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Action of the Week

Action of the week is intended to provide you, our supporters and network, with one concrete action that you can take each week to have your voice heard on governmental actions that are harmful to the environment and public and worker health, increase overall pesticide use, or undermine the advancement of organic, sustainable, and regenerative practices and policies. As an example, topics may include toxic chemical use, pollinator protection, organic agriculture and land use, global climate change, and regulatory or enforcement violations.

Week of 3/20/17 - Stand Against EPA and Monsanto Collusion

Contact your Members of Congress and demand an investigation into the collusion between EPA and Monsanto about Roundup’s safety!

Documents unveiled last Tuesday reveal collusion between officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Monsanto to fight a cancer classification for the company’s flagship product, Roundup. According to the New York Times, the released files show that Monsanto was “tipped off to the [International Agency for Research on Cancer] determination by a deputy division director at EPA, Jess Rowland, months beforehand. That led the company to prepare a public relations assault on the finding well in advance of its publication.”

>>Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senator or Representative. Tell them you demand an immediate investigation into collusion between EPA and Monsanto using the call script below!

In response to the released files and questions on glyphosate safety, Congressman Ted Lieu issued this statement

Reports suggest that a senior official at the EPA worked to suppress a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review of glyphosate, and may have leaked information to Monsanto. I believe that a Department of Justice investigation is warranted to look into any potential misconduct by employees of the EPA. I also believe a congressional hearing is immediately warranted. 

All Senators and Representatives should be concerned about this level of collusion between government officials and chemical companies and must demand an investigation. The very agency that is tasked with protecting human health and the environment has been found to be protecting corporate interests instead and it must be stopped.

>>Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senator or Representative. Tell them you demand an immediate investigation into collusion between EPA and Monsanto using the call script below!

Call script:

Hi [Senator or Representative], my name is [  ] and I am a constituent in [home state]. I am calling to ask you to join with Representative Lieu in demanding an immediate Department of Justice investigation into potential misconduct by EPA employees surrounding the safety of glyphosate (Roundup). Recent reports suggest that a top official at EPA worked to suppress a Department of Health and Human Services review of the pesticide and leaked confidential information to Monsanto. 

Please join with Representative Lieu in demanding an immediate congressional hearing and investigation of potential collusion between EPA officials and Monsanto that may have misled the public on the health risks from Roundup. Thank you, and I will be following your actions on this in the coming weeks. 

Week of 3/13/17 - Pesticide Free Lawn Care

Take Action: Educate your neighbors on pesticide-free lawn care!

With spring right around the corner, now is the time to educate your neighbors on the importance of pesticide-free lawn care.

>>Find out how to order pesticide-free lawn door hangers here.

You don’t need to use toxic lawn chemicals to have a safe and healthy green lawn. But it’s not always easy to talk to people about pesticides. Our Safe Lawn Door-Hanger helps concerned neighbors spread the word about lawn pesticides and alternatives with minimal confrontation. It can be used as an icebreaker for conversation or just hung on the front door or other visible spot of the homes you know or suspect use pesticides. The information on the hanger leads them to helpful resources on safe lawn care from every region of the country.

The back of the doorknob hanger states, “You don’t need to use toxic lawn chemicals to have a safe and healthy green lawn” and “It’s never too late to have a naturally green lawn. Spring, Summer, or Fall, there are simple steps you can take to prevent weeds, nurture soil, and never use dangerous lawn pesticides. It’s worth it!”.

>>You can also download a high resolution PDF for free here.

A growing body of evidence in scientific literature shows that pesticide exposure adversely affects neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine systems in humans, even at low levels. Children are especially sensitive to pesticide exposure as they take in more pesticides relative to their body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that are more vulnerable and less able to detoxify harmful chemicals. People with pre-existing health problems have elevated risk factors. Fortunately, there are proven safe, effective, and affordable ways to maintain attractive lawns and playable fields without the use of toxic pesticides.

