Archive for the 'Making Democracy Work' Category

Should We Protect our Water? A Day of Contrasts in our Nation’s Capital

By Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director – On Twitter: @LTCWA

Two events today illustrate the divide on clean water protection here in our nation’s capital.

The first was today’s finalization of Clean Water Act limits on toxic water discharges from power plants. Controlling this pollution has been a priority campaign for Clean Water Action since the proposed rule came out in 2013. EPA finalized a strong proposal and deserves a lot of credit for slogging through interference from many sides, especially polluter lobbyists. Today’s announcement demonstrates this Administration’s commitment to exercising its authority to control pollution and protect downstream communities and our nation’s valuable water resources. Read our statement here. 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 »

Personal Reflections on Pope Francis’ Visit from a Non-Catholic Jesuit-Educated Washingtonian

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

I’m working at home today, since all roads to the office would necessitate navigating the Brookland neighborhood, where Pope Francis will arrive later today. I’m not frustrated by this challenge to my routine. It’s not every day a Pope visits Washington DC, and I’m inspired by Pope Francis’ vision of a better world. As he points out in Laudato Si, the recent “Encyclical on Care For Our Common Home,” he is not the first Pope to raise issues of sustainability and ecology and their relationship to societal and cultural issues. However, he has raised discussion of these issues to a new level, and taken his message on the road. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Ways to Improve EPA’s Fracking and Drinking Water Study

By John Noël, National Oil & Gas Campaigns Coordinator, @noel_johnny

Over the summer the Environmental Protection Agency released a draft report about fracking’s impacts on drinking water. Unfortunately there were big data gaps that meant researchers couldn’t offer the robust conclusions we need. But that didn’t stop EPA from declaring that there were “no widespread impacts” to drinking water due to fracking in its press release announcing the study. There’s just one problem – that statement doesn’t actually reflect the findings and scope of the report. Read the rest of this entry »

The Animas River Spill: A Legacy of Unchecked Pollution

Via La Plata County Emergency Management

Via La Plata County Emergency Management

By Sara Lu, Colorado State Director

Last weekend, I was heartbroken as I watched the Animas River turn orange. For those of you who have not had the occasion to visit the Animas River or drive through some of its mountain towns like Silverton, simply driving by can seem as though you are inserting yourself into a John Fielder or Ansel Adams photo. The rugged mountain vistas, situated above vast groves of aspen and evergreen trees, and the floor of wild flowers and mosses. Countless hours are often spent rafting and fishing the Animas river.

While the spill is dramatic, waste leaking from abandoned mines (also known as tailings) into our rivers and streams is a reality in across the west. The Animas River has seen blowouts and every day contamination from mining for more than a century. As recently as 1991, there were no fish in the river near Silverton. After a cleanup effort (in lieu of a Superfund designation), the fish returned by the early 2000’s. Then they were wiped out when acid mine drainage began leaking from Gold King, again. Read the rest of this entry »

Canvassing for Green Infrastructure in Providence

By Janice Gan, Rhode Island Summer Intern

RI interns canvassingI lift my hand to knock on the first door and pause, wondering. Will this be as easy as it was in Maine? Will I have to break out my Spanish for the first time in months? Will they even hear my knock, or will my three raps be too sharp to invite an answer?

I’ve spent the past two weeks canvassing several West End neighborhoods with the TRI-Lab green infrastructure (GI) team, trying to determine people’s receptiveness to vegetation-based flooding solutions. We’d mapped out some hot spots (both literally, and in terms of paved-surface percentage) in order to pinpoint good potential areas for GI projects, and now we are knocking on 200-some doors to figure out just how welcome such projects would be. Read the rest of this entry »

EPA’s Clean Power Plan is Here and That is Good for Everyone, Yes, Everyone


By John Noël, National Oil & Gas Campaigns Coordinator, @noel_johnny

Today the Obama Administration finalized EPA’s long awaited Clean Power Plan. The groundbreaking rule aims to reduce carbon pollution from existing coal plants by 32% over the next 15 years. The Plan provides flexibility for each State to meet its emission reduction targets and is packaged as a three-pronged opportunity. An opportunity for States to meet their emissions reduction targets by investing heavily in renewable energy and kick starting the local clean energy economy which goes hand in hand with a sustainable energy future. States have an opportunity to reduce consumer electricity bills with new efficiency measures. Lastly, the Plan is an opportunity for States to reduce public health hazards of power plant pollution, which contributes to asthma, heart attacks and premature deaths. Read the rest of this entry »

The Interns of Clean Water

The Interns of Clean Water

The Interns of Clean Water

By Adriana Diaz, Florida Intern

The interns of Clean Water come from all parts the country, working together to protect our environmental well-being and quality of life. These interns work in offices in every region of the nation. We have students engaged in this organization in California, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, Washington DC, and more. Each participant has their own set of background that they bring to the Clean Water family, ranging from their diverse genders and ethnicities to their university and area of study. These students work on various projects and campaigns all over the Clean Water board. Some work on public outreach and relations, while others put their efforts towards mapping, data analysis, political campaigns, and environmental justice. Clean Water Action has a wide variety of projects, campaigns, and other structures of experience to ensure every intern is improving their skills in a desired area. While Clean Water benefits these interns, the interns also further the organization by bringing in diversity, dexterity, and a strive towards a common goal of greatness.


To inquire more information about the internship program and how you can become a member of the Clean Water Team, email

Turning Back the Clock on Toxic Protections

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

Later today Congress will vote on yet another giveaway to big utilities and coal companies. H.R. 1734, the misleadingly named Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation of 2015 would turn back the clock on critical protections to keep communities safe from harmful coal ash pollution. Coal ash contains arsenic, lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium and numerous other toxic chemicals. This dangerous bill is an insult to the many communities around the country that have been devastated by a coal ash spill or have had their drinking water contaminated. This bill is so horrible that the White House has already issued a veto threat. Read the rest of this entry »

First of its kind: California’s groundwater monitoring program for fracking

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

A drilling rig in Shafter, CA, where fracking is occurring among almond orchards and right next to homes. Photo Credit: Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking

A drilling rig in Shafter, CA, where fracking is occurring among almond orchards and right next to homes. Photo Credit: Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking

This is the second installment of our ongoing series on California oil and gas policy that will be running throughout the month of July. Click here to see the whole series.

On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board” for short) finalized groundbreaking criteria for monitoring aquifers near fracking operations. Two years after Clean Water Action sponsored legislation to require aquifer testing before and after fracking (AB 982- Williams) California is poised to finally have the information we need to understand the impacts of oil and gas development on groundwater. With extreme drought crippling the Central Valley, where 95% of fracking occurs, and more water crises on the horizon, protecting groundwater from Big Oil is key to California’s future. Read the rest of this entry »

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