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Lay of the Land

Poland's Eco-Farms | Factory Farms | Snowmobile Ban | For the Record | Clean Car Bill | Protect California Wilderness | Take a Friend to the Polls | Bold Strokes | All Species Foundation | Updates

Ten Reasons to Take a Friend to the Polls

By Jennifer Hattam

For the past two years, environmentalists have been forced to fight a defensive battle to keep oil wells out of our wildlands and arsenic out of our water. Think how much more satisfying it would be to start building a greener, safer world instead. With a strong Congress, full of Sierra Club—endorsed candidates, we could enact some of the visionary proposals described below. It all starts with your vote–and those of your friends and neighbors. Here’s why you shouldn’t go to the polls alone:

1. So we can breathe easier. The Clean Power Act, championed by Senator Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) and Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), would reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, mercury, and carbon dioxide from electric-generating power plants, our single largest source of air pollution.

2. To keep the West wild. The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, introduced by Representatives Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), would create 20 million acres of wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, and national parks and preserves in five states.

3. To beat traffic. The High-Speed Rail Investment Act, introduced by Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Representative Amo Houghton (R-N.Y.), would increase railroad funding by $12 billion over ten years.

4. So the Arctic is protected forever. A bill introduced by Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) would designate the embattled coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness, preserving it for the caribou, polar bears, and native Gwich’in people who rely on its bounty.

5. Because forests aren’t tree farms. The National Forest Protection and Restoration Act, introduced by Representatives Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) and Jim Leach (R-Iowa), would stop logging and restore native biodiversity in our national forests while providing aid to timber-dependent communities.

6. To green buildings. The Energy Efficient Buildings Incentives Act, introduced by Senator Bob Smith (R-N.H.) and Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.), would promote technologies that could halve the energy needs of new commercial buildings, schools, and homes.

7. So red rock stays rugged. Mountain lions, elk, and bighorn sheep belong in Utah’s canyons and deserts. Oil rigs don’t. A bill by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, would permanently protect over 9 million acres of Utah wildlands.

8. To help stabilize population. The Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act, introduced by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Representative James Greenwood (R-Pa.), would require U.S. insurance companies to add contraceptives to their prescription-drug coverage.

9. To protect our health. The indiscriminate use of antibiotics in livestock operations can create drug-resistant "superbugs," making it more difficult to treat illnesses from pneumonia to food poisoning. Representative Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) Preservation of Antibiotics for Human Treatment Act would regulate use of antibiotics on animals.

10. Because wildlife can’t vote. The Endangered Species Recovery Act, a bill sponsored this year by Representatives George Miller (D-Calif.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), would ensure that listings are based on science, not politics, and provide incentives for landowners to save imperiled animals and habitat.

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