Archive for the 'Making Democracy Work' Category

EPA Analysis of Chemicals Used in Fracking Is a Study of the Unknown

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

While EPA is working to update existing regulations to modernize environmental protections as the oil and gas industry evolves, the Agency is also studying how the entire process of hydraulic fracturing potentially impacts drinking water. This includes tracking the whole lifecycle of fracking from where the water is acquired all the way through how it is disposed. Recently EPA published an analysis of chemicals the industry uses in its fracturing fluid cocktail. According to EPA, the analysis of the industry funded FracFocus database was intended “to better understand the chemicals and water used to hydraulically fracture oil and gas production wells in the United States and how chemical and water use vary in different locations across the country.”

There is one key detail that tends to overshadow the results — the database is largely incomplete due to the industry’s ability to withhold critical information about the chemicals used. In fact, 1 in 10 chemicals were claimed as trade secrets and not disclosed and 70 percent of wells had at least 1 chemical withheld as a trade secret. A study published by Harvard Law School last year outlines in greater detail the drawbacks of relying on FracFocus as a dependable regulatory tool. Read the rest of this entry »

Closing the Gap: Help Keep Oil & Gas Wastewater Pollution Out of our Lakes, Rivers and Bays

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

This week EPA proposed an update to a 30 year old Clean Water Act program that regulates oil and gas wastewater discharges to sewage treatment plants, or publically owned treatment works (POTWs). In the past we know that oil and gas companies have sent millions of gallons of wastewater to these plants which then discharge it to local rivers, lakes and bays.

The problem is that these sewage plants were never designed to treat wastewater coming from unconventional oil and gas operations, that is, those using fracking or other modern technologies which allow the industry to access previously unreachable oil and gas reserves. Unconventional production generally is code for the majority of new oil and gas wells drilled today. Read the rest of this entry »

Hold the phones! Literally

By Cindy Luppi, New England Regional Director

Lula Pearl is making the call. Will you?

Join Lula Pearl and make the call today!

Call your Senators Today: To call your Member of Congress: US Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 

You may not have noticed yet but there’s an epic battle about to break wide open and onto the floors of Congress regarding our nation’s chemical safety policies. The chemical industry would like to preserve as much of the status quo as possible, with few restrictions on how they produce and distribute chemicals. The nation’s leading health and environmental groups are pushing for common sense updates that reflect modern science and protect our families from toxic chemicals in every day products like children’s toys and couch cushions.

This battle will answer critical questions like how soon we can expect protection from  asbestos and other toxic chemicals with strong links to cancer or learning disabilities.  Will there be stringent enforcement of the law that ultimately passes, or will follow through be crippled by blocking the usual role of state officials? Will there be loopholes that allow years of stalling and foot dragging from the Exxon Mobiles and Dow Chemicals of the world,  or will the Environmental Protection Agency be given the tools they need to move on health-based decisions about toxic chemicals? Read the rest of this entry »

Americans Agree: #CleanWaterRules

Protect Clean Water Today!By Jennifer Peters – National Water Programs Director – Follow Jennifer on Twitter (@EarthAvenger)

Nothing is more fundamental than clean water. Though many of us take it for granted until it dries up or becomes too polluted to use. Not only do we all depend on water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning, but water is the major economic driver in every sector in our economy. From farming to manufacturing to tourism, I bet you can’t think of a business that does not depend on clean water to thrive. Clean water is needed by everyone everywhere, all the time.

Despite our nation’s dependence on clean water, vital water sources have been at risk of pollution or destruction for more than a decade. This includes many of the streams and wetlands that feed the drinking water sources for 1 in 3 Americans. For the first thirty years of its existence our nation’s landmark Clean Water Act (CWA), clearly protected nearly every river, lake, bay, wetland or stream in the country. But in the early 2000’s the same polluters who opposed the original CWA were successful in getting the Bush administration to rollback protections for certain streams and wetlands. Clean Water Action and our partner organizations have been fighting to close these dangerous polluter loopholes ever since. Read the rest of this entry »

To Protect Public Health, Put Drinking Water First, not Polluter Profits

By Jennifer Peters, National Water Programs Director – Follow Jennifer on Twitter (@EarthAvenger)

It’s National Public Health Week, which has me thinking about the importance of clean water. Nothing is more basic to protecting public health than access to clean and safe water for drinking, sanitation, and cooking. But too often the streams, rivers or lakes that are sources of drinking water are also used by polluting industries upstream to dispose of their waste. This was an even bigger problem before Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, the law that protects our nation’s surface water resources. But in 2015, in the United States, there are some industries that still dump unlimited amounts of toxic pollutants directly into our precious water resources.

