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

Clean Water Can’t Wait!

By Ben Davies Long Branch, New Jersey Field Canvass Director

Living near the water, whether it’s the lake, the ocean, or a stream, has been an integral part of my life. I took that for granted for so many years. I’ve seen firsthand the impact of pollution on water if protections aren’t in place. That’s why EPA’s proposal to protect the waters of the US is so important to me.

I grew up in North Salem – about an hour north of New York City – a place where everybody knew everyone. Nestled among the cottages and barns between North Salem and Southeast, NY sits Peach Lake— where we spent our summers swimming and fishing. The lake is part of the larger Croton Watershed, which contributes to the system of reservoirs providing New York City with a portion of its drinking water.

Over time, Peach Lake became so polluted it was considered an “impaired” body of water with degraded water quality and stressed aquatic life. It got so bad that when I put my feet in the water, I couldn’t even see them. I remember the old-timers would say—“when we were kids you could see all the way to the bottom…”  Read the rest of this entry »

Why you should oppose the Keystone XL pipeline…

New Hampshire Clean Water supporter, energy/climate advocate and local sustainability leader, Marjorie Rogalski, recently wrote this open letter to her U.S. Senators, Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte. A condensed version was later published in the Valley News, her local newspaper. Here’s what she had to say — a clear and compelling case for building a clean energy future.

Why you should oppose the Keystone XL pipeline:

1. It will not create a significant number of lasting construction jobs.  The jobs will be short lived and very few permanent jobs will result if construction is completed.

Alternative:  Work to create jobs that improve energy efficiency in the heating, cooling, and lighting systems of America’s existing residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, a long term commitment that will reduce energy bills and pollution.

2.  The oil from the pipeline will be sold on the global market.  If the past is any indicator, the majority will be purchased by foreign companies and therefore will not lower our gas prices.

3.  The oil industry has a long history of pipeline leaks which have resulted in decades of negative impacts on the ecosystems, environment, and local economy.  The toxic chemicals added to the tar sand product to enable it to flow through the pipeline would make any spill (and there will be spills) a long term environmental and financial disaster for the citizens impacted.

4. The ranchers and native people of Nebraska have made it very clear that they do NOT want their land and drinking water put at risk by this pipeline. Read the rest of this entry »

My Clean Water Story

By Tim McDaniel, National Program Intern – Follow Tim on Twitter (@TimMcDaniel365)

This is my first time writing a post for We All Live Downstream, so of course I had to do my research. Most of the posts that I had read for my organization were about some major catastrophe or a campaign that we worked on. I decided to I wanted to talk about something a little different. I want to spend a moment and tell you about how I became enthralled in the work that we do here at Clean Water Action.

As a grassroots environmental organization, it is important for us to emphasize that the work we do is for the betterment of people, not organizations or businesses. We’re powered by our members and the people we fight for and we want you to get to know us.

A quick history: I was born in Dyke, Virginia. It is a very small, rural town just outside of Charlottesville. Every morning I would wake up, step out on my back porch and have a full view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The summers of my youth were spent picking wild blackberries and catching crawfish down by the local creek. Needless to say, water and the environment were a big part of my life from a very early age. Read the rest of this entry »

Derailments and Spills and Protecting Clean Water

By Andy Fellows, Chesapeake Regional Director

A CSX train carrying crude oil going off the tracks in Virginia is a news flash that grabs national attention for a moment, but for those involved and for the communities in which they happen, a derailment can be catastrophic, life changing and deadly.  50,000 gallons of oil are “missing,” as officials are uncertain as to how much burned in the blaze and how much ended up in the water.  Though no one at this time appears to be injured, the burning oil along the James brings to mind the image of the Cuyahoga River in flames in the late 60’s, a national embarrassment that led to passage of the Clean Water Act.  Read the rest of this entry »

On Tax Day – Let’s End the Subsidies

By Nic Clark, Michigan Director Follow Nic on Twitter – @ClarkNic

Remember the Enbridge oil spill in the summer of 2010? We’re quickly approaching the four-year anniversary of that environmental disaster and the Kalamazoo River is still dealing with the consequences of Enbridge’s screw up.

For far too long in this state and country, we have relied on fossil fuels to power our communities and economy. I am a firm believer in the idea that we need to move away from these dangerous and outdated forms of energy towards a renewable energy future. Read the rest of this entry »

Air Pollution from Coke Plant in Pittsburgh Cannot Continue

Courtesy of Joel Polacci

Courtesy of Joel Polacci

By Julie St. John, Pittsburgh Organizer

For years, Clean Water Action in Pittsburgh has been working to clean up air pollution coming from the Shenango coke works on Neville Island. The facility is located on a heavily industrialized piece of land less than one mile from densely populated residential communities and only five miles from downtown Pittsburgh. When new owners, DTE Energy, bought the company in 2008, residents were hopeful they would finally see improvements to the air they breathe. Now, it’s clear that DTE Energy has no more interest in being a good neighbor than the previous owners did. Read the rest of this entry »

Gubernatorial Candidates pledge environmental protections

Elizabeth Saunders, Clean Water Action Massachusetts Director, introduces Gubernatorial candidates Joe Avellone, Don Berwick, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Treasurer Steve Grossman, and Juliette Kayyem

On Friday, March 21st, Clean Water Action joined a coalition of 30 organizations in co-hosting a Massachusetts Gubernatorial Candidates forum on Energy the Environment and the Innovation Economy. Candidates Joe Avellone, Don Berwick, Marthy Coakley, Steve Grossman and Juliette Kayyem answered rounds of questions on a wide array of topics from toxic chemicals in consumer products, natural gas infrastructure, incineration, energy efficiency, sustainable fishing, to their personal sustainability practices.

