Act Now

Wastewater treatment plant. Credit: You Belong in Longmont (Flickr)

The Texas Legislature is on the verge of passing a bill (House Bill 2771) that would let oil companies discharge fracking wastewater into our rivers and streams. This waste is loaded with toxic chemicals used in fracking operations that treatment plants are ill-equipped to remove. We don’t know what many of these chemicals are because these companies are allowed to hide that information from the public as 'trade secrets'. Wastewater from oil and gas operations is currently injected underground in Texas.

Minnesota Capitol / photo: (CC BY 2.0)

While the Minnesota Legislature is taking a few steps in the right direction on health and environmental issues, it’s not all good news. There are several senate proposals that would put the quality of our environment at risk and we need to take action to stop them.

Minnesota Capitol / photo: (CC BY 2.0)

We can’t do this without you – thanks. Here’s an update on a few really important bills.

Omnibus Agriculture and Food Finance Bill - HF 2200

HF 2200 includes a provision that establishes a lead safe homes grant program to increase lead testing in residential rental housing and make residential rental housing units lead safe. If passed. HF 2200 would fund this program starting in 2020, so we can get to work to get the lead out.

Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources Finance Bill – HF 2209

Test tubes, table of elements. Photo credit: Ben Schonewille / Shutterstock

After TCE, a dangerous chemical that can impact immune and reproductive systems, liver, kidneys, central nervous system, fetal development during pregnancy, and cause cancer, polluted White Bear Lake, our elected officials finally took notice. Though we have known about the harmful effects of TCE for a long time, we haven’t done anything to lessen our exposure yet. The US Environmental Protection Agency started the process to ban TCE in January 2017, but has yet to finalize that ruling. When the federal government drags their feet, our state legislature needs to act.

Maryland forest in late summer

Georgetown University is currently proposing to cut down 249 acres of Southern Maryland’s largest forest to build a large-scale solar facility. This forest is one of Maryland’s targeted ecological areas, meaning it is a conservation priority for the state. It is home to many at-risk birds as well as Tier II streams, the designation given to Maryland’s highest quality streams.

As we know, forests play an important role in climate and water quality. They sequester carbon and are natural filters that stop sediments and other pollutants from reaching our streams and rivers.

Pennsylvania Capitol, photo: Clean Water Action

In 2018 we successfully defeated a package of bills crafted under the guise of “regulatory reform”. Unfortunately these bills (House Bills 430, 507, 509, 762, 806, and 1055) have reared their ugly head again and are likely to be voted on this week in the state house.

This package undercuts the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) ability to develop and implement needed protections and effectively hold accountable polluters who violate our laws and impact the quality of our air and water. Some of the more dangerous aspects would:

a man conducting water testing

PFAS are a family of approximately 4700 human-made chemicals that are incredibly effective at combating oil fires as well as repelling grease, water, and stains. Original PFAS chemicals, known as PFOS and PFOA, are linked to cancer, high cholesterol, birth defects, suppression of vaccines, and other serious health effects.

Great Lakes / photo: (CC BY 2.0)

In early March, Governor Whitmer announced her first state budget proposal. Much of the press coverage of Governor Whitmer’s budget so far has focused on her proposal to increase the gas tax by 45 cents per gallon ovcritical road infrastructure investments. The focus on a single aspect of the budget has resulted in several key components of the budget proposal, which would have significant impacts on our water, being neglected.

CMI Cleanups Map

From 1990 until 1995, Michigan had the strongest “polluter pay” law in the country. If a corporation was responsible for contaminating our land, air, or water, that corporation was also responsible for cleaning up the mess they made. In 1995 the administration of former Governor John Engler, backed by their allies at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, gutted the polluter pay law, and funding for environmental cleanups in Michigan has suffered ever since.