Mari Dominguez

  • Take the pledge and help end plastic pollution

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    GOAL: 445 signatures

    Over the past 50 years, the use and disposal of plastic has increased dramatically, causing a world-wide pollution issue. The use of plastic is attractive because it is lightweight, strong, water-resistant and inexpensive, but it is coming at a very high cost. It is estimated that at this rate, by 2050, we are expected to accumulate more plastic than fish by weight. Over a third of plastic packaging does not make it to a collection system and ends up polluting oceans and clogging infrastructure. 

    The degrading process for plastic is extremely slow, and the majority of the world’s glutinous consumption of plastic has led to the over pollution of our lands and oceans. When plastic breaks down into smaller particles, it’s toxins and material are consumed by animals, contaminating food chains and environments. 

    There are ways to help reduce your plastic usage: 

    1. Use less disposable plastics

    2. Avoid microbeads 

    3. Purchase items secondhand

    4. Recycle 

    5. Support and encourage bag taxes or bans

    6. Buy in bulk 

    7. Bring your own bags and containers while shopping or dining

    8. Reuse durable, non-toxic plastic for as long as you can

    9. Put pressure on manufacturers and governments to help make change

    Take the pledge and make an effort to refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle! 

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  • Tell Trump Not to Abandon Climate Progress

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    GOAL: 994 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send letters to President Trump and Scott Pruitt demanding that they reinstate the Clean Power Plan and continue providing funding for climate science.

    Since being sworn into office, President Trump has issued numerous Executive Orders that have rolled back progress on climate change. 

    Among these are orders directly to the EPA and other government agencies to abandon climate research and roll back policies put into place to combat climate change.

    Agencies are being ordered to ignore the impacts of carbon pollution and begin leasing coal mining rights on federal land. The EPA is being ordered to dismantle its landmark climate protections, the Clean Power Plan. 

    Trump is also pulling funding from projects that would help us learn more about climate change and our effects on it, such as NASA’s climate science department.

    We can’t let the Trump administration get away with this. It has been shown that an outpouring of public outrage can have a profound effect on policy. Public response and activism has helped combat the Muslim ban and prevented Republicans from passing a disastrous health care plan. 

    Now we need this same outrage to keep Trump from obliterating all climate action and protections. 

    Tell President Trump and EPA director Scott Pruitt to reinstate the Clean Power Plan and continue funding climate science.

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  • Ban Fracking Now

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    GOAL: 424 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures NationofChange will send a letter to the EPA and Congress demanding that they pass legislation that bans fracking nationwide, permanently.

    Fracking, the process of releasing natural gas by injecting huge amounts of water, chemicals and sand into shale rock formations, has become highly controversial due to its connections to multiple health problems.

    The process of fracking has been found to contaminate local water supplies . Fracking has also been linked to earthquakes, such as in Oklahoma, can worsen asthma for nearby residents, and puts infants and children at risk for developing heart and lung problems. 

    Only 30-50% of chemicals used in fracking are recovered after the job is done. Which means the rest are left in the ground, leeching into our soil and potentially our groundwater. 

    Despite all this, the use of fracking continues to spread across the United States. 

    Fracking is causing serious health problems. Help NationofChange tell Congress that fracking needs to be banned now.

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  • Stop Monsanto: Support Mandatory GMO Labeling

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    GOAL: 2,550 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Trump administration demanding mandatory GMO labeling and the right to know what we're eating.

    [Update 1/20/2017: We have surpassed 2,000 signatures! NationofChange has sent the first letter to the Obama administration with your signatures and will continue to send a letter for every 1,000 signatures we receive.]

    Stand up to Monsanto and tell the Trump Administration to Support Mandatory GMO Labeling

    Genetically engineered foods stock the shelves in grocery stores. But consumers' rights to know what they are eating and feeding to their families is being blocked throughout the U.S. by the biotech companies that manufacture the GE ingredients. 

    Sixty-four countries, and counting, currently require labels on genetically engineered foods, including Australia, Russia, China and Japan. And while the U.S. is trying to follow suit and "require transparency in genetically engineered food labeling," the FDA has yet to act. 

