Archive for the 'Making Democracy Work' Category

Imagining Sustainable Streets

By Grace Molino, TRI-Lab Summer Intern

This post was originally published on SwearerSparks

“The siding is all new so the fire must have been recent,” said Rachel Newman-Greene, from West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation guiding our walking tour. I looked where she was pointing in an alley between two houses. The new siding on one house was twisted and drooping like tangled ribbons. The other house had scorch marks up to the roof.

“Probably a trash fire,” Rachel continued, “you can see all the mattresses in the back.” Six mattresses were piled in the back of the alley along with other garbage. A bag of sea shells lay near us and as I walked over to get a closer look I stepped on a piece of circuit board already stripped of any valuable metals. Read the rest of this entry »

What a Surprise: The Dirty Water Caucus is at it Again

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

As the U.S. House of Representatives takes up spending bills for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and

Department of Interior (DOI) funding today and tomorrow, I’m thinking of two simple yet astute questions posed by my colleagues this week.

Has the Congressional process around federal spending bills always been like this?

“It feels like it,” I told our Oil and Gas Campaigns Coordinator John Noel. “But I don’t think so.” The basic business of passing spending bills to fund the federal government’s activity has become a perpetual motion machine of anti-government rhetoric. It’s gotten so bad that individual appropriations bills often never happen and the federal government is funded through a series of “continuing resolutions” just to keep things going. There has always been debate, and compromise, and that’s how the system is supposed to work. During the last several Congresses in particular, we have seen the appropriations process turn into squabble over all the work that the American people think the government ought to be doing. For example, polling shows continuing strong public support for protecting water resources. That hasn’t stopped opponents of the recent EPA/Army Corps of Engineers “Clean Water Rule” from inserting language in this spending bill to protections for drinking water sources and other water bodies. Read the rest of this entry »

July: A Hot Month for California Oil and Gas Policy

Kern River Oil Field. Credit: Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking

Kern River Oil Field. Credit: Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking

By Andrew Grinberg, California Oil and Gas Program Manager – follow Andrew on Twitter: @AndrewBGrinberg

This is the first in an ongoing series this July on California oil and gas issues.

As the drought rages on, fueled by our changing climate, the fight for independence from polluting fossil fuels is more important than ever. This month is just getting started, but July is already packed with important milestones as California grapples with how to protect its dwindling water supply and polluted communities from the oil and gas industry. Coming off important victories in the budget, we are continuing to protect the Golden State from Big Oil. Over the coming weeks we will highlight a number of important developments on statewide oil and gas policy. Read the rest of this entry »

Coal Ash, Arsenic and the Land of 10,000 Lakes

By Steve Schultz, Minnesota Program Organizer

Coal ash is not a high profile issue in Minnesota— but it should be. The state’s 17 coal-burning plants annually generate 1.5 million tons of coal ash– enough to smother 2,800 acres (the size of White Bear Lake) a foot deep in ash every year. Minnesota power plants have created 34 toxic “lakes,” industrial ponds of toxic sludge that can foul underlying groundwater and nearby streams with hazardous chemicals. Minnesotans may not know it, but they have two big reasons to worry about coal ash—arsenic and catastrophic spills. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Controversial? Absolutely Nothing (about the Clean Water Rule)

by Jonathan A. Scott, Director of Corporate Relations, on Twitter, @jscottnh

There’s no real controversy here…

Capping more than a decade of campaigning by Clean Water Action and allies, the Obama Administration released its final Clean Water Rule on May 27.

Although the protracted battle has received little news coverage, most of the time, when it has been reported at all, the news has focused on “the controversy” or “the controversial Clean Water Rule.”Nothing Controversial

We can’t really complain when the news media keep on doing what they seem to do best –seize on a perceived conflict and then report on it. We’ve seen this time and again with news coverage of the climate crisis, which magnifies industry-backed anti-science climate denial and portrays deniers’ fringe views as legitimate, mainstream ones. That’s just the way much of the news business works these days.

In fact, the Clean Water Rule is a relatively straightforward, common-sense fix to a growing problem within the Clean Water Act. Weakening changes first adopted during the Bush Administration (George W.) at the behest of polluter interests were made even worse by polluter-friendly court decisions. In the years since, fundamental protections were muddied to the extent that it was no longer clear what water resources were supposed to be protected. Enforcement suffered. Read the rest of this entry »

Clean Water Victory: A Lesson in Making Democracy Work

By Hilary Marcella, Assistant Canvass Director, Pittsburgh – Follow Our Pennsylvania Team on Twitter (@CleanH2OPA)

When I started my Clean Water Action journey in 2006, the first campaign I worked on aimed to restore Clean Water Act protections to small streams and wetlands. It was the era of George W. Bush, and policy decisions made by his administration left many bodies of water vulnerable to pollution.

At first it seemed hard to believe that such basic water protections were not being provided. After all, water is an invaluable resource, and I understood that because ALL water is connected through the hydrological cycle, protecting only some waterways really means not protecting any at all. Unfortunately, big polluters spend millions of dollars to influence elected officials. So despite the fact that science was on our side, money was not. That fact makes fighting for environmental justice a constant uphill battle. Read the rest of this entry »

Being the Change at Clean Water Action

By Zachary Turkheimer, Clean Water Action Maryland Intern – Follow Our MD Team on Twitter (@CleanWater_MD)

“Be the change you want to see”, that’s the motto that I have tried to live my life by. I believe this motto is applicable with the goals of Clean Water Action because they set the precedent of what changes they strive to see in our society.

I lived in the small town of Olney, MD for my whole life up until I moved to Towson, MD for college. I will be entering my junior year in the fall. I am an Environmental Science Major with a focus in Policy and Management and a minor in Political Science. I became interested in this field after I took an environmental science course in high school. Read the rest of this entry »

Pursuing a Passion for Clean Water

By Kaitlyn Lindsey, Clean Water Action Maryland Intern – Follow our Maryland Team on Twitter (@CleanWater_MD)

Hey Clean Water Community! My name is Kaitlyn Lindsey. I am going into my fifth and final year at Towson University where I have been studying Family Science.

I have a passion for helping people. More specifically, my passion is for helping families. I hope to one day make a difference by working with advocacy and policies that affect family life and maybe even go to law school. Read the rest of this entry »

35 Years of Clean Water in Maryland!

Group Photo from Maryland Celebration

Celebration in Baltimore!

By Will Fadely, Baltimore Program Organizer – Follow Will on Twitter (@TrillChillWill)

Clean Water has been organizing and advocating for Maryland’s communities for 35 years now so we decided to throw a party!

Advocates, elected officials, community members, and the like dressed up and came down to Baltimore to honor former Regional Directors, Andy Fellows and Dru Schmidt-Perkins. Read the rest of this entry »

A Clean Water History Lesson

426_EPA_CleanWater_RallySign_03_x1a-1 - smallerBy Jon Scott , Director of Corporate Relations – Follow Jon on Twitter (@JScottNH)

Richard M. Nixon (R) 1969-1974 (1972 Clean Water Act veto over-ridden by Congress, which passed the law and overrode the veto with strong bipartisan support. After veto attempt and unsuccessful attempt to embargo Clean Water Act funding, upholds the Clean Water Act)

Gerald R. Ford (R) 1974-1977 (upholds the Clean Water Act)

Jimmy Carter (D) 1977-1981 (upholds the Clean Water Act) Read the rest of this entry »

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