by Brian Tomasik

Introduction

This page is an archive of advocacy letters that I wrote to members of Congress and other public officials between 8th grade and 12th grade. I now disagree with some of the views I advocated. For example, some (but not necessarily all) of the environmental policies that I supported would have likely increased populations of wild animals and therefore would have likely increased wild-animal suffering.

I wrote these letters based on "action alerts" sent out by various nonprofit organizations. Almost all the information in a given letter is drawn from the "sample letter" and supplemental information provided by the nonprofit running the campaign. Some of the letter text may be copied from the "sample letter", but in many cases I rewrote material in my own words so that my letter would stand out more to the recipients. You can often tell my writing by its use of bombastic vocabulary. A few letters include intentional alliteration for fun.

I'm uncertain whether the recipients noticed or cared that I customized the letters. Probably writing the letters by hand using pen and paper would have had a bigger impact on the recipients than printing out word-processed letters, even if the handwritten letters only copied the "sample letters" provided by the action alerts. That's because a handwritten letter is a clear signal of effort, while a printed letter looks like something I just copy-pasted. I did write several letters by hand, especially in later years. I also sometimes persuaded the others in my environmental club to join me in writing their own letters by hand during club meetings after school. However, I don't have digital copies of these handwritten letters.

Because of my frequent letter writing, I had a stack of envelopes and stamps next to the family computer. One friend noticed this and asked me: "Do you have a heavy correspondence?" I usually sent paper letters, even though they were slow to be received, because I assumed they would have more impact than emails. I occasionally sent emails for urgent issues. During 2001-2005, I never called a Congressional office due to shyness, although I have called my elected representatives a few times about action alerts since then. These days I would incline toward calling if I wanted to influence my representatives because mail is slow, and calling is arguably easier than writing+mailing a letter.

The below letters are only addressed to one recipient at a time, but I sometimes sent the same or a similar letter to other recipients. For example, if a letter is sent to a US senator, I sent the same letter to both US senators.

When uploading this content in 2017, I corrected several serious grammatical errors but otherwise left the texts unchanged from their original form. It's possible some letters contain factual errors as well if I made mistakes when writing the information in my own words. Comments from me in 2017 are made using footnotes.

Contents

Agriculture

BLM Grazing Rules

April 20, 2003

Bureau of Land Management
Eastern States Land Office
7450 Boston Boulevard
Springfield, VA 22153
Attention: RIN 1004-AD42

Dear Director Clarke and BLM staff:

I am writing to urge you not to reverse the current BLM grazing rules adopted in 1994 that balance livestock grazing with other uses of our public lands. I especially oppose allowing livestock owners to lock gates to lands that are public and limiting public involvement in issues that affect the public lands, such as grazing appeals. Furthermore, I urge you not to make changes, including an expansion of monitoring obligations or an extension of the deadline for grazing improvements, that would reduce the BLM’s authority to protect public lands from harmful grazing practices.

As you know, our public lands contain copious wildlife, including endangered species, as well as cultural and historic sites. Millions of people visit these lands every year for recreation. However, harmful grazing practices on these lands destroy wildlife, water quality, and archaeological sites. Therefore, new rules to reduce grazing problems were adopted in 1994 after extensive public input and documentation of the detrimental impacts of grazing. It would therefore be counterproductive to undo these rules that have successfully reduced the harmful effects of grazing.

Again, I strongly urge you not to reverse the current BLM grazing rules to ensure that we continue to balance grazing with the protection of our public lands for future generations.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Burger King Anti-anitbiotics

August 12, 2003

Mr. Bradley Blum, CEO

Burger King Corporation

5505 Blue Lagoon Dr.

Miami, FL 33126


Dear CEO Blum:

I emphatically urge Burger King to enact a company-wide policy prohibiting the purchase of meat products from animals on which antibiotics were used for nontheraputic uses such as growth promotion or to prevent illnesses resulting from squalid factory farms. This must be enforced by stringent monitoring.

Nontheraputic applications of antibiotics and similar drugs on farm animals total about 24 million pounds annually, which is more than seventy percent of those drugs produced in the US. This increases the profits of livestock producers but contributes to burgeoning antibiotic resistance in the US.

As you know, McDonalds promulgated a policy on June 19, 2003, to gradually eliminate poultry raised with antibiotics for growth promotion, to reduce antibiotic use on pigs and cows, and to ensure compliance through monitoring. Such a policy represents a step towards mitigating antibiotic resistance that threatens the lives of people in need of essential medicines.

If Burger King is to maintain respectability (and customers), it is imperative that it rivals and surpasses the steps McDonalds has taken.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

CAFOs

Most of the text of this letter is copied or slightly modified from the original. You can see the original action alert here.

June 25, 2001

Diane Regas, Acting Assistant Administrator for Water
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Proposed Rule
Office of Water, Engineering, and Analysis Division (4303)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

Subject: Stop pollution from factory farms

Dear Assistant Administrator Regas,

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are polluting our air and water. Many factory farms raise animals close together and store the manure in large lagoons so it can be sprayed untreated onto the land. Extra manure flows into streams—killing fish, spreading antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and polluting drinking water. The storage lagoons can also break, which spills wastes into surface water and allows it to seep into groundwater. About 27,000 miles of rivers and streams are polluted by this manure. The manure also gives off toxins which pollute the air and can harm workers and others nearby.

The EPA’s final rule must establish a program for pollution control that states:

  • CAFOs with over 1000 animals must obtain individual permits that include monitoring and reporting requirements to protect the water quality;
  • the public should be notified of all proposed CAFOs and have the opportunity to participate in the permitting process;
  • new CAFOs should not be allowed to use large-scale liquid waste lagoons and sprayfields, and existing lagoons and sprayfields should be phased out; and
  • land application of wastes must be limited to legitimate crop needs and limits must be enforced to prevent over-applied waste from fouling waterways.

Again, I urge you to protect our environment and communities by including these elements into the final rule.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

DEA Letter

November 25, 2001

Deputy Assistant Administrator

Office of Diversion Control

Drug Enforcement Administration

Attn: DEA Federal Register Representative/CCD

Washington, D.C. 20537

Dear Deputy Assistant Administrator:

Industrial hemp is one of the most versatile plants on earth. It has over 25,000 uses, including textiles, plastics, lubricants, cosmetics, paper, building materials, and even dynamite. The plant, which contains only a negligible amount of THC, grows well in the United States. It requires no pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides and leaves the soil in excellent condition for a future crop. If industrial hemp were to be legalized in the US, its use would almost certainly burgeon, providing consumers with an array of environmentally benign products.

I buy several hemp products, including hemp shampoo and hemp nut butter. I would definitely like to see more products available. If the plant could be legally grown in the US, the selection of products would almost certainly increase and the price would drop significantly. Do not let the US fall too far behind other industrialized countries in the legalization of industrial hemp.

Thank you.


Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik


Farm Bill Amendment

February 4, 2002

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
U.S. Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Clinton:

A damaging amendment to the Farm Bill could prevent states from enacting important food and dietary supplement safeguards, which the federal government has failed to do. Currently, states can adopt regulations to fill gaps left by the Food and Drug Administration’s lack of resources and authority over certain food products and dietary supplements, but the amendment would negate state and local consumer protections that are stronger and more protective of consumers than FDA requirements. States could lose their ability to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods, foods with irradiated ingredients, dietary supplements, and more.

I urge you to strongly oppose this harmful amendment and promote legislation that would instead lift national standards of health and safety up.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

GMO Moratorium

July 8, 2001

John J. McEneny

147 Colonial Avenue

Albany, NY 12208


Dear Representative McEneny,

I am writing to urge you to continue your support for the Assembly bill no. A.5741 which is currently in committee. This bill would create a moratorium on growing and planting genetically engineered crops for humans to eat for five years. This bill represents a major step forward, not only in what it will accomplish, but in the fact that it acknowledges that genetic engineering has many, possibly devastating risks, something the media has been very reluctant to alert the public to. This bill also provides a base for future legislation to regulate the biotechnology corporations and protect ourselves from the dangers of genetic engineering.

The possible damage from genetic engineering to the environment is great. Once a genetically modified organism is released into the environment, it cannot be recalled. Herbicide, virus, and pest-resistant crops could have devastating impacts, not to mention what changing millions of years of evolutionary development might do to ecosystems. About 2-5 times as many herbicides are used on herbicide-resistant crops, and because of their constant exposure, many insects have already become resistant to pest-resistant crops. Possible effects to human health include allergic reactions and resistance to antibiotics. Genetically engineered crops may also have harmful impacts on the third world and on farmers themselves. Scientists employed by biotechnology corporations may not have reported any of the dangers, but a myriad of independent researchers have identified a multitude of negative impacts. Many other nations have already taken actions of this type to protect their citizens and the environment. It is time the US begins to as well.

I also strongly urge you to support and propose any future legislation that will further protect humanity and the environment from the potential harm that will result from this technology, and try to inform the public of the risks associated with genetically engineered crops.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Livestock Antibiotic Use

July 13, 2002

The Honorable Michael McNulty
U.S. House of Representatives
2161 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative McNulty:

I urge you to cosponsor HR 3804, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Human Treatment Act, which was introduced by Representative Sherrod Brown, and urge that rapid action be taken on this legislation. This important act would work to eliminate the use of medical antibiotics on healthy farm animals. It would also carry out a ban on the treatment of sick poultry with fluoroquinolones (a prohibition originally proposed by the Food and Drug Administration in October 2000) because its use in animals may weaken its effectiveness for treating some cases of food poisoning in humans.

Currently, around 70 percent of all antibiotics applied in the United States are given to healthy farm animals in order to expedite their growth (and increase profits) and to treat the many diseases prevalent in the squalid factory farm conditions in which they are raised. The use of antibiotics inevitably leads to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and therefore when more antibiotics are used, more bacteria resistant to those medicines appear. Antibiotic use in farm animals accelerates the inevitable process of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, and it represents an enormous risk to the health of us all by reducing the effectiveness of often vital medicines. Several European countries have prohibited antibiotic use in livestock for decades, and it is time the U.S. took similar action to protect the health of its citizens.

Because of the danger posed by antibiotic use in livestock, I urge you to cosponsor HR 3804 and push for urgent action on this important legislation.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Monsanto - Oakhurst Dairy

August 19, 2003

Monsanto Company

800 North Lindbergh Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63167

To Whom It May Concern:

I strongly urge you to drop your lawsuit against Oakhurst Dairy, a family farm in Maine that advertises in its Farmer’s Pledge that no rBST is used. The lawsuit represents a blatant attempt to intimidate small farmers that exercise their right to freely advertise the absence of genetically engineered (GE) ingredients from their products.

Both Canada and Europe have outlawed the use of your GE hormone, and scientific investigations have suggested that the elevated levels of IGF-1 in rBST milk may be highly carcinogenic. However, even if such concerns did not exist, consumers have the right to know which hormones are used in the production of their milk. Roughly ninety percent of U.S. consumers, in survey after survey, support the labeling of genetically modified foods and ingredients.

