Archive for the 'Global Warming and a New Energy Economy' Category

The California Budget: Big Wins for Water

By Andrew Grinberg, California Oil and Gas Manager – Follow Andrew on Twitter  (@AndrewBGrinberg)

Oil and Water Don't mix

Photo: Andrew Grinberg

Last week, the Legislature and Governor Brown agreed to a new California budget. How our state will spend $115 billion in 2015-16 is a big deal. It has major implications for our environment and water supply, especially in the midst of the drought. In addition to where the money goes, the budget includes direction on how the state spends its money. In many cases these directives amount to key policy decisions that reach well beyond their fiscal impacts.

The new budget addresses some of Clean Water Action’s top priority issues. Over the next few days we will highlight two of our biggest victories in the budget: providing public access to existing groundwater data, and protecting water quality from the oil industry.

Today, we highlight budget victories that will help protect water from oil and gas industry pollution. Read the rest of this entry »

Stick That in Your Pipeline and Smoke It!

By Denny Green, Michigan Communications Coordinator

Anybody who’s ever visited Michigan’s Great Lakes has been taken aback by their inspiring splendor and breath-taking beauty, laid out for all to see. What you don’t see, however, are Enbridge’s two aging pipelines, known as Line 5, that run under the Straits of Mackinac, the waterway that joins Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. And these old pipelines are not only hidden beneath this splendor and beauty, but they actually threaten to destroy it.

You see, Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline is a 62 year-old system that carries nearly 23 million gallons of crude oil every day, right through the middle of the pristine Great Lakes. (My uncle is 61, and we no longer let him carry the Thanksgiving turkey to the table.) Read the rest of this entry »

Being the Change at Clean Water Action

By Zachary Turkheimer, Clean Water Action Maryland Intern – Follow Our MD Team on Twitter (@CleanWater_MD)

“Be the change you want to see”, that’s the motto that I have tried to live my life by. I believe this motto is applicable with the goals of Clean Water Action because they set the precedent of what changes they strive to see in our society.

I lived in the small town of Olney, MD for my whole life up until I moved to Towson, MD for college. I will be entering my junior year in the fall. I am an Environmental Science Major with a focus in Policy and Management and a minor in Political Science. I became interested in this field after I took an environmental science course in high school. Read the rest of this entry »

EPA Fracking Assessment: Combining Quality Research with Poor Communication

By John Noël, National Oil & Gas Campaigns Coordinator – Follow John on Twitter (@Noel_Johnny)

It bears repeating: EPA’s just released Assessment on the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources smashes the myth that there can be oil and gas development without impacts to drinking water. We know that fracking is a complex process that poses a complex array of potential risks to drinking water. The Assessment informs actions we need to take to protect drinking water and public health by outlining the numerous vulnerabilities throughout the fracking water lifecycle. Read the rest of this entry »

Pursuing a Passion for Clean Water

By Kaitlyn Lindsey, Clean Water Action Maryland Intern – Follow our Maryland Team on Twitter (@CleanWater_MD)

Hey Clean Water Community! My name is Kaitlyn Lindsey. I am going into my fifth and final year at Towson University where I have been studying Family Science.

I have a passion for helping people. More specifically, my passion is for helping families. I hope to one day make a difference by working with advocacy and policies that affect family life and maybe even go to law school. Read the rest of this entry »

35 Years of Clean Water in Maryland!

Group Photo from Maryland Celebration

Celebration in Baltimore!

By Will Fadely, Baltimore Program Organizer – Follow Will on Twitter (@TrillChillWill)

Clean Water has been organizing and advocating for Maryland’s communities for 35 years now so we decided to throw a party!

Advocates, elected officials, community members, and the like dressed up and came down to Baltimore to honor former Regional Directors, Andy Fellows and Dru Schmidt-Perkins. Read the rest of this entry »

#MakeExxonPay More Day of Action

By Alessandro Ciari, former community organizer with Clean Water Action and student, Montclair State University

make exxon pay lobby day 5“Ditch this dirty deal! Ditch this dirty deal!” chanted activists at a Day of Action at the Statehouse in Trenton yesterday. Environmental activists joined hundreds of concerned residents for a lobby day and rally against the egregious ExxonMobil settlement which lets the company off the hook for paying for over 100 years of pollution in New Jersey.

“Governor Christie – Don’t Sell Us Out to Exxon! Don’t Sell Us Out to Exxon!” intoned the audience with signs that read “Make Polluters Pay” and “Protect Your Future.”

make exxon pay lobby day 2These calls for action aren’t unwarranted. The State of New Jersey and Exxon have been in court for years over the cleanup of the Bayway and Bayonne refineries. The court found ExxonMobile liable for damages originally estimated at $8.9 billion, yet the Christie Administration has decided to settle the groundbreaking case for only $225 million. That adds up to only 3 cents on the dollar!

The $8.9 billion estimate included removal of oil and chemical pollution in order to properly restore the wetlands, waterways and habitat that existed on the site before ExxonMobil’s pollution. The $225 million in the proposed settlement will not come close to covering the costs associated with restoring and replacing the lost resources at these sites.

It gets worse. The proposed settlement also permits Exxon to meet weaker cleanup standards at the Linden Bayway refinery and waives Exxon’s liability at 16 other industrial sites and over 800 gas stations across the state.

make exxon pay lobby day 1At the rally, activists discussed what the settlement means for the people of New Jersey:

“Governor Christie’s shady backroom deal with Exxon would give the world class polluter an $8 billion windfall while forcing working families to pick up the tab,” said Analilia Mejia, Executive Director of NJ Working Families.

“We are here to prevent the settlement from going forward and do the job that DEP is supposed to do, which is to make polluters pay what they are supposed to pay,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the NJ Sierra Club. “We are here to make sure this could never happen again.”

