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Clean Water Action Waves | In The News. November 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.

National, Minnesota

EPA to push ban of toxic chemical found in US drinking water

Tom Perkins | The Guardian | November 4th, 2023

"Recent EPA research found that as much as 250m pounds of TCE are still produced in the US annually, and much of that ends up in the water.

Efforts to ban the chemical date back 40 years. The Obama administration proposed strong limits on its use in 2016, but the Trump administration undid those and in effect suspended the process. The Biden administration is going even further than the Obama EPA by proposing an outright ban, a step the agency rarely takes when regulating toxic chemicals.

Public health advocates have pressed for prohibition since the 2016 passage of legislation that expanded the EPA’s authority over toxic chemicals and made it easier to outlaw them. Advocates applauded the Biden administration for taking the step.

“This rule will save countless lives and billions of dollars related to healthcare costs, missed work and environmental cleanup,” said Avonna Starck, Minnesota state director of Clean Water Action.

The EPA follows the lead of New York and Minnesota, which have already banned the chemical, and advocates say the action highlights how state action can pressure the federal government to act on chemical regulation."


New Jersey

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Partnership with 10 New Jersey Communities to Accelerate Lead Service Line Replacement as Part of Investing in America Agenda

EPA Press Release, November 6th 2023

"“We know that accelerating the replacement of lead service lines is critical to taking back the tap for communities already overburdened by multiple pollution sources,” stated Amy Goldsmith, NJ State Director, Clean Water Action. “With the help of the NJ Congressional delegation, USEPA and federal funding, more of NJ's BIPOC and low-income communities will be able to replicate what Newark did in just three years (i.e. replaced all residential lead service lines).” Goldsmith continued, “This federal accelerator program brings us closer to achieving water justice by putting New Jersey in the fast lane when it comes to replacing more lead service lines faster where people are most vulnerable and in need.”"


New Jersey

Environmentalists hope Democratic wins will advance their agenda in New Jersey

Dana DiFilippo | Philly Voice | November 27th, 2023

"Clean Water Action state director Amy Goldsmith said candidates’ campaign messaging offered lessons for policymakers looking to build support for green initiatives. Affordability is perennially a favorite theme for both parties, but Democrats failed to show voters how going green can save money, while Republicans subverted that affordability message by focusing on the costs of green infrastructure, Goldsmith said.

“Affordability has always been a message for us, and we need to reclaim that message to do renewables, energy conservation, energy efficiency, and solar,” she said."



Medford holds forum on lead contamination, environmental racism

"Clean Water Action and the Mystic Valley area branch of the NAACP held a public forum at Medford City Hall on Saturday to discuss the problem of lead contamination in drinking water and how communities in the Mystic Valley area can protect themselves against it. The presentation was hosted by Maureo Fernández y Mora, Clean Water Action’s state co-director for Massachusetts. Fernández y Mora focused on the relationship between environmental contamination and social justice"

"Fernández y Mora has worked with communities in Chelsea and Malden to help empower low-income residents, renters and others tackle lead contamination by lobbying their local governments.

“This is not an unsolvable problem,” he said. “This is something that, if we get enough people focused and talking to their representatives about, we have the resources already that we need to fix this.”"



Activists and elected officials rally for a Green New Deal at the UAW

Ameera Salman & Madison Cantrell | Eastern Echo | November 6th, 2023

 "A diverse range of speakers were present at the rally, including representatives from the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) at the University of Michigan, the Sunrise Movement, the Michigan House of Representatives, U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell and Rashida Tlaib, and more.

The speakers commended the efforts of the activists in the room, those rallying and lobbying for climate action.

“It is not just a simple thing to talk about the need for climate justice, for real climate action, it is something else entirely to put yourselves out there and do the work day in and day out like your life depends on it,” said Sean McBrearty, the Michigan state director of Clean Water Action. “Because guess what? It does.”"

Rhode Island

Rhode Island releases draft report on the presence of ‘forever chemicals’ in state

Tom Li | The Brown Daily Herald | November 15th, 2023

"State Representative June Speakman (D-Bristol, Warren) sponsored the PFAS in Drinking Water, Groundwater and Surface Waters Act, which focuses specifically on the presence of PFAS in the state’s water sources.

“I first became aware of PFAS when I was at a hearing of the House Environment Committee and it came up in our conversation about water quality,” she said.

While drafting the legislation, Speakman consulted various organizations such as Clean Water Action Rhode Island, a local organization that advocates for health and environmental protections on water resources in Rhode Island. She also noted collaboration with State Representative Terri-Denise Cortvriend (D-Portsmouth, Middletown), who sponsored the PFAS in Food Packaging Act banning the use of PFAS in certain consumer food packaging.

“It’s a multipronged and growing effort to try and figure out where this stuff is, how dangerous it is and what to do about it,” she said."



Half Moon Bay sees foodware policy success

Eileen Liu | The Daily Journal | November 18th, 2023

"“When we did initial outreach, businesses really started to think about how to use reusables in their day-to-day operations and it didn’t feel forced. We got a lot of voluntary participation in the beginning and a lot of restaurants had already heard about the ordinance. Most of our food facilities are using reusables for dining and it's really great,” Veronika Vostinak, Half Moon Bay Public Works and Sustainability Programs manager, said.

As of this writing, 17 cities in San Mateo County have adopted the Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance. Among these cities, Half Moon Bay, Pacifica and Daly City have included an additional amendment for dine-in reuse.

To help restaurants adjust to these new environmentally friendly requirements, Half Moon Bay worked with ReThink Disposable of the Clean Water Fund to provide businesses with technical assistance and mini-grants of up to $300."