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Environment

Environmentalists Lobby Against A Controversial Trade Deal

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The Sierra Club's national organization is buying advertising time on commercial radio outlets and the internet in San Diego, and in several other West Coast cities.

The organization worries that the Trans Pacific Partnership trade package could contain clauses that allow large companies to avoid strict environmental laws, although the Sierra Club doesn't know for sure what's included because the issue is being debated behind closed doors.

Radio ads started airing in San Diego this week. The Sierra Club has already run ads in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California.

The organization wants people to know what's at stake.

"It is beyond time for the public to see the full text of this agreement so we can have a real debate about all of the impacts that it's going to have on our air, water and climate," said Ilana Solomon, the club's director of the Responsible Trade Program. "And all of the evidence leads us to believe that it would be devastating."

Congress is currently debating a sweeping trade deal that would streamline trading rules between a dozen countries. Critics have blasted the proposal because the debate is happening out of public view.

"An agreement as expansive as the Trans Pacific Partnership, that would have such far reaching implications on our environment, deserves some sunshine," Solomon said.

Local activists have targeted congressman Scott Peters to take a public stand against giving the president fast track authority over the trade deal. Protesters also want him to oppose the agreement.

Peters says he is keeping an open mind and is willing to hear arguments on both sides. He has not made a decision about how he'll vote on the issue.