Defending Democracy with Informed Community Action in WNC

Your Comments Are Power

We call, we write, and we send emails to our representatives. But many of the regulatory alterations happen within the federal agencies in charge of them, and it is there that we can stop them before the Congress gets a chance to put them into law. One piece of their process for making decisions about regulatory changes is taking public comments on their proposals. Right now, with Congress on their summer break, it’s a perfect time to make your opinions known about a number of critically important changes under discussion.

Clean Water at Risk

The 2015 Waters of the United States Rule, also known as the Clean Water Rule, clarifies that protection of our waterways extends to the streams and wetlands that feed these waterways, enabling the Clean Water Act to attain its goals of restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical and biological integrity of America’s waters.

A presidential Executive Order directed the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to propose a rule that will rescind or revise the Clean Water Rule. Here’s some background.

We need to tell the EPA head Scott Pruitt  to oppose a repeal or revision of the rule. Public comment will be accepted through August 28. Comment here.

Overtime Pay

President Trump’s secretary of labor Tom Perez thinks the overtime rule is too generous to workers and now has taken the first step to revise the rule, with an eye toward denying working people pay raises. Here’s some background on the issue.

Leave a comment for the Department of Labor and tell it to fully implement the overtime pay rule. Comments open until September 25th. 

Civil Rights in Schools

Since When Are Civil Rights ‘Burdensome’?! For those of us who make a habit of treating people fairly regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, country of origin, or ability status, following guidance that protects equal opportunity for all students doesn’t seem particularly onerous. For the Trump administration, however, respecting and enforcing students’ civil rights is apparently quite burdensome.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos wants to get rid of rules that prevent schools from discriminating on the basis of gender, race, national origin, and disability. These rules, many of which have existed since the 1960s and 1970s, guarantee that all students have equal access to educational opportunities. Here’s some background.

Tell the Trump Administration: Keep all current civil rights regulations and guidance in place. Comment here. 

Net Neutrality

Imagine a world where Donald Trump’s tweets are delivered faster, instantly, to every device in the world, but our messages and emails planning protest and resistance take hours to be delivered. It’s not a nightmare — it’s what the internet could look like without Net Neutrality.

Net neutrality is a basic concept: your internet provider cannot slow down your browsing on certain pages, block websites, or charge apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience. All legal content is treated the same. The FCC under Ajit Pai is trying to change that. We need to tell them that we oppose any plan to give big telecoms power over our content and access. Here’s some background.

The comment period to stop the FCC axing Net Neutrality ends August 16th. If you commented before, during the first comment period, please do it again. Comment here. 

 

And if you’re interested in other Public Comments currently being solicited, go to the Federal Register page for a full list. It’s kind of fascinating that there are so many ways we can make ourselves heard.