>>Find out how to order pesticide-free lawn door hangers here. 

For more information on Toxic-Free Lawn Care, call Beyond Pesticides at 202-543-5450 or visit us on the web at www.pesticidefreelawns.org

Want to take it a step further than educating your neighbors? Think about working with community members to enact a policy that takes a stand against the use of toxic pesticides on lawns and landscapes. For ideas on how to effectively organize and prepare for action to protect human and environmental health, look back at our Action of the Week from February 27th.

Week of 3/6/17 - Oppose Cuts to EPA Funding

Contact your Members of Congress to Oppose Proposed Cuts to EPA Funding!

Help make sure the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the funds to operate effectively and address critical issues of health in our community.

>>Send a letter to your members of Congress now!

As an often fierce critic of many EPA policies that fall short of the actions that Beyond Pesticides advocates, we feel strongly that EPA must function to protect health and the environment against polluters. Therefore, we strenuously oppose undermining EPA’s authorities or dismantling its programs. EPA plays a critical role in evaluating scientific findings and issuing rules that protect human health and the environment. 

But, EPA does not have a chance to accomplish what it should without a reasonable budget. Your members of Congress have a direct role in the final budget level, as they will have a vote on the funding levels in the coming weeks through the federal appropriations process. 

While EPA is not without flaws in the way it regulates pesticides, the clear attacks on public health and the environment through proposed budget cuts by the Trump administration and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt demands urgent action. We must ensure that the public health and environmental protections that we depend upon for clean water, clean air, and healthy natural resources are not slashed under the new administration.

>>Send a letter to your members of Congress and tell them that you adamantly oppose any budget cuts to EPA!

According to the Washington Post, the proposed plan created by the Trump administration would slash staff from 15,000 to 12,000 and cut state grants and air and water program funding by 30 percent. EPA was established in 1970 by President Nixon and has made significant strides in cleaning up common-pool resources like air and water since its inception. It has much more work to do in protecting American citizens from toxic pesticides, air pollution, and water contamination, and will not be able to carry out these important roles if its budget is slashed.

As a constituent, your voice, joined by others throughout the state, will make a difference! Thanks for taking action!
>>Send a letter to your members of Congress and tell them that you adamantly oppose any budget cuts to EPA!

Week of 2/27/17 - Tools to Take Action in Your Community

With Human Health and Environmental Protection under Siege, Action in Your Own Community is More Crucial than Ever!

Here’s how to prepare for effective action.
In response to your concern about all of the rollbacks to human health and environmental protections that are beginning to occur in Congress and with the Trump Administration, Beyond Pesticides is providing the tools for you to take action. 

There are many issues that may be under attack in the coming months and years, including dismantling organic standards, polluting our air and water, and undoing endangered species protections. Starting with grassroots action in your community is a powerful way to effect change and set up a course for protecting these standards against efforts to weaken them and positive reform.

Beyond Pesticides has worked successfully with community residents nationwide to start local movements to get toxic chemicals out of their towns, cities, counties, and schools, replacing them with organic and sustainable practices.  As you know, pesticide use is a public health and environmental concern, so joining with others through local action means that your community is working to stop chemical use that pollutes air, water, and land and contribute to global climate change. Ensuring that we maintain a legitimate certification process in the marketplace, the USDA organic seal, means that we have a choice to support and help expand practices that are good for health and the environment. 

With all of the issues facing our environment, human health, and the food system, it is critical to organize with these broad concerns in mind, while targeting specific actions. Remember, as a constituent of elected officials, your voice, your experience, the health of you and your family is powerful and critical in our current political environment. In order to most effectively engage with Members of Congress and local officials, it is important to gather more widespread support to organize for positive change. 

Level One - Make your voice heard.

  • Identify issues of concern to you and make your positions known to decision makers. Beyond Pesticides provides suggestions on timely issues in various federal and state agencies, and in Congress, through our Action of the Week, but you may identify other local issues, and Beyond Pesticides is ready to work with you on those issues.