And legislators we are proud to call our allies showed up at the rally to show their outrage as well. Senator Ray Lesniak and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson and John McKeon took the podium declaring their support for a measure (SCR163/ACR230) that would ensure money from Natural Resource Damage litigation would go to remediating and restoring the polluted sites.

make exxon pay lobby day 3After the incredible speeches of our leaders and legislators, the people banded together to march from the historic West State street down to East State street to deliver over 60,000 petitions to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offices.

“The public has been loud and clear in rejecting Governor Christie’s sweetheart deal with Exxon,” said David Pringle, New Jersey Campaign Director for Clean Water Action. “In my hand, I hold tens of thousands of handwritten letters we will now personally deliver to the DEP!”

The department and a judge will soon formally submit a settlement, which could be heavily influenced by industrial polluters. That’s why we need everyone to speak out for clean water and our health! Tell the NJDEP to reject the outrageous settlement – written comments can be submitted electronically to with the subject “ExxonMobil Bayway Settlement.

Just Released Fracking Study is First Step in “Putting Drinking Water First”

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

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaited draft Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil & Gas on Drinking Water Resources. For anyone who cares about drinking water, this is big news. The Assessment includes literature review and new research on dozens of topics related to how fracking threatens drinking water.

Spoiler alert: As my colleague John Noël says in our press statement here: The Assessment smashes the myth that there can be oil and gas development without impacts to drinking water. Fracking is a complex process that poses a complex array of potential risks to drinking water. The Study lets us know what we need to do to protect drinking water and public health by outlining the numerous vulnerabilities throughout the fracking water lifecycle. Read the rest of this entry »

How I spent my Earth Day. How’d you spend yours?

By Will Fadely, Baltimore Program Organizer – Follow Will on Twitter (@TrillChillWill)

April offers a unique opportunity for community members to recognize the importance of stewardship of their local environment and waterways. Residents are eager to shake off ‘Old Man Winter’, strap on their boots and get to their nearest stream or green space and get cleaning. Clean Water coordinated a variety of events for Baltimore residents to give back to the Chesapeake Bay.

On Earth Day, joined by the Towson University Environmental Science and Studies Club, the EcoReps, Office of Sustainability & student volunteers we took on the Towson Run stream, as part of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Project Clean Stream.IMG_1176

Cleaning from the Residence Tower to the Baseball field we collected and sorted ten pounds of trash, plastic & glass, and aluminum.

Now if any of you reading this are alumnae or have ever been on campus, you know that stream connects the bar scene and northern part of campus leading to many dorms and on campus apartments.

Most of what we found was leftovers from parties on the way to the bar or leftovers from the bar on the way to the after-party. But, that’s college and who’s to say we all haven’t celebrated after a test or term-paper.

IMG_1194Student passersby were interested in sorting trash appropriately and even stopped to ask questions about the importance of composting and how they might do it on campus.

Saturday brought a day of cleaning illegal dumping sites, green spaces, gutters, and adding some color to our communities by stenciling our most polluted storm drains in Hampden and Westport.

Starting in Westport, we worked with community members to clean Annapolis Road, the main street in the community, stencil storm drains throughout the resident’s neighborhoods, and even cleared litter and debris from the future green space hosting the new Westport Farmer’s Market.

Residents driving by pulled over to help clean and stencil the storm drains because they “are tired of people treating the drains like trashcans,” says Keisha Allen, President, Westport Neighborhood Association.IMG_1218

While the cleanup was underway in Westport, Clean Water coordinated another cleanup in Hampden, partnering with the Hampden Community Council and Towson University’s Big Event. Clean Water volunteers scrubbed and stenciled storm drains along Falls Road, encouraging residents “Don’t Dump” because it “Drains to the Chesapeake Bay,” expressed by the stencils.

Leading 15 volunteers from TU’s Pasión dance team through Hampden, Amy (Clean Water intern), split volunteers up to take on nearly a dozen storm drains. “Residents were coming out of their houses to ask us if they could help clean up,” says Amy. “It was a great opportunity to educate residents on the effects polluted runoff has on their local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.”IMG_1188








Later that afternoon, we returned to South Baltimore for a Concert for Fair Development celebrating a recent victory in securing divestments from a toxic waste-to-energy incinerator just one mile from elementary and high schools, playgrounds and resident’s homes.

The Baltimore Regional Cooperative Purchasing Committee (BRCPC) was the sole investor in the Energy Answers incinerator, consisting of 22 state entities aligned to receive energy from the WTE Incinerator.

Through a coalition of advocates, Clean Water helped secure the divestment of the 22 entities, leaving Energy Answers without financial support.IMG_1202










The afternoon kicked off with a parade to support fair development in South Baltimore, followed by a concert from local residents.

IMG_1217A BIG THANK YOU to all our Earth Week 2015 partners and contributors: Towson University Big Event; TU EcoReps; TU Environmental Science & Studies Club; Westport Neighborhood Association, Hampden Community Council; Baltimore Community Toolbank; & MD Department of Natural Resources.

Burning Tires (Hazardous is the New Clean)

By Denny Green, Michigan Office Manager and Communications Coordinator

This post originally appeared on Eclectablog

You know that warm, cozy feeling you get from seeing black toxic plumes of smoke billowing up from a pile of burning hazardous rubbish and industrial waste? (No, I didn’t think so.)

Well, earlier this month Republican State Representative Aric Nesbitt introduced an eight-bill package that redefine burning old tires as “renewable energy”. (Yes, you read that right.) This pack of reckless and irresponsible ideas flagrantly thumbs its nose at Michigan’s current renewable energy standard (which defines “renewable energy sources” as things like wind and solar … you know, real renewable energy). Read the rest of this entry »

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