Letter of Concern about America's Public Lands, Environmental Regulations and Cabinet Nominees - sent to Louisiana Senators and Congressmen

Jan 24, 2017

Senator Bill Cassidy
703 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Cassidy,

I am writing on behalf of the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club to express our serious concerns and alarm about attacks on America’s public lands, environmental laws, and governmental regulations in the new Congress.

Public Lands – House Republicans have passed new rules to make it easier for federal lands to be sold off, with greater control over this process by members of Congress. Representative Ron Bishop (R-UT), Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, authored language that would overturn the current requirement that lost revenues from federal lands would have to be factored into any sale by the government. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/01/03/hou...)

America’s National Parks, Monuments, and Wildlife Refuges are the property of the American people. To erase their value as part of a push to hand them over to local and private interests flies in the face of our history and the integrity of our system of public lands for public benefit. We should remember the tremendous importance of public lands in Louisiana – 2 National Historical Parks, and 24 National Wildlife Refuges, along with a number of historical sites – as examples of public treasures. It was through the hard work of dedicated citizens and responsible members of Congress that these areas were protected and set aside – with taxpayer dollars. They are not spoils for irresponsible politicians to simply give away.

Environmental Regulations – The new Congress has also passed new and revised laws aimed at dismantling the federal government’s ability to promulgate and enforce environmental and other regulations. The Congressional Review Act enables the Congress to block final regulations through a resolution of disapproval, while the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act would end the federal government’s legal authority to adopt and implement regulations on its own, as provided by current law, requiring an affirmative vote by Congress for regulations to be carried out.

These bills are not aimed at particular regulations but the basic ability of the government to regulate at all. They would be a radical change in the system of governance that has been in place for decades, where Congress charges the agencies with expertise with enforcing and implementing the laws that it passes. The vast majority of Congressional members lack the knowledge - and as these bills demonstrate, the judgment – to devise effective regulations that deal with complex and technical issues.

Cabinet Nominees – In addition to concerns over the actions of Congress, the national Sierra Club has expressed its opposition to several new Cabinet nominees put forward by the President-elect, such as prospective EPA head Scott Pruitt, whose professional career has been spent opposing the mission of the agency he has been nominated to lead. (http://www.sierraclub.org/compass/2017/01/top-5-things-you-didn-t-know-a....)

Sincerely,

Haywood Martin, Chair
Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club
P.O. Box 52503
Lafayette, Louisiana 70505
hrmartin2sc@gmail.com

The Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club is 4,000 of your neighbors supporting the work of the Sierra Club in Louisiana. We advance the cause of protecting Louisiana's environment in a variety of ways, as part of the national Sierra Club, America's oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.

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