Again, I exhort you to drop your lawsuit against Oakhurst Dairy, as it is a fundamental principle of capitalism that consumers should be allowed to make informed choices about products.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Organic Alternatives

June 29, 2002

Peter Murano, Associate Deputy Administrator
Special Nutrition Program
USDA Food and Nutrition Service
3101 Park Center Dr. Rm. 510
Alexandria, VA 22302

Dear Mr. Murano:

I urge the Special Nutrition Program to draft and promote legislation that would require schools to offer organic soy and rice drinks at public schools, in addition to only milk. There is currently no funding to provide these alternatives, and schools are only required to provide them for children with medical needs for milk alternatives. However, these alternatives are important because soy and rice drinks are lower in fat and calories than whole milk, yet they can be fortified with many of the nutrients contained in milk. Additionally, they would provide students who don’t like milk with healthy alternative drinks other than soda or other beverages containing lots of sugar. Soy and rice drinks contain many complex carbohydrates that are metabolized slowly and are much healthier than soda.

In addition to offering organic soy and rice alternatives in public schools, I urge you to include a provision in the legislation that encourages the purchase of organic rather than non-organic products, and a provision that would prevent the USDA or a school or agency from discriminating against food products which say they are “made without genetically modified organisms” on the label.

Because organic agriculture provides numerous benefits to the environment and human health, it should be promoted and encouraged; adding the two aforementioned provisions to the legislation and encouraging schools to provide organic soy and rice drinks represent important steps towards that goal.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Tandy Hemp Letter

June 22, 2003

The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

As you are a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I strongly urge you ask questions to Karen P. Tandy, Bush’s nominee for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), at the hearing this Wednesday, June 25, at 2 pm about the DEA’s policy of antagonizing legitimate hemp food and body care industries, and explain that you will not confirm her unless she works to reverse these unnecessary and restrictive policies.

Hemp foods contain negligible concentrations of THC that are too low to have any impact on the body or even to be detectable in workplace drug tests. North American companies have adopted voluntary standards to ensure that THC levels are far below those that could result in any effects. On March 28, 2003, the DEA issued a “Final Rule” that, for the second time, attempted to ban the sale of hemp foods, until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered a Stay of the rule. Still, the DEA’s actions have frightened and diverted resources from hemp food companies, while wasting government funding, as well. Hemp foods are analogous to poppy seeds, which contain trace opiates; however, these are not restricted by the DEA.

Again, I urge you to question Ms. Tandy about DEA restrictions on legitimate hemp foods during the hearing, and tell her that you will not support her confirmation unless she will attempt to eliminate the gratuitously restrictive rules on hemp foods and body care products.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Air

Burn Barrel

July 21, 2002

Neil D. Breslin

Legislative Office Building

Albany, NY 12247

Dear Senator Breslin:

I urge you to support S03772, introduced by Senator George Maziarz, by becoming a co-sponsor of and urging your party leadership to pass this legislation. S03772 would place a ban on all burn barrels throughout the state, expanding the current ban on burn barrels, which only applies to municipalities with over 20,000 people.

Studies by the New York health department and the Environmental Protection Agency have shown that a neighborhood of burn barrels can generate as much dioxin as a waste incinerator that burns 200 tons of waste every day. Dioxin, a dangerous substance that bioaccumulates, is known to cause many pernicious health effects, including hormone disruption and a skin disease called chloracne. The American Lung Association and the New York State Association for Reduction Reuse and Recycling are very supportive of a statewide ban on burn barrels.

Given the detrimental health effects of burn barrels, it is imperative that S03772 passes the Senate. To ensure that this happens, I strongly urge you to co-sponsor the legislation and to pressure your party leaders to pass it.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Clean Air Act Weakening

June 20, 2002

President George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Bush,

I am writing to express my adamant opposition to the Bush administration’s recent proposal to weaken the New Source Review, part of the Clean Air Act and permit power plants, refineries, and other industries to emit more pollution into our atmosphere. The proposal, which would allow expanding power plants and refineries to avoid installing modern pollution controls, represents a major step backwards in pollution prevention.

Already, air pollution in the U.S. causes tens of thousands of premature deaths, hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits, and millions of asthma attacks every year. In addition, air pollution harms precious ecosystems, poisons fish, and contributes to global warming. Because power plants emit more air pollution than any other industry in the U.S. (and are only followed comparably by automobiles), they are the industry that requires the most pollution control regulation.

I strongly oppose the Bush administration’s recent proposal to weaken the Clean Air Act and urge you to instead strengthen the regulatory pollution controls to reduce the enormous damage caused by air pollution.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

EPA Diesel Rules

June 15, 2003

Attention: Docket ID No. A-2001-28
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA West (Air Docket)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room B108
Mail code 6102T
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Whitman and EPA Staff:

I strongly support the new rule proposed in April that would require non-road diesel engines to utilize available technology to reduce pollution by 90 to 95 percent. However, it should be slightly amended so that locomotives and marine diesel engines don’t escape the emission reduction requirements; they, too, should be forced to use diesel fuel with 15 ppm sulfur or less, as well as other pollution abatement equipment. Finally, the EPA should move forward with a strengthened rule as soon as possible, without delays or exemptions demanded by industry, so as to save the most lives and money with pollution reductions.

Diesel engine soot, which kills over 19,000 people yearly, exacerbates asthma and results in more emergencies, hospitalizations, and cancers. Nitrogen oxides, also part of diesel emissions, contribute to smog, acid rain, and drinking water pollution. The proposed rules would require heavy diesel engines at airports, seaports, construction sites, industrial sites, and farms to significantly reduce emissions, thereby precluding a prodigious 9,600 premature deaths per year.

Given these benefits, the EPA must proceed with the proposed rules (although slightly revised to close the loophole exempting locomotives and marine diesel engines from stringent requirements) without acquiescing to selfish industry interests, so as to improve the health of all Americans and our environment.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Mercury

April 10, 2004

The Honorable Michael Leavitt

EPA Administrator

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Ariel Rios Bldg. (1101A)

1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Leavitt and EPA Staff:

I am commenting in regard to the EPA’s proposed rule for mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, the largest unregulated source of mercury. Your current proposal is highly inadequate: it would reduce mercury emissions by a mere 29 percent in six years and would mean that emission levels in 2018 would be a projected five times higher than they could be using the best available technology. Instead, I strongly urge you to adopt a mercury standard for the electric utility industry that would require a 90-percent reduction of mercury pollution by 2007. I also call on you to abandon unregulated “pollution trading” schemes that could concentrate mercury into a few dangerous hotspots and that would delay expected mercury reductions over the long term.

The current EPA proposal fails to adequately protect Americans from the deleterious neurological effects of mercury, which are especially dangerous for pregnant women and young children. One-sixth of pregnant women have unhealthy levels of mercury in their blood; this threatens the neurological development of 600,000 newborns every single year. However, the problem has an impact on all Americans. I have been forced to limit my consumption of tuna fish in order to minimize my own exposure to this chemical. The tragedy lies in the fact that the problem is not inevitable; mercury emissions could be substantially reduced with just a few improvements in the pollution-control technology used in coal-fired power plants.

Again, I exhort you to strengthen your mercury emissions requirements. This issue is more than abstract numbers; it has a direct impact on my health and the health of all Americans.

Thank you for considering this letter.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

TEA-21, SAFETEA

June 27, 2003

The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

I urge you to strongly oppose efforts to weaken environmental protection during reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). In particular, I oppose the provisions of the Bush Administration’s SAFETEA bill and other legislation that would weaken essential environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, which ensures public input into transportation decisions.

Instead, I call on you to advance proposals to strengthen public input and environmental protection, as well as to increase funding for transit, clean air programs, and transportation, land use, and natural resource planning. Congress should strengthen efforts to reduce the environmental and health effects of transportation projects and promote expanded public transportation.

Again, I urge you to oppose efforts to weaken environmental laws and to instead push for proposals that will improve the health of the environment and all Americans.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Animal Welfare

Foie Gras

20 June 2005

Assemblymember John J. McEneny
New York State Assembly

Legislative Office Building 648

Albany, NY  12248


Dear Mr. McEneny:

I would like to thank you for your introduction of AB 6212, a statewide ban on foie gras production. I am very pleased that the New York State Assembly Agricultural Committee approved your bill, and I hope that it will succeed on the Assembly floor.

As you obviously know, foie gras (“fatty liver”) is produced by force-feeding unnatural amounts of food to ducks and geese so that their livers swell up to such an extent that they cease to function. Advanced animals like geese and ducks may not have self-awareness or language as do humans, but overwhelming scientific evidence shows that they do feel pain in nearly the same way that people do. As the philosopher Jeremy Bentham sagaciously observed in 1789, “The question [determining whether animals deserve moral consideration] is not ‘Can they reason?’ nor ‘Can they talk?’ but ‘Can they suffer?’”

Thank you once again for introducing a ban on foie gras production. I hope that you will continue to work actively for the improvement of animal welfare.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Rat Traps

15 July 2005

Bob Nardelli, CEO
Home Depot
2455 Paces Ferry Rd
Atlanta, GA 30339

Dear Mr. Nardelli:

I am writing to ask that your company show itself to be a leader in its concern for human health and animal welfare by deciding to refrain from selling anticoagulant rodent poisons and glue boards. Instead, I urge you to sell a wide array of humane traps and to offer products that will help consumers to prevent rodent problems from happening in the first place. Should you fail to take these steps, I will be sure to let my family and friends know that Home Depot is a company that does not care about human, animal, or environmental health.

Anticoagulants work by interfering with blood clotting and blood-vessel repair, so that the exposed animal suffers painful internal bleeding before eventually dying of cardiac, respiratory, or kidney failure. These poisons can also harm pets and humans—and they do. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported more than 50,000 instances of human poisoning by rodenticides between 2001 and 2003, and 103 of those cases involved serious injury or death.

Glue traps can be similarly dangerous to children and pets who either come too close to a struggling rodent or get stuck on the glue board itself. And the traps involve substantial suffering for the animal that gets caught: most rodents survive for several hours (sometimes even a full day) after walking onto the glue, during which time they endure trauma, dehydration, starvation, and sometimes self-mutilation.

Again, I hope that Home Depot shows its concern for human health and animal welfare by ending its sale of anticoagulant rat poisons and glue traps. As moral philosopher Jeremy Bentham noted over two centuries ago, “The question [determining whether animals deserve ethical consideration] is not ‘Can they reason?’ nor ‘Can they talk?’ but ‘Can they suffer?’”

Thank you very much. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Wendy's Eggs

April 2, 2008

Ms. Kerrii Anderson
Wendy's International, Inc.
One Dave Thomas Blvd.
Dublin, OH 43017

Dear Ms. Anderson,

I am writing to ask Wendy’s to commit to phasing out its use of eggs from battery-cage hens, following the lead of Burger King, Hardee's, Denny's and Carl's Jr., which have already made commitments in this regard.

I personally own several egg-laying hens, so I’m familiar with how sensitive these animals are.a The cramped, unnatural conditions of battery cages cause large amounts of unnecessary stress, disease, and suffering, as numerous scientific welfare studies have demonstrated.

The movement away from battery-cage eggs is in full force—with, for example, over 300 colleges and universities committing to the purchase of cage-free eggs—and it would be an embarrassment for Wendy’s to be one of the last companies to make this transition. Already Wendy’s lags behind several close competitors (and I intend to tell my friends as much).

I look forward to seeing Wendy’s announce a change in policy. I thank you for considering this letter, and I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Chemicals

Chemical Security Act and S. 2579

July 24, 2002

The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

I am writing both to express my support for the Chemical Security Act (S. 1602) and my opposition to a bill proposed by Senator Bond, the “Community Protection from Chemical Terrorism Act” (S. 2579). The Chemical Security Act would obligate chemical facilities that pose potential risks to neighboring citizens to identify and adopt safer procedures wherever it is possible. The EPA and Department of Justice would find the highest-priority facilities, and identify and implement ways to increase security and use less hazardous chemicals with safer processes and materials.

