Archive for November, 2011

Debunking the Rhetoric

By Joe Emmons, National Program Intern

Over the last couple weeks Clean Water Action and our allies have been fighting tooth and nail in the Senate against a massive affront to the Clean Water Act, the Barrasso-Heller Amendment.  This Amendment would permanently cut all funding from The Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) and the EPA to classify levels of protection for water sources.   Luckily, with your help, we have had a great deal of impact on this Amendment.  Voting has been pushed back, allowing us more time to rally support for clean streams, wetlands, and drinking water for all Americans. Read the rest of this entry »

Keep Moratorium on Delaware River Drilling in Place

No Fracking in the Delaware Watershed!

By Jenny Vickers, New Jersey Communications Coordinator and Organizer

In just a few days the Delaware River Watershed could be opened up to a controversial method of natural gas extraction – hydraulic fracturing – putting the drinking water for 15 million people, including 3 million in New Jersey at risk.

On Monday, November 21, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), consisting of the governors of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, plus Army Corps of Engineers which represents the federal government, will vote on proposed rules that would lift a moratorium and allow tens of thousands of gas wells to be drilled in the basin. Read the rest of this entry »

What We’ve Been Saying for Twenty Five Years

By Joe Emmons, National Programs Intern

As a Canvasser in our San Francisco office, and more recently in DC, I have spoken to thousands of people of all political views from coast to coast.   One thing remains the same; everyone knows healthy local economies rely on clean water for recreation, for farming, and most importantly, for drinking.  That’s why I wasn’t surprised to read in the Washington Post today that clean air and public health protections are, in fact, not bad for our economy.

Regrettably, many in Congress are still stuck in this line of thinking.  Since the beginning of this congressional session we have fought to enforce safety standards concerning serious issues that otherwise could result in severe environmental damage.  Basic health and safety concerns from Coal Ash and Mountain top removal to the Keystone pipeline have consistently been tagged by our opposition as ‘Job Killers’.

Fortunately Clean Water Action is making sure the US Senate doesn’t block a common sense fix to our foundation, the Clean Water Act.  Please join us in this fight, together we can show Washington that common sense solutions to protect America’s resources and beauty are a fight we are happy to take on, and with your help, win.

The Senate Against Clean Water

By Lynn Thorp, National Programs Coordinator

Protect All our water!

Clean Water Action was founded to make sure we kept pushing our country to meeting the ambitious goals of the Clean Water Act.  That project is far from over. Next week the U.S. Senate will vote on a spending bill amendment that would move us backwards.

We’ve been working for almost a decade to restore water protections lost under what we have called the Bush Administration’s “No Protection” policies. Thanks to those policies, more than half the nation’s streams and 20 million acres of wetlands now lack clear protections under the federal Clean Water Act.

Next week’s Dirty Water Amendment would permanently block the Army Corps of Engineers from working to fix this problem, thus stalling all federal agency efforts.  This amendment would be a major setback. It would leave drinking water sources for over 117 million people vulnerable and perpetuate permitting and enforcement confusion.

The Administration is proposing common sense solutions to this gap in water protections.  We think it’s time to focus on the unfinished business of the Clean Water Act, not keep arguing about the definition of the word “All”.

Tell your friends and neighbors.  We all want clean water. Let’s do something about it.

Congress Continues to Favor Polluters over Clean Air

By Clean Water Action Minnesota

Photo: Smoke Stacks

Contact your Senators today!

Congress continues to strip out standards that protect our health from hazardous pollution. In the coming days, the U.S. Senate will vote on the Congressional Review Act (S.J. Res. 27) sponsored by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). The Congressional Review Act is an anti-regulatory, rarely-used mechanism for blocking federal agency rules. Senator Paul is using this political tactic to block the Cross State Air Pollution Rule.

Finalized this past July, the Cross State Air Pollution Rule improves air quality for 240 million Americans by cutting power plant smog and soot emissions that cross state lines and contribute to unsafe levels of air pollution. This rule is needed to protect Americans in downwind states from the health and economic costs caused by pollution emitted in other states.

The Cross State Air Pollution Rule will have significant health benefits. It will save up to 34,000 lives by preventing 15,000 heart attacks and 400,000 aggravated asthma attacks and hundreds of thousands of cases of other respiratory ailments every year. In 2014, the rule is estimated to result in up to $280 billion in annual health care savings.

Your Senators need to hear from you! Tell them to stand up for clean air and vote NO on the Congressional Review Act!

Please call the Congressional Switchboard, (202) 224-2131 and ask for your Senator

What Part of “All” Don’t They Understand?

By Lynn Thorp, National Programs Coordinator

Nine years ago this month, the Bush Administration signaled that it would pursue policies to remove Clean Water Act protection from many water bodies. Thus began a campaign  that’s been a priority for Clean Water Action ever since. With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finally poised to start fixing this problem, four powerful Congressional Republicans are today signaling their opposition.

Senator s Inhofe (R-OK) and Sessions (R-AL) and Representatives Mica (R-FL) and Gibbs (R-OH) have one thing right. Formal rulemaking is a better solution than Guidance” when it comes to helping EPA and Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) permitters in the field know which polluting activities require permits for which bodies of water. We supported the EPA/ACE proposed “Guidance”  this spring but we’ve been clear that after finalizing this Guidance, they should move on to formal rulemaking.

But we couldn’t agree less with the Senators and Representatives on the substance of this policy issue. The proposal to clarify which bodies of water are covered by the Clean Water does not “…vastly expand the types of lands and waters subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act.” In fact, the Guidance and rulemaking can only get us partially back to where we were in 2001, before the last Administration took advantage of confusing Supreme Court decisions to leave the drinking water for over 117 million people and other water resources without much needed protection.

We think the American people agree with the intent of Congress when the Clean Water Act passed in 1972 – protecting ALL of our water bodies.

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