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

New Standards Will Protect the Most Vulnerable

Rosanna Esparza, Kern County Oil and Gas Program Organizer

Oil and Gas Operations

Oil and Gas Operations

The majority of Californians live in counties with unhealthy air. But nowhere is the air unhealthier than in the San Joaquin Valley.

The San Joaquin Valley has never met the federal health standards for smog. Never. In fact, Valley residents face some of the worst smog pollution in the country. If you live in Kern County, home of the largest oil fields in California, the air you breathe may put your health at risk. Residents face a host of pollutants and toxic chemicals from the oil & gas industry, smog-forming emissions from fuels, vehicles, machinery and engines.

How bad is it? Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve got your local impacts for you…right here.

By Michael Kelly, Communications Director – Follow Michael on Twitter (@MichaelEdKelly)

The City of Alexandria wants to #ProtectCleanWater

The City of Alexandria wants to #ProtectCleanWater

Today the House and Senate are getting together for a bicameral hearing about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to protect the drinking water for more than one in three of us. EPA’s proposal is strong, common sense, and backed up by science. It supported by mayors from Boston to Austin, legislators from Connecticut to California and Americans from Pittsburgh to Pueblo.

So, naturally, Congress is doing everything it can to make sure EPA can never finalize its proposal to protect clean water. Read the rest of this entry »

War on Water Starting Again

By Bob Wendelgass, President & CEO - Follow Bob on Twitter (@BWendelgass)

The hearing on EPA’s rule to restore Clean Water Act protection to small streams is just the opening salvo in a renewed War on Water. Clean Water Action will be in the thick of the fight…and we’ll need your help to win!

I say ‘renewed War on Water’ because this isn’t the first time polluters have attacked the Clean Water Act. Way back in 1972 when the Act was first passed, they convinced President Nixon to veto the bill. Fortunately Congress overrode the veto. Read the rest of this entry »

15,000,000 Pounds of Toxic Waste Every Day

By Jennifer Peters, National Water Campaigns Coordinator – Follow Jennifer on Twitter (@EarthAvenger)

A year ago today, a storm water pipe beneath a Duke Energy coal ash pond near Eden, NC broke and spewed an estimated 140,000 tons of toxic ash and contaminated waste water into the Dan River. 140,000 tons is certainly a lot of pollution, but what you might not know is that coal-burning power plants across the country discharge an estimated 15,000,000 pounds of toxic waste water in to our nation’s rivers, lakes and bays every day. That’s the equivalent of a Dan River-sized coal ash spill happening every 18.6 days or approximately 20 times a year.

In fact, no other industry comes even close to polluting our nation’s waters with this amount of toxic waste. Wastewater from coal plants contains a toxic brew of heavy metals, arsenic, nutrients and other nasty chemicals that are known to be harmful to humans and aquatic life. And the 15,000,000 pounds a day (or 5.5 billion pounds a year) is only a rough estimate of what we know based on permitted discharges. In reality, many of the ponds where plant wastewater is stored are unlined and unmonitored and, all too frequently, leak or fail. Read the rest of this entry »

EPA Smog Rule is Good for Well, Pretty Much Everyone

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

On Thursday I testified at the EPA smog pollution hearing on what seemed like a no-brainer proposal. EPA plans to strengthen its smog standards to reflect the most recent science on the devastating impacts of air pollution. This is a good thing for everyone who breathes.

Tackling this crippling form of power plant pollution is incredibly important and should be supported by everyone. Clean Water Action strongly supports EPA’s pollution reduction plan and we urged the Agency to set the smog protections at 60 parts per billion to provide the greatest protections for public health possible under federal law. A few of the most blatant health impacts linked to smog include chronic asthma and other respiratory and lung diseases, reproductive and developmental harm, and even premature death. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Do We Fight About Clean Water?

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

Today we launch a wide array of activity leading up to an unusual “bicameral” hearing on Capitol Hill next week. “Bicameral” means that it is a joint hearing put on by the majority leadership of committees in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. This does not happen often. I wish I could say that this special water policy hearing is happening because our water resources are so precious, or because we have learned how critical it is to protect drinking water from contamination or because polls have consistently shown for decades that people consider clean water the most important environmental issue.

No. I can’t say that. Read the rest of this entry »

The Science of Water – It’s Complex and it’s Simple

By Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director – follow Lynn on Twitter (@LTCWA)

I have been working on water issues for many years, and for all of that time I have known that the Clean Water Act is meant “. . . to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” But until I read EPA’s draft Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence earlier this year, I don’t think I had truly grasped the power of these words. Read the rest of this entry »

A Year That Confirmed We Need to Put Drinking Water First

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

140111-Z-LQ742-016One year ago today we learned that a chemical spill into the Elk River in West Virginia had led to a “Do Not Use” order. Hundreds of thousands of people in the Charleston area could not use their tap water for anything other than toilet flushing and fire fighting. As the crisis continued, details came to light. Over 10,000 gallons spilled. A coal-processing chemical called crude MCHM that no one had ever heard of. Freedom Industries managing a tank farm very badly. A lack of health effects or other information on the chemical. Wait, more chemicals involved! And the water smells like licorice, even when it’s at really low levels or almost gone. Investigations commence. Lawsuits are filed. State and federal hearings are held. Big Clean Water Act charges are filed against Freedom Industries. The list goes on and on.

So what have we learned? Could this happen again? Read the rest of this entry »

Drinking Water Sacrificed for Oil and Gas Industry Profits – What We Don’t Know CAN Hurt Us

By John Noel, National Oil and Gas Program Coordinator – Follow John on Twitter (@Noel_Johnny)

Image - Sacficing our ater for Oil and Gas

Sacrificing Our Drinking Water for Oil and Gas

This week Clean Water Action released a first-ever analysis of the little known Aquifer Exemption program within EPA’s Underground Injection Control program. For those concerned about clean drinking water supplies for future generations, transparency within the Environmental Protection Agency, and the cavalier attitude oil and gas interests take towards regulation of their operations, this report is for you.

What is wrong with Aquifer Exemptions?

First, the program exists. Read the rest of this entry »

What Do EPA’s new Coal Ash Disposal Rule and New York State Fracking Ban Have in Common?

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

Two big things happened in the world of energy policy this week. I don’t think most people connected them. EPA finalized a long overdue framework to regulate our country’s second largest waste stream after household trash – toxic ash from coal plants. New York banned high volume hydraulic fracturing, basically ruling out drilling for Marcellus Shale gas in that state. Two important similarities here.

Fossil Fuels are Dirty: Until the infamous Tennessee coal ash spill in 2008, people didn’t realize the mess we leave behind when we burn coal for electricity. As EPA began working on this regulation, we learned that coal plants produce millions of tons of toxic waste every year. And we learned how powerful a polluting industry that doesn’t want to change can be. Read the rest of this entry »

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