While S. 1602 would do much to ensure the safety of citizens, S. 2579 would not. The “Community Protection from Chemical Terrorism Act” actually weakens an important federal program established by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 that requires 15,000 industrial facilities to create Risk Management Plans, which inform community residents of potential dangers from chemical releases, thereby reducing dangers and pollution and protecting lives and property. Under S. 2579, people near chemical facilities would be unable to access information about risks, supposedly to prevent terrorism. Simultaneously, the bill contains no provisions improving the safety of industrial facilities.

Again, I urge you to support S. 1602 to protect communities from dangers posed by industrial facilities, and to oppose S. 2579, which would limit the access of citizens to important information while doing nothing to protect them from dangers of hazardous chemicals.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

EPA Ban Atrazine

June 20, 2002

Administrator Christie Whitman
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Whitman,

I urge the EPA to ban the chemical atrazine from the market as quickly as is possible. This is the most widely used herbicide in the U.S., and over 60 million pounds of it are used every year. It contaminates our water supply, especially during spring runoff, and millions of Americans drink the chemical in their water.

Atrazine has been shown to disrupt human hormones, and it leads to a higher incidence of cancer in humans and lab animals. People exposed to the herbicide are more likely to develop breast and blood cancer. Studies performed with frogs demonstrated that when atrazine was present in water at levels common in lakes, rivers, and rain, male frogs developed sexual abnormalities. These atrazine levels were thirty times lower than levels allowed by the EPA for drinking. At an atrazine plant in Louisiana, it was discovered that workers developed prostate cancer at 3.5 times the average rate for the area.

Because of the many health risks posed by atrazine, many European nations have already banned the chemical. It is time for the EPA to protect the health of millions of Americans by prohibiting the sale of this dangerous herbicide.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

EPA Pesticide Levels

August 7, 2002

Docket # OPP-2002-0057
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Pesticide Programs
Public Information and Records Integrity Branch (PIRIB)
Information Resources and Services Division (7502C)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Whitman and EPA Staff,

Over the past six months, the EPA has approved new uses for several old pesticides, including one previously used to make Agent Orange. These pesticides can now be present on our food, even though the EPA has stated that it has too little information about the effects of these chemicals. Usually, the EPA tries to protect children from the harmful effects of pesticides by setting a safe level of pesticide exposure at one-tenth the level allowed for adults. Even though this is required by the Food Quality Protection Act, which was passed unanimously in 1996 by Congress, the EPA has failed to do so for these newly approved pesticide uses.

It is important that a lower safe level of exposure be set for children. Their bodies are still developing, so the damage caused by exposure to chemicals could be much greater. In addition, children consume more food relative to their size than adults, augmenting their pesticide intake. Therefore, I urge the EPA to help protect children from the detrimental effects of pesticides by setting a safety level of one-tenth the exposure allowed for adults, as is required by current law.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Homeland Security Bill - Corporate Protection

July 24, 2002

The Honorable Michael McNulty
U.S. House of Representatives
2161 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative McNulty:

I urge you to oppose a provision in the upcoming homeland security bill that would propose an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act to prevent the federal government from releasing information about a company’s environmental or health risks, such as defective products or chemical spills, and that would also protect those companies from the consequences of violating environmental, consumer protection, and health and safety laws. A company would receive this protection simply by voluntarily giving the government information related to “critical infrastructure”, such as chemical plants, dams, and computer networks. This provision would simply broaden corporate protection at the expense of public health and the environment, and should be vigorously opposed.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Democracy and Good Government

Class-Action Lawsuits

The following email was sent to my US Senators on 16 June 2004. At the time, I wrote the following note to myself regarding this email: "the following email was largely based on the 'Talking Points' given on the Public-Citizen-email-generation page. The first paragraph is the only one that was substantially renovated."

As you know, the Senate will soon consider S. 2062, the "Class Action Fairness Act," which would transfer class-action lawsuits from state courts to those at the federal level at the expense of workers and consumers who attempt to file such lawsuits. I realize that you support this legislation, but I urge you to at least support pro-consumer amendments, including the Bingaman amendment and the civil-rights and wage-and-hour exemption amendment, to improve an otherwise bad bill.

One issue I am concerned about is this bill’s impact on nationwide class actions that benefit consumers. Federal judges have refused to certify these cases on a national basis, which means consumers in our state could be left without compensation for defective products or deceptive business practices while residents of other states where a lawsuit is filed would benefit. If consumers in different states are affected equally by business misconduct, it makes sense to allow nationwide certification of class action suits, rather than insist that cases be filed on a costly state-by-state basis.

The bill could also harm workers. Employees of companies like Wal-Mart have been forced to work overtime without pay. Class actions have been the only effective way for these workers to get back pay. Class action suits brought by mistreated workers have been successful in state courts, but federal judges have required workers to bring individual cases, which is not practical.

Do not allow the ability of workers and consumers to seek judicial redress to be demolished; support the Bingaman consumer amendment and the civil-rights and wage-and-hour exemption amendment to the class action bill.

Clean Money, Clean Elections

May 18, 2003

John J. McEneny

Legislative Office Building, Room 648
Albany, NY 12248

Dear Mr. McEneny:

I am writing to express my strong support for S3440A, which includes “Clean Money, Clean Elections” reforms. Following the lead of Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont, this bill would allow candidates in New York to receive public funds for their campaigns so that candidates do not have to have enormous personal wealth or sacrifice their neutrality to corporate donors in order to be elected.

The current political system encourages corporations to utilize campaign contributions to buy influence with candidates, who often more than return that amount of money to the donors in the form of tax benefits or other policies that contradict the public interest. Furthermore, simply the appearance of corruption discourages many citizens from active political involvement. A system of public financing would be enormously beneficial in view of the “Fannie Lou Hamer standard,” which measures election reforms by whether or not they would make it easier for a person like Hamer (who was a poor, black woman in Mississippi who challenged the white domination of the Democratic Party convention in 1964) to be elected. Public financing would enable candidates to run based on only their ideals, civic involvement, and integrity rather than their personal wealth or ability to collect corporate campaign contributions.

Again, I strongly support Clean Money, Clean Elections reforms for New York, to allow for greater civic involvement and for candidates free from special interest corruption.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Contracts Online Comments

July 31, 2003

General Services Administration
1800 F Street, NW, Room 4035
Washington, DC 20405

To Whom It May Concern:

I strongly support the OMB proposal, for which comments were requested in the June 6, 2003 Federal Register, which would post government contracts, subsidies, leases, and other documents online. Any information that is considered sensitive would be redacted.

Not only would this advance open government, an essential element in a democratic society, but it would promote more competitive bidding, which translates into enhanced performance at lower cost to taxpayers. The proposal could also spark greater media, academic, and public advocacy group interest in government purchasing, and hopefully foster more citizen input and monitoring of the process.

Again, I emphatically endorse the proposal to make government contracts, leases, etc. available online, as it would be an enormous victory for open, democratic government.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Fast Track and Kerry's Amendment

April 28, 2001

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
U.S. Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Clinton:

The Senate is currently debating a “fast track” bill that would allow President Bush to quickly negotiate trade agreements, with little debate in Congress. The bill currently expands the ability of foreign investors working in the United States to challenge US regulations, including environmental protections. Already, with NAFTA, we have seen the effects of this privilege to investors. Already, $2 billion worth of compensation has been claimed under NAFTA, and tens of millions of dollars (that could go to other, more important uses) have already been given away. Massachusetts Senator Kerry has proposed an amendment to the fast track bill that would prevent foreign corporations from undermining important US regulations.

I urge you to support Senator Kerry’s amendment to the fast track bill but still oppose this undemocratic legislation as a whole.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

FCC Rule Changes

May 11, 2003

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510-3204

Dear Senator Clinton:

I am writing to express my opposition to the proposed FCC rule changes on June 2. These revised rules might relax or eliminate essential public interest protections, such as the prohibition on owning a newspaper and television station that serve the same area, the ban on owning multiple major television networks, and the prohibition on owning television stations that reach more than 35 percent of American households.

The rule changes would allow even more media consolidation than has already occurred. The 1500 newspaper and television station owners that existed in the 1970s have dropped to 600, and colossal corporations, like Clear Channel Communications, are buying hundreds of stations, which translates into less local coverage and media that is less able to serve the interests of democracy. The American people own the public airwaves, and in allowing media companies to use them, we must demand that they serve first and foremost the public interest.

I therefore urge you, again, to oppose the June 2 FCC rule changes.

Thank you for considering this issue.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Ohio Recount

This message was sent by email to Senators Schumer and Clinton and by fax to Representative McNulty on 31 December 2004.

I am writing to ask that you join Representative John Conyers and other members of Congress in formally objecting to the vote of the Ohio electors—in the manner allowed under 3 U.S.C. §15—when the Electoral-College votes are opened before a joint session of Congress on 6 January 2005.

Objection to the Ohio electoral votes is called for in view of numerous instances of failure to follow Ohio law during the recently completed recount. For example, most of Ohio’s 88 counties did not select precincts at random—as is required by Ohio law—for comparison of machine counts and hand counts to determine if a countywide hand recount was necessary. Moreover, some counties that were required by law to conduct a full hand recount refused to do so. Representative Conyers argues that a state’s failure to follow its own election procedures, as the above examples show, is ground for valid objection to the electoral votes.

Challenging the Ohio vote should not be considered a partisan political tactic. To the contrary, it is an effort to enforce basic democratic procedures so that all votes, for candidates of all parties, are fairly counted.

Thank you for considering this email.

Please send me your response.

Public Broadcasting

19 June 2005

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
476 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC  20510


Dear Senator Clinton:

I am writing to ask that you oppose any proposal to cut funding for public broadcasting for FY 2006.

I am very dismayed that the House Appropriations Committee recently voted to cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by 25 percent and to reduce money for interconnection, digital conversion, and the Ready-to-Learn Service. If approved, these spending reductions—the largest in the history of public broadcasting—would severely restrict the ability of individual stations, including my station, to provide local programming. Stations in rural areas, some of which rely on the CPB for about one-third of their funding, would be devastated by the proposed cuts—and some might even be forced off the air.

Like many other Americans, I rely on public television for a good portion of my news and entertainment. I would be very upset if local programming had to be curtailed for want of funds. Again, I urge you to oppose funding cuts for the CPB and other essential areas of public broadcasting.

Thank you for considering my concerns.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Sarbanes Bill

July 5, 2002

The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

I urge you to support the strengthening and passage of the accounting reform bill proposed by Senator Sarbanes. After the scandals involving Enron, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen, and others, such legislation to protect consumers, investors, taxpayers, and employees is long overdue. The Sarbanes bill would create a strict, independent accounting oversight system to replace the current system in which lobbyists from industry influence the oversight boards. It would prevent accountants from also providing consulting services to clients, and makes it a criminal act for executives to trick or manipulate auditors. Additionally, the bill reforms the actions of corporate boards of directors to make sure that audits protect investors, and it provides the government with greater power to recover money obtained through deception and manipulation.

