The City of Evanston is committed to environmental health, sustainability, and climate action. Our residents rely on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other scientific and regulatory agencies of the federal government to assure that we – and all Americans – have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, healthy workplaces, and the hope of a future free from the harshest consequences of climate change.
In January 2016, I committed to participation in the Global Compact of Mayors, a “coalition of city leaders dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making their communities more resilient to climate change, and regularly reporting their progress publicly.” In November 2016, I joined with more than 60 other U.S. mayors in an open letter to the incoming President asking that he embrace the Paris Climate Agreement and work with cities to expand renewable energy sources.
Since the inauguration, actions of the administration and its allies in Congress have raised profound concerns among members of the Evanston community and especially the Evanston Environment Board. The Environment Board is the Mayor-appointed City of Evanston panel charged with advising the City Council and I on environmental matters.
I join the Environment Board with concern about appointments to critical executive-level positions of people who dismiss scientific evidence and favor corporate interests over human and environmental health. We are concerned about moves to weaken environmental regulation, chill scientific research, and censor public communication. These developments represent a threat to the environmental and human health of our city and region.
We echo concerns of leading scientific and science communication organizations, among them the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which holds that: “Censorship, intimidation, or other restriction on the freedom of scientists employed or funded by governmental organizations to communicate their unclassified scientific findings and assessments not only to each other but also to policymakers and to the public is inimical to the advance of science and its appropriate application in the policy domain.”
The Evanston Environment Board and I call on our elected federal representatives, as well as the citizens of Evanston, to act boldly to support strong, uncompromised, transparent federal agencies and to make full use of all of the tools at our disposal to protect human and environmental health in our region and our community.