Environmental Disaster Response Corps Needed
PETITION TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER RESPONSE CORPS
Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress:
We, the People, petition the United States Government to create an Environmental Disaster Response Corps, an organization with engagement at the national, regional, and local levels that exists to mobilize volunteers rapidly and provide them proper training, safety equipment, expert supervision, coordination and logistical support for both short-term disaster cleanup and long-term remediation projects. While providing immediate disaster response efforts, the intrinsic focus of this organization would be to foster long-term environmental safety and public health.
Imminent Need for the Environmental Disaster Response Corps:
·Disasters of the magnitude of the Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico threaten the safety of the American people, adversely affect the national economy, and jeopardize our nation’s security.
·Environmental disasters of this scale will occur again. We must be prepared for these situations before they occur with available equipment, pre-certified workers, and mobilization logistics. Previous environmental disasters including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, wildfires in California, the Exxon Valdez spill, etc., all could have benefitted from the presence of this Corps.
·Our current ad hoc model of disaster response lacks a coordinated, hierarchical infrastructure to deploy needed resources, including the existing army of waiting volunteers.
Environmental Disaster Response Corps Proposed Structure:
A National Director and Advisory Board including specialists in disaster response, environmental science, and public health.
A regional tier of containment and remediation experts who provide regular series of trainings for interested volunteers on a year-round basis and can be mobilized to provide rapid training, equipment support and mobilization for immediate response efforts, as well as conduct sustained certification and logistical support as a disaster transitions into the remediation phase.
A local tier with focus on citizen participation in environmental disaster mitigation, preparation and response, building on a network of existing non-profit agencies, faith-based organizations, and neighborhood associations.
Possible models include the American Red Cross and AmeriCorps. The Environmental Disaster Response Corps could be created under the aegis of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or National Response Team (NRT).
High-risk corporations that are either routinely release high levels of pollutants or that have the potential to create high impact environmental disasters should carry a mandatory “liability insurance” policy to compensate for their transfer of corporate risk and responsibility onto the public. This would be a mandatory tax or fee that directly funds this Corps and other cleanup efforts.
We, the People, request that you -- Mr. President and our Congress -- convene to create this Environmental Disaster Response Corps, so that we, as true Americans, can help ourselves.