Archive for the 'Healthy, Safer Families and Communities' Category

Shopping Frenzy

by Jonathan A. Scott, Clean Water Action’s Director of Corporate Relations, on twitter @jscottnh

By now, you and everyone else online, has been buried in shopping promotions. Here are my personal tips, as someone who’s been part of Clean Water Action for more than 30 years:JonMeme

  1. Shop smarter, greener. Whenever possible, I try to buy local, from people and businesses in my community. I rely on Fair Trade and Organic certification to help make sure my purchases are better for people and the planet. Or, and this is a radical idea, I don’t buy anything at all.
  2. Make your online purchases count. Our partners at have a great app that works automatically with your internet browser to generate micro-donations that really add up for Clean Water Action (at no cost to you). With hundreds of thousands of users, those donations really add up. Join them by following these easy steps.
  3. Sign up and help us win. A new sweepstakes from offers you the chance to win a $500 travel voucher to fly anywhere this holiday season and other great prizes including big cash $$. If you win Clean Water Action wins a donation too. Enter here, and get additional chances to win with the online shopping app and by sharing with friends.
  4. Shortcut to savings. has curated a great collection of Black Friday and CyberMonday savings. This link takes you direct to online Black Friday deals where your purchases benefit Clean Water Action. Cyber Monday deals for online purchases via this link (which goes live on Monday) will also benefit Clean Water Action. If you’re going to be buying online anyway, why not do it to help our great cause.

Remember, the choices you make about what, when, where, how and whether to buy something at all can have great impact for good. We know you will choose wisely.

Public Safety vs. Public Health (an unnecessary choice)


On Monday, November 9th, the Boston City Council held a public hearing on a proposal to update Boston’s Fire code so that the city’s public spaces could, in the future purchase, furniture that is free of toxic flame retardants. Under the current code schools, hospitals, universities, conference centers, libraries, theaters and other public spaces must use furniture that complies with a flammability standard called Technical Bulletin 133 (or TB133). This standard is a way of testing furniture before it’s sold to make sure that when exposed to flame in certain conditions it does not catch fire for a certain amount of time. In order to pass that test, furniture manufacturers usually need to add large amounts of flame retardants to the furniture.

The city is considering changing that standard and instead requiring a different standard, called TB117-2013. This newer standard can be met either using flame retardants or by constructing the furniture with less flammable materials. The state of Massachusetts has already adopted TB117-2013, so that means that universities, hospitals and other public spaces elsewhere in the state can choose flame retardant free furniture but those in Boston cannot.

An impressive group of people came out to testify in support of the change including a scientist, students, furniture manufacturers, a firefighter, public health advocates, mothers, and others. Here are excerpts from my testimony:

My name is Elizabeth Saunders, I am a resident of Dorchester (a neighborhood of Boston), and I am the Massachusetts Director of Clean Water Action. One of the hats that I wear in that role is the coordinator of the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow–a coalition of 100+ organizations in Massachusetts working to prevent harm to human health and the environment from toxic chemicals in consumer products and workplaces.

A core tenet of the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow’s work is that toxic chemicals should be replaced with safer alternatives wherever feasible. That replacement may take many forms. It could be a direct chemical substitute. It could be a different way of constructing the product, and in this case it could mean a different way of achieving fire safety in a room or building.
I have deep respect for the responsibility borne by [Boston Fire] Commissioner Joe Finn and [Boston Firefighters Local 718] President Rich Paris, and I am grateful for the work of the members of the Boston Fire Department (BFD) and Local 718.

It is an impossible choice to choose between public safety and public health and we would not ask anyone, including the leaders of the BFD or the city council to make that choice.

Many other jurisdictions, including the state of Massachusetts, have evaluated this question and made the decision to adopt TB117-2013. However, just because everyone else is doing it is not reason enough for Boston to do it. We do believe that other cities and states that have made this issue have carefully considered the implications and determined that the change makes sense for both public safety and public health.

I hope that after the BFD and the City Council evaluate this question fully, taking into account all of the possible ways to achieve fire safety, that you will determine that a change from TB133 to TB117-2013 will be right for Boston.

The Dirty Water Caucus Strikes Back


By Lynn Thorp, Campaigns Director – On Twitter (@LTCWA)

While in some places today people are voting in municipal and statewide elections, the U.S. Senate is voting on whether to undo clean water progress. Later this afternoon, U.S. Senators will take up a bill we call the Dirty Water Act. Spearheaded by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), the misleadingly titled Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S.1140) would block implementation of policy that clarifies Clean Water Act protection for critical water resources. As if that is not enough, it is likely that Senators will then proceed to invoke the rarely used Congressional Review Act to overturn the same U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/Army Corps of Engineers “Clean Water Rule.” Read the rest of this entry »

Science Advisory Board to EPA on Fracking: It’s Complicated

SAB pic

 By John Noël, National Oil and Gas Coordinator – On Twitter: @Noel_Johnny

Science Advisory Board Panel to EPA: Too Many Uncertainties to Say Fracking Impact on Drinking Water is NOT “widespread” or “systemic”

