Coalition Report

By Heather B. Navarro
Executive Director
Coalition For The Environment

Bracing for Impact: Justice, Health & the Environment

The new year always seems to start off with a big, deep breath, like the kind you take as a car on a roller coaster reaches the peak and hangs for a moment before barreling down the track. If those first few seconds, suspended in the air, are the month of January, then the rest of the year is dominated by twists and turns through the legislative session, civil injustices, lawsuits, and environmental disasters, such as oil spills and floods.

As we begin 2015 at the Missouri Coalition for the Environment we are gearing up for another year of thrills, watchdogging, advocating, and problem-solving. Our region faces many problems and what we know, as environmentalists, is that we are all connected. We understand that “injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere,” as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said – whether it threatens our brothers and sisters or the drinking water on which we all depend for life.

We cannot anticipate every legislative action or court ruling that 2015 will bring but here are a few things that we are braced and ready for:

One of the greatest threats to the St. Louis region is the uncontrolled, underground fire in the Bridgeton landfill, which smolders alongside the radioactive wastes at the West Lake Landfill Superfund Site. What is needed is an independent risk assessment, increased safety measures for residents and workers, and the removal of the radioactive wastes away from people and water.

Missouri’s unhealthy dependence on coal continues to risk our children’s health and exacerbate the impacts of climate change. Continuing to pour unlimited amounts of carbon dioxide into the air in the name of “cheap” energy means we all pay the price in emergency room visits and missed school and work days for asthma and respiratory illnesses. It means more flood damage and crop loss. The solar industry has demonstrated successfully that we can provide thousands of jobs and cut energy costs for consumers while reducing our carbon imprint. We must keep up the pressure to secure a more affordable, healthier, cleaner, and safer energy future for Missouri.

And we will dive deeper into the issues that connect food, health, and the environment because when we make locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable we improve health and the soil and water on which we all depend. You can read about these issues and more at www.moenviron.org. So buckle up and hang on for the ride!

Visit www.moenviron.org to learn more.