Midwest EPA union declares climate emergency, calls on President Biden, EPA to take immediate steps

Midwest EPA union declares climate emergency, calls on President Biden, EPA to take immediate steps
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Midwest EPA union declares climate emergency, calls on President Biden, EPA to take immediate steps (Chicago, IL) — The rank and file members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 704, the union representing nearly 1000 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees in six states across the Midwest, voted to declare a climate emergency, and urged the federal government to take immediate action in response to Administrator Michael Regan’s October 7th email asking all EPA employees to “look at your areas of work at EPA and help prepare for climate change impacts.”

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Prairie State College
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Prairie State College

“We are facing a climate emergency,” said AFGE Local 704 President Nicole Cantello. “Further inaction on climate policy could spell the end of a habitable world for millions. The Biden administration and EPA should enact policies that provide recovery to communities hardest hit by the climate emergency. We urgently need investments as big as the problems we face. As a nation and as local communities, we must transition immediately off of fossil fuels instead of doubling down on dirty energy investments. We call on our county and on EPA to recognize the dire crisis we are facing, declare a climate emergency and, with the added power that comes from the declaration of a national emergency, take action.”

The union’s declaration included a list of demands for the Biden Administration, including:

  • Invoking the National Emergencies Act and Defense Production Act to reinstate the crude oil export ban; and provide critical loan guarantees and ensure a comprehensive buildout of just, renewable energy development that creates millions of good union jobs.

  • Enacting a Clean Energy Standard (CES) that would decarbonize the power sector by 2035.

  • Imposing a moratorium on permitting fossil fuel facilities and infrastructure that increase greenhouse gas emissions to the planet.

  • Appointing leaders across the government who will support renewable energy, get tough on polluters exceeding permitted limits, especially in communities burdened by environmental injustice.

  • Work to decarbonize our federal financial outlays, especially the largest single-payer fund in the world, the Thrift Savings Plan.

  • Hiring at least 1000 more EPA scientists and engineers nationwide, and 200 more in the Great Lakes, to tackle the climate emergency and replenish a workforce decimated by the Trump administration.

  • Cutting EPA’s carbon emissions and that of its workforce and have it use every available tool to assist other federal agencies in reducing carbon emissions.

  • Recruiting and retaining the best EPA climate scientists, engineers and lawyers in the nation and paying them salaries that allow our agency to compete with the lure of the private sector.

  • Incentivizing renewable energy in all sectors.

  • Strengthening environmental justice and tribal voices in decisions about their health and their environment.

  • Providing scientific information to the public and local governments about how to prepare to be resilient against climate change to protect infrastructure and local economies.

AFGE Local 704 was a leading voice of resistance to the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the EPA and prevent enforcement on big polluters. Under the Biden administration, AFGE leaders have continued their efforts to rebuild the agency to its prior strength and effectiveness.

The climate emergency resolution passed in the AFGE Local 704 membership with 100% approval.

Midwest EPA union declares climate emergency, calls on President Biden, EPA to take immediate steps

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