820,000 + Americans for Clean Water!
From Colorado to Minnesota to Pennsylvania, Clean Water Action members across the country have been standing up for clean water. Since March, Clean Water Action organizers have mobilized more than 135,000 comments from members and others who support the Obama Administration’s long-overdue proposal to fix the Clean Water Act, restoring protections for small streams, wetlands and drinking water. “People care about their water and want to see it protected,” says Clean Water Action President and CEO Bob Wendelgass. “They understand that if you want to protect our major rivers, lakes and bays, you have to protect the small streams that feed into them.”
More than a dozen municipalities worked with Clean Water Action to pass resolutions supporting strong Clean Water Act protections for streams and wetlands. Leaders from Philadelphia, Austin, Baltimore, Hartford and Pittsburgh representing tens of millions of people understand that a strong Clean Water Act means better protection for local water resources and for their residents’ drinking water. One in three Americans relies on drinking water sources fed by headwater or seasonal streams — the subject of this Clean Water Rule. Read more
Baltimore Officials Lead on Water
On September 9, while the U.S. House was voting 262-152 to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers from fixing the Clean Water Act so small streams and wetlands are once again protected, Baltimore took a strong stand for clean water. Baltimore City Council members voted unanimously for a resolution supporting EPA’s clean water rule.
The Council’s decisive action shows that these local officials, at least, understand that small streams and wetlands are “vital to the health of Baltimore’s drinking water,” says Clean Water Action’s Andy Galli. Once EPA’s proposal is finalized, 835 miles of streams and other surface waters flowing into the Baltimore area will benefit, along with “100 percent of Baltimore residents, who get at least some of their drinking water from sources affected by these streams,” Galli says. Read more
New England Currents
The Underground Battle for Climate and Communities
Hundreds from across Massachusetts and New Hampshire rallied this summer
on the Boston Common to protest an ill-conceived proposal for gas
expansion through New England. This pipeline, the latest project of
Texan billionaire Richard Kinder, would ship a massive quantity of gas —
fracked straight from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale — through wetlands
and watersheds, conservation lands, fruit orchards and private
Public outcry, community organizing, and legal and political advocacy have made this a front-burner issue. “It’s time to set the record straight about the role of gas in our energy future,” says Clean Water Action’s Joel Wool. When you look carefully, Wool says, gas is neither cheap, homegrown nor reliable: Read more
Blue Ribbon Oil and Gas Task Force Gets Underway
In August, Governor Hickenlooper announced the creation of the state commissioned Blue Ribbon Oil and Gas Task Force. The Task force is charged with making policy recommendations focused on state and local regulations of oil and gas operations. The task force is comprised of an equal number of representatives from affected communities, the environmental community, civic organizations, agriculture, and the oil and gas industry. The task force will make its policy recommendations in late February 2015.
The creation of the task force was the result of a compromise between two ballot initiative campaigns proposing both pro- and anti-oil and gas amendments to the Colorado constitution. Rep. Jared Polis was backing two of these initiatives. One would have given local governments more control over oil and gas development within their borders. The second initiative would have mandated a 2,000 foot setback rule — keeping drill sites at least 2,000 feet from homes. Additionally, the oil and gas industry was offering two ballot initiatives that would have taken local control away from municipalities and blocked communities attempting to regulate oil and gas operations from receiving oil and gas tax revenues. Read more
New Jersey Currents
Climate Change, Water, and Jobs
On September 21, Clean Water Action joined more than 400,000 people in New York City for the largest climate march in history, the People’s Climate March. “Climate change is water change,” says Clean Water Action’s New Jersey Director, Amy Goldsmith, “and if we want clean water for our future, we have to take action on climate now.”
When Congress first passed the 1972 Clean Water Act, it was with the understanding that all streams and wetlands can impact the biological, physical and chemical integrity of larger downstream waters. But starting in 2001, polluter-friendly court decisions and the agency actions that followed stripped away longstanding Clean Water Act protections, leaving critical resources vulnerable to pollution and destruction. We’re taking action here - you can too. Read more