One industry that still pollutes our water with its waste is the power plant industry. It’s no secret that coal-burning power plants are one of the worst air polluters. Their emissions are known to cause respiratory illnesses and numerous other serious health effects. What is not as well-known is that these same plants are also the worst toxic water polluters. Read the rest of this entry »

#Act4CleanWater – Celebrate #Earth Week at Clean Water Conference!

By Jenny Vickers, NJ Communications Manager, Clean Water Action. Follow on Twitter @CleanWaterNJ

FACEBOOK LOGOTake action for clean water during #EarthWeek! Join us at Clean Water Action’s 29th annual conference on Saturday, April 25, 9:00 am-5:00 pm, at Brookdale Community College’s Student Learning Center in Lincroft, NJ.

The event features prominent environmental leaders, scientists and policy makers discussing key issues such as Climate Change, Renewable Energy, Banning Frack Waste, Stopping Bad Oil & Gas Pipelines, Sustainable Water Infrastructure, as well as Protecting the Pinelands & Other Critical Land and Water Resources. Don’t miss out – find all the details on our website and Facebook page and register today!

Tom Moran, Star Ledger editorial page editor and longtime statehouse reporter and political columnist, will lead an Environmental Roundtable with NJ Senator Tom Kean (R-Westfield), NJ Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Elizabeth), NJ Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-Freehold), and NJ Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D-Hamilton Square). Read the rest of this entry »

A Pleasant Surprise in the Field

When my fellow canvassers hear that I’ve been knocking on doors for Clean Water Action for 4 years, they often say, “so nothing catches you by surprise.”

That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Bottomless Drought – There is More We Can Do

The drought in CABy Jennifer Clary, California Water Program Manager (Follow Our California Team on Twitter – @CleanH2OCA)

Governor Brown’s announcement Wednesday that we’re in a severe drought was far from a surprise. No spring rains are coming to rescue us this year as we embark on the 4th year of drought – the worst in California’s modern history.

This is a serious problem, for communities, farms and the environment. The governor took a series of executive actions. They are not enough. But it’s a good start and more than any governor has done before.

Urban Conservation: The governor’s call for 25% mandatory conservation is necessary and not extreme. The governor made a point that folks who use more water than others should save more – this map from the Pacific Institute tells us who they are. Read the rest of this entry »

California’s Emergency Oil and Gas Regulations Aren’t Enough

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

Yesterday the California Department of Conservation (DOC) and Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) issued draft emergency regulations on aquifer exemptions under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The emergency regulations describe the process that the state will use for submitting applications to US EPA for exempting aquifers which enable oil and gas companies to inject fluids for waste disposal or enhance oil recovery (EOR). The text of the draft regulations and how to submit a comment can be viewed here.

We are glad that the state is finally taking action. Steps like including the State Water Board in the exemption process and requiring public hearings are positive and should be put into permanent statute. That’s why Clean Water Action is sponsoring Assembly Bill 356 (Williams) to bring these permanent changes to the aquifer exemption process.

But, these emergency regulations just don’t go far enough to protect Californians or our water. DOGGR should immediately shut down the over 2,000 active injection wells that are operating in non-exempt aquifers in violation of the Federal  Safe Drinking Water Act. As long as the state allows injection to occur in non-exempt aquifers, these regulations fail to protect many potential sources of drinking water. Read the rest of this entry »

Talking Mercury at the State House

By Dave Gerraughty, Rhode Island Program Organizer

My adrenalin was on overdrive and my nerves were jangling a bit as I was called to testify before the Rhode Island House Environment Committee on our bill to create a Producer Responsibility Program for light bulbs containing mercury.

I had spent the past year researching and implementing a pilot program to demonstrate that Rhode Islanders would respond positively to the opportunity to recycle compact fluorescent bulbs close to home.

The idea was to use the success of Clean Water Action’s program to set the stage for making bulb manufacturers take over the funding of residential recycling. So there was a lot riding on how a strong a case I could make. Read the rest of this entry »

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