination. It is estimated that CAFOs annually dump two trillion
pounds of waste into our ecosystem. The EPA reported that chicken, hog
and cattle waste has contaminated the ground water in 17 states and has
polluted 35,000 miles of our nation's rivers. Large-scale fish kills and
illnesses in humans around the Chesapeake Bay and the coastal waters of
North Carolina have been attributed to contaminated runoff from hog and
poultry farms.

It is important that government expand legal remedies available to
safeguard society so that existing CAFO operators know that they will be
criminally prosecuted for dumping animal waste in our ecosystem and
damaging our nation's health. State causes of action by injured citizens
should be expanded under the nuisance doctrine. Factory farms should be
required to obtain permits and be monitored to ensure that they follow
strict standards for waste management. I support a total ban on all
earthen waste lagoons. CAFOs must be required to use lined waste disposal
facilities and to demonstrate that they have adequate waste disposal
plans in order to remove animal waste in a timely manner. Only when CAFO
polluters are unable to evade responsibility for their destructive
actions, will they begin to make healthy improvements in their farming
practices.

I would establish a moratorium on the creation of new CAFOs, but only
beyond a certain size. For example, on hog farms, I would establish an
upper limit of animals per farm for all new CAFOs. There are many reasons
to do this, including the development of antibiotic resistance in large
facilities, the spread of disease and the need to save America's family
farms, in addition to the dangers of water pollution.

ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL RIDERS

Q. Would you oppose any intervention by the Justice Department in your
administration on behalf of the coal mining companies to obtain relief
from the requirement that they comply with the Clean Water Act? Would you
oppose any legislation, either free-standing or as a rider, which would
grant them such relief? Will you urge the President to veto any bill that
includes this anti-clean water rider? As President, would you veto this
and other anti-environmental riders?

Another major threat to our nation's water supply are some policymakers
(including Justice Department officials) attempts to overturn the recent
federal court decision blocking the coal industry practice of blowing off
mountain tops to mine for coal, thus greatly polluting mountain streams.
I would adamantly oppose any intervention by the Justice Department on
behalf of coal mining interests in their efforts to overturn the court's
decision and would oppose any legislation granting them such relief. I
will urge President Clinton to veto any bill that includes the anti-clean
water rider sought by the coal industry.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has proposed the following
measures to end the misuse of environmental riders. The first NRDC
proposal is to establish a "Senate Rule requiring funding bills be
limited to budget matters." The second proposal is to require "that
House-Senate negotiations be limited to matters directly addressing
measures approved by the full House or Senate." NRDC notes that these
safeguards were long-held Senate traditions that were eliminated during
the 104th Congress. Third, NRDC urges that Congress enact the "Defense of
the Environment Act, (H.R. 1404) which requires a separate, open vote and
debates on the House and Senate floors where budget matters, or other
unrelated bills, include provisions" that adversely affect the
environment. I strongly support these proposals. Unfortunately, President
Clinton has implicitly endorsed the use of riders by letting past riders
go unchallenged. As President, I would veto all anti-environmental riders.

Q. How would you achieve air quality health standards for the 100 million
Americans living in metropolitan areas that violate these standards?

"The pervasive environmental violence of air pollutants has imperiled
health, safety, and property for many decades.... Air pollution (and its
fallout on soil and water) is a form of domestic chemical and biological
warfare. The efflux from oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, oxides of
nitrogen, particulates, and many more contaminants amounts to compulsory
consumption of violence by most Americans. There is no escape from such
violent ingestions, for breathing is required."Ralph Nader's Study Group
on Air Pollution, Vanishing Air by John Esposito, Grossman, 1970.

There have been some improvements in air quality since I wrote these
words in 1970 for the introduction to this important early work on air
pollution. Unfortunately, the will of our elected officials to curb air
pollution and the indifference of corporate polluters to the silent
cumulative violence they inflict on our people through air pollution
persists. Protecting the 1997 standards should be the policy floor, not
the ceiling. We need to move well beyond the 1997 standards to truly
provide children and adults with the air quality their lungs deserve.

Improving air quality health standards requires several elements: The
Administration must crack down on polluters, strengthen emission
standards, and promote increased use of renewable energy sources. It is
also important to improve the energy efficiency of everything from
appliances to heating and air conditioning to automobiles.

Q. What additional, binding pollution reduction requirements would you
promulgate?

Congress should require each power provider to produce a minimum level of
clean, renewable energy and appropriate adequate funds for research,
development and deployment of renewable energy.

