We've had good and bad news about fracking lately. The good news? New York banned fracking statewide, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has lately imposed a moratorium on fracking in state forests. The bad news? Frackers still train their sights on many of our national treasures -- including the Otero Mesa in New Mexico. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated a Bureau of Land Management plan to let oil and gas corporations drill there in 2009, and the Department of the Interior (under Secretary Salazar, who was pretty good on environmental issues in that region) proposed making the Otero Mesa a national monument, but President Obama has done nothing about that proposal. Perhaps he needs some persuasion from the people: Penn Environment helps you tell Mr. Obama to ban fracking on federal public park lands. These are our lands, after all -- ours to enjoy, and ours to depend upon when we need it, because public lands not only supply some of our best hunting and recreation grounds, but also our clean water, which stands most at risk from fracking.
Meanwhile, you may know that the Boy Scouts of America stopped kicking out gay scouts merely because of their homosexuality back in January of 2014, but they have maintained their ban on gay adults as scout leaders. I guess that was a bridge too far for them, but bigotry expressed against only some people you don't like is still bigotry, and the notion that gay scout leaders would "indoctrinate" young kids is especially repugnant. First off, if you're not gay, no one can talk you into being gay. Second, does the Boy Scouts of America really think gays have nothing else on their minds besides gay sex? I mean, the Boy Scouts don't ban heterosexuals from their meetings because they think they're going to talk about heterosexual sex all the time. I come up against this notion again and again when confronting folks who hate gays, and I'm getting tired of it. But now two gay adults recently banned from the Boy Scouts hope to change that, by helping you tell the Boy Scouts of America to reverse their policy banning gay adults from being scoutmasters.
Finally, some four years after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan -- which caused the evacuation of 300,000 good folks from the area, some 120,000 of whom still haven't returned home -- our Nuclear Regulatory Commission (or NRC) isn't working fast enough to prevent a Fukushima from happening here, which, given how many nuclear reactors just happen to be sitting on faultlines, is a near-certainty. And some one-third of Americans live near a nuclear reactor, so if any one of them melts down, the loss of life and livelihood will be intolerable. So Public Citizen helps you tell the NRC to get its act together and make nuclear power plants safer. The NRC has proposed 12 recommendations to make nuclear plants safer, but hasn't fully followed through on all of them, and hearing "these things take time" won't comfort anyone who loses a loved one if some reactor blows up between now and then. And the main reason it takes so long is that we still pay too much attention to the "needs" of the nuclear industry's biggest players, when they should be attending more to our needs.