    According to the White House, a recent survey revealed that "nearly all Democrats (93 percent), Independents (90 percent) and Republicans (89 percent) support labeling of GMOs. So it is time we stop biotech companies, like Monsanto, from paying off the FDA and deceiving the public, and support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. 

    Sign the petition and tell the Trump Administration we have the right to know what we're eating.

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  • Tell Congress: Let Borrowers Refinance Their Student Loans

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    GOAL: 645 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking for student loan refinancing legislation.

    Americans are more than $1.2 trillion in student debt. Many of them are failing to pay even the minimum on their student loans, with no hope of refinancing. 

    Currently homeowners and corporations have the opportunity to take advantage of historically low interest rates. Student loan borrowers should be able to do the same, yet are stuck paying sky-high interest rates. The impacts their ability to purchase homes, save for retirement, and more.

    We need new legislation that will not only allow for, but make it easy for student loan borrowers to refinance their student loans. We stand with groups such as Generation Progress and Take Part in moving forward to urge Congress to pass new legislation to allow for student loan refinancing. 

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  • Tell Congress: Don’t Cut Important School Lunch Programs for Poor Children

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    GOAL: 1,576 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking them not to pass The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act.

    U.S. lawmakers are quietly debating an important piece of legislation that greatly affects meals for schools.

    As it is now, funding allows for providing free lunches and after-school meals to every student enrolled in a public school where at least 40 percent of its student body live in low-income households. The program has had “lasting positive outcomes” and “critical benefits.”

    Yet now Republican lawmakers in Congress, led by Representative Todd Rokita, want to introduce The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act that will severely cut the availability of federally subsidized lunches to hungry children in public schools.

    Even with the funding provided now, lunch programs are underfunded. The $13 billion allocated to them equals out to just over a dollar per meal for cafeteria administrators to spend on ingredients.

    Changing the law now would provide less funding, would remove eligibility for over 7,000 schools and 3.4 million students, and would create additional burdens of paperwork and administration work.

    Please sign the petition now to tell Congress we must not cut school funding but instead increase it, to continue to provide at least some proper nutrition to the over 15 million children that lack access to consistent nutrition at home.

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  • Tell Congress: Keep the pre-existing condition clause for health insurance

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    GOAL: 899 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress demanding that they keep the pre-existing condition clause in their new health care plan.

    Before Obamacare it was nearly impossible for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions to find health insurance coverage.

    Now that President Trump and the Republican Party are in power and want to repeal Obamacare and replace it with their own health care system, millions of people are once again in danger of not qualifying for health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

    Even those that do qualify may face extremely expensive and/or limited insurance coverage.

    Please join us in demanding that Congress retain the pre-existing condition clause for whatever health care system they plan to replace Obamacare with so that millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions can maintain their level of health care without their price skyrocketing.

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  • Let Third Parties Debate: Lower the Polling Limit Requirement

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    GOAL: 822 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, demanding that they lower their polling limit requirement so that we can hear from alternative political parties.

    Our election system is broken. More than ever this election cycle voters are calling for more attention to third party candidates.

    Currently, the Commission on Presidential Debates caters to the simple two party system, not allowing any candidates that poll under 15% to be a part of the debates. This does nothing but further the Democrat-Republican two party system and cut off Americans from hearing from alternate political views that don’t fall neatly into this political dichotomy.

    Help us tell the Commission to lower its polling requirement so that other presidential candidates like Jill Stein can participate in nationally televised debates in the 2016 election and in the future.

    Although multiple lawsuits have been filed the 15% policy, none of succeeded. How are millions of Americans going to hear from alternative candidates and raise them above a 15% rate if they don’t receive coverage and aren’t allowed to participate in national debates?

    Please sign the petition and tell the Commission on Presidential Debates to lower their polling limit requirement so that we can hear from alternative political parties.

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  • Support Stronger Air Pollution Standards

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    GOAL: 1,441 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the EPA asking them to impose stronger air pollution standards.

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to the EPA with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]


    Over 90% of the world’s population resides in areas where air pollution levels are alarmingly high. Air pollution has become a public health emergency.