Notwithstanding the many important aspects of the current legislation, the bill should be strengthened in several ways. There should be stronger rules for the oversight panel to ensure that the industry does not take control of it, and the restrictions on the auditors need to guarantee the independence of the auditor. I urge you to support the Leahy amendment, which would provide protection for whistleblowers and increase penalties for shredding documents, as well as other amendments that would improve standards for accounting independence and make it less difficult to sue lawyers and accountants who assist with financial misconduct.

After several large scandals, involving Enron and others, an accounting industry reform bill is very much needed. Again, I urge you to support the Sarbanes bill as well as amendments, such as the Leahy amendment, that would strengthen these important reforms.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Voting Records Online

July 17, 2003

The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

I strongly urge you to take a very basic but essential step: display your voting records on your website in an understandable fashion. The Thomas database is too confusing for ordinary people to interpret; Frank Wolf’s website provides an example of a clear, understandable format for displaying your voting records.

Only five members of Congress thus far have taken this fundamental step. If you follow suit, it would be a clarion demonstration of your support for democracy and an informed citizenry. You would prove that you are unafraid to allow voters to make an informed decision based on actions instead of words.

I encourage you to understandably display your voting records online to prove your commitment to openness and accessibility of information, which Thomas Jefferson called “the currency of democracy.”

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

East Timor

Aceh and East Timor letters

June 22, 2003

The Honorable Michael McNulty
U.S. House of Representatives
2161 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-3221

Dear Representative McNulty:

I emphatically urge you to sign a Dear Colleague letter, being circulated by Representatives Tom Lantos and Christopher Smith, exhorting Secretary of State Powell to demand that Indonesia discontinue the use of U.S. equipment in Aceh, to move towards a ceasefire quickly, and to bring attention of the human rights abuses to the U.N. Security Council (to sign the letter, contact Carol Doherty at 225-2480 by Wednesday, June 25). I also urge you to sign a letter being circulated by Representative Tammy Baldwin that encourages President Bush to cooperate with East Timor's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation by releasing U.S. documents it has requested and to support an extension of the mandate of the joint UN-East Timor Serious Crimes Unit and Special Panels beyond May 2004, as trials will be prematurely halted otherwise. To sign this letter, contact David Stacy at 225-2906 by Wednesday, June 25.

The people of East Timor endured an invasion and occupation by Indonesia from 1975 until 1999 that killed over 200,000 East Timorese. The United States supported this action and even furnished ninety percent of the weapons used. In 1999, following a referendum in which most of the East Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia, militia violence, actively supported by the Indonesian military, resulted in thousands of deaths. An international tribunal is needed to ensure justice for the East Timorese. We must also prevent future atrocities in Aceh by coercing Indonesia to end its intimidation and attacks against civilians in the region.

After backing Indonesian atrocities for decades, the United States should now support the victims of Indonesian military violence. I therefore urge you to sign the two abovementioned letters to advance justice for the people of East Timor and Aceh.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Budget Deficit

April 16, 2002

U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Deputy Secretary Armitage,

In 1975, Indonesia invaded the small island territory of East Timor in Southeast Asia. Indonesia occupied the territory until 1999, which resulted in the deaths of over 200,000 East Timorese since the invasion. Indonesia’s illegal annexation of East Timor was largely supported by many western nations, and the United States supplied Indonesia with 90 percent of the weapons used in the invasion and over a billion dollars worth of weapons and assistance during the 24-year occupation. In 1999, a referendum was held in East Timor, at which a large majority of the East Timorese voted to achieve independence from Indonesia. East Timor, the world’s newest nation, is expected to gain independence on May 20, 2002.

However, conditions in the country remain inadequate. East Timor is one of the poorest nations in the world, with an illiteracy rate of 60 percent, an infant mortality rate of 135 deaths for every 1000 births, a life expectancy of just 48 years, and a per capita gross national product of only $340. The newly established government of East Timor intends to use its funds for healthcare and education, to improve the standard of living, but the government has very little money for this. The government faces an expected shortfall of US $154-$184 million dollars in its tight budget. The East Timorese have largely rejected loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, or Asian Development Bank, because these institutions force countries to follow certain macroeconomic conditions and lead countries into a “debt trap”. To gain the needed funds, a pledging conference, held by donor countries and international financial institutions (IFIs), will take place on May 14 and 15 in Dili, the capital of East Timor. The grants donated should start East Timor off without large debts or conditions and terms attached to the funds.

Recently, the Bush administration, along with other governments, has pledged to work towards eliminating poverty around the world. East Timor’s budget shortfall provides an excellent opportunity for the United States government to demonstrate its support for this pledge. At the May pledging conference in East Timor, the US government should make a large contribution, paying at least 25 percent of the needed funds. The United States should have no trouble paying such a small amount, considering that it would cost less for the US to pay the entire budget shortfall than to buy one F-22 fighter plane. The grants given by the US must not have any macroeconomic conditions or terms attached. Officials in the administration should work with their colleagues in other governments to ensure that all of the needed funds are provided without attached conditions.

Providing these needed funds for East Timor would represent an important step in helping the nation finally achieve independence after decades of oppressive Indonesian military occupation.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Department of Defense

April 11, 2002

Secretary of Defense
The Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld,

The people of East Timor, a small island nation in Southeast Asia, have endured oppression and cruelty since Indonesian’s invasion of the area in 1975. Murder, torture, rape, and several other atrocities were carried out by the Indonesian military, resulting in the deaths of over 200,000 East Timorese. Unfortunately, this violence was supported by the United States government, as the US provided 90 percent of the weapons used by Indonesia, and trained thousands of Indonesian troops. The United States now has the opportunity to prevent future atrocities of that kind in the future.

First, I am opposed to the rewarding of Indonesia for its human rights abuses by continuing US military support. According to the State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Indonesia, “Security forces were responsible for numerous instances of, at times indiscriminate, shooting of civilians, torture, rape, beatings, and other abuse, and arbitrary detention in Aceh, West Timor, Papua, and elsewhere in the country.” The US should not tell the Indonesian military that such egregious practices are acceptable by providing military assistance.

Secondly, I am opposed to efforts by the Pentagon to dismantle military training restrictions for the Indonesian military because it works against human rights protections and the rule of law in East Timor and Indonesia.

The US must end support for the oppressive Indonesian military, which has carried out dreadful atrocities, including the Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Don't Reopen TNI Ties

July 16, 2002

The Honorable Michael McNulty
U.S. House of Representatives
2161 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative McNulty:

In December of 1975, the nation of Indonesia began a massive invasion of part of a neighboring island, East Timor. Indonesia, with the support of the United States, Australia, and other powerful countries, illegally occupied the territory for over two decades, during which time over 200,000 East Timorese were killed and the U.S. supplied Indonesia with over $1 billion worth of weapons. At an August 1999 referendum, the East Timorese overwhelmingly voted to gain independence from Indonesia. However, prior to and following this vote, militias backed by the Indonesian military (TNI) rampaged through East Timor, killing and raping hundreds of East Timorese, destroying approximately 70 percent of East Timor’s infrastructure, and forcing hundreds of thousands into the mountains or into the neighboring area of West Timor (which is a part of Indonesia). It was because of this massive campaign that Congress placed restrictions on U.S. military aid to Indonesia.

However, the Bush administration, as part of its “war on terrorism”, is seeking to reopen ties with the Indonesian military. It has long been argued that the U.S. needs access to the Indonesian military to positively influence its behavior; however, this had long been shown to be ineffective, as demonstrated by the atrocities committed by U.S.-trained Indonesian soldiers in East Timor. United States ties with the Indonesian military only sends Indonesia the signal that its horrific human rights abuses are acceptable. The Pentagon has already worked to create the Regional Counter-terrorism Fellowship program with money from sources other than the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. A new training center will be set up, but the training of Indonesian soldiers there can be prevented if Congress takes action.

Therefore, I urge you to:

  1. Support the inclusion of a ban on the training of Indonesian forces under the Regional Counter-terrorism Fellowship program in the Department of Defense Appropriations bill.
  2. Support the renewal of the Leahy conditions in the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill restricting International Military Education and Training (IMET) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programs for Indonesia.

After decades of U.S. support for the genocide in East Timor and atrocities elsewhere in Indonesia, Congress should now act to protect human rights by maintaining restrictions on and preventing future United States ties with the military of Indonesia.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

No More Aid to Indonesia

April 11, 2002

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
U.S. Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Clinton,

The people of East Timor, a small island nation in Southeast Asia, have endured oppression and cruelty since Indonesian’s invasion of the area in 1975. Murder, torture, rape, and several other atrocities were carried out by the Indonesian military, resulting in the deaths of over 200,000 East Timorese. Unfortunately, this violence was supported by the United States government, as the US provided 90 percent of the weapons used by Indonesia, and trained thousands of Indonesian troops. The United States now has the opportunity to prevent future atrocities of that kind in the future.

First of all, I urge you to prevent the Bush Administration from increasing military aid to Indonesia. According to the State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Indonesia, “Security forces were responsible for numerous instances of, at times indiscriminate, shooting of civilians, torture, rape, beatings, and other abuse, and arbitrary detention in Aceh, West Timor, Papua, and elsewhere in the country.” The US must not tell the Indonesian military that such egregious practices are acceptable by providing more military assistance.

Secondly, I urge you to ensure that the Indonesian military is not trained under the new Regional Defense Counter-terrorism Fellowship program, which was a provision of the Defense Department Appropriations Act. This program could allow the circumvention of restrictions on International Military Training and Education (IMET) for Indonesia.

Thirdly, I urge you to reject the Bush Administration’s proposal to give $16 million to the Indonesian military and police “to vet, train, and equip a counter-terrorism unit in Indonesia.”

Finally, I urge you to vote to renew restrictions for IMET and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) in the fiscal year 2003 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.

For over two decades, the people of East Timor have experienced brutal oppression while the US government had given aid to Indonesia. It is imperative that Congress now works to prevent future atrocities by the Indonesian military.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Tribunal

August 6, 2003

Ambassador John Negroponte
U.S. Mission to the UN
799 UN Plaza
New York, NY 10017-3505

Dear Ambassador Negroponte:

I strongly urge you to support the prompt establishment of an international tribunal for atrocities committed in East Timor throughout Indonesia’s 24-year occupation. The UN should carry out a thorough investigation, and the US must work with other members of the UN Security Council to pass a resolution creating such a tribunal with a mandate covering the entire occupation.

An independent tribunal is desperately needed because the Indonesian ad hoc Human Rights Court for East Timor has failed to bring justice. Because of its restricted mandate, distortion of facts, failure to try top officials, and refusal to consider important evidence and the judgments of UN/East Timor Serious Crimes Unit (SCU), the court is widely considered a sham. Recently, the court ruled that twelve of eighteen people it tried were innocent, while all except one of the six found guilty received less than the minimum legal sentence; the only two Timorese tried were both convicted. Continued impunity for responsible officials not only violates justice and hampers nation building in East Timor; it also signals to other officials their ability to continue atrocities, such as those currently occurring in Aech, without facing punishment.

The US has a dismal history of condoning, as well as providing ninety percent of the arms for, the Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor, which lasted from 1975 to 1999 and which decimated over 200,000 East Timorese, or one-third of the population. It is now incumbent upon the US to begin to make up for its past actions by leading the effort to bring justice to East Timor.

