The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Doesn't Speak For Us
Dear Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, Representative Higgins and Representative Slaughter:
We the undersigned publicly declare that the U.S. Chamber doesn't speak for us.
For too long, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has positioned itself as the voice of local, independent business. That is simply not true. Of its three million members, 16 companies comprise 55% of the Chamber's 2009 revenue. Meanwhile, local, independent businesses, find their important roles as involved members of our communities, true economic anchors and growth engines for the state, minimized and woefully underrepresented.
Further, while the U.S. Chamber spends millions of dollars to deregulate federal environment protections and question well-established climate science, we are working to develop a local, living economy and improve the environment and public health, as these issues truly matter to our communities, our local businesses and your constituents.
Climate change needs to be addressed in a manner that respects the "triple bottom line" of people, planet and profit. Responding to the climate change challenge offers not only a unique business opportunity but also a moment to remake our economy in a manner by which people and the planet are as important as the profitability of a business.
We know, firsthand, how important the Clean Air Act is to our community. In Tonawanda, our neighbors are literally dying from toxins released by large corporations - for example, Huntley, a coal-burning power plant, which is releasing lead compounds and carbon dioxides into our air supply and the dirty diesel trucks that have contributed to the asthma epidemic on Buffalo's West Side. The Environmental Protection Agency plays a pivotal role in protecting the health of our communities and ensuring that, whatever our income level or race, we have equal access to protection from toxins.
The people who support our locally run, independent businesses deserve to live a healthy life and breathe clean air - it is their right. Those local proprietors are the backbone of our local economies and deserve a voice that speaks to those issues affecting small local business, and one that can affect positive change in our communities.
We appreciate your strong stance in support of the Clean Air Act. We encourage you to continue to defend the EPA's funding and the statutory authority to the agency under the Clean Air Act.
We urge you to lead courageously and amplify our message to: "The U.S. Chamber Doesn't Speak For Our Community."
The campaign also seeks to build an economy that recognizes that sustainable economic development is compatible with shared prosperity, environmental protection, and social justice. An economy that is good for business and our communities.(http://chamber.350.org)
Buffalo First! encourages people to shop locally as a means to economic growth and development while giving independent businesses a united voice to shape better policies pertaining to the triple bottom line—people, planet, and profit. The overarching goal is to root more dollars in Buffalo, preserve the community and create a healthier environment. (www.buffalofirst.org)
Clean Air Coalition of Western New York protects the right of Western New York residents to breathe clean air and live, work, and play in a healthy environment. To protect that right, the Coalition organizes community members and builds diverse coalitions to implement initiatives to reduce environmental hazards. (www.cacwny.org)