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In honor of Clean Water Action's 50th birthday, we are lifting up voices and stories in the Clean Water movement through #CleanWater50Stories.

Our story is the story of everyday people who have used their power to make a difference to create a healthier and greener future for all.

Meet Patrice Gallagher, Clean Water Action member and volunteer. Patrice is a longtime resident of Frederick County, who took notice and took action when the County took steps toward building a trash incinerator. As President of the Frederick No Incinerator Alliance, she worked with people from all corners of Frederick County in a grueling eight-year campaign to ensure that the incinerator would never be built - and the campaign was ultimately victorious! After the incinerator project was canceled, the Frederick No Incinerator Alliance became the Frederick Zero Waste Alliance, and Patrice has worked tirelessly to promote composting and other Zero Waste initiatives in Frederick and statewide since.

What's Your Connection to Clean Water?

I'm a graphic designer living and working in Frederick, MD. My original involvement with Clean Water Action involved fighting a local incinerator project, and has expanded to include working on state-wide legislation to remove incineration from our state's Renewable Energy Portfolio.

Image of a No Incinerator Rally in Maryland. Photo Credit: Patrice Gallagher

What's Your Favorite Clean Water Action Story?

In 2006, residents of Frederick County and Carroll County, Maryland joined forces to oppose a trash incinerator project that our county governments were planning to build. It felt like a David and Goliath situation, so we reached out to regional environmental organizations for help and expertise. One of our earliest allies was Clean Water Action. In those early days, Andy Galli was our contact. He attended many of our meetings and activated Clean Water Action's door knocking volunteers, who gave information to County residents during their door knocking efforts. Andy had great advice for us about how to present our arguments to elected officials and the public.

As our battle continued over the next 8 years, Andy moved on and we were lucky to have new folks at Clean Water Action working with us, including the amazing Jennifer Kunze, again helping us with strategic planning and working on state legislation, along with her hardworking colleague, Emily Ranson.

Ultimately, with the help of many allied organizations and the efforts of hundreds of residents, we defeated the incinerator project. Clean Water Action was a valued partner throughout!

Why Do You Care About Clean Water?

Protecting clean water feels like the most basic of all environmental work, because water is such a basic element of life. And there are so many ways in which our waters are threatened.

What's Exciting for Clean Water Now & for the Future?

I really want to clean up the Renewable Energy Portfolio so it includes ONLY actual renewable energy! It has taken a lot of work, but Clean Water Action will get it done, no doubt!

Special thanks to Patrice Gallagher for taking the time to speak with us!

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