It is for these reasons that I again call on you to demand a full UN review of the situation and a Security Council resolution to create an international tribunal for East Timor.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Energy

Apollo Project

July 4, 2003

Joe Lieberman
706 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mr. Lieberman:

I consider it imperative that you, as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, express your support for a 10-point plan to reduce dependence on petroleum fuels called “The Apollo Project.” Over 10 years, the plan would require $300 billion to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy (which is less than defense spending in one year), but it would create roughly three million jobs and stimulate the economy, besides advancing human and environmental health and making America more energy independent (visit www.apolloalliance.org for more details).

As you know, dependence on fossil fuels results in environmental pollution that contributes to global climate change, acid rain, and health problems like asthma, not to mention destruction of wilderness for drilling and massive oil spills. Furthermore, it impedes America’s ability to adopt a flexible foreign policy in the Middle East. Improving energy efficiency often pays for itself, and reducing pollution in general ensures a sustainable environment necessary for long-term economic prosperity.

As reducing and eventually eliminating the use of fossil fuels is one of the most beneficial actions the U.S. can take, I strongly urge you to back the “Apollo Project” goals. I would not support any Democratic candidate who fails to do so.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Climate Stewardship Act

April 24, 2003

The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

I consider it essential that you strongly support the Climate Stewardship Act, introduced by Senators McCain and Lieberman. This important legislation will be a test of your commitment to addressing global warming, and your vote on it may determine my future support for you.

This crucial piece of environmental legislation may be one of the most important in years. It finally would take effectual steps to attempt to reduce the detrimental impacts of global warming by mandating greenhouse gas reductions (all sectors of the economy would need to achieve year 2000 greenhouse gas levels by 2010 and 1990 levels by 2016) as opposed to the current emphasis on voluntary reductions. In addition, the legislation would spur new investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, use free market incentives to lower costs, and reduce pollution resulting from transportation, which currently accounts for a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the US.

These steps are vitally necessary to diminish the destructive impacts of global climate change, which may increase temperatures by up to ten degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, which is already disrupting birds, plants, and other species, which may exacerbate and antedateb extinction, and which will increase the incidence of tropical diseases and unpredictable weather. The measures in the Climate Stewardship Act would have the concomitant benefit of attenuating air pollution, human health harm, and consumer costs for energy. For the health of posterity and our environment, it is crucial that you are a firm supporter of this Act.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Energy Bill, S. 12

July 26, 2003

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510-3204

Dear Senator Clinton:

While I urge you to oppose the energy bill (S. 12) in its current form, I hope that you will support an extension of the debate period into September, as significant portions of the bill and four hundred possible amendments have yet to be debated.

I specifically ask you to support the Feinstein and Durbin amendments, as they would increase vehicle fuel economy, while rejecting the Levin and Bond amendments, which would hinder government efforts to improve such standards. I also emphatically support amendments to require a ten percent renewable electricity standard, give tax benefits to homes, appliances, and vehicles that utilize energy efficiency technologies, require companies to reveal and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and strive to attenuate damage to public lands from oil and gas development.

A responsible energy policy should significantly improve and foster energy efficiency and renewable sources, while eliminating subsidies to petroleum and nuclear companies. Not only would this help to address environmental destruction, but it would save consumers money, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and improve air quality and therefore public heath.

Again, I urge you to support the amendments that would advance such prudent policies, while demanding more time for debate on the bill. Unless it significantly improves, you should vote against S. 12.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Fuel Efficiency Letter to DaimlerChrysler

July 13, 2002

Mr. Dietr Zetsch
President and Chief Executive Officer
DaimlerChrysler
1000 Chrysler Dr
Auburn Hills, MI 48326-2766

Dear Mr. Zetsch:

As the head of a major automobile company, I urge you to work towards dramatically improving the fuel efficiency of all of your vehicles, including SUVs, sedans, pickups, and station wagons. Earlier this year, the Senate rejected a proposal to require automobile manufacturers to increase the efficiency of their vehicles to 36 mpg, a level easily achievable with current technology. Although it is not required, it is very necessary and urgent that your company take steps to reach and surpass this level of efficiency.

Each year, the United States uses 8 billion barrels of oil, and $200,000 goes overseas to pay for it every minute. One of the most effective ways the U.S. can reduce its dependence on foreign oil is to improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles; at levels of 36 mpg, we could save more oil than we import from the Persian Gulf. Additionally, burning less oil saves consumers money, reduces air pollution, which causes thousands of deaths every year, and reduces the emission of gases that contribute to global climate change.

Given the urgent need to increase the fuel efficiency of automobiles, I urge your company to take significant and immediate action to work towards this goal, which will help protect the health of ourselves and our environment.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Pataki Global Warming Letter

May 14, 2002

Governor George E. Pataki
Governor’s Office
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Pataki:

Last summer, you announced your hope to make New York State a leader in reducing global warming and established the Greenhouse Gas Task Force to help achieve this goal. Power plants are now the single largest emitters of carbon dioxide, yet there is currently no limit on the amount of this gas these plants are allowed to release. Reductions in carbon dioxide emissions by power plants can be easily achieved with simple improvements in the equipment used for combustion. This, coupled with the increased use of renewable solar and wind power and improvements in energy efficiency, would significantly decrease greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.

Human induced climate change could have devastating effects on New York State, as well as the rest of the world. It may cause ocean levels in New York to rise as much as a meter as well as increased severe weather and storms, more diseases, including Lyme disease, 50-70 percent decreases in the state’s maple forests, and could harm agricultural production.

After pledging your support to reduce global warming last year, I urge you to cap carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in New York to 30 percent less than 1990 levels by the year 2017. This, along with increased renewable power and energy efficiency, will help to lessen the many detrimental effects of global warming and air pollution.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Price-Anderson Act

In addition to sending this letter to Congress, I also handed it in as an extra-credit piece for the fourth quarter of 8th-grade Social Studies.

June 27, 2001

The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

In 1957, Congress passed the Price-Anderson Act, which uses taxpayer money as insurance in case of nuclear accidents. This act is scheduled for renewal by August 1, 2002. I urge you to support the repeal of this act, as the nuclear industry should pay for its own insurance, not use the money of taxpayers. Apart from using money that could go to better use, this act also encourages power companies to continue the use of nuclear power instead of turning to clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar power.

The fission process to generate electricity creates deadly, radioactive waste that lasts tens or hundreds of thousands of years. The US has almost created about 85,000 metric tons of this deadly material. There is still no final decision as to where the material should go, and transporting the waste may also cause problems. It is planned that, over the next 30 years, the waste will be shipped on routes that are at least half a mile from homes, but those driving near the waste will be hit with doses of radiation equivalent to about one chest x-ray per hour. Accidents are also very likely and very hazardous. Predictions by the Department of Energy (DOE) show that 1 out of 343 shipments will create an accident, and with about 90,000 shipments, over 260 accidents are likely to occur. A realistic DOE scenario predicted that if a high-speed crash with flames were to release a relatively small amount of radiation to a rural area, it could contaminate 42 square miles, take 462 days to clean up, and cost $620 million. A member of the Radioactive Waste Management Associates predicted that it could cost $194 billion depending on the population and the degree to which it was cleaned up. Accidents in the power plants could also harm human health. A 1982 study by the Sandi National Laboratory found that if a meltdown passed the containment area at the Limerick plant outside of Philadelphia, 74,000 could be killed within a year, 34,000 could die of later cancer deaths, and 61,000 could get radiation-related injuries. Even as part of their normal operations, nuclear plants give off radioactivity, which has practically unmeasured effects on human health and the environment.

The Bush Administration is currently pushing to build new nuclear power plants, even though nuclear power has many harmful consequences. The public lost confidence in nuclear power after accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and there is a good reason not to continue nuclear power. Also, a Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that 60% of Americans were opposed to the construction of new power plants. We should, instead, be focusing our time and money on clean, alternative power and increased fuel efficiency, as it helps to protect the environment, human health, and is even more beneficial to consumers.

Again, I ask you to support the repeal of the Price Anderson Act. I also urge you to vote against any proposals to build new nuclear power plants and also support any proposals to increase fuel efficiency and increase the use of clean, renewable energy.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Renewable Energy in Colorado

2 September 2004

Mr. Wayne Brunetti, CEO
Xcel Energy
800 Nicollet Mall, Suite 300

Minneapolis, MN 55402

Dear Mr. Brunetti:

I am disappointed in your company’s opposition to the Colorado Renewable Energy Initiative, which would require that ten percent of your electricity sales be produced from renewable sources by 2015.

Renewable energy is the future of electricity, and demand for it will only continue to grow. Instead of spending $10 million on an ad campaign to defeat the initiative and over a billion dollars more on new coal plants in Colorado, your company should invest in renewable-energy production. Doing so now will undoubtedly give you a competitive lead in coming years. And Colorado’s climate makes it an ideal place to begin.

Again, I urge you to withdraw your opposition to the Colorado Renewable Energy Initiative and to instead embrace a cleaner, healthier future for us all.

Thank you for considering this letter.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Environment (misc)

Amendments to FY 04 Appropriations Bill

July 26, 2003

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510-3204

Dear Senator Clinton:

I am writing in regard to the FY 04 appropriations bills under consideration. I strongly support the Feinstein amendment to the Energy and Water appropriations bill (S. 1424) and oppose the proposals by both Stevens and Craig to the Interior appropriations bill (S. 1391).

Senator Feinstein’s essential amendment would eliminate funding for the development of two new types of nuclear weapons: the "Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator" is meant to destroy underground Russian and Chinese command centers and the other type would penetrate bunkers that supposedly could contain chemical or biological weapons. If these plans move forward, it will undermine nonproliferation efforts and threaten our security by expanding the production of weapons of mass destruction.

The two provisions inserted by Senator Stevens to S. 1391 are pernicious for Alaska’s natural resources. One would impair efforts to challenge timber sales in the Tongass forest in court, while the other would abrogate the 1989 ban on drilling in Bristol Bay. Senator Craig’s potential amendment would allow certain grazing permits to be issued indefinitely regardless of environmental detriment to public lands.

Again, I emphatically urge you to support Senator Feinstein’s amendment to S. 1424 and oppose the proposals of Senators Craig and Stevens to S. 1391 to help to protect global security and our environment.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Department of Defense and Environmental Protections

April 28, 2001

The Honorable Michael McNulty
U.S. House of Representatives
2161 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative McNulty:

The Bush administration has recently proposed that the Department of Defense be continuously exempt from important environmental protections. Although current law permits the DoD and other government agencies to ignore environmental regulations in times when national security is in danger, the proposal would permit those agencies to permanently bypass those protections, including important provisions in the Clean Air Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Superfund, and Endangered Species Act. This proposal is currently under consideration by the House of Representatives as part of the Defense Authorization bill.

I urge you to strongly oppose the Administration’s proposal to unnecessarily jeopardize public health and the environment when national security is not at stake.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

John Graham

July 15, 2001

Dear Senator Schumer:

I urge you to reject Bush’s nominee, John Graham, for the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which is within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). If approved, Graham would have a great influence over national regulations. Given his past history of helping big business, Graham would likely prevent vital health, safety, and environmental regulatory proposals.

The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, run by Graham, takes in funds from 100 major industrial corporations and trade associations and the Center’s research often reflects the positions of the funders. Again, I urge you to vote against Bush’s nominee, as he would not work to serve the public good and instead, private interests.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Kuhl Opposition

July 14, 2003

The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

I strongly oppose the nomination of Carolyn Kuhl to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Her egregious and extreme record demonstrates her inability to fairly serve in such an important position.