Level Two - Build a network of voices.

  • Build a local network of people you can collaborate with. Start with your friends, family, and neighbors. Contact Beyond Pesticides to see if we know of people in your area that may want to join your local network or to strategize on growing the network that you are building. 
  • Create a local listserv or a Facebook group with the network you’re creating to communicate messaging and organize actions. You can come up with a name for the group or use BeyondPesticides[name of your town/area]@googlegroups.com
  • Yahoo and Google both have free listservs and groups, which you can join or create your own new group. 
  • Track the issues your group is focused on and target your actions on these. It may be posting the Beyond Pesticides’ Action of the Week, or it could be a strategy to adopt a toxic-free park or community public lands campaign. 

Level Three - Develop a community presence.

Go to community meetings with your network.

  • Be prepared to make a short statement with a clear request for action by the decision maker (e.g. I/We would like you to vote against/for legislation [name/bill number] or I/We would like you to introduce legislation that stops toxic lawn chemical use and replaces it with organic land management that will protect my family and the community.)
  • A quick personal story about your concern is helpful if you have one.
  • You can bring the message to town hall meetings, Congressional district office visits, town/city/county council meetings, board of supervisors, the state legislature, and commissions (on mosquito management, roadsides, pesticide regulation, etc.).
  • Always ask for a response at the end of your question. 
  • Bring a one-page factsheet on the issue you are raising.

In addition to the above suggestions, here are things to remember when attending a town hall meeting or another event hosted by your Members of Congress:

  • Sign up for your Members’ meetings via their constituent newsletter. Most Members of Congress offer this option to sign up for email updates if you go to their website home page.
  • If the Member cannot respond at the time, remind him or her that you will be following up and look forward to their answer at a later time. Request the name of the Congressional aide who will be following up.
  • Make an attempt to introduce yourself to the Member of Congress or a staffer before or after the meeting and present them with materials on the issues you care about. Always remember to ask for a business card so you can get in contact with them at a later time.

Thanks for taking action and please tell us how your community organizing efforts progress!

Week of 2/21/17 - Oppose Agrochemical Mega-Mergers

Take Action to Oppose the Agrochemical Mega-Mergers!

Corporate control of the food system is already bad enough—the proposed mega-mergers of Dow Chemical with DuPont, Monsanto with Bayer AG, and Syngenta with ChemChina would make it even worse! That's why Beyond Pesticides and 323 allied groups sent a letter last week to new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding the enforcement of antitrust law and that he put consumer and farmer interests above corporations. The letter was also delivered to members of Congress and state attorneys general.

Call your state attorney general and ask if they have joined the federal antitrust probe of the proposed mergers between DuPont-Dow and Bayer AG-Monsanto, and if they have not, urge them to do so immediately. Participation by the state attorneys general in investigating these mega-mergers will increase overall scrutiny and will improve the chances of these mergers being rejected. 

>>Contact your state attorney general and tell them that you adamantly oppose the proposed agrochemical mergers using the template below!

The letter sent last week points to the adverse and wide-ranging consequences of these mergers stating that, “Conglomerates of such massive scale, breadth and reach, such as those proposed by these mergers, pose a real risk to our economy, to our agricultural sector, to public health, to food security, to the environment and to the general health of the agricultural and food business climate.” More concentration of power will result in fewer choices in the marketplace for seeds, inputs and foods, at a time when the consumer demand for ecologically sound technologies that are cost-effective and sustainable is ever-increasing.

Call script:

Hi Attorney General [  ], my name is [  ] and I am a constituent in [home state]. I am calling to see if you have joined the federal antitrust probe of the proposed mergers between DuPont-Dow and Bayer AG-Monsanto. I am very concerned about these mega-mergers of agrochemical companies and the negative impact they would have on public health, the environment, and our agricultural sector.

I support sustainable and organic practices and am alarmed at corporate consolidation and the effect it will have on consumer and farmer choice. Please join other state attorneys general in investigating these mega-mergers and protecting consumers in this state. Thank you and I will be following your actions on this in the coming weeks. 

