Howard’s blog

Please Support ELPC this Holiday Season!

Dear ELPC Friends and Supporters,

This has been both a remarkable and challenging year for our nation’s economy, for our planet, and for the Environmental Law & Policy Center’s work to protect our environment, preserve the Midwest’s natural heritage and grow the green economy.  High-speed rail development is moving from vision to reality, transforming our transportation infrastructure.  Energy efficiency is becoming widely accepted as a smart way of doing business and the best, fastest and cheapest way of reducing global warming pollution.  Wind power is the fastest growing energy source in the world.  Solar power is coming of age. Great Lakes ecological restoration is finally receiving key federal funding.

ELPC is promoting these win-win-win solutions for environmental progress, job creation and economic development.  We are achieving remarkable progress in these challenging financial times.

I am writing to ask you to make a financial contribution to ELPC during this holiday season. ELPC combines strong legal advocacy with a core belief that we can achieve environmental progress and economic development together – the right approach for our times.  ELPC’s pioneering “green economy” vision has become a defining policy driver for the Obama Administration and others.

ELPC has achieved banner successes over the past year.  Clean water, clean air and forest protection litigation victories in Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky and Wisconsin. Breakthrough energy efficiency and renewable energy development policies in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and South Dakota.  ELPC led the national campaign to further improve the innovative Farm Bill clean energy development programs, which are focused on family farms and rural small businesses in Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin.  ELPC staff is coordinating and catalyzing new coalitions of farm groups, outdoor recreation groups, clean energy businesses and environmental organizations focused on climate change solutions in Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota, and we have organized more than 200 Michigan scientists who are urging their Congressional delegation to act.

Please see ELPC’s 2009 brochure for discussions of our program successes in 2009.  Here are highlights of one major success, two challenges and a major opportunity for 2010 progress.

High-Speed Rail Development – Huge Success: ELPC’s long-time leadership led to dramatic breakthroughs in 2009.  President Obama identified high-speed rail as his #1 transportation priority.  Congress is appropriating more than $10 billion as a “downpayment” to jumpstart high-speed rail development.  The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is proposing $50 billion more over a five-year period. ELPC joined eight Midwest Governors and Mayor Daley as they signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly plan, prioritize and coordinate development of the Midwest High-Speed Rail Network – modern, fast, comfortable and convenient trains connecting Chicago and the 11 major cities within a 400-mile radius.  The impacts:  improved mobility, less pollution, more jobs and greater economic growth by better connecting our region and pulling jobs, people and business into the downtowns.  High-speed rail is the much-needed cleaner “third option” that will transform our national and regional transportation systems.

Federal Climate Change Solutions Legislation – Huge Challenge:  Solving our global warming problems is the moral, business, economic, policy, political and technological challenge of our generation.  As a global leader, the United States must step up and lead.  The federal climate change legislation is stuck in a Senate quagmire.  We are achieving progress on energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions, but the cap on carbon pollution is necessary.  The world’s leading climate scientists compellingly explain why we must act now.  We can’t just “push the pause button” and wait until the economy improves to reduce global warming pollution.  ELPC and our colleagues are calling on Congress to act soon; if not, then the U.S. EPA must exercise its statutory responsibility to reduce CO2 and other harmful pollution. It’s time for solutions.

Safe and Clean Water – Big Challenge:  The Clean Water Act’s goal that all lakes and rivers be “fishable and swimmable” is far from being achieved.  Moreover, there are too many troubling stories of contaminated drinking water supplies that harm public health.  It’s time for industries to reduce pollution and for federal and state environmental protection agencies to implement and enforce the laws. ELPC is bringing together medical and public health experts, children’s advocacy groups and environmental groups to enforce the laws and advance solutions.  No more excuses.

Solar Power – Big Opportunity:  Solar photovoltaic panel prices are very low due to excess global supply, and there are now lush federal and state incentives for solar power. The Midwest is not Arizona, but Illinois has more solar intensity than Germany and Japan, which are leading solar markets.  ELPC is advancing pro-solar policies that can capture environmental benefits and create new green jobs.

ELPC is the Midwest’s premier environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization, and we’re among the very best in the country. Please consider making a contribution to support our success in protecting the Midwest’s environmental quality and preserving our natural resources. Click here to make a donation online. My best wishes to you for a happy and healthy new year.


Howard A. Learner
Executive Director


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