State of the Union Message

State of the Union Message

Statement from Friends of the Earth President Dr. Brent Blackwelder

The United States is a long way from having healthy air and water. Over 150 million Americans live in areas failing to meet clean air standards and over 40% of our rivers and lakes are still too polluted for fishing and swimming.

President Bush failed to say a single word on clean air, clean water, and the environment in last year’s State of the Union address. Friends of the Earth calls on the President to come to his senses and look at what is happening to the air, land, and water in America.

Friends of the Earth has a vision of the United States as a nation of healthy families, healthy communities, and a healthy environment to live in. These are strong moral values. We still have a dream of America the Beautiful, not America the throw-away society, laced with strip-mined mountains, paved-over wetlands, and bursting landfills.

Not only does Bush’s flawed environmental policy fail to meet the challenges of the 21st century but it actually turns back the clock with its pro-polluter agenda. Thirty years after lawmakers of both parties passed landmark legislation to protect our air, land and water the Bush administration is aggressively moving forward to weaken these very laws.

America should strive to be a model for all the world by eliminating our water pollution, but the Bush administration now wants to allow polluters to dump billions of gallons of untreated sewage into our rivers and lakes. They’ve left a policy on the books that jeopardizes protection of millions of acres of wetlands. And they’ve cut funding for clean water infrastructure improvements across the nation, hamstringing the efforts of small and rural communities to provide clean water for their citizens.

The administration’s track record on clean air is no better. At a time when one out of six women of childbearing age has unhealthy levels of toxic mercury in her blood, the administration wants to avoid classifying mercury as a hazardous pollutant to spare industry from cleaning up its act—even though the government’s own scientists say we can reduce mercury pollution by 90 percent over four years using current technology. We are supposed to love our neighbors, not poison them.

And at a time when the rest of the world prepares to ratify the Kyoto agreement on global warming, the Bush administration continues to push a backward looking energy plan that imperils public health while calling for more taxpayer subsidies for polluting fuels and doing little to improve America’s energy security.

The American people deserve better. Friends of the Earth calls on the President to come clean with the American people. If he doesn’t want to protect our air and water, he should say so and stop trying to deceive the public by using words like ‘clean’, ‘clear’, ‘healthy,’ and ‘safe’ to describe his administration’s actions that do the opposite.

Friends of the Earth calls on our nation to forge a path forward to clean up our environment and promote a clean energy future. The Bush administration should be leading the way rather than acting as a lead weight sinking all attempts to move forward.