On April 21, 2017, ELPC hosted an Earth Day Rally in Chicago with partners included elected officials and friends from across the environmental and public health advocacy sector.
Here is Howard’s speech from that event:
CHICAGO EARTH DAY RALLY – APRIL 21, 2017
Good afternoon! This Earth Day, let’s commit to work together to make Chicago the cleanest and greenest city in the country.
Everyone in Chicago, and across our nation, has the right to breathe clean air. All people have the right to have safe clean water to drink. All people have the human right to live in a healthy community without toxic threats.
Safe clean drinking water. Healthy clean air. Healthy communities without toxic threats. These are not just Democratic values or just Republican values. They are not just the value of city dwellers or rural folks. These are core environmental values shared by all Americans. Not just on this Earth Day, but on every day of the year.
President Trump and his EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt don’t seem to share these values. Their shortsighted actions are harmful to achieving safe clean drinking water, healthy clean air, healthy communities and accelerating clean renewable energy.
We need to fight back – and win! Not “fight the good fight.” We will play to win – and we will work together to win the fights.
We won the fight by working together to force Midwest Generation to shut down the old, highly polluting Fisk and Crawford coal plants in Pilsen and Little Village. Chicago’s air became cleaner and healthier for us all.
We won the fight by working together to force the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to finally disinfect and keep some of the bad bacteria out of the Chicago River. We gained a safer, cleaner river with better recreation for us all.
We won the fight by working together to pass the Illinois clean energy legislation to accelerate solar energy, advance more wind power and achieve more energy efficiency. We can make Chicago a leading clean energy community in ways that reduce pollution, create jobs, grow the economy and help to solve our climate change problems.
We will win the fight against the Trump Administration’s misguided plans to cut the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding from $300 million annually to $0.
We will win the fight against the Trump Administration’s reported misguided plans to close down the EPA Region 5 Office in Chicago that oversees the Great Lakes, the largest fresh water body in the world, and move the EPA staff to Lenexa, Kansas. What are they thinking?
Do they really think that when BP, Enbridge or U.S. Steel spill oil or toxic chemicals in Lake Michigan and nearby rivers that EPA’s emergency response team can get there more quickly from Lenexa, Kansas than from Chicago?
We will continue working together to reduce pollution and clean up and restore the Great Lakes to be a great place to fish, swim and enjoy the outdoors…and to provide safe, clean drinking water supplies for all Chicagoans. We will keep doing so
We will continue working together to achieve better public transit that is affordable and accessible to all. And to achieve a more livable, walkable and bikeable city that is healthier and less dependent on cars. And to develop a modern intercity higher-speed rail that improves mobility, reduces pollution, creates jobs and pulls together our regional economy.
Chicago can and should become a cleaner and greener city, and a safer and healthier city that makes all of us proud.
Joining us on Earth Day today are some of the people and organizations, political and environmental leaders, and community activists that make things happen. These are dedicated and effective people who work every day for Chicago to become a clean water, clean air and clean energy leader.
Thank you all working to make Chicago a healthier place to live, work and enjoy. Thank you for now for what you will keep doing every day, not just on Earth Day, to build a cleaner and greener and a better Chicago for everyone.