    According to a new study by the World Health Organization (WHO), millions of people die annually because of exposure to pollution. “To date, air pollution — both ambient (outdoor) and household (indoor) — is the biggest environmental risk to health, carrying responsibility for about one in every nine deaths annually,” the report states. “Air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, and affects economies and people’s quality of life; it is a public health emergency.”

    But a new report released by the American Thoracic Society and the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University shows that stricter air pollution standards could have health benefits.

    The standards advocate 60 parts per billion (ppb) 8-hour standard for ozone (compared with the EPA’s standard of 70 ppb). They suggest a standard of 11 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) annually for PM2.5, rather than the EPA’s 12 µg/m3 annual standard.

    The report calculates that adhering to these stronger pollution standards could save 9,320 lives in the United States per year, could reduce serious health events (morbidities), such as heart attacks, hospital admissions and emergency room visits, by 21,400; and decrease “adverse impact days,” during which people may not be able to work, go to school or otherwise be physically active because of severe breathing problems, by 19,300,000 days.

    This new report shows that tighter standards for air pollution could save lives. Sign the petition to tell the EPA to adopt stronger air pollution standards to combat this public health emergency.

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  • Tell the FDA to Routinely Screen Food for Glyphosate

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    GOAL: 1,477 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the FDA, demanding routine testing of U.S. food for glyphosate residue.

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to the FDA with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has confirmed the presence of glyphosate in a variety of  oat products, including oat cereals for babies.

    Recently the USDA started testing U.S. foods for glyphosate, the active ingredient used in Monsanto’s Roundup and which has been linked to cancer. Last year the World Health Organization released a report by a group of international cancer experts that stated glyphosate is a probably human carcinogen.

    Despite these recent findings, Roundup continues to be the most heavily used weed killer in the world. The EPA still maintains that glyphosate is “not likely” to cause cancer.

    The current safe levels for glyphosate in oats, as suggested by the EPA, is 30 ppm. The levels detected in the findings fall within this range. In 2013 Monsanto requested and receive higher tolerances for many foods. In the European Union the tolerance levels are much lower, for example the tolerance for glyphosate in oats is 20 ppm.

    Monsanto and U.S. regulators maintain that all of these findings show that glyphosate levels in our food are too low to cause any health concerns, but many believe that food will need to continue to be routinely tested to maintain safe levels. Besides that, some foods in the United States do not have a legal tolerance level. For example, honey does not have a legal tolerance level, yet when tested earlier this year every sample came back with traces of glyphosate, some with residue levels double the limit allowed in the European Union.

    Help us tell the FDA that they need to routinely screen foods for glyphosate and maintain low levels of contamination regardless of their stance on glyphosate being linked to cancer.

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  • Tell Governor Snyder to Stop Making Flint Residents Pay for Contaminated Water

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    GOAL: 1,606 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Governor Snyder demanding that he cease charging Flint residents for contaminated water.

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to Governor Snyder with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    The situation in Flint has gotten out of control. The National Guard has finally been called in to deal with a major water crisis that has left hundreds sick or dead. The emergency level of lead in the water has rendered it undrinkable, yet residents of Flint are still being charged for the poisoned water.

    What’s even worse, is if residents don’t pay for the undrinkable water, they are threatened with a shutoff. Residents feel that not only should they be given a pass on water shut off but that they shouldn’t have to be for contaminated water that they can’t even use. Michigan officials were able to pay for clean water for state officials a full year before they started providing clean water to the public.

    Officials in Flint had illegally hiked water rates several years ago, and ignored a judges order to halt shutoffs and revise customer’s bills. Residents are still receiving shut off notices regardless of the illegal rate hike and now the poisoned water. 

    We need to tell Governor Snyder to cease the shut off notices and stop charging Flint residents for undrinkable water until the crisis is under control.

    You can read more information about the water crisis in Flint here:

    For more information:

    Flint Water Study: http://flintwaterstudy.org/

    Water You Fighting For: http://www.wateryoufightingfor.com/

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  • Protect the Bats from Lethal Wind Turbines

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    GOAL: 1,074 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the American Wind Energy Association, asking them to adopt new voluntary guidelines to help prevent bat deaths from wind turbines.

