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

Baltimore Takes a Stand for Clean Water

By Will Fadely, Baltimore Program Organizer – follow Will on Twitter: @TrillChillWill

This spring, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took some long-overdue steps to fix the Clean Water Act, ending confusion over which streams and wetlands are protected by the law. Loopholes in the law created over the past decade have left more the half the stream miles in the U.S. and drinking water sources for 100% of Baltimore City residents at risk from pollution and development.

Polluters and their allies in Congress are fighting tooth and nail to block EPA from taking this common sense step to protect clean water. In the U.S. House and Senate, they’re throwing a series of “dirty water” amendments and riders into the budget and appropriations process, hoping to sneak something through.

Today, on behalf of its 100,000 Maryland members and supporters, Clean Water Action urged U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski to oppose all dirty water amendments and riders proposed for the FY 2015 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Sen. Mikulski is a key clean water leader on the Senate panel which will get first crack at these measures. Read the rest of this entry »

Will You Be Smiling for Father’s Day? How about after that?

2 dogsSmiling is good. We need more of it.

Father’s day can be worth smiling about. We hope that’s true in your case. So, what’s the link between smiling and clean water (other than the obvious)?

If you’re customer of the world’s largest online retailer (like most people who buy stuff online) chances are you’ve seen a few emails talking about Amazon’s new “smile” program that donates to Clean Water Fund and other 501-c-3 nonprofits, whenever you make purchases through a special Smile account.

Smiling Made Easy — With lots of people doing it, even small donations can add up quickly for Clean Water. Plus, every few months, to boost participation, the company offers a much larger donation. For Father’s Day it’s $5 for every purchase. That’s great. But for any of the donations to happen, you have to do two extra things: Read the rest of this entry »

Outdoors Enjoyment & Clean Water Go Together Like…

For most people, your outdoor experience would be much less enjoyable without clean water. Three of the basics – fishing, swimming, drinking – can’t really happen without clean water.

ProtectPlayOutdoor sports retailer Summit Sports is dedicating a portion of all June and July online sales to three great outdoor causes and Clean Water is one of them. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Not Always Sunny in Philadelphia

By Bob Wendelgass, President & CEO. Follow Bob on Twitter – @BWendelgass

It rained yesterday here in Philadelphia–which reminded me why we need to restore protection under the Clean Water Act to all our streams and wetlands.

When it rained, lots of small streams in my part of the city popped back into life, carrying rainwater downstream to the larger Wissahickon Creek and eventually to the Schuylkill River.  Most of these small streams go dry between rainstorms, but they play a big role when it rains.  They carry rainwater off the land, feeding water into their larger downstream cousins, and providing nutrients to the aquatic life in the overall watershed.   Read the rest of this entry »

Risking Our Food and Farmland in Michigan

By Bruni Bezati, Lake St. Clair Program Intern

I am extremely disappointed with the Michigan State Legislature’s decision to pass a package of bills that allows industrial waste, like coal ash, to be used in roads, as construction fill, and most alarming of all, to be spread over our farm fields. This poses the risk of contaminating our food and causing damage to Michigan’s farming communities. Read the rest of this entry »

Project Stream Clean – #ProtectCleanWater

By Will Fadely, Baltimore Organizer – Follow Will on Twitter: @TrillChillWill

bmore stream clean 3Over the past few decades, Earth Day has become Earth Week. It’s a time for people and communities to connect with each other to take a stand for our environment and water. Earth Week and Earth Month give people a chance to focus finding solutions to everyday environmental problems – like the illegal dumping of trash into our creeks.  Unfortunately, illegal dumping is rampant in the Huntington community. But there are people who want to stop it and protect their creeks.

“People are always dumping back here, regardless of the time of day,” says Angelica Carter, community member. “We just want our stream to be clean and we want to protect clean water.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as a result of illegal dumping upstream, the local stream in Huntington is contaminated with Chlorides, Total suspended solids (TSS), and other toxins. And when Clean Water staff surveyed the site, we didn’t need EPA data to tell us this stream was infected and needed help. So we got together with the Huntington Community Association and came up with a plan.