I spent 3 days in the Science Advisory Board (SAB) Panel review of EPA’s fracking and drinking water study, released in June. The SAB is a 30 person expert panel of multidisciplinary scientists from academia and industry. They were tasked with reviewing the almost 1000 page Assessment, chapter by chapter. I tagged along to testify with representatives from other NGOs and many other people personally impacted by fracking activities. Among other things, we wanted to make the case that it is untenable for EPA to keep in the Executive Summary the topline conclusion, “We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have lead to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water in the United States” and the phrase “the number of impacts was small relative to number of hydraulically fractured wells.” Read the rest of this entry »

Honored to Receive an Award from Clean Water Action

This post was originally published on Groovy Green Livin’

By Lori Popkewitz Alper

Honored to Receive an Award for Rockstar Mom for Safe Chemicals Groovy Green Livin

This past Saturday was an incredible day. I received an award for being a “Rockstar Mom for Safe Chemicals” from one of my favorite Massachusetts organizations, Clean Water Action.

The award was given to 8 Massachusetts women who are champions of environmental justice, clean energy and safe chemicals. I was incredibly humbled to be in such amazing company. These women truly are rockstars!

In the photo above I’m standing next to rockstars Kristi Marsh and Erin Boles (with her son). Awards were also given to rockstar moms (see photo below) Cheryl Durr Patry, Eugenia Gibbons, Michelle Gottlieb, Gail McCormick and Laura Spark. Read the rest of this entry »

The Clean Water Act Can’t Work Without You

By Jennifer Peters, Water Programs Director – On Twitter: @EarthAvenger

This month marked 43 years since the landmark Clean Water Act became law. Yet, while many of our nation’s rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and bays are cleaner because of it, we still face water pollution challenges. Not because of lack of technology or innovation, but because of powerful polluting industries that have the ear of politicians – big oil, big ag, and big developers (just to name a few). Because of this constant political pressure to weaken critical protections for our water resources, paired with limited and often dwindling state and federal resources, enforcement of the Clean Water Act is largely driven by everyday people concerned about their communities.with gina - smaller

The Clean Water Act (CWA) is about democracy as much as it is about stopping water pollution. Public involvement in how the CWA is applied and enforced in the real world is vital to address water pollution problems. Congress recognized this importance by including explicit provisions for public involvement in the language of the CWA. Public empowerment is in the Clean Water Act’s DNA. Read the rest of this entry »

43 Years Young

43 Years of the Clean Water Act

By Michael Kelly, Communications Director – On Twitter, @MichaelEdKelly

The Clean Water Act turns 43 on October 18. Read the rest of this entry »

Statement on Announced Closure of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant presents a health and safety risk for many Massachusetts residents. As the plant moves towards closure in 2019, we need to ensure that Entergy cleans up its mess, and that our state accounts fully for loss of tax base and jobs experienced by the community of Plymouth and plant’s workforce. We need adequate decommissioning funds and concrete support for a municipality and workers in transition. At this time, advancing a diverse, clean energy mix is also critically important. Enhanced efficiency, wind on and off-shore, responsible hydropower and interim use of existing fossil fuel infrastructure can meet our peak power needs in winter. We have an opportunity, and a challenge, to secure a clean and just energy future, and that means taking care of communities while ensuring that new energy resources do not push us away from our efforts to fight climate change, stabilize neighborhoods, or prioritize people over the next destructive industry seeking to gain a foothold in our power grid.

PilgrimMassachusetts is a great state and, with clean energy, we can power forward. In the immediate future, we support two bills filed by State Senator Dan Wolf to help hold Entergy accountable to local needs. 

Post authored by Joel Wool, Clean Water Action Massachusetts. Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelwool.

Victory: California’s new plastic microbead ban is nation’s strongest

Breaking News!  Governor Brown signed AB 888 (Bloom) to ban the use of plastic microbeads in personal care products into law. Clean Water Action was a co-sponsor of the bill fought for three years to get this landmark bill passed. This would not have been possible without Clean Water Action members like you.
AB 888 memeAB 888 is the strongest plastic microbead ban in the country. Unlike laws passed in other states, there is no loophole that allows biodegradable plastics to be used as a substitute. This is huge because biodegradable plastics don’t actually degrade in the marine environment. The new law does allow the use of natural alternatives. Read the rest of this entry »

Pope Francis: Bringing it in DC

Pic credit:

Pic credit:

By John Noël, National Oil & Gas Campaigns Coordinator – On Twitter: @Noel_Johnny

On Thursday morning I joined tens of thousands of people on the National Mall for the Rally for Climate Justice. Inside the Capitol, Pope Francis delivered a moving speech to Congress. Outside, large screens projected the Pope to the thousands gathered on the lawn. People were transfixed – you could hear a pin drop in the crowd for the entire 45 minute speech. Read the rest of this entry »

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