2015 ENDS WITH ENVIRONMENTAL SUCCESS IN CONGRESS!

In order to prevent another government shutdown last week, Congress approved a massive, 2,000 page omnibus appropriations bill with only a yes or no vote allowed.  The policy staff at Food & Water Watch reviewed this entire document and found several successes for our health and the environment!  Here are the key votes that impact our food and water health and safety:

THE GOOD:

1. The Monsanto rider to prohibit states from labeling genetically engineered foods (a.k.a. the DARK act) was NOT included.  After thousands of phone calls and letters from concerned Americans, legislators didn’t include it in the appropriations bill.  Yah us!

2. An amendment to label genetically engineered salmon was approved!  Work is still needed to stop the introduction of GMO salmon in our food system but this is an important first step.

3. An attempt to overturn our national parks’ ability to ban bottled water did not make it into the final bill.  Again, due to the grassroots efforts of several environmental groups and activists, this was removed from the bill.

4. Important food safety measures including full funding to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, increased funding for meat and poultry inspection, a ban on the purchase of chicken processed in China in school lunches and limits on the beef imports that may have been exposed to foot and mouth disease.

5.  The Microbead-Free Waters Act to stop the flow of plastic microbeads into our water supply which have been polluting the water and poisoning fish.  A standard facial cleanser with plastic exfoliants contains 300,000 plastic microbeads that are too small to be filtered through water treatment facilities and are discharged directly into waterways like the Great Lakes.  This Act prohibits the use of these microbeads in personal care products and encourages the industry to transition from synthetic materials to natural ingredients.

THE BAD:

1. The 40-year ban on exporting crude oil was removed.  Wait…why is this bad?  This fossil fuel industry giveaway happened despite massive opposition from everyone involved in fighting climate change and working for a renewable energy future.  Additionally, water contamination has been confirmed in several states with oil and gas drilling and fracking.

2. Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for beef and pork is being repealed despite massive consumer and farmer outcry about the importance of these labels for our everyday decision making.

GMO labeling, fossil fuel pollution, alternative energy, and consumer product protection will continue to be challenges in 2016.  k.o. kidz will keep you informed about legislative progress and outreach from our valuable partners including Food & Water Watch, Green America, and Environmental Working Group.

Please consider supporting these organizations for continued success in 2016!!

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