PennPIRG helps you tell the EPA to start vigorously regulating levels of chromium-6 (a.k.a. hexavalent chromium) in American drinking water. Chromium-6 -- the carcinogenic chemical made famous by Erin Brockovich's lawsuit against a utility corporation that had polluted the water of Hinckley, CA -- is still found in numerous products (including preserved wood and dyed textiles), and is still a byproduct of electrical power production. The EPA currently sets a Maximum Contaminant Level (or MCL) of 100 parts per billion for all chromium particles, but California has established an MCL of 10 parts per billion of chromium-6, as well as a "public health goal" of 0.02 ppb which more likely represents the level at which Americans can expect to be safe from chromium in their drinking water. But at every step of the way, it seems, the chemical industry has fought strong chromium-6 standards, both in California and nationally. They have the help, of course, of right-wingers who call strong water regulations "job terrorism" and who threaten consumers with higher utility prices. So I guess when you're dead of cancer, you can take solace in your allegedly lower electric bills.
Meanwhile, CREDO helps you tell Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Speaker Ryan to hold a vote on H.R. 5221, the Preventing Tragedies Between Police and Communities Act. (Presumably Mr. McConnell would hold a vote on H.R. 5221 after House passage, if that happens; H.R. 5221 doesn't have a companion bill in the Senate.) We hear a lot that police officers shoot black men "in the heat of the moment," which not only doesn't hold up when you hear the whole story, but which also asks very little of our police officers -- as at least one Iraq war vet has suggested, we ask less of our police officers than we do of our soldiers, who operate in actual war zones. Under H.R. 5221, a state or local police department that fails to train its officers in de-escalation techniques would stand to lose 20% of Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant money, which comes from our federal government. That may not sound like a lot, but to police departments already strapped because politicians won't tax their wealthy donors, believe me, it is a lot. And I'd much rather tell stories of how police officers stopped something tragic.
Finally, H.R. 3632/S. 1794, the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act, would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from issuing or renewing any leases to drill for oil, natural gas, or "any other mineral" in the Arctic Ocean. It's true that the more we drill in the Arctic, the more walrus and polar bear habitat we put at risk -- which means we put more people at risk, as bears start migrating to land, and which also means we exacerbate climate change -- but we have plenty of other reasons to avoid drilling in the Arctic Ocean. For one, an oil spill, when-not-if it happens, will be very, very difficult to clean up in the Arctic's frigid waters -- you saw how badly BP did cleaning up their spill in the far more temperate waters of the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, after all. For another, we know little enough about the ecosystems of the Arctic that we don't know how we'll impact them once we start drilling giant holes in the ocean floor. Preventing change from hurting the Earth's inhabitants is a conservative value, right? So the Alaska Wilderness League helps you tell your Senators to support the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act.