>>Contact your state attorney general and tell them that you adamently oppose the proposed agrochemical mergers using the template above!

Facts: 

If Monsanto and Bayer, Dow and DuPont and Syngenta and ChemChina form their respective proposed partnerships, the three resulting corporations will control nearly 70 percent of the world’s pesticide market, more than 61 percent of commercial seed sales and 80 percent of the U.S. corn-seed market. This would have serious consequences for the market by limiting options to farmers, consumers and further tilt the balance away from independent science and the health and safety of the American people. The mergers pose significant potential threats to U.S. security interests; undermines food security in the United States and worldwide; disrupts trade flows; accelerates the international consolidation of the food and agribusiness industries to the detriment of American farmers, rural communities, and consumers.

Week of 2/13/17 - Fight for Environmental Protections

Tell the Trump Administration to Stop Eliminating Environmental Protections and Enforcement Measures!

This past Wednesday night, a report came out revealing that the Trump administration is considering closing the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA). By breaking up or dismantling this important office, the enforcement responsibility would then fall on individual program offices, likely resulting in less civil and criminal enforcement of our nation’s environmental laws.

Additionally, several weeks ago the President signed an executive order mandating that federal agencies zero out costs to regulated entities, while ignoring benefits to the public, environment, and natural resources. The so-called “Two for One” order requires agencies to propose the repeal of two regulations for every new regulation that is proposed.

>>Use the template below and send a message to the President and his administration to hold them accountable!

Message Template (copy and paste):

Dear Mr. President,

I call on you to cancel plans to close the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. This office of the Environmental Protection Agency serves a vital function in enforcing environmental laws and maintaining compliance and must not be dismantled. 

I also urge you to retract your executive order that directs federal agencies to repeal two regulations for every new one created. This “Two for One” order would roll back crucial human health and environmental protections that have benefitted the American public. 

It is possible to have clean water, clean air, and other environmental protections while not undermining economic growth and fiscal responsibility that your administration is concerned about. I ask that you work with your Cabinet to protect public health and the environment and not undermine the work of important agencies like EPA.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my concerns. 

Sincerely,

>>Send a message to the President now!

Facts: 

According to EPA, OECA addresses pollution problems that affect communities through civil and criminal enforcement action. OECA works to protect vulnerable communities from environmental hazards and advance environmental justice. OECA works with EPA regional offices, state and tribal governments, and other federal agencies to enforce laws including the Toxic Substances Control Act, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Clean Water Act, and Clean Air Act.

An example of a successful enforcement action by OECA occurred in 2010, when EPA announced that Monsanto Company Inc. had agreed to pay $2.5 million for misbranding violations related to the sale and distribution of cotton seed products containing genetically engineered pesticides. OECA was instrumental in following through with this civil administrative penalty settlement that upheld the law and maintained compliance with sale and distribution of pesticide products.

Week of 2/6/17 - Protect EPA's Mission and Uphold Scientific Integrity

Tell your Members of Congress to Protect EPA’s Mission and Uphold Scientific Integrity!

The Trump Administration continues to undermine scientific integrity and agency oversight by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Send a message to your U.S. Representative and Senators by signing this letter!

EPA plays a critical role in reviewing independent science and issuing rules that protect human health and environment. While they are not without flaw in the way they regulate pesticides, a fact Beyond Pesticides continues to critique, the clear attacks on this agency’s mission through stifling of science-based communications over the past two weeks demands urgent action. We must ensure that public health and environmental protections that we depend upon for clean water, clean air, and healthy natural resources are not immediately slashed under the new administration.

>>Take action now!

Facts:
According the NPR, the Trump administration’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team stated on Tuesday, January 24 that scientists will now face “an unspecified vetting process before sharing their work outside the agency.” However, this kind of review is at odds with EPA’s own scientific integrity policy, which “prohibits all EPA employees, including scientists, managers, and other Agency leadership, from suppressing, altering, or otherwise impeding the timely release of scientific findings or conclusions.”

