Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law and Policy Institute, was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting. He told us that the Great Lakes states were critical to the election of Donald Trump, and in his first 100 days he has declared war on clean, safe water. 21% of the world’s fresh water supply and drinking water for more than 42 million people are found in the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Water quality here is essential. (In this video, Howard Learner is introduced by Dan Breeden from WXOW TV in La Crosse.)
We need to communicate that safe, clean water is not a partisan issue; we need to communicate this to members of Congress, the White House, our state legislatures. It is a basic human right to breath clean air and drink clean water.
Here's a summary of Howard's remarks, check the video at the second marks indicated to watch it.
6:00 What do we need to do to make a difference? First, we need to be here to play to win. We are not fighting the good fight, we are playing to win.
8:30 Facts: To better understand what Trump voters think about water, the Environmental Law and Policy Center hired Ann Selzer from the Des Moines poll to conduct research in key areas of Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana. Focus groups were asked about their priorities in general and about the environment in particular.
12:50 What did we learn from the focus groups? Howard outlined the threats to our clean water regulatory framework from the Trump administration. Why are they doing this? He’s sure they are doing survey work too that shows people don’t’ support these changes. This is an area where we need to fight back and win.
15:30 Pushback on these issues is effective, and needs to be relentless and consistent. Here’s how we can win:
24:50 Trump’s voters don’t agree with the war on water quality that the Trump administration has declared. We will need to litigate cases to fight this war, we need to use new technology to activate people to take action on problems in their neighborhoods and we need to work with state and local allies to push back against the roll back of regulations and the push to tie the hands of environmental regulators.
26:00 What are we going to do about climate change? About 2/3 of Americans believe that climate change is real and are concerned about what it means for them. We need to fight for cleaner energy and cleaner transportation. The Midwest states have already done a lot to reduce air pollution – all states in the ELPC area are way ahead in implementing the Clean Power Plan; both Minnesota and Iowa are already fully in compliance and the rest are making excellent progress more rapidly than required.
30:00 – We are not here to be ‘at the table’, we are not hear to ‘fight the good fight’. We are here to win!
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