Archive for January, 2012

It’s Time to Renew America’s Commitment to Clean Water

Maintain Our Clean Water Progress - Take Action Today

From our friends at National Wildlife Federation

By Jan Goldman-Carter

Our nation’s investment in clean water began forty years ago with the 1972 Clean Water Act – a bi-partisan congressional commitment to end the flagrant pollution of rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Republicans and Democrats alike recognized that to clean up our rivers, lakes, and bays, we had to stop pollution at its source – upstream in the multitude of headwaters, wetlands, and small streams that store and filter water before releasing it downstream. Since its birth, the Clean Water Act has guided the clean up of America’s waters, rendering many of our waters once again safe for fishing, drinking and swimming.
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Enough is Enough – Dioxin is Dangerous

By Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director

After almost 3 decades of delay, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving to finalize  the scientific re-analysis of the toxicity dioxin.  Dioxin is actually a group of chemicals which are among the most toxic chemicals in the world.  The chemical industry is trying to block the final Dioxin Reassessment.  We wrote to Administrator Jackson urging EPA to keep this important policy moving.

Dioxin is linked to cancer, birth defects, learning problems, reproductive disorders and many other health effects.  It is found in the bodies of people all over the world, and over 170 countries have signed a treaty to phase it out.  We don’t produce dioxin; it’s a by-product of many industrial processes including burning garbage and medical waste.

We don’t need to argue over the science any more. We need to act.  Learn more from our friends at the Center for Health and Environmental Justice here and read our letter here. Read the rest of this entry »

When No Means Yes

Michigan Policy Director Susan Harley is joined by Clean Water Heroes for the release of our Midterm Legislative Scorecard

By Cyndi Roper, Michigan State Director

If you were a Lansing lawmaker with a perfect environmental voting record in 2011, you were voting no.  With a state House majority firmly in control of the legislative agenda, the opportunity to support good environmental protections simply didn’t happen last year.  So the ticket to getting 100% on Clean Water Action’s Midterm Scorecard released today was opposing bad environmental legislation, which is what dominated the Republican majority’s policy agenda.

A majority of Michigan’s State Representatives voted repeatedly in 2011 to whittle away at our water protections using phony job creation arguments as political cover. That’s right.  They argue that weakening protections on Michigan’s lifeblood – its water – will create jobs.  (What kind of water are they drinking?!)  Not surprisingly, their votes have done nothing to create jobs. Zip. Nada.  On the other hand, protecting our Great Lakes and Michigan’s other water treasures creates jobs for today and for our future. Read the rest of this entry »

Philadelphia Eagles are the leading Green Team

By Colleen Meehan, Pennsylvania Program Organizer

Eagles Fans for PA's Forests!

On December 18th, Clean Water Action staff served as the Community Partner for the Philadelphia Eagles home game against the New York Jets. The Eagles recognized our work raising public awareness about threats to public health and the importance of our person-to-person approach to public education. So, we wondered, what could we do that would both advance our goals and make a fun, quick way of interacting with Eagles fans on game day.

When in doubt, resort to arts and crafts. We wanted to give Eagles fans a chance to stand up for a public resource that everyone cares about in Pennsylvania: state parks and state forests. So we made two huge signs that looked like trees for fans to hold up in photos and show their support for keeping public lands public.

Most Pennsylvanians agree that all the effort the Commonwealth has put into restoring forests lost to the timber industry 100 years ago shouldn’t be squandered to turn a quick buck for the state. The average person wants to keep our public lands public. Hikers, hunters and day trippers enjoy our parks and state forests, and they also provide real environmental services. Forests help to control air pollution and they filter rain water. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s in Store for 2012?

By Lynn Thorp, National Programs Director

On the first day back after the New Year, with 2011 and all the resolution making behind us, I wondered what would be in store for our work in 2012.  If yesterday’s Washington Post is any indication, maybe we’ll find a renewed understanding of the critical need to protect public health and natural resources.

On the front page, above the fold, we learned that our nation’s public water systems and waste water systems  need to upgrade and replace our water infrastructure to the tune of over $300 billion.  That’s a tough reality to accept, but it’s true.   Our systems are old and they’re crumbling.  It’s time our water infrastructure got the same public attention that is paid to our roads.  I really liked this sentence, because it’s a fact we don’t hear enough: “Although they are out of sight and out of mind except when they spring a leak, water and sewer systems are more vital to civilized society that any other aspect of infrastructure.”  Meeting our infrastructure needs and acting like preventing contamination of drinking water is Job #1, rather than more Congressional attacks on water protection, is a debate I’d love to have in 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Colorado’s New Fracking Rules

By Gary Wockner, Colorado Program Director

This piece first appeared on the Huffington Post

First, the good: A few weeks ago, the State of Colorado passed the strongest rules in the United States for publicly disclosing what cancer-causing and other types chemicals are used in oil and gas fracking. In a ground-breaking and intense set of negotiations between oil and gas companies and environmentalists, frackers are now forced to publicly disclose when they are fracking and what chemicals they use in fracking.

This disclosure gets at two very serious concerns posed by fracking: 1) when fracking pollution occurs in groundwater, in streams, or on land, the public should be able to connect that pollution back to the fracking chemicals that caused it, and 2) it will allow landowners to test their wells and groundwater prior to fracking, and then re-test after fracking to check for fracking pollution.

Importantly, the new rules substantively removed the “trade secret loophole” that was proposed in the original version of the rules that would have allowed frackers to not disclose the names of the chemicals in fracking fluids by saying those chemicals were “trade secrets.” Led by attorneys from Earthjustice in Denver, the environmental community held its ground against this ridiculous exemption. Read the rest of this entry »

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