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to the American Wind Energy Association with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    In the last ten years there has been a major epidemic of bats disappearing due to fatal white-nose syndrome and wind turbine fatalities. 

    Scientists believe that bats are having a hard time confusing wind turbines with trees. Last year the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced “voluntary guidelines to halt turbines at low wind speeds, when bats are most active, which would save lives.” These new changes were expected to help reduce fatalities by 30 percent.

    However, there could be more done. If the industry can hold the blades in check just a little longer bat fatalities could be reduced by 90 percent. To do this there only need to be two minor changes: feathering, or "turning the blades parallel to the wind so the turbines do not rotate," and implementing higher cut-in speeds, ideally between 5 and to 6.5 meters per second.

    Please sign the petition to tell the AWEA to make these changes so that we can save 90 percent of the bats rather than just 30 percent.

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  • Tell Congress: Save the giraffe from extinction

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    GOAL: 1,686 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking them to draft legislation that will provide funding and political help to prevent the extinction of giraffes.

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to Congress with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    Over the past 30 years, the giraffe population has dropped nearly 40%. With illegal hunting, habitat loss and environmental changes these mammals are being slowly pushed to extinction. 

    This decrease in giraffe population will continue until we do something to stop it. With funding and political help, these animals could be preserved. There is currently no legislation to help prevent this extinction. 

    “Whilst giraffes are commonly seen on safari, in the media and in zoos, people – including conservationists – are unaware that these majestic animals are undergoing a silent extinction,” said Julian Fennessy, co-chair of the IUCN’s giraffe and okapi specialist group. “It is timely that we stick our neck out for the giraffe before it is too late,” he said.

    Sign this petition and help us tell Congress that the people want the protection of giraffes put into place.

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  • Get the Fossil Fuels Out of Climate Policymaking

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    GOAL: 2,205 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Trump administration, demanding that the fossil fuel industry play no role in climate policymaking.

    [Update 2/16/17: We have sent your letter to the Trump administration with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

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    Corporate influence has pervaded climate negotiations over the years in an effort to protect corporate profits. And now, the climate crisis is closer to the brink.

    Not only has the fossil fuel industry interfered with climate progress, these big polluters have pushed false solutions and committed numerous environmental and human rights violations.

    Scientists have warned of the “irreversible damage to our plant due to climate change” and it's time world leaders take bold action to ensure we stop extracting fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions among other solutions.

    But with the fossil fuel industry and other transnational corporations standing in the way, we must remove fossil fuel industry lobbyists from climate policy.

    Take action today and sign the petition to create a “precedent-setting treaty mechanism” to get a behemoth industry out of the way. Help us save the planet!

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  • Tell Congress: Close Tax Loopholes!

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    GOAL: 1,854 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, asking them to pass legislation that will close tax loopholes for the ultra-rich.

    [Update: We have surpassed 500 signatures! NationofChange is sending the first letter to Congress with your signatures attached, asking them to close the tax loopholes for the ultra-rich. We will continue to send letters for every 1000 signatures.]

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    Senator Bernie Sanders will introduce a new bill in the 115th Congress, which begins next year.

    The proposed bill, if passed, would close all of the tax loopholes that Trump exploited in his 1995 tax returns. These loops holes do nothing to boost the economy, but continue to allow real estate investors like Trump to get out of pay millions of dollars in taxes.

    “Special tax breaks and loopholes in a corrupt tax code enable billionaires and powerful corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes while sticking the burden on the middle class,” Sanders said. “It’s time to create a tax system which is fair and which asks the wealthy and powerful to start paying their fair share of taxes.”

    Sanders’ legislation would close the following loopholes:

    Exemption for the real estate from passive loss rules (Section 469): This loophole allows for an exception for real estate so that real estate investors can use losses to offset any other income, regardless of if it has to do with their business.

    Exemption for real estate from at-risk rules (Section 465): An exemption for real estate investors that allows them to claim losses exceeding what they actually invested.

    Like-kind exchanges (Section 1031): Allows real estate owners to swap pieces of property of the same type in order to claim they have no gain to report to the IRS because technically there was no sale.

