Environment Plank

[Adopted at the MOGP annual convention on 8/18/18]


Production and use of fossil fuels, nuclear power, toxins, industrial agriculture and chemical fertilizers threatens the survival of humans and millions of other species. It is imperative that we phase out destructive products, and clean up Missouri's air, water and soil while preserving its natural beauty and ensuring adequate income for all.

Section 1. Energy and Climate.

Accelerating climate change, a finite supply of fossil fuels, and the health burden of air, water and soil pollution tell us that it’s time to correct the abuses that corporations and persons and groups in positions of power have put on the ecosystem. We can transform the way energy is produced and reduce the total energy used:

a. Expand access to rooftop solar, community solar and wind electricity;
b. Enact and promote convenient financing for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy in buildings;
c. Require utilities to convert all energy production from fossil fuel and nuclear sources to localized solar power and wind power from the nearest available locations by 2035. This goal includes improvements in energy efficiency to reduce the need for energy, and energy storage for times when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.
d. Have the Missouri Division of Energy conduct forums around the state to take public input on the most effective ways to reduce overall energy consumption and report the findings through multi-media methods.
e. Ban all publicly funded subsidies to fossil fuel industries and to companies that produce toxic chemicals.

Section 2. Clean Air and Water, and Healthy Soil.

Discharging heavy metals and toxic chemicals into waters, air and soil is not healthy for humans and other living things. Air pollution from vehicles, factories and power plants causes asthma, respiratory disease and other ailments. Acid rain decimates forests and lakes. Heavy metals settle in rivers and make fish unsafe to eat. Herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers disrupt and kill life in the soil.

Additionally, environmental contamination disproportionately impacts communities of color and low income communities which have been vulnerable to destructive corporate practices that lead to siting of landfills, incinerators, and a variety of industries that pollute the land, air and water, leading to high rates of cancers, chronic diseases and breathing conditions.

a. Intensify penalties for water and air quality violators.
b. Transition “chemical” agriculture to environmentally safe organic farming.
c. Repeal state law 643.055 that forbids state clean air laws from being stricter than federal standards, and enact stricter air, water and waste rules that are necessary to protect public health and the health of Missouri’s environment.
d. Enforce clean air and water regulations with fines and shut-downs if necessary to curb repeat offenders.
e. Phase out the use of toxic, greenhouse gas producing chemical products used as fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and cleaning agents.
f. Require all new development to retain storm water on site in constructed wetlands, rain gardens or cisterns depending on the site, with a preference for applications with multiple benefits for biodiversity, pollution reduction, flood prevention, and recreation. g. Restore and preserve floodplains free of industrial or residential development to protect us from flooding and regenerate rich bottom land soil and wetland ecosystems.

Section 3. Transportation.

The most environmentally responsible transportation strategy would be the reduction of unnecessary transportation that increases greenhouse gases. It is time to prioritize walking, bicycling and public transportation. Missouri needs to address the fact that it has the 7th largest road network in the nation but ranks 46th in revenue per mile to take care of it.

a. Require that all new residential construction in urban areas adhere to best practices for walkable and bike-able communities so that healthy people can make at least 80% of trips without motorized vehicles.
b. Stop expanding the highway network and start funding the restoration of rail for freight and passenger transport.
c. Reform the state constitution and laws that funnel the lion’s share of funding to roads instead of other modes of transport;
d. Pass mixed-use zoning laws so that people can easily reach work, school, shopping and recreation by walking, bicycling and public transit;

Section 4. Forests and Grasslands.

Trees and forests and grasslands pull CO2 out of the air. Land is unnecessarily cleared of trees for suburban development and for farming marginal lands, and vast agricultural land is left bare of cover crops much of each year.

a. Empower MO Department of Transportation (MODOT) to plant trees on public land in cooperation with the Departments of Conservation and Natural Resources; b. Remove the requirement in Agricultural Land Set Aside Programs that trees have to be cut. c. Support urban forest enhancement including food forests and high density living with abundant parks. d. Keep farmland covered with vegetation when not in crop production.

Section 5. Conservation.

Wildlife numbers are falling catastrophically around the world due to causes such as habitat destruction, climate change, chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, industrial exploitation, and plastic pollution. Biodiversity is essential for human survival. For example, we depend on insects to pollinate our food crops, but the numbers of bees and other pollinating insects are down as much as 75% due to pervasive chemical use.

Communities have a right to restored land, clean air, clean water and housing and an end to the exploitative privatization of natural resources — including land and water.

a. Ban Dicamba and other toxic herbicides and pesticides, used in agriculture and on yards that devastate crops and wildlife.
b. Promote the production and marketing of hemp in Missouri, including doing research into the many uses of hemp as a less toxic way to process products and as a way to capture carbon from the air.
c. Maintain the Missouri Department of Conservation and enhance its mission to: i. Monitor and enhance the numbers and diversity of wildlife populations and protect native ecosystems; and ii. Conduct outdoor education programs and encourage engagement with nature.
d. Protect and establish state and local parks, and grant protected status to areas of great natural beauty and unique ecological value.

Section 6. Waste.

The corporate growth economy encourages waste on a massive scale. Landfills are overflowing. Toxic chemicals abound. Throwaway plastic has become a plague.

a. Redirect food waste to distribution channels while it is still edible, then to composting.
b. Ban disposable plastic shopping bags and straws.
c. Forbid the burning of waste or biomass for energy.
d. Fund academic research at public universities that develops natural fiber substitutes for paper products and plant-based plastic substitutes that are locally grown, biodegradable, require no toxic chemicals for production, and produce no toxic waste.
e. Require manufacturers to eliminate environmentally damaging waste in excessive packaging and the making of “junk” products.

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