This comes on the heels of an announcement by the administration several days after Trump was sworn in issuing scientific grant and hiring freezes at EPA nationwide, along with effectively banning science communications through social media platforms. These grant freezes have since been walked back on. 

Action:
If suppressing public communication of science-based information continues, it will further politicize and degrade the vital role of EPA. Please let your elected representatives in Congress know that the Trump administration’s silencing of EPA will not be tolerated and you demand transparency and science-based standards going forward. Urge your elected representatives to oppose any efforts by the Trump administration to weaken environmental standards and undercut science communications.

>>Send a message to your U.S. Representative and Senators now!

Background:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is a federal agency with an annual budget of just over $8 billion with 15,376 employees as of 2016. To accomplish their mission of protecting human health and the environment, EPA develops and enforces regulations, gives grants, studies environmental issues, sponsors partnerships, teach about environmental issues, and publishes information. The statute that Beyond Pesticides works with most closely, The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), is a regulatory and licensing law that oversees the registration of pesticides and their application.

Week of 1/30/17 - Vote Against Scott Pruitt Confirmation

Tell your Senator to vote against the confirmation of Scott Pruitt to Administrator of EPA

Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s nomination to head EPA, has worked for years to dismantle environmental protections in his home state of Oklahoma. If confirmed, Mr. Pruitt will head the agency whose mission is to protect human health and the environment, not the polluters that he sought to protect as Oklahoma Attorney General. Mr. Pruitt sued EPA over a dozen times during his tenure as OK’s Attorney General, challenging regulation of the oil and gas industry, coal-fired power generation plants and Natural Gas fracking, and EPA actions under the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. Mr. Pruitt raised campaign funds from many of the industries regulated under these laws. 

Call your U.S. Senators and tell them that you adamantly oppose Scott Pruitt becoming the leader of EPA. His history of blocking air and water regulations around the country highlight his inability to be an unbiased and science-driven defender of EPA’s mission.

If you live in a state with a Senator on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, contact them now using the numbers below, as they will  be casting their votes on Scott Pruitt on Wednesday, February 1.

Call script: Hi Senator [  ], my name is [  ] and I am a constituent in [home state]. I urge you to oppose Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator. His anti-environment and anti-human health record as Oklahoma Attorney General reveals his inability to effectively separate his corporate interests from the interests of the people he serves. He has opposed clean water and air standards in his home state in addition to opposing limits on water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Please vote no on Scott Pruitt and demand a candidate who will protect our environment and public health. Thank you and I will be following your actions on this in the coming days.

  • John Barrasso, Wyoming: 202-224-6441
  • James Inhofe, Oklahoma: 202-224-4721
  • Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia: 202-224-6472
  • John Boozman, Arkansas: 202-224-4843
  • Roger Wicker, Mississippi: 202-224-6253
  • Deb Fischer, Nebraska: 202-224-6551
  • Jeff Sessions, Alabama: 202-224-4124
  • Jerry Moran, Kansas: 202-224-6521
  • Mike Rounds, South Dakota: 202-224-5842
  • Joni Ernst, Iowa: 202-224-3254
  • Dan Sullivan, Alaska: 202-224-3004
  • Thomas Carper, Delaware: 202-224-2441
  • Benjamin Cardin, Maryland: 202-224-4524
  • Bernard Sanders, Vermont: 202-224-5141
  • Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island: 202-224-2921
  • Jeff Merkley, Oregon: 202-224-3753
  • Kirsten Gillibrand, New York: 202-224-4451
  • Cory Booker, New Jersey: 202-224-3224
  • Edward Markey, Massachusetts: 202-224-2742
  • Tammy Duckworth, Illinois: 202-224-2854
  • Kamala Harris, California: 202-224-3553

You can also go to the Twitter or website of your Senator and leave your message there.

Thanks for taking action!