Getting to sustainable communities means recognizing basic human rights and the intrinsic value of our clean water, air, and soil; our health; our community wellbeing; our life-giving climate; and our democratic governance. It means becoming much better stewards of our common wealth­­­. It also means a rapid transition off of extreme oil energies that destroy our common heritage–and laws (and decision-makers) that support this destruction. To accelerate this transition, we must increase awareness of the risks of our oil dependency to our common wealth and involve people in the decision-making process.


Gulf Coast communities impacted by BP disaster

√    Get involved with helping collect a “Gulf Health and More Survey” during Sept.–Dec. Contact us


√    Organize a fall “Environmental Health & Disease Primer” training workshop (2 hours) during October. Contact: Lisa Marie Jacobs,


Great Lakes communities

√    Sign-on the ALERT-Great Lakes Alliance’s “coalition letter” to EPA, demanding revisions to the National Contingency Plan, emphasizing specific needs in the Great Lakes region. Contact: Lyman Welch,


√    Attend (or send delegates to) industry-government forum on non-buoyant oil, Sept. 9–10 in Detroit, and share what you learn.


Heartland communities

√    Sign-on and support the ALERT-L.E.A.D. Agency “coalition letter” to EPA, demanding revisions to the National Contingency Plan, emphasizing specific needs in the heartland region. Contact: Earl Hatley,


Everyone Everywhere

√    Help strengthen oil disaster prevention and emergency response. Research who is on and how to get involved with either your Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and/or your state or local Area Committee. LEPCs include members of the public and provide input to the local government’s “Area Committees,” tasked with creating Area Contingency Plans to for oil and chemical spills. (See Joining an LEPC? Consider This…)


√    Ask your public library to get and retain current copies of your state’s area and regional contingency plans–and the emergency response plans of all oil shippers in your local area (train, pipeline, drilling wells, etc.). If any of these are redacted, consider legal challenges like a Freedom of Information Act request. If any are missing, consider filing an injunction or other legal action to block shipments or drilling until a realistic, viable plan is in place, (which may take a good long time for tar sands and frack oils because the rulemaking process is very slow.)


√    Ask your city or state or Tribe to support the Earthjustice petition to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, asking for a ban on shipments of highly flammable crude oil in old style, unsafe rail cars. (ALERT is working on a similar legal strategy for tar sands oil.)


√    Work to pass laws like New Hampshire and Minnesota have done, giving your state more control over shipments of in-state hazards (like Bakken shale oil) and strengthening emergency response measures. (We need to push back against actions that prevent public disclosure of oil train shipments such as the Oklahoma confidentiality agreements or the railroad company lawsuit in Maryland.)


√    Create a better story. Unlike Oklahoma’s unyielding support for oil, its neighbor Kansas is actively creating financial incentives for wind and solar energies. Ohio and Kentucky are part of an Appalachian Transition Initiative to replace the declining coal-based economy with clean energies and energy efficiency. Search out those with better stories and recreate their successes in your area and state.


Need more information? Contact us.