    Debt and Depreciation: Allows for investors to combine tax breaks for for borrowing with tax breaks when an investment rapidly loses value, allowing them to borrow money to make an investment, take deductions for the interest they pay on the debt and then take deductions as the property depreciates.

    Stand with Senator Sanders and NationofChange and tell Congress to close the tax loopholes that rich investors are using to dodge taxes.

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  • Tell Congress to Regulate Prescription Drug Prices

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    GOAL: 2,644 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, demanding that they pass legislation to regulate prescription drug prices and end price gouging. 

    [Update: We have surpassed 2000 signatures! NationofChange is sending a letter to Congress with your signatures attached, asking them to regulate prescription drug prices. We will continue to send letters for every 1000 signatures.]

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    Americans pay, by far, the highest prices for prescription drugs in the entire world. 

    Access to health care is a human right, and that should include affordable prescription drugs. Yet we have companies like Mylan, Turing Pharmaceuticals, and Ariad Pharmaceuticals that love to hike drug prices up. This means that many life saving drugs have become unaffordable for the average American family.

    Last year, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of an AIDS drug from $13.50 per pill to $750.00 — overnight. 

    Prices for drugs overall have increased more than tenfold between the year 2000 and today. The average price of cancer drugs is increasing by over $8,000 a year.

    It is time for Congress to pass legislation to regulate pharmaceutical drug prices and end price gouging. This should also include things such as allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, allowing the importation of cancer drugs across U.S. borders for personal use, legislation that prevents drug companies from delaying access to generic drugs and extending the life of drug patents, and creating an FDA approval group or mechanism that can estimate and propose a fair price for new treatments.

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  • Raise the Minimum Wage: Join the Fight for 15

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    GOAL: 455 signatures

    For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter Congress demanding that they pass legislation to raise the minimum wage for all low-wage workers in the U.S. to $15 an hour.

    With income inequality at an all-time high and worker's rights at an all-time low, it's time Congress does something to mandate corporations raise the minimum wage and stop poverty wages from crippling workers and communities across the nation. Not only have corporations been maximizing profits at the expense of workers, Congress has only passed legislation to increase the minimum wage just three times in the past 30 year.

    It's time state and national lawmakers commit to raising the minimum wage for all low-wage workers in the U.S. to $15 an hour.

    While the state minimum wages range from $7.50 in Arkansas, Maine and New Mexico to $9.47 in Washington state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are about 20.6 million people that are considered “near-minimum-wage” workers. And the restaurant and food service industry is the single biggest employer of near-minimum-wage workers, according to Pew Research Center.

    As Robert Reich puts it, the "first step toward making work pay is to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, pegging it to inflation" because no full-time American worker should be living in poverty. The cycle is unacceptable and must come to an end.

    We must stand in solidarity with low-wage workers and wedge the income inequality gap by supporting the Fight for 15. Let's start by building a movement for shared prosperity and eventually "give all Americans a share in future economic gains."

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  • Tell the Trump Administration to stop Big Oil from Completing the Dakota Access Pipeline

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    GOAL: 7,955 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Trump administration, demanding they stop big oil from completing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

    [Update 3/16/2017: We have sent the next letter to President Trump with 7,000+ of your signatures, demanding the Dakota Access Pipeline be abandoned. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

    UPDATE: The Army Corps of Engineers has denied the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline, but Energy Transfer Partners insists that they will go ahead with the project.

    3,000+ signatures sent to Obama

    1,281 professionals from institutions like the Smithsonian and the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries claim that the construction work from the pipeline destroyed “ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts sacred to the Lakota and Dakota people.”

    The letter reads further: “The destruction of these sacred sites adds yet another injury to the Lakota, Dakota and other Indigenous Peoples who bear the impacts of fossil fuel extraction and transportation. If constructed, this pipeline will continue to encourage oil consumption that causes climate change, all the while harming those populations who contributed little to this crisis.”

