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3 Must-Ask Environmental Questions for the Presidential Candidates

The upcoming presidential debates offer the perfect opportunity to implore candidates about their environmental values and potential policies. That’s especially true because throughout the Republican primary process, none of the contenders were asked a single question about how they’d deal with energy, pollution, toxic chemicals, land use, wilderness preservation or wildlife.

Now that the race has narrowed to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it’s important that the debate moderators ask them to reveal not only their economic and foreign policy positions, but their environmental positions as well. Millions of Americans will watch the debates and make their voting decision based on what they hear and see. They deserve to know what Clinton and Trump believe when it comes to protecting the planetor not.

Here is the schedule for the upcoming debates:

Presidential Debates Between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

* September 26, 2016 – Moderator, Lester Holt of NBC

* October 9, 2016 – Moderators, Martha Radditz of ABC and Anderson Cooper of CNN

* October 19, 2016 – Moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News

There will also be a debate among the candidates for vice president, Democrat Tim Kaine, and Republican Mike Pence.

What are the 3 most important questions about the environment the moderators of the presidential debates should ask all candidates?

Climate Change:If only one question can be asked, it should be about the most pressing environmental issue people on every continent face: climate change. Here are some possible ways to frame the question:

* Do you believe climate change is a serious threat to the environment, our national security and our health?

* Climate change has been directly linked to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. Do you support reducing our use of fossil fuels and accelerating our reliance onand support for renewables like solar, wind and geothermal?

* How would your administration revise current U.S. energy policy so our country could meet the

Paris climate change accords

our government recently agreed to?

Moms Clean Air Force is urging voters to contact NBC’s Lester Holt and tell him to ask the candidates a question specifically about climate change.

Here’s how you can do that, too.Toxic Chemicals

– There are over 80,000 chemicals circulating in our world every day, and many of them are toxic to human health. Though the Toxic Substances Control Act was recently updated and

signed into law

, people are still exposed to dangerous chemical substances on a daily basis.

* If elected, what additional steps would your administration take to protect people from chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, infertility, attention deficit disorder and other health problems?

* Would your administration adoptthe

Precautionary Principle

as the framework for approving or banning new chemicals?

* How would your administration hold the manufacturers of toxic chemicals liable or accountable for the impact they have on human health and the environment?

Air and Water Pollution – We have an inalienable right to drink clean water and breathe clean air. Yet, our communities often suffer through “red alert” air quality alarms because the air is so polluted. The sources of our drinking water are contaminated with agricultural runoff, fire retardants, rocket fuel, arsenic and more.

* What specific public policies or executive orders would you support to reduce air pollution and improve water quality?

* People living in low-income communities are disproportionately affected by dirty air and unsafe water, as we saw recently with the lead-in-drinking-water scandal in Flint, Michigan. What will your administration do to ensure that people, especially children, have access to healthy air and water no matter where they live?

* In some parts of the U.S., the problem is that drinking water is unsafe. In other parts, the problem is that drought and overconsumption have seriously depleted available water supplies. What would you and your administration do to make sure, not only that water is clean enough to drink, but that there is enough water to go around for all citizens of the U.S.?

What questions would you ask the two presidential candidates if you had the chance? Please share!


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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3 Must-Ask Environmental Questions for the Presidential Candidates

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Now there’s one less way for Big Coal to screw over Americans

The spurn of the screw

Now there’s one less way for Big Coal to screw over Americans

By on Jul 1, 2016Share

The Obama administration took a small step on Thursday to prevent coal companies from fleecing taxpayers.

Until now, the biggest coal conglomerates were getting away with scamming the government by selling coal mined on federal land to their own subsidiaries for a discounted, below-market price. Since the government’s royalties from that coal are a percentage of the sale price, that meant the companies were paying lower royalties than they should have been. Forty-two percent of the coal produced in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin — the biggest coal-producing area in the U.S. right now — was being sold through these “captive transactions,” according to Public Citizen, a good government advocacy group.

On Thursday, the Interior Department issued a new rule that puts a stop to that practice.

“One of the things Cloud Peak [Energy] and other coal companies were doing is selling to an affiliate at the mine mouth and then selling it in the export market at a significantly higher price,” says Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s energy program. This new rule will allow the department to more accurately calculate the “market value” of coal, oil, and gas extracted on public land and make sure it’s getting paid fair royalties. Slocum estimates that this could bring in an additional $300 million per year in royalties.

This is important for two reasons: Corporations should not be stealing from the public, and every penny we undercharge fossil-fuel companies is an implicit subsidy for the dirty fuels that cause climate change. Coal companies are struggling, and instead of throwing them a lifeline that will help them stay in the business of worsening global warming, we should be letting them sink.

Crucially, unlike many other rules issued by federal agencies, this new rule will apply not just to future leases but also to ones that already exist. So even under a coal lease bought five years ago, a company will now have to pay fairer royalty rates going forward.

This is just the beginning of reforms needed to the federal fossil-fuel leasing system. A bigger issue is that coal, oil, and gas lease rates have failed to keep pace with the market, and on top of that they do not factor in the social costs of pollution and climate change. If they did those two things, the cost of fossil-fuel leases would be prohibitive. As it is, the leasing program is a big money-loser for the federal government. Greenpeace estimates that coal leasing alone costs taxpayers some $50 billion per year.

Ultimately, of course, we should be keeping fossil fuels in the ground — especially on land owned by the public. Hillary Clinton has pledged to move toward that goal, but she hasn’t specified a timeline. President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell have only promised to ensure that the public gets a fair price for fossil fuels extracted from public land, and to align the leasing programs with the administration’s goal of combatting climate change. It’s not clear what exactly either of those things mean. But in January, the Interior Department put a moratorium on new coal leases pending the results of a multi-year environmental review of the leasing program.

Climate activists have made fixing the broken fossil-fuel leasing system their top priority, and clearly more changes will occur, but no one knows how far they will go.


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Now there’s one less way for Big Coal to screw over Americans

Posted in alo, Anchor, Citizen, eco-friendly, FF, G & F, GE, LAI, ONA, PUR, Ultima, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Now there’s one less way for Big Coal to screw over Americans