For example, in UAW v. Brock, Kuhl argued to reverse the long-standing practice of allowing citizen groups to represent interests held by their individual members in lawsuits, called associational standing; the Supreme Court unanimously rejected her position. Had she been successful, however, Kuhl would have devastated the use of public interest lawsuits, as, for example, nearly all of the environmental suits in the last three decades have used this principle. Kuhl has additionally argued for the weakening of workplace sexual harassment rules and has claimed in Fairchild Semiconductor Corp. v. U.S. EPA that EPA cleanup requirements for companies are unconstitutional. These are only some of Kuhl’s radical, ideological, and untenable decisions.

I again urge you to vigorously oppose the nomination of Carolyn Kuhl to help ensure the preservation of mainstream and public interest values in court decisions. I will be watching your vote on this issue.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

National Missile Defense

June 27, 2001

The Honorable Michael McNulty
2210 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC  20515-3221


Dear Representative McNulty:

I am strongly opposed to the National Missile Defense (NMD) system. It will cost taxpayers at least $60 billion, which should go to more important purposes, such as poverty and the environment. The NMD system uses radar and satellites to find enemy missiles when they are launched, and US missiles or lasers in space would destroy the enemy missiles. Many have doubts, however, as to whether it will actually work. Two out of three tests of the NMD, which were performed under ideal conditions, were complete failures. Many scientists also say that it is too easily decoyable. The NMD also violates a 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and would stir up more conflicts. Countries like China and Russia would feel that their weapons would be useless as defense, which would cause them to build more advanced weapons. As we have seen in the past, this type of militarism can lead to war, and with such strong weapons, there would be inevitable mass destruction. There is more threat from weapons being smuggled into the country that there is from regular missiles “primarily because non-missile delivery means are less costly and more reliable and accurate,” explains CIA analyst, Robert Walpole. US allies such as France, Germany and Canada have already criticized the NMD. The defense system will not protect America any further and would simply provide more money for military contractors.

As it is, the US spends too much money on the military. The current military budget is about $320 billion, and that is the highest it has been since the height of the cold war. We already have enough weapons to destroy the world several times over and enough to frighten any other countries. Many of the weapons being built are not useful, obsolete, and not strategically needed.

I urge you to oppose the NMD system and also support any future legislation that would lower the military budget. Thank you for taking this into consideration.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Ocean Protection

Email sent on 3 May 2004.

Dear Governor Pataki,

I urge you to comment on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy's draft report. I hope that you will support the most aggressive recommendations to protect and restore our oceans.

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy has recently released a comprehensive report on the state of our oceans. Its findings clearly show that we need immediate action to protect and restore our fragile marine ecosystems. Oceanic wildlife and even entire oceanic ecosystems are threatened by over-fishing, over-development of our coasts, and habitat destruction, the report found.

Governors have until May 21 to submit comments on the draft report to the Commission.

Too much is at stake for you to do anything but support strong protections for our fragile oceans!

Thank you for your consideration of this communication. Please send me a response.

Office Max and Office Depot Recycled Paper

July 9, 2003

Office Depot

Bruce Nelson, CEO

2200 Old Germantown Road

Delray Beach, FL 33445

Dear CEO Nelson:

I emphatically urge your company to take bold steps to reduce the impact of your paper products on endangered forests. Specifically, I exhort you to summarily eliminate the sale of wood or paper products made from either old growth forests or US public lands, work towards a goal of at least 50% post-consumer fiber in all of your paper products within two years, consign permanent shelf space for 100% post-consumer recycled and tree free paper at all stores, and educate employees and consumers about the importance of recycled products.

It is absurd to continue to harvest endangered forests at rapacious rates when we have the ability to use recycled and tree free agricultural fibers in paper. Not only does this save forest ecosystems, but it conserves energy and water and reduces air and water pollution, as well as the creation of dioxin from chlorine bleaching.

As you know, Staples, Inc. recently promulgated a policy of phasing out endangered forest paper and increasing the percentage of post-consumer recycled fiber in its paper. Because of its demonstrated environmental commitment, I will shop at Staples rather than Office Depot unless you implement an equivalent or superior policy.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Peru Logging

19 December 2005

Wilbert G. Holliman
Chairman and CEO
Furniture Brands International
Attn: Corporate Communications
101 South Hanley Road, 19th Floor
St. Louis, MO 63105

Dear Mr. Holliman:

I am writing to ask that your company do its part in preserving the Tahuamanú rainforest in Peru. This lush, diverse region supports countless plants and animals, including the Giant otter, black caiman, squirrel monkey, and macaw. Unfortunately, this area is also the site of widespread illegal logging operations, particularly for valuable cedar and mahogany timber. International agreements have aimed to stop these unsustainable operations, but unless they are backed up by pressure from American manufacturers, these agreements will not succeed.

For this reason, I ask that Furniture Brands International make sure that its mahogany purchases do not come from Peru until illegal logging practices are ended and a reliable system of source labeling for Peruvian timber has been instituted. Your company does buy mahogany from South America (for example, in the Henredon line, supplier of Ralph Lauren furniture), and it is important for consumers of your products to have assurance that their furniture did not contribute to destruction of an irreplaceable rainforest.

Please write back to inform me of your company’s position on this matter.

I thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Yucca Mt. Nuclear Waste

June 29, 2002

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
U.S. Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Clinton:

I am writing to express my opposition to the storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, in Nevada. President Bush approved the High Level Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain on February 15 of this year; however, the Governor of Nevada vetoed approval for the site on April 8th because of many legitimate concerns about the site. Now Congress is voting to override this veto, and the House has already approved the site, so it is imperative that the Senate takes action to block this dangerous proposal.

Several valid concerns have been raised about the safety of storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. The General Accounting Office reported that there were 293 “significant unresolved technical” issues with the site, such as how long the storage containers will remain undamaged, the volume and speed of the water flow in the area, and the possibility of volcanic activity. In addition, the site is intersected by 33 earthquake faults, and the waste would be near an aquifer that is the sole source of water for an entire community. Given these and other possible dangers, a Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board letter from January 4, 2002 argued that “the technical basis for the DOE’s repository performance estimates is weak to moderate.”

In addition to problems at Yucca Mountain, the site would also require the risky transportation of nuclear waste through 44 states and the District of Columbia. Because much of the nuclear waste is currently located on the East Coast, the transportation of the waste would require about 100,000 shipments with trucks, trains, and barges over 38 years. Millions of Americans would be exposed to radiation, and potential accidents could cause serious damage. All of the transportation containers will inevitably give off radiation because they are limited by size and weight; a truck cask emits a 10 millirem/hour dose of radiation at a distance of six feet, so a person stuck behind a nuclear waste truck for an hour would face exposure equivalent to a chest x-ray.

The storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain entails several possible dangers involving the uncertainty of the site itself and the transportation of nuclear waste to the site. Because of these serious risks, I urge you to reject the proposal to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Human Rights

China 2008 Olympics

February 27, 2002

Douglas N. Daft
Chief Executive Officer

The Coca-Cola Company

P.O. Box 1734

Atlanta, GA, USA 30301

Dear Mr. Daft,

Coca-Cola has been one of the longest supporters of the Olympic games and can therefore wield enormous influence, promoting the values upon which the Olympics were based. The controversial decision to hold the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing presents an important challenge to sponsors of the games. The games offer a great opportunity to improve human rights conditions in China if enough pressure is applied. Also, the image of the corporate sponsors, including Coca-Cola, may be damaged if human rights violations occur.

First, I urge you to tell the Chinese government to release Shan Chengfeng, who is now in a labor camp simply for distributing a petition that called on the IOC to free her husband and other political prisoners. This may demonstrate what could happen to other dissidents up to and during the Olympic games.

Second, I urge you to call on the International Olympic Committee to create a human rights monitoring committee that could help to protect against the arrest of peaceful protestors. It could also ensure that the Chinese government upholds its promise of “complete freedom” for all foreign reporters and that those people being displaced by the Olympic facilities are treated well.

Thank you for taking this into consideration. I await your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Darfur

July 5, 2004

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510-3204

Dear Senator Clinton:

I am writing to ask that you use your leverage and credibility as a member of Congress to bring attention to the atrocities unfolding in Darfur, Sudan, and the pressing need for international action. I, furthermore, urge you to apply pressure to Secretary of State Colin Powell to see that he takes the following steps forthwith:

  1. The United States must vehemently denounce the horrors taking place in Darfur and formally recognize them for what they truly are: genocide. This would not only put enormous pressure on the Khartoum government and its militias, but it would also invoke the obligations of the 130 nations party to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, enabling the UN Security Council to authorize international intervention even if the United States itself is unwilling to commit troops.
  2. The United States should mobilize some of its 2,000 troops in nearby Djibouti to lead a multinational force, in an effort to secure the region, facilitate humanitarian assistance, and enforce the cease-fire until a UN peacekeeping force can be assembled.
  3. The United States must take advantage of its unique intelligence capacity in the region to track the activities of the militias. It should also monitor the movements of the displaced in order to facilitate the speedy provision of humanitarian relief.

Ten years ago, the international community watched as the genocide in Rwanda ended 800,000 lives. Now, the world faces an even larger humanitarian crisis that has already killed 30,000 and that threatens to take 1,000,000 more. Do not allow the future to condemn the United States for its failure to take one of the most essential and morally unequivocal actions in the history of mankind.

Thank you for considering this letter. Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Death Penalty

July 22, 2003

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Bush:

I am writing to express my opposition to the death penalty and my support for efforts to abolish it or at least impose a moratorium until a thorough, non-partisan review is completed and scrutinized.

The death penalty is too fundamentally flawed and unnecessary to justify. The fact that many states without the death penalty have lower average murder rates than those with it demonstrates that it does not deter crime. Several state governments have estimated that a death penalty case costs between $1 and $7 million, while cases resulting in life imprisonment, including expenses for incarceration, each cost about $500,000. Furthermore the United States is the only western democracy to use the death penalty, which places us among states like Iraq, Iran, and China that also allow it. Capital punishment also disproportionately harms the poor and minorities, while over one hundred inmates on death row have been exonerated since 1976. It is imperative that the death penalty is discontinued and replaced by life imprisonment without parole.

Therefore, it is important to me that you support efforts to abolish or impose a moratorium on the death penalty in order to prevent further financial and human harm resulting from this unconscionable policy.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Iraq

Iraq Commission

July 9, 2003

The Honorable Michael McNulty
U.S. House of Representatives
2161 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-3221

Dear Representative McNulty:

I strongly urge you to back Rep. Henry Waxman’s proposal to create an independent commission to investigate potential distortion of intelligence by the Bush administration about Iraq’s development and possession of WMDs by co-sponsoring the legislation. The commission should be independent, have open hearings involving experts inside and outside of government, and should produce an unclassified report.

It is essential that the American people learn exactly how much evidence was distorted in an attempt to justify war with Iraq, considering that no WMDs have been discovered in Iraq (even the two trailers discovered were used to generate hydrogen for balloons) and the Administration has admitted that the story of Iraq obtaining nuclear materials from Niger was based on unsound evidence. It was even reported in a June 2003 issue of US News and World Report that Colin Powell was infuriated when he first perused the presentation he was to make at the UN because the evidence was so uncertain.

