16 years ago this month, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected "fast-track" authority for the President to negotiate "free" trade deals. That's right, 171 Democrats and 71 Republicans joined together to prevent the President from abrogating Congress's Constitutional duty to debate and approve trade agreements with foreign nations, and to prevent him from allowing corporations both American and foreign break American labor laws and American environmental laws with impunity. But now President Obama, who once said trade deals should respect American laws, is now attempting to negotiate multiple trade deals that would do the opposite, and Speaker Boehner leads a House majority that can't extend unemployment benefits, can't do anything about the influx of refugee children at the border, and can't be bothered to even debate Mr. Obama's air strikes in Iraq and Syria, but is all too eager to let the President ram yet more nefarious "free" "trade" "deals" down our collective throat. So Public Citizen helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject "fast-tracking" of unlawful "free" trade pacts.
Meanwhile, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell your Pennsylvania state legislators to preserve proven methods for protecting our streams, then Penn Environment still helps you do that. Long story short: Pennsylvania has long required riparian buffers -- or sizable forested areas built around the borders of streams -- to keep pollutants out of our streams, but the state legislature wants to make using those buffers optional. Why? Well, if the buffer's not there, then developers can build there a lot more easily -- which greatly increases the possibility that the nearby waterway will be polluted. As with most political matters, you have to follow the money. (And n.b. you may be thrown by the two edits in the latest version of HB 1565, but don't be. Saying that riparian buffers "may be used" in clean water management is exactly the same as saying the state won't be required to use them, regardless of the fact that the bill actually struck the word "required." And the second edit actually weakens the buffers that "may be used." This is not exactly the spirit of compromise, let alone the letter.)