Editor’s note: American Rivers, a conservation organization standing up for healthy rivers, is encouraging people to send this sample letter to area senators.
Dear Senators Kohl, Johnson, Durbin, Kirk,
As a supporter of American rivers and the Clean Water Act, I am writing to you to urge you, as you work to resolve the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, to reject the devastating cuts to critical environmental programs like those passed by the House of Representatives in H.R. 1.
H.R. 1 cut billions of dollars from the EPA’s budget, funds that are used to enforce our nation’s environmental laws which protect the air that we breathe, and the water that we drink and that our children play in. Those budget cuts crippled the programs that states and local communities use to repair crumbling water infrastructure that prevent sewerage from flowing untreated into rivers and streams. H.R. 1 virtually eliminated the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which allows us to preserve land for future generations. The bill also eviscerated NOAA’s efforts to restore rivers and estuaries and remove dams that are a public safety hazard.
H.R. 1 also had dozens of special-interest riders, like the one blocking the EPA from protecting small streams, the one allowing mining companies to dump toxic materials into rivers, the one allowing factory farms to keep on polluting the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the ones blocking negotiations to protect the San Francisco Bay Delta and the Klamath River and the others which, if enacted, will harm rivers and the communities that depend on them. Those riders are terrible policy which certainly have no place on a budget bill.
I am asking you to reject the reckless budget cuts proposed by the House and instead invest in protecting rivers and the communities that depend on them. I am also asking that you vote against any budget bill that has unrelated special-interest riders attached to it.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of my request.
[City, State ZIP]