We must all work to help Congress eliminate the countless subsidies for
fossil fuels. And, we must push the major auto makers to build cars that
are truly efficient and safe.

I would direct the EPA to begin its mobile-source air toxics rule-making
and promulgate tough new standards for substances such as benzene,
1,3-butadiene, formaldehyde and acetalaldehyde. Our exposure to these
substances from both on- and non-road mobile sources must be reduced.

Congress and the next Administration should develop standards for
non-road vehicles used in construction and agriculture to ensure that the
emissions from these vehicles are properly regulated.

Q. How would you reduce pollution from aging power plants that are grand
fathered from emission reductions in the federal Clean Air Act?

Congress should require older power plants to meet the same standards for
old plants as those it has set for newer power plants. Operators of these
older plants have been grand-fathered for too many years. Strict emission
standards are especially needed for carbon dioxide and mercury. Moreover,
Congress should prohibit any bailouts of older fossil fuel plants.

Q. How would you protect the 1997 standards?

We need to launch a major grassroots campaign to tell Congress and
polluters that the 1997 standards were necessary to keep up with
scientific knowledge and that standards prior to 1997 were inadequate.
Just recently, the Supreme Court agreed to review a ruling from the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that held that EPA's 1997
national air quality standards for ozone and particulate matter were
unconstitutional. The Supreme Court should overturn this decision and
allow the EPA's actions to stand.

In conclusion, it is useful to observe that despite the proven validity
of the environmental statutes of the Seventies and the overwhelming
consistent public support for these and other popular laws, the
Democratic Party leadership could not keep the Congress from being taken
over by the right-wing of the Republican Party in 1994-1998. Executive
orders designed as timely press releases, are a hollow substitute for the
transforming leadership the American people deserve in both the short and
long-run to stem or prevent ecological violence to the Earth, its people
and animals and marine and plant life. Instead the public is mistreated
to emerging international systems of autocratic governance that actually
subordinate environmental imperatives to commercial trade imperatives -
i.e. WTO and NAFTA championed by the current Administration's President
and Vice-President.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader

Nader 2000
P.O. Box 18002
Washington, DC 20036

 
A sampling of the Books and Reports on Environment I have sponsored,
edited or written:

Barney, Daniel R. The Last Stand: The Report on the National Forests.
Grossman Publishers, New York.

Berkman, Richard L & W. Kip Viscusi. Damming the West: The Report on the
Bureau of Reclamation. Grossman Publishers, New York.

Benstock, Marcy & David Zwick. Water Wasteland: The Report on Water
Pollution. Grossman Publishers, New York.

Esposito, John C. Vanishing Air The Report on Air Pollution. Grossman
Publishers, New York.

Fallows, James M. The Water Lords: The Report on Industry and
Environmental Crisis in Savannah, Georgia. Grossman Publishers, New York.

Fellmeth, Robert C. Politics of Land: The Report on Land Use in
California. Grossman Publishers, New York.

Mayer, Carl J. and George A. Riley. Public Domain-Private Dominion: A
History of Public Mineral Policy in America. Sierra Club Books, San
Francisco.

 

 

Nader, Ralph and John Abbotts. The Menance of Atomic Energy. W.W Norton &
Company, New York.

Nader, Ralph & Ronald Brownstein & John Richard. Who's Poisoning America:
Corporate Polluters and their Victims in the Chemical Age. Sierra Club
Books, San Francisco.

Osborn, William G. The Paper Plantation. Grossman Publishers, New York.

Zwick, David, Water Wasteland; Ralph Nader's Study Group Report on Water
Pollution

Hanrahan, John & Gruenstein, Peter Lost Frontier: The Marketing of
Alaska, WW Norton & Co.

Other Books and Reports:

Citizens Guide to Nuclear Power

A Citizens Handbook on Solar Energy

Myths and Realities: Nuclear Power, Nuclear Bombs

Nuclear Power Plants: The More They Build The More You Pay

Energy Directions: Toward a sustainable Future

Energy Conservation

Troubled Waters On Tap

The Stimulation Effect: Proceedings of a National Conference on Uses of
Government Procurement Leverage to Benefit Consumers and the Environment

Forty Ways to Make Government Purchasing Green

Taking on Toxics: Ridding Your Community of Toxic Threats

Issues in Resource Conservation
 

 

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