Coalition Report

Heather B. Navarro,
Executive Director, Missouri Coalition for the Environment

Creating a Legacy at the Ballot Box

In 1969, a year when we were watching humans land on the moon, there was a dedicated group of people focused on the future of planet Earth. Faced with the increased spraying of pesticides, industrial development in our floodplains, and the overwhelming accumulation of waste and garbage, they organized and began educating others. Forty-five years later the Missouri Coalition for the Environment continues to raise awareness and engage others in the protection of the environment and public health.

Leo Drey, MCE’s first president wrote in February 1970, “When the majority demands that this planet be kept habitable the powerful will respond.” We are reminded of this power as we go to the polls this August. Amendment 1, often referred to as “The Right to Farm” is a misnomer. It guarantees constitutional protections for corporations to “farm” as they like without the interference of government. Farming is not what it was 45 years ago and without government safeguards to protect our air and water from factory farms and limit chemical runoff, the “Right to Farm” looks more like the “Right to Harm.”

We will also be asked to amend the state constitution to create a 3/4 cent sales tax for transportation projects, another regressive tax that hits working families most, even though it is big trucks passing through Missouri that do the most damage to our roads. By far, most of the proposed projects are for roads and bridges with less than 10% set aside for public transportation.

Could the group gathered 45 years ago have envisioned the challenges we are facing today? Did they anticipate that we would be replacing family farms with factories? Did they know we would be experiencing the impacts of climate change already or did they expect we would have cut global carbon emissions and adopted renewable energy sources by now? Did they foresee that four decades after the passage of the Clean Water Act Missouri would still be struggling to comply? Or that we would still be looking for a place to store radioactive waste?

Looking ahead to the next 45 years, the choices we make today will have long-lasting impacts on our health and livelihoods into the year 2059. Voting no on Amendments 1 and 7 are two ways we can safeguard the health and welfare of future Missourians.

On December 5, 2014 MCE will celebrate 45 years of environmental protection and visionary leadership at our annual awards ceremony. Save the date and stay tuned for more details.

For more information please visit www.moenviron.org or follow us on Twitter: @MoEnviron.