    President Obama halted temporarily construction on the the $3.8bn, 1,170-mile pipeline after the Standing Rock Sioux tribe legally challenged the project. The pipeline is supposed to funnel oil from the Bakken oil Fields in the Great Plains to Illinois and run next to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

    We need to ensure the company abandons the pipeline on American Indian land. Sign the petition and stand with the thousands of professionals, and the Standing Rock Sioux, to tell the Trump administration to stop big oil from completing the Dakota Access pipeline for its destruction of Standing Rock Sioux lands, burial sites, and ancient artifacts that are crucial to our understanding of American heritage. 

     

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  • Overturn Citizens United

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    GOAL: 1,408 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, demanding that they create a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

    [Update 2/16/17: We have sent your letter to Congress with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]

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    In 2010 the United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The ruling said that freedom of speech prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation.

    The principles articulated by the Supreme Court in the case have also been extended to for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations.

    The case of Citizens United allows for dark money, the funds given to nonprofit organizations that can receive unlimited donations from corporations, individuals, and unions, and spend funds to influence elections, but are not required to disclose their donors.

    The Supreme Court's decisions in Citizens United and other cases opened the gates to a flood of billions of dollars that threatens to undermine our democracy.

    What we need now is a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

    Sign the petition to tell Congress to create a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

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  • Tell the EPA: Stop Dumping Fracking Waste into the Gulf of Mexico

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    GOAL: 1,993 signatures

    For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the EPA, demanding that they reject the proposal that would allow for unlimited fracking wastewater to be dumped into the Gulf of Mexico.

    [Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to the EPA with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]


    NationofChange is standing with the Center for Biological Diversity in their efforts to convince the EPA to reject a proposal that would allow for unlimited dumping of fracking wastewater into the Gulf of Mexico.

    The proposed permit “violates the Clean Water Act because it causes an undue degradation of the marine environment.”

    We, along with the Center for Biological Diversity, believe that EPA’s consideration of the permit does not take into account how dumping wastewater containing chemicals from fracking and acidizing operations would impact water quality and marine wildlife.

    Here is the full release from the Center for Biological Diversity:

    Proposed Permit Threatens Sea Turtles, Fish, Other Gulf Wildlife

    ATLANTA— An Obama administration proposal to continue allowing oil companies to dump unlimited amounts of offshore fracking chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico violates federal law and threatens endangered marine wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity warned over the weekend.

    In a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency on a proposed wastewater discharge permit for offshore oil and gas drilling activities in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Center explained that the proposed permit violates the Clean Water Act because it causes an undue degradation of the marine environment. “The permit allows the unlimited discharge of produced wastewater, including the unlimited discharge of chemicals used in offshore fracking and other well-stimulation treatments,” the letter noted.

    “The EPA is endangering an entire ecosystem by allowing the oil industry to dump unlimited amounts of fracking chemicals and drilling waste fluid into the Gulf of Mexico,” said Center attorney Kristen Monsell. “This appalling plan from the agency that's supposed to protect our water violates federal law and shows a disturbing disregard for offshore fracking’s toxic threats to sea turtles and other Gulf wildlife.”

    Today's letter also points out that the EPA is relying on a 33-year-old study of waste fluid produced by offshore platforms, despite the drilling of more than 450 wells in the area since 2010 alone. The letter urges EPA to adopt a zero-discharge requirement for produced water and fracking chemicals, as is required under other offshore drilling permits.

    At least 10 fracking chemicals routinely used in offshore fracking could kill or harm a broad variety of marine species, including marine mammals and fish, Center scientists have found. The California Council on Science and Technology has identified some common fracking chemicals to be among the most toxic in the world to marine animals.

    Fracking chemicals raise grave ecological concerns because, among other factors, the Gulf of Mexico is important habitat for whales, sea turtles and fish, and contains critical habitat for imperiled loggerhead sea turtles. Dolphins and other species in the Gulf are still suffering lingering effects from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

     As explained in the letter, the EPA is proposing to allow oil companies to discharge fracking chemicals without even knowing how much fracking has, or would, occur in the Gulf by relying on data from 1988. Information recently obtained by the Center indicates that oil companies were permitted to frack more than 1,200 times from more than 600 wells from 2010 to 2014 alone. And the agency is relying on more than 30-year-old data to estimate the volume of produced water to be discharged.

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