Again, given the few examples of intelligence distortion that have already been discovered, it is imperative that an independent commission investigates the matter fully. I therefore urge you, again, to co-sponsor Henry Waxman’s bill.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Letter to Four Presidential Candidates

January 20, 2003

Rep. Richard Gephardt
U.S. House of Representatives
1236 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. Gephardt:

I am writing to urge you, as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, to declare your firm opposition to a war with Iraq, especially if the U.N. inspections do not uncover any significant weapons of mass destruction. In the Democratic primaries, you can be certain that I, along with many people I know, will not support you unless you actively oppose and try to prevent a war before it begins. The Democrats have consistently failed to represent the strong resistance to war in Congress, and unless you lead your party to take a more peaceful approach towards Iraq, your party’s support will continue to diminish.

A large number of Americans do not support a preemptive strike against Iraq, as is demonstrated by massive protests around the country, including the recent gathering of several hundred thousand people in Washington, DC. An attack would not only kill thousands of soldiers and Iraqi civilians, but it could create greater instability in the Middle East. It will likely augment antipathy towards the U.S., thereby fomenting more terrorist attacks. The Bush administration has yet to produce credible evidence that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction. An attack would likely cost hundreds of billions of dollars, money that could be directed towards education, public works, and the environment.

Again, I will not support your candidacy unless you strongly oppose a war with Iraq, and I will encourage others I know to do the same.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Military

Missile Defense

Email to US Senators on 14 May 2004.

When the Senate considers the Defense Authorization bill, I call on you to do the following in regard to the proposed missile defense system: 1) minimize its funding 2) support requirements for the operational testing of the system under realistic conditions before its deployment.

The administration is requesting a record $10 billion for this system and is poised to deploy missile defense by the fall of this year. Nevertheless, the planned system has yet to undergo operationally realistic testing and, more importantly, has inherent technical challenges that make it unable to provide an effective defense of the United States against attacks by long-range ballistic missiles.

With many other pressing security needs and budget priorities, Congress must take this crucial opportunity to insist that missile defense undergo operationally realistic testing before it is deployed.

Thank you for considering this email. Please send me your response.

Poverty and Employment

Contraceptives in Health Insurance

September 4, 2003

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510-3204

Dear Senator Clinton:

I emphatically urge you to co-sponsor S.1396, the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act. This essential legislation would require health insurance coverage to include access to all of the five FDA-approved prescription contraceptive methods; this is currently done by only 15 percent of insurance plans, even though most do cover maternity care, abortion and sterilization.

Close to half of all pregnancies in the US are unwanted or poorly timed. S.1396 could help to reduce that proportion and thus the need for abortions. Ignoring cost savings from precluded abortions and pregnancies, providing coverage for prescription contraceptives would cost insurance companies a mere $1.25 per person per month.

Again, I strongly support and urge you to co-sponsor S.1396 to provide greater access to contraception and expand the benefits of family planning.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Fair Trade Chocolate

December 5, 2003

Paul Michaels
President M&M/Mars Inc.
6885 Elm Street
McLean, VA 22101

Dear Mr. Michaels:

I am returning this Snickers bar because it was not made with Fair Trade chocolate. I strongly urge your company to demonstrate a clarion commitment to thousands of children worldwide by using only Fair Trade chocolate in your candies.

Hundreds of thousands of children labor in brutal conditions on their families’ cocoa farms and sometimes even on farms far from home. This tragic situation is primarily the result of the poverty in which so many cocoa farmers live. Therefore, the best way to avert this child labor and exploitation is to ensure that cocoa farmers receive a stable and adequate income.

By guaranteeing a minimum per pound price, Fair Trade chocolate ensures that farmers are paid a living wage. This allows them to send their children to school and pay their workers fairly. In addition, Fair Trade standards proscribe child labor while simultaneously requiring environmentally sustainable practices.

While U.S. chocolate companies have announced a plan to eliminate child slavery on cocoa farms by 2005, the proposal involves only “voluntary standards” that would not necessarily ensure a fair and stable price. As the largest chocolate company worldwide and the fourth largest private company in the U.S., Mars surely has the capacity to use only independently certified Fair Trade chocolate. I will not purchase any M&M/Mars products until you have taken this action.

Thank you for your time. Please respond with your plans for using Fair Trade chocolate.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Head Start

July 9, 2003

The Honorable Michael McNulty
U.S. House of Representatives
2161 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-3221

Dear Representative McNulty:

I urge you to strongly oppose the Bush administration’s proposal to dismantle Head Start by diverting current Head Start funding into less reliable and more complicated state programs that would serve fewer children or provide less complete care because money will be consumed by state bureaucratic costs. Instead, it is essential that you advocate for a $2 billion increase in Head Start funding (which is about 0.5% of the Pentagon’s budget), as only sixty percent of eligible 3- and 4-year-olds currently receive assistance.

Head Start has helped 20 million children since 1965, and its programs, which have been tested and refined over decades, have been demonstrated to increase the likelihood that participating children graduate from high school and avoid juvenile crime. By reducing the costs of special education later in school and crime, every dollar of Head Start actually saves two to four dollars of federal tax money.

Because of the prodigious success of Head Start, I again urge you to oppose Bush’s proposal to dismantle Head Start and to instead support increases in funding for the program.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Income Equity Act

June 19, 2003

The Honorable Michael McNulty
U.S. House of Representatives
2161 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-3221

Dear Representative McNulty:

I strongly support H.R. 2691, the Income Equity Act introduced by Rep. Martin Sabo, as it would be an effective first step towards attenuating the inequity between CEO pay and income for average workers. The legislation would replace the current system, in which corporations can pay CEOs any amount of money and still count it as a “reasonable business expense” that qualifies for income tax deductions, by changing the definition of “reasonable” to mean only CEO salaries up to 25 times those of the lowest-paid full-time workers, after which CEO pay is no longer tax deductible.

This Act would help to reverse the trend of unrestrained CEO compensation. In 1970, the average CEO in major corporations was paid 40 times the wage of the average worker; by 2001, the ratio had grown to 411 to 1. According to Business Week, the twenty highest paid CEOs in 2002 received an average of $50 million, including some whose performance actually hurt the company. Every hour, CEOs get an average of $7,452.

H.R. 2691 is desperately needed to begin to address the economic disparity between workers and executives that has become exorbitant.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Overtime

July 16, 2003

The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

I exhort you to vote to block the Department of Labor from implementing the new changes to overtime laws that would leave millions of workers without extra pay for overtime. The changes would alter the classification of those considered supervisors, who are ineligible for extra overtime pay; people earning $22,100 annually could be more easily considered “executives” and thus lose overtime pay.

The loss of extra overtime pay would affect millions, perhaps including firefighters, some medical technicians, nurses, military reservists, and many others. For workers currently receiving overtime pay, the added revenue comprises an average of one-fourth of their total income each week. The elimination of this pay would cost an average of $161 each week for such workers. Furthermore, extra overtime pay serves to deter employers from forcing employees to work overtime, which restricts the freedom of workers’ schedules; the new changes remove that deterrent.

Voting to block the overtime changes will demonstrate your true commitment to the welfare of millions of workers nationwide. I strongly urge you to do so.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Privacy

FBI Surveillance Restrictions

February 26, 2002

Attorney General John Ashcroft

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530-0001

To Attorney General John Ashcroft,

I am opposed to your plans to weaken the guidelines involving unchecked domestic spying. These guidelines help to prevent spying for politically motivated purposes, such as sending disguised agents to mosques or churches without evidence of lawbreaking.

In the past, before these guidelines were enacted, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was able to illegally harass and spy on Dr. Martin Luther King and others in the civil rights movement, without evidence of wrongdoing. The guidelines were created in the 1970’s after much unjustified surveillance on the Black Panther, antiwar protesters, and others.

Again, these domestic surveillance guidelines are needed to prevent the FBI from harassing political dissidents. The basic civil rights of the American people must be upheld.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Privacy Protections, HR 2622

August 29, 2003

The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

While I support greater protections from credit reporting errors and identity theft, I strongly urge you to oppose HR 2622, recently passed by the House Financial Services Committee, as it would continue the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s temporary preemption of the ability of states to enact stronger laws than those at the federal level under most circumstances.

HR 2622 threatens positive consumer protections at the state level, most notably California’s recent legislation, SB 1, requiring banks to obtain the express written consent of consumers (an opt-in requirement) before giving private financial information to most third parties and forcing banks to provide an opt-out option for the sharing of financial information among most of their affiliates. The financial industry will almost certainly challenge SB 1 in court if HR 2622 is passed.

Identity theft afflicts hundreds of thousands of Americans. In 2002, the Federal Trade Commission received complaints from 380,000 citizens reporting losses of more than $343 million. Poor credit granting practices make identity theft easier, which is why stronger protections are needed.

Again, I exhort you to support expanded protections for consumers from identity theft and errors in credit reports, but I oppose HR 2622 because it would preempt state legislation to do just that.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Public Lands

Forest Service: Sierra Nevada

August 12, 2003

Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment DSEIS

Att'n:  Content Analysis Team

P.O. Box 221090

Salt Lake City, UT  84122-1090


Dear Chief Bosworth and Forest Service staff:

I strongly oppose the proposal to weaken the Sierra Nevada Framework’s protections for the Sierra Nevada forest. You should preserve and strengthen both protection of forests and resident species and restrictions on grazing and the Quincy Library Group proposal. It is also important that you follow public scoping procedures, as the law requires, to provide the public an opportunity to comment on these significant proposals.

I support continuing and strengthening the protections for both old growth stands and the species that inhabit those stands, such as the Pacific fisher and the California spotted owl. The restrictions on grazing are also essential and should be strengthened, as they protect fields, streams, and other habitats for species like the willow flycatcher and the mountain yellow-
legged frog.

I urge you to abandon the proposal to expand commercial logging; only selective logging of small trees should be allowed. Restrictions on the Quincy Library Group proposal, which would fragment areas of forest in northern Sierra, should be maintained.

Finally, it is disturbing that the Forest Service has not carried out legally required public scoping procedures that are essential if citizens are to have a voice in the proposals. I exhort you to follow the proper procedures and allow time for comment from interested parties.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Grizzlies in Yellowstone

August 19, 2003



Dave Cawrse, Team Leader

Grizzly Bear Habitat Amendments

Shoshone National Forest

808 Meadow Lane Avenue

Cody, WY 82414-4549



Dear Mr. Cawrse:

I strongly oppose the proposed changes to the Forest Service’s Yellowstone forest plans and the removal of the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the endangered species list before it has recovered more fully. I exhort you to abandon plans for development in the grizzly’s habitat, and to instead improve protections for remaining national forest wildlands by preventing development and four-wheeler use in the Yellowstone and nearby areas necessary for a habitat connection to Canadian bear populations. I further urge the Forest Service to prohibit logging, roadbuilding, and oil and gas development in the Palisades, Centennials, Wind Rivers and Wyoming ranges, as these areas may prove essential in compensating for the expected decline in habitat and important food sources like the whitebark pine.

The above steps are essential to the survival of the grizzly, which was driven from 99 percent of its original range by settlers. Without endangered species protection in 1975, this animal would have vanished from the continental U.S. However, it remains confined to the Greater Yellowstone and Glacier Park areas, and its population in Yellowstone may be as low as 250. Forests connecting Yellowstone to Canada are needed to allow for interbreeding with Canadian grizzlies.

