End Domestic Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Infrastructure Bills
Debra Schrishuhn for the PDA National Team
Over the weekend, approximately 126,000 gallons of post-production crude oil leaked from a pipeline 5 miles from Huntington Beach in Orange County, California, fouling beaches and infiltrating the entirety of the Talbert wetlands. Local conservationists and the Army Corps of Engineers have worked for 4 decades to restore some 180 acres of fresh and saltwater marshes along the Santa Ana River, and their work was destroyed in one day. The oil spill kills fish, birds, and other wildlife, and poses significant health risks to local human populations.
Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed 23 species from those protected under the Endangered Species Act because they have not been seen in the wild for decades, indicating they are most likely extinct. The list includes 11 birds, 8 freshwater mussels, 2 freshwater fish, a fruit bat species, and one plant. Nearly half of the delisted species were endemic to Hawai’i, Guam, and other Pacific islands.
A recent study published in the journal Science concludes that 2.9 billion birds have disappeared from the continental U.S. and Canada since 1970—that’s 1 in every 4 birds. Loss of habitat, decreased water and air quality, and systemic climate change (affecting timing and abundance of food availability) are the main culprits. Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, declines in wild bird populations signal the deteriorating health of our land, air, and water.
PDA recognizes the immediate and long-term damage that human activity, primarily spurred by fossil fuel development and use, has caused and continues to cause to our planetary health. Band-aid efforts are not sufficient. Local and regional regulations have limited effects. We need robust federal policies focused on transforming our energy production to sustainable sources and reducing our carbon footprint now.
Call your Senators and Representative today. Tell them to support climate change-fighting elements in both infrastructure bills, and demand an immediate end to domestic fossil fuel subsidies, then let us know if you act and donate to support our ongoing work. We have no time left to waste.