All candidates who are competing in a primary and whose campaigns met minimum standards were invited to the forum, which was moderated by Boston Globe Columnist Derrick Jackson and former Secretary of Commonwealth Development Douglas Foy.  As it happened, the five candidates who accepted the coalition’s invitation are all competing against each other for the Democratic nomination.

Among the highlights of their responses:

  • Four candidates voiced support for legislation to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives wherever feasible (see Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow);
  • Four candidates are in favor of a moratorium on the building of new incinerators in Massachusetts and one is opposed;
  • Five candidates would designate at least 1% of the state budget for environmental protection.
  • With varying stipulations, most candidates supported taxing carbon and pension fund divestment from fossil fuels, and opposed the Keystone XL pipeline.

You can watch or listen to the entire forum, including an introduction by Clean Water Action’s Massachusetts Director, Elizabeth Saunders. 

Sponsors of the Gubernatorial Candidates forum on Energy the Environment and the Innovation Economy:

The Alliance for Business Leadership * Alternatives for Community And Environment * Appalachian Mountain Club * Better Future Project * Boston Harbor Association * Boston Harbor Island Alliance * Ceres * The Charles River Watershed Association * Clean Water Action * Conservation Law Foundation * Environmental Business Council of New England * Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) * Environmental League of Massachusetts * Green Justice Coalition * Livable Streets * Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions * Mass Audubon * Massachusetts Chapter, American Institute of Architects * Massachusetts Climate Action Network * Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters * Massachusetts River Alliance * Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition * Massachusetts Sierra Club * Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance * Mothers Out Front * The Nature Conservancy * Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP) * Sudbury Valley Trustees * Trust for Public Land * Trustees of Reservations


Keystone XL – Just Say No

By Aaron Haskins, Michigan Energy Program Intern

For years, we have been heard a lot about the Keystone Pipeline. Oil companies like TransCanada continually reassure us that the pipeline will have minimal impact on the environment while creating thousands of jobs for both Americans and Canadians. Those who oppose the pipeline say that it will contaminate drinking water, endanger the environmentally sensitive farmland it passes through, and raise oil prices throughout the Midwestern United States.
Stop Keystone XL by chesapeakeclimate, on Flickr
The proposition for an extension to the pipeline called “Keystone XL” has been hotly debated by economists and politicians for years now, but the project is still in limbo. The northern half of the pipeline would cross the U.S.-Canada border, which means it can’t be built without approval from the Obama administration. Given the controversial nature of the pipeline and the pressure coming from both sides, I am not surprised that a final decision hasn’t been made. I am, however, disappointed that there even needs to be a discussion an either/or debate when it comes to creating jobs and protecting wildlife and the environment.

If Keystone is allowed to move forward, it will indicate America’s commitment to tar sands as a long-term form of energy – which isn’t good. Tar sands are an unconventional form of petroleum proven to be much more polluting than regular oil. Approving a pipeline designed to put tar sands extraction in the express lane would be a sorry symbol of our lack of progress toward clean energy.

Proponents of the extension have argued that the pipeline will not increase harm to the climate or our communities because those tar sands were going to be burned anyway. For them the pipeline merely serves as a more convenient method of transport. Justifying the project using this kind of logic is akin to saying, “I don’t want my friend to drink and drive, but since he’s going to anyway I might as well start his car for him.”

In 2008 (around the time Keystone XL was first proposed), President Obama called on us to “be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil.” Now, it is our turn to call on him to be the president who helped us do it by saying no to Keystone XL.

Clean house at Alcosan

By Tom Hoffman and Emily Alvarado

This post was originally published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Included in the short list of issues that Mayor Bill Peduto raised with President Barack Obama back in November at a meeting of incoming mayors was a request for the Environmental Protection Agency to let Pittsburgh pursue greener solutions to our sewer system “big fix.” Every time it rains, our pipes overflow and we dump raw sewage into the rivers. Fixing our sewer system is both long overdue and federally mandated.

Mayor Peduto gets it: It’s good for communities, workers and the environment if we maximize our area’s largest-ever public investment to stop water pollution and solve multiple community needs at the same time.
Read the rest of this entry »

One simple tip to turn a difficult time of year into something good (for our water)

by Jonathan A. Scott (twitter handle @jscottnh)

Sorry, no tips here for dealing with extreme winter weather or the spring that never seems to come.

This is about the dreaded lead-in to mid-April. Not the Earth Month part of April, or Earth Day itself. Those are great and well worth looking forward to.

No, I mean the blood, sweat and tears of preparing annual income tax returns, which add up to by far this season’s biggest ordeal for many of us, myself included.Soothing Blues

Here’s one way you can reduce some of the painful red and bring some soothing greens and healthy blue colors into the mix. Read the rest of this entry »

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