Earth Day Should Not be Just One Day
This past Tuesday, communities throughout the country celebrated Earth Day. Since the first Earth Day in 1970 - when 20 million Americans joined its founder, the late former Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, in its observation - Earth Day has served as a prime opportunity to focus the nation's attention on our environment and the need to build a sustainable society. Today, according to the Earth Day Network, more than 500 million people worldwide participate in Earth Day civic activities.
I spent Earth Day with students in one elementary school in West Windsor, as the host of an environmental game show, quizzing students about the environment. As we discussed, we should not only think about the environment on Earth Day.
I continue to support efforts at the federal level to reduce our nation's greenhouse gas emissions, including investing in clean technology, instituting a nationwide renewable energy portfolio standard, increasing fuel economy standards, and setting national building efficiency goals. I also believe that we each can do certain things in our own lives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. For instance, according to the Department of Energy, replacing one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb will save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, recycling half of one's household waste can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, and moving one's thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in summer can save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
Help with the Federal Government
The federal bureaucracy can be difficult to navigate. As your representative in Congress, I can act as your liaison to make sure you are treated fairly. I can often intervene on a person's behalf to answer questions, obtain needed information, or just cut through red tape.
This week, for example, I was able to help a Central New Jersey resident who had her purse stolen while visiting her parents in India. This woman needed help expediting the receipt of travel documents that would allow her to return to the United States on her scheduled return date. My office initiated correspondence with the Consul General at the United States Embassy in New Delhi, India, and travel documents were produced in time for her to return as scheduled.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need help with a federal agency. You can learn more at www.holt.house.gov/services.shtml.
A Disturbing Study on Political Interference at EPA
In recent years, a number of federal scientists have reported pressure from political appointees in the Bush Administration. This week, a study from the Union of Concerned Scientists shed greater light on this issue. According to their investigation of the Environmental Protection Agency, 889 of nearly 1,600 staff scientists said they experienced political interference in their work over the last five years.
Political interference included the misrepresentation of their findings, the altering of a draft scientific document, and the inability to openly express concerns about the EPA's work without fear of retribution.
This study confirms an alarming and dangerous pattern in which political aides and appointees in the Bush Administration aggressively challenged, manipulated, and at times silenced the work and judgment of professional scientists. Science works if scientists are free to ask questions and answer them as the evidence directs without political restraints. The public gets worse results from the government if taxpayer-funded scientists are hobbled.
Member of Congress