Again, I urge you to terminate plans for further development and for removing the grizzly bear from the endangered species list. Instead, I call on you and the Forest Service to expand protections for essential habitat lands, to allow the Yellowstone grizzly bear to not only survive but recover and flourish.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Jack Morrow Hills

May 9, 2003

Renee Dana, Project Leader

BLM Rock Springs Field Office

280 Highway 191 North

Rock Springs, Wyoming 82901

Dear Ms. Dana,

I strongly urge you to support the Citizens’ Wildlife and Wildlands Alternative for the Jack Morrow Hills area, and I call on the Bureau of Land Management to choose this plan to ensure the protection of that region.

More that 300 species of wildlife, ranging from coyotes and wild horses to golden eagles and deer elk, reside in the Jack Morrow Hills area, which also includes remnants of the Oregon, California, Mormon, and Pony Express trails. It is therefore appalling that the Bush administration is proposing to build hundreds of new oil and gas wells in this location, which would entail miles of power lines and new roads in addition to drilling equipment, especially given that the area would furnish nine weeks' worth of natural gas and 39 minutes' worth of oil under ideal circumstances.

I, therefore, support the Citizens’ Wildlife and Wildlands Alternative, as it would increase protections for wilderness areas, pioneer trails, and sacred Native American sites and prevent future development for oil and gas, as well as large mining projects. At the same time, however, it would continue to allow responsible hunting and grazing activities.

Again, it is important to me that the Bureau of Land Management adopts the Citizens’ Wildlife and Wildlands Alternative to ensure the preservation of this spectacular area.

Thank you for considering this issue.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Lake Mead Jet Skis

June 20, 2002

Superintendent William Dickinson
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
601 Nevada Highway
Boulder City, NV 89005

Dear Superintendent Dickinson,

I am writing in regard to the National Park Service’s management plan for Lake Mead National Recreation Area. I am mostly in support of Alternative B, the conservation proposal; however, I urge you to implement a ban on all personal watercraft (jet skis) throughout Lake Mead. I also recommend a similar ban on jet skis throughout Lake Mohave. Jet skis cause air and water pollution, are dangerous, scare wildlife, and annoy other visitors with their loud noise. The alternative preferred by the Park Service would permit jet skis on 98 percent of the waters, even though jet ski users comprise only 24 percent of the population of boaters on the lake. Allowing jet skis on the lake for the benefit of a small percentage of visitors damages the experience for everyone else.

In addition to prohibiting jet skis, I urge the Park Service to accelerate its ban on dirty two-stroke jet ski motors, which currently will not go into effect until 2012. Park lakes should not wait another ten years for these motors to be phased out.

Again, I urge for the complete elimination of jet skis from all of Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, and I urge the Park Service to accelerate its ban on the use of two-stroke motors on park waters.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Public-Lands Amendments

July 12, 2003

The Honorable Michael McNulty
U.S. House of Representatives
2161 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-3221

Dear Representative McNulty:

I urge you to support amendments to the Interior appropriations bill that would protect our public lands and oppose any that would relax environmental protections. These important amendments would prevent rollbacks of vital public land protections.

For example, one amendment would maintain the Roadless Area Conservation Rule by preventing the Forest Service’s attempts to circumvent it both in the Tongass and Chugach national forests and by allowing states to ignore it entirely. Another important amendment would provide full funding to the Conservation Trust Fund instead of reducing it by more than $500 million, as the Appropriations Committee proposed. Others would phase out snowmobiles, which disturb visitors and wildlife with air and noise pollution, and end the killing of buffalo in Yellowstone National Park. One essential amendment would ensure adequate environmental assessment and public comment on grazing permits.

Again, I exhort you to ensure the existence of our precious public lands for Americans today and in the future by voting for amendments that would protect such lands and opposing any that would allow their further destruction.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Public-Lands Drilling

July 11, 2002

Chief Dale Bosworth
U.S. Forest Service
4NW Yates Building
201 14th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20250

Dear Chief Bosworth:

It is the responsibility of your agency to protect some of our nation’s most precious public lands, including Utah’s Redrock Canyon, areas within the Greater Yellowstone, Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, and Colorado wildlands. These are some of the most precious and beautiful areas in our country, and many contain fragile archaeological sites, endangered species, and other important resources.

I, therefore, urge you to halt energy drilling in these most fragile and important areas. Minor benefits to the energy industry provide no justification for destroying some of our most important public lands. The energy industry must stop exploitation of these areas so that they may be preserved for future generations.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Roadless Area Conservation Rule

May 13, 2002

The Honorable Michael McNulty
U.S. House of Representatives
2161 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative McNulty,

The Roadless Area Conservation Rule, adopted by the U.S. Forest Service on January 12, 2001, after over 600 public hearings and 2.2 million public comments in support of it, protects 58.5 million acres of national forest from drilling, logging, and mining. Preservation of that forest will provide recreation, protect the habitat of over 1,600 threatened species, and help to ensure that 60 million Americans have clean drinking water. In May 2001, the Bush administration promised to support the rule with only a few minor changes. More recently, though, special interests and the Bush administration have attempted to weaken the protections provided under the rule, and several logging, oil drilling, and road construction projects have begun in many roadless areas.

Congress has long supported the roadless protection rule, and there is growing support for legislation that would make the Roadless Area Conservation Rule into law. I urge you to support our national forests by becoming an original cosponsor of the National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act, so that millions of acres of our national forests will remain preserved for future generations.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Tongass National Forest

July 24, 2002

Tongass National Forest – Content Analysis Team
USDA Forest Service
P.O. Box 9079
Missoula, MT 59807

Dear Forest Service Chief Bosworth:

I am adamantly opposed to the recommendation by the Forest Service that no new wilderness areas in the Tongass National Forest be designated; I instead support Alternative #6, which is the Alaska Rainforest Conservation wilderness proposal.

The Tongass is a rare and unique costal rainforest that is home to many grizzly bears, salmon, bald eagles, wolves and other important species. Despite the importance of protecting this fragile area, the Forest Service recommended that none of the 9 million acres of land it reviewed be preserved. If followed, this recommendation would allow enormous areas of forest to be developed, harming ecosystems, wildlife, and recreation. Additionally, the recommendation contradicts the views of the majority of Americans who favor preserving roadless areas of our national forests.

Again, I am opposed to the Forest Service’s recommendation that none of the Tongass be protected, and I urge the Forest Service to support Alternative #6, which would permanently preserve all roadless areas of the Tongass National Forest.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Water

Clean Water Authority Restoration Act

June 15, 2003

The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

I strongly urge you to support the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act (S. 473) to maintain Clean Water Act protection for waters under Congressional authority, and oppose the Bush administration’s proposals to weaken the Clean Water Act. It is also important that you support efforts to increase funding for water infrastructure and cleaner drinking water.

Currently, the drinking water of many Americans may be contaminated with carcinogenic radon and arsenic, pesticides like atrazine, pathogens, and deleterious chemicals ranging from lead to perchlorate, a rocket fuel. Aging treatment technologies and waterworks are exacerbating these problems. It may require between $230 and $500 billion to upgrade outdated water systems. These problems necessitate greater enforcement of the Clean Water Act and improvements in water infrastructure, not weakening of existing legislation.

Thank you for consideration of this letter.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Dead Zone Task Force

July 8, 2001

The Honorable Charles Schumer
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

I am writing to urge you to support funding for the Dead Zone Task Force. The “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is experiencing hypoxia, which is a shortage of oxygen. In 1999, the dead zone was 7,728 square miles, which is about the size of New Jersey. Excess nutrients from farms, feedlots, and industrial sources flowing into the Mississippi River are the main causes of the problem. The director of NRDC’s Clean Water Project, Nancy Stoner, described the plan as representing “a real opportunity to restore wetlands and restore watershed health, drinking water, and fisheries in the gulf.”

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Farmed Salmon

January 30, 2005

Steven Burd, Chairman
Safeway, Inc.
8060 S Kyrene Rd.
Tempe, AZ 85284

Dear Mr. Burd:

I am pleased by your company’s stated commitment to environmental responsibility, and I am writing to ask that you demonstrate that commitment by discontinuing the sale of farmed salmon in your stores.

The health and environmental consequences of salmon farming are simply too great. One recent study reported that because farmed salmon contain up to ten times the levels of PCBs and dioxins that are present in wild salmon, consumption of farmed salmon more than once a month would likely pose unacceptable cancer risks. Salmon feed, furthermore, contains antibiotics that can create antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Moreover, crowded salmon farms degrade native aquatic ecosystems, by attracting diseases and parasites and by discharging large clouds of waste.

The best way to address these problems is for consumers to refuse to buy farmed salmon. This is about the health of the people who shop at your stores and the quality of the environment that they will pass on to their children.

Thank you for considering my position.

Please send me your response.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

LFA Sonar

July 24, 2002

Hon. Gordon R. England
Secretary of the Navy
Washington, DC 20350-1000

Dear Secretary England:

I urge the Navy to halt the use of Low Frequency Active sonar until long-term safety concerns are considered and wildlife protections are guaranteed. Last week, the Bush administration permitted the Navy to use LFA sonar in up to 80 percent of the world’s oceans; however, many important concerns about the system’s impact on marine ecosystems have not been adequately addressed.

The LFA sonar creates noise, which, at close ranges, is millions of times more powerful than levels considered by the Navy to be safe for human divers and billions of times more intense than noise levels known to disturb whales. The noise would spread over an enormous area, likely causing widespread hearing loss and the disruption of communication between species that are dependent on sound for survival. The LFA sonar could cause strandings, injury, and death, as occurred during a Navy exercise in the Bahamas. The Navy has addressed none of these impacts; additionally, the long-term cumulative effect of the LFA sonar on whales, porpoises, dolphins, sea turtles, and other species has not been evaluated.

Because of the many dangers posed to marine ecosystems and wildlife, the Navy should suspend deployment of LFA sonar until its risks are adequately evaluated and addressed.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

TMDL EPA Letter

June 20, 2002

Administrator Christie Whitman
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Whitman,

I am writing to urge the EPA to abandon its proposal to change the rules regarding the total maximum daily load (TMDL) program, which is part of the Clean Water Act. This program was originally established so that the EPA and states would identify the nation’s most polluted bodies of water, rank them, and then create pollution limits in the worst areas. However, this program has been largely neglected for years. Now is a perfect opportunity for this important program to finally be used effectively.

Instead, the EPA is proposing changes to the rules of the TMDL program. This would not only take away time and energy for the full enforcement of this program, but the rule changes would also allow increased pollution in return for promises of future improvements and let states further postpone cleanups.

Over 20,000 individual water bodies throughout America remain polluted, and over 40 percent of assessed rivers fail water quality requirements. These abysmal statistics only provide reason to strengthen the implementation of the TMDL program, not to weaken it with changes in the program’s rules.

Sincerely,

Brian Tomasik

Action alerts since 2005

I've done a few action alerts since my high-school days. For example, one of the letters in the "Animal Welfare" section above is from 2008. Following are phone calls I've made.

Date Office called Issue
18 March 2014 US congressperson Co-sponsor the Humane Cosmetics Act (HR 4148).
27 Jan. 2014 1 US senator, US congressperson Oppose the King Amendment to the Farm Bill. Note: I'm only 60% sure I oppose the amendment, because it has many potential impacts besides just overturning California's 2008 Prop 2, and some of the effects may reduce wild-animal suffering.

Footnotes

  1. Unfortunately, these backyard hens painfully killed lots of bugs in the grass.  (back)
  2. I may have been intending an arcane meaning of "antedate" here, or maybe I got this word wrong. Not sure.  (back)