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Clean Water Action Waves | In The News, May 2023


Our work to protect clean water across the country often makes the news. Clean Water Waves highlights recent articles featuring our staff speaking on their areas of activism and expertise.


EPA rule would force clean-up of toxic coal ash dumped in landfills, ponds near power plants

Matthew Daly | AP News | May 17th, 2023

The coal ash rule follows a legal settlement between the agency and public interest groups, including the National Association for Advancement of Colored People, Sierra Club and Clean Water Action. The groups said in a lawsuit that a 2015 EPA rule on coal ash failed to regulate a large portion of coal ash pollution in the United States.

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Far-reaching ban on ‘forever chemicals’ set to become Minnesota law

Kristi Marohn | MPR News | May 17th, 2023

 “What this bill is saying is that if it's not essential, we don't need to use it,” said Avonna Starck, state director of Clean Water Action Minnesota, which advocated for the restrictions. “So this bill is really encouraging innovation and a process for coming up with clean, safe alternatives.”

Read More on Minnesota PFAS Victory



City denies flooded basement claim, leaves homeowner with thousands in damages

Mallory Sofastaii | WMAR News | May 9th, 2023

“Those assistance programs aren't doing everything that they need to do,” said Jennifer Kunze, the Maryland Program Coordinator with Clean Water Action.

Kunze explained that the conditions are too restrictive, and reimbursements are capped.

“It's a cap of $5,000 reimbursement. It only covers your cleanup and disinfection costs, not any property damage that you incur, and it's restricted to only the sewer backups that are caused by wet weather events,” said Kunze.

And while county residents are served by city water, these programs don’t apply to them, and the county doesn’t have similar programs.

“If your sewer backup happens during dry weather, if there's a clog in the mainline under the street, if there's a water main break that pushes drinking water into the sewer line and causes sewage to backup, then you can't get assistance through this program. And actually, the majority of sewer backups happen during dry weather,” said Kunze.

Expanding the program would require additional funding, but Clean Water Action believes there is a way to do this without raising water and wastewater rates. Kunze stressed that the city has an obligation to expand these programs to help homeowners facing these issues.

Read more on Sewage Backups in Baltimore



Lawmakers resurrect plan to eliminate local control in mining permits

Beth LeBlanc | Detroit News | May 4th, 2023

Mary Brady-Enerson, Michigan director for Clean Water Action, called the introduction of the bills as the first major environmental policy of session "shocking." After Democrats gained control for the first time in 40 years in November, environmental groups that helped elect them hoped to see polluter pay, climate change action, and water protections prioritized, she said.

"There is a pathway to make that legislation better and we’re open to having those conversations," Brady Enerson said of the aggregate bills. "But it should not be the very first thing they’re taking up.”

Read Clean Water Action's 2023 Michigan Legislative Priorities

In Our Own Words

Pennsylvania | Opinion |  Philly’s plastic bag ban is working, but we can do better

Maurice Sampson comments on a report evaluating Philadelphia's plastic bag ban first enacted in July 2021: "Since the ban was implemented, the organization I work for, Clean Water Action, has received reports that many small stores are still using plastic bags or charging as much as 25 cents for a substandard reusable bag, often provided without notifying the customer..."

Read the full piece in The Philadelphia Inquirer