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Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is a unique non-profit service organization for local, state and federal government employees committed to upholding the public trust through responsible management of the nation's environmental and natural resources.

"PEER works nation-wide with government scientists, land managers, environmental law enforcement agents, field specialists and other resource professionals committed to responsible management of Americaâ??s public resources. Resource employees in government agencies have unique responsibilities as stewards of the environment. PEER supports those who are courageous and idealistic enough to seek a higher standard of environmental ethics and scientific integrity within their agency. Our constituency represents one of the most crucial and viable untapped resources in the conservation movement." [1]

PEER was started by Jeff DeBonis in 1992, who had

"worked on national and international government forestry projects in the Peace Corps, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Agency for International Development. In 1989 he founded and was the Director of the Association of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (AFSEEE), a group of dissident, environmental activist agency employees within the Forest Service." [2]

Continuing on this theme, DeBonis widened the focus to include as many public employees from varied agencies with the creation of PEER.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Coal Ash Industry-EPA Interference

On January 27 Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) released a report that indicated the coal ash industry, with direct access to the EPA, manipulated reports and publications about the dangers of coal combustion waste. The group stated that the Environmental Protection Agency allowed the multi-billon dollar coal ash industry to have access to the EPA during the Bush administration years as well as under President Obama. The result has been a watering-down of crucial reports on human and environmental health related to coal waste. Documents obtained by PEER indicate that industry had access to a variety of EPA coal ash reports over the years and were successful in manipulating the information presented to the public about its negative effects.

Coal Ash Contamination in New Mexico

The EPA reports were altered in several ways. References indicating the “high-risk” potential of coal combustion waste were deleted from PowerPoint presentations. Cautionary language about coal waste uses in agricultural practices was altered in order to remove negative connotations about the practice. And in 2007 the coal ash industry inserted language in an EPA report to Congress about how “industry and EPA [need to] work together” in order to block or water-down “state regulations [that] are hindering progress” in the use of coal ash waste.[1]

PEER Objectives

  • Organize a support base of employees from public sector resource management agencies, retired public employees and private citizens
  • Monitor local, state and national resource management agencies in an effort to defend the environment for the public interest
  • Inform the administration, politicians, media, and the people about crucial environmental issues.
  • Defend public sector whistle-blowers, and strive to strengthen their legal rights in regards to environmental issues. Provide free legal assistance to them when necessary.

Board of Directors

(short Bio available on PEER website)

Publications

Present PEER Campaigns

State/Federal Watch

Wise Use

"Use" or Abuse? - Groups calling themselves members of the "Wise Use" movement represent landowners, loggers, off-road vehicle users, miners and other individuals who are often at odds with legislation enacted to protect and preserve public lands. The term "Wise Use" was co-opted from Gifford Pinchot, first chief of the Forest Service, who advocated the wise use of natural resources. Unfortunately, anti-environmental groups are committed to opening up public lands not only to harmful resource extraction, but to outright exploitation."

Related Sourcewatch resources

Contact

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)

National Office

PEER
2000 P Street, NW Suite 240
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 265-7337
Fax: (202) 265-4192
Website: www.peer.org
email: info AT peer.org

Regional Field Offices

Alaska Forum

P.O. Box 188
Valdez, AK. 99686

  • phone: 907-835-5460 or 1-888-885-5460
  • fax: 907-835-5410
  • email: afervdz AT alaskaforum.org
California PEER

P.O. Box 2368
Sacramento, CA 95812

  • phone: 530-333-2545
  • email: capeer AT peer.org
Florida PEER

P.O. Box 14463
Tallahassee, FL 32317

  • phone: 850-877-8097
  • fax: 907-835-5410
  • email: flpeer AT peer.org
Maine PEER

P.O. Box 365
Millinocket, ME 04462

  • phone: 207-723-4656
  • email: mepeer AT peer.org
New England PEER

P.O. Box 574
North Easton, MA 02356

  • phone: 508-230-9933
  • fax: 508-230-2110
  • email: nepeer AT peer.org
New Jersey PEER

PO Box 1
Ringoes, NJ 08551
Phone/fax: 609-397-8213

  • email: njpeer AT peer.org
Rocky Mountain PEER

P.O. Box 280396
Lakewood, CO 80228

  • phone: 303-980-9710
  • email: rmpeer AT peer.org
Refuge Keeper

P.O. Box 359
Aurora, New York 13026

  • phone: 315-364-7495
  • email: refugekeeper AT peer.org
Tennessee PEER

4443 Pecan Valley Road
Nashville, TN 37218

  • phone: 615-313-7066
  • email: tnpeer@peer.org
Texas PEER

Lowerre & Frederick
44 East Avenue, Suite101
Austin, Texas 78701

  • phone: 512-469-6000
  • fax: 482-9346
  • email: txpeer AT peer.org
Washington PEER

P.O. Box 2618
Olympia, WA 98507

  • phone: 360-528-2110
  • email: wapeer AT peer.org
 

References

  1. "Coal Ash Industry Allowed to Edit EPA Report", Public Employees for Public Responsibility, accessed January 27, 2010.