So, in late February we began planning a stream clean day to help stem the tide of public dumping in the neighborhood. We rallied our troops – reaching out to Towson University and partnering with The Big Event. The Big Event is Towson’s largest day of community service. Towson students responded to the call and more 30 signed up for the big stream clean.  Likewise, The Huntington Community Association canvassed their community and gathered over a dozen Read the rest of this entry »

This Memorial Day, I’ll be Thinking About Clean Water

By Cassi Steenblok, Pittsburgh Program Organizer

As Memorial Day draws near I can’t help but think of summer and all the fun and exciting things I want to do now that the days are getting longer and warmer. For me summer has always revolved around water.

I grew up in upstate New York close to two of the Great Lakes, and even closer to the smaller lakes in the Finger Lakes region of the state. I have many fond memories from my childhood swimming, fishing, and canoeing in the lakes, rivers, and streams that were within walking distance from my house.  Then when I graduated college I packed up my life and moved to Providence, Rhode Island. Rhode Island is fondly known as the “Ocean State” and is full of beautiful coastlines and amazing beaches. I would often spend those hot summer days in Rhode Island at the beach to get out of the city and enjoy the water. Providence was also where I first started working for Clean Water Action, to protect that coastline I value so much.

A year ago I packed up my life again and moved to Pittsburgh to continue my Clean Water journey as a Program Coordinator in Western Pennsylvania. It was almost summer when I moved to the “Three Rivers” city and I was hopeful to again spend my summers close to the water. But what I found in Pittsburgh was not what I expected. I knew there are not going to be any ocean beaches to relax at on a hot day, but surely there must be some places to swim. Unfortunately, many of the rivers and streams in Pittsburgh are not swimmable or fishable. So where does everyone go to cool off? I was told the closest thing to a beach in Pittsburgh is Sandcastle Water Park. And while it is incredibly fun to spend the day on water slides and in the wave poll, it’s just not the same.

Regardless of where we live, all our waterways should be offered the same protection. Within the past twelve years we have lost of the safeguards for many of the small streams and wetlands similar to the ones I played in as a child. These are the waterways that lead to our rivers and oceans. If they aren’t clean and safe then our larger waterways will not be either. That’s why the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to restore protections to these precious streams and wetlands is so important.

This Memorial Day I’ll be off to Rhode Island for my first visit in a year. You better believe that I’ll be spending my time at the beaches that I miss so much. But I’ll also be treasuring that clean water and thinking about how important it is to protect all of America’s waterways. How about you? Click here to take action!

Why I am collecting postcards to #ProtectCleanWater

By Tom Hoffman, Western Pennsylvania Director

I grew up in upstate New York and was very fortunate to go to a YMCA camp on the shores of Lake George in the Adirondacks when I was a kid. To get from my tent in the Intermediate Unit to the Mess Hall I followed a mountain stream down towards the lake. It was always a tough choice between eating and hanging out in the stream and watching what was happening in there. Newts, tadpoles, frogs were in abundance.

It is those streams that were such a part of my childhood that are now so much at risk. Polluters, who want to hide their toxic waste under the rug (or in one of my mountain streams) rather than clean it up responsibly, attacked the Clean Water Act with a vengeance during the “polluter friendly” Bush the Younger administration – and broke it. As written, the Clean Water Act protected my stream. Now sadly, many such streams are not protected because of the decisions made by the Bush administration.

The Obama administration, under the direction of Gina McCarthy, has developed a new set of guidelines that fix the broken Clean Water Act and protect our streams (and wetlands). I’m collecting post cards supporting the fix (you can send your comments in here) because at some point, Gina will sit down across the table from the polluters to hammer out the final “deal”. I want her to be in a position to say, “I hear you Mr. Big Polluter, but you see I have a bazillion post cards that want me to protect those streams – and they win.”

PS I’m also working to get breweries to sign on to our letter because I want her to be able to say, “If the beer makers want protected streams, then I have no choice. Protected streams it is.”

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 »

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