Why did Gov. Cuomo Decide to Ban Fracking in New York?

By Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania State Director – Follow the Pennsylvania Team on Twitter (@CleanH2OPA)

Oil and gas operations close to a home in Armstrong, PA

Oil and Gas operations near a home in Armstrong County, PA

Why did New York ban fracking?

Maybe it was the hundreds of families impacted by the 240 cases of water contamination from gas drilling documented by the state of Pennsylvania.

Maybe it was the millions of gallons of toxic wastewater from gas drilling that have been dumped in Pennsylvania rivers.

Maybe it was the notices from water utilities sent to 300,000 residents in the Pittsburgh area to not use their drinking water due to fracking wastewater in their water supply.

Maybe it was the 500 frack pits, open earthen impoundments of toxic wastewater, set up by the oil and gas industry around the state covering nearly 1,000 acres and capable of holding a billion gallons.

Maybe it was the flammable water, exploding water wells, or even the gas well fire in southwest PA that took a week to put out. Read more…

Posted on December 18, 2014  | Filed Under Global Warming and a New Energy Economy, Healthy, Safer Families and Communities, Making Democracy Work, Protecting America's Waters | Leave a Comment

Will EPA Finally #KickCoalAsh?

By Jennifer Peters, National Water Campaigns Coordinator  – Follow Jennifer on Twitter (@EarthAvenger)

All We Want for Christmas is a strong coal ash rule!After years of delay, EPA will finalize its coal ash rule on December 19th. Will it be strong enough to protect the hundreds of communities impacted by this toxic waste?

Six years after our nation’s largest industrial waste spill – the 2008 Kingston Fossil Plant disaster that dumped over a billion gallons of toxic slurry into two Tennessee rivers and buried several homes – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will finally issue the first-ever federal coal ash regulation. The Agency is under a court-ordered deadline to publish its final rule by Friday, December 19th.

Those of us who have been working on this issue for years are anxiously waiting to see if EPA’s new rule will be strong enough to prevent future disasters like Kingston or a spill like the one that happened at Duke Energy’s retired Dan River plant this past February. Coal ash, the toxic remains of burning coal, is one of the largest industrial waste streams in the country.   It contains a witches’ brew of nasty chemicals – arsenic, mercury, lead, selenium, hexavalent chromium – just to list a few. Every year, power plants produce a staggering 140 million tons of coal ash – that’s enough toxic waste to fill train cars stretching from the North to the South Pole. Read more…

Posted on December 17, 2014  | Filed Under Healthy, Safer Families and Communities, Making Democracy Work, Protecting America's Waters | Leave a Comment

The SDWA – 40 years of Safe Drinking Water

By Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director – Follow Lynn on Twitter (@LTCWA)

Celebrating 40 years of the Safe Drinking Water Act - a Poster

Celebrating 40 years of Safe Drinking Water

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Like our drinking water itself, a lot of people don’t think much about SDWA (pronounced Sid Wah) until there is a problem. But the important thing about our nation’s landmark drinking water law is that its implementation chugs along no matter what. Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the water sector including the Public Water Systems regulated by SDWA and public health and environmental organizations can celebrate four decades of progress in setting standards for contaminants, in research, in public education and in fascinating evolution of understanding about the complexities of providing water to the public and of what it means to regulate that activity.

When I woke up this morning, DC was experiencing a water main break and thus disruptions to traffic and Metro service downtown. Our water infrastructure is just one example of the miracles and challenges implicit in the business of water. Most of the time, those pipes bring water to our taps for drinking, cooking, bathing and so many other daily activities in our homes and businesses. Most people don’t think much about it until one of those pipes break. Then we notice, mostly in frustration. Water infrastructure replacement and modernization will be one of the great challenges of the next 40 years. Not only do we need to invest billions of dollars in these deteriorating systems, but we are learning fascinating things about what goes on in those pipes and how that relates to public health protection.

There are other challenges, including reforming how we regulate all of our activities so that our drinking water sources are better protected. Clean Water Actions likes to say we should Put Drinking Water First, by which we mean making the ultimate impact on drinking water sources a primary consideration when we are controlling pollution from the many activities which can lead to contamination. How we get our energy, how we grow and make our food, how we manufacture products and how we build our cities and towns all impact drinking water quality. Read more…

Posted on December 16, 2014  | Filed Under Healthy, Safer Families and Communities, Making Democracy Work, Protecting America's Waters | Leave a Comment

Seriously, FPL?

By Kathy Aterno, National Managing Director and Florida Director – Follow our Florida Team on Twitter (@CleanWaterFL)

Did you know that in some states – including Florida – electric utilities are allowed to charge ratepayers for the costs of complying with environmental laws, even if the ratepayers were not the ones that caused the company to need to clean up its act?

Bad as that is, a few months ago, Clean Water Action and allies the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Earthjustice learned that one Florida utility, Florida Power and Light wanted to go a step farther. They actually asked the Florida Public Service Commission for permission to bill ratepayers almost a quarter-million dollars to go towards a national Dirty Water lobbying campaign.

FPL had the audacity to try making its own ratepayers pay even more on their electric bills so their electric company could join in a misguided national campaign led by many of the nation’s worst polluters. They want to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from completing work on a proposed Clean Water Rule that would restore longstanding protections for small streams, wetlands and drinking water sources. This is in a state where clean water is central to our economy and quality of life. Everyone here – including FPL ratepayers – needs clean water and values it highly. Read more…

Posted on December 10, 2014  | Filed Under Global Warming and a New Energy Economy, Healthy, Safer Families and Communities, Making Democracy Work, Protecting America's Waters | Comments Off

Celebrating the SDWA!

By Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director – Follow Lynn on Twitter (@LTCWA)

On December 9th I spoke at a Safe Drinking Water Act 40th anniversary Forum about why we have to stop using our drinking water sources as a dumping ground and our treatment plants as a pollution solution.

The day’s agenda featured leaders from the drinking water sector, including representatives from Public Water Systems, drinking water associations and the state agencies who implement the Safe Drinking Water Act. There were some special guests too. Vic Kimm was one of the first EPA employees and the Director of the Drinking Water Office when the Act was first being implemented. Read more…

Posted on December 10, 2014  | Filed Under Making Democracy Work, Protecting America's Waters | Comments Off

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