Archive for the 'Making Democracy Work' Category

Where will you be on September 21st?

By Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director – Follow Lynn on Twitter

alt with dates bigger-01Climate change is impacting us. And it’s not good. Pollution from power plants and other sources is affecting our food…our air…our water. It’s super-sizing things like hurricanes and droughts. If we don’t take action, it’s only going to get worse. So, don’t you think it’s time we did something about it?

On September 21st, you’ll have your chance to demand action.

Tens of thousands of people and more than 750 organizations are going to New York City on 9/21 for the People’s Climate March. Leaders from all over the world are going to be at the United Nations’ Summit on Climate Change to chart a course of action to address the global warming crisis and we think they should hear from us. If you can make it to NYC, visit this page to RSVP.

We’re joining the People’s March because everything we’re fighting for is impacted by a changing climate, especially when it comes to our water. Just this month, we saw how the algae blooms in Lake Erie, which get worse when temperatures rise, can lead to public health threats in drinking water. Climate change is water change and if we want to protect clean water, we have to take action now. Read the rest of this entry »

A New Water Bond for California

By Jennifer Clary, California Program Manager

Earlier this week, the Governor and Legislature reached near unanimous agreement on a $7.54 billion water bond for the November 2014 ballot that responds to the state’s deepening drought conditions. This bond (now Proposition 1) replaces an extremely unpopular $11.14 billion bond that was placed on the ballot during the Schwarzenegger administration (2009). The public’s opportunity to vote on the 2009 bond measure was delayed by the Legislature twice (in 2010 and 2012) as polls repeatedly showed it lacked the support to pass.

Bond negotiations have been going on for more than a year. Early in the process, Clean Water Action rallied environmental allies and developed a unified list of priorities that any water financing bill must include. Specifically, our water bond position statement said that bond funding must:

  • Help communities with contaminated water obtain safe and affordable drinking water;
  • Make ecosystem protection investments in the watersheds that supply drinking water; and
  • Prioritize investment in local, sustainable water supplies, as opposed to large construction projects that move or store water

Read the rest of this entry »

Organizing for Clean Water

By Paula Weiner, Pittsburgh Phone Organizer
Legacy. That’s what first attracted me me to apply for a job with Clean Water Action.  While aiding others in the choice between a blue scarf and a purple one is important in its own way, I am