Pushing back on ethanol industry lobbying
The ethanol industry is lobbying for billions more in subsidies and bailouts to keep expanding production of corn ethanol despite all its unresolved environmental and social problems. EWG, working with the Clean Air Task Force, Friends of the Earth and the Network for New Energy Choices, developed a detailed agenda for overhauling ethanol and biofuel subsidies and mandates as part of a new and comprehensive U.S. energy policy.
Fighting for truth in drilling
EWG assembled a coalition of more than 100 grassroots consumer, religious, public health and environmental organizations from 20 states to call on the Obama administration to stop deceptive oil and gas leasing practices that undermine property values and mortgages. EWG sent a letter signed by each organization to the federal Financial Consumer Protection Bureau, Federal Housing Finance Agency and attorneys general of states with growing oil and natural gas drilling industries.
EWG’s 2012 Guide to Healthy Cleaning
EWG launched EWG’s 2012 Guide to Healthy Cleaning on Sept. 10, the first interactive rating system that scores popular cleaning products for toxicity and disclosure of contents.
Go-to research on crop insurance
EWG’s August 2012 report Plowed Under: How Crop Subsidies Contribute to Massive Habitat Losses, our several analyses of crop insurance subsidies and the 2012 Farm Subsidy Database, released July 3, have assured that EWG had a major voice in the farm bill debate. The New York Times ran an editorial that underscored EWG’s key messages on farm policy reform.
Two EWG-published reports by Iowa State University professor Bruce Babcock became critical factors in Congressional debate over the new farm bill. Babcock’s 2011 report, Revenue Insurance Boondoggle, revealed flaws in the heavily subsidized crop revenue insurance programs already on the books. His April 2012 follow-up showed that giving farmers free insurance coverage would save taxpayers money.
Good Food on a Tight Budget
In August, EWG released Good Food on a Tight Budget, the only guide of its kind that lists the most nutritious, most economical and least polluted fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains and dairy items so that low-income families can make healthier food choices.
We hosted a webinar to introduce the guide to more than 850 people active in local anti-hunger and nutrition efforts across 46 states and coordinated distribution of the guide to a national group and 10 local anti-hunger groups in five states .
Aid secured for victims of Camp Lejeune's toxic water
EWG worked closely with House and Senate champions and the White House to enact legislation to extend health benefits to military veterans and family members exposed to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune. EWG joined North Carolina legislators and other congressional leaders in pressing for the bill's passage and helped secure a White House signing ceremony. When President Obama signed the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, Heather White joined leading advocates Jerry Ensminger and Mike Partain at the White House.
Toxics chemicals reform advances
On July 25. the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved the Safe Chemicals Act, the subject of a 19-year EWG campaign to reform American toxic chemicals controls.
On June 18, California Gov. Jerry Brown directed state agencies to revise outdated and unsupportable flammability standards. Brown's press release cited EWG's 2008 groundbreaking study that found California toddlers typically had blood levels of flame retardants three times higher than their mothers.
On August 14, EWG joined the Natural Resources Defense Council in a suit against the California Department of Public Health for failing to protect millions of Californians from hexavalent chromium, the cancer-causing chemical that has been a focus for EWG advocacy for more than 7 years.
Turning the farm bill into a food bill
EWG worked with subsidy reform champions to support five floor amendments to the Senate farm bill. Two prevailed: an amendment by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) to make conservation compliance a condition of crop insurance and an amendment by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to reduce insurance subsidies for large farms. EWG led a broad coalition to oppose the House farm bill.
Protecting New York's waters from uncontrolled fracking
Our hard-hitting, much-quoted report, "Inside Track," revealed that New York regulators gave the drilling industry exclusive access to draft drilling regulations weeks before they were made public, according to records obtained through New York's Freedom of Information Law. Thomas Cluderay, EWG Assistant General Counsel, spoke at a rally at New York City Hall and forum hosted by 7 members of the New York State Senate. EWG's report helped reinvigorate the drilling reform movement in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo postponed his decision on whether to open the state to shale gas drilling.
EWG has sued the Cuomo administration for more documents showing how the state drafted its plan to permit high volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for shale gas.
Leading the way to a clean energy future
EWG co-hosted the "Beyond Business as Usual" energy conference with the Civil Society Institute at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Mass. We brought together grassroots groups from around the country to develop strategies to move the nation rapidly toward a truly clean energy future. In July, EWG and CSI jointly released a survey showing that the vast majority of Americans share this goal. The polling underscored that Americans are deeply concerned that fossil fuel- and nuclear-based energy production consumes vast amunts of water. In August, the two organizations jointly released a report focusing on hidden costs of conventional electric power generation, including taxpayer subsidies for oil and gas development. In October, EWG and CSI launched "America's Clean Energy Agenda," a website and grassroots campaign that aimed to shape energy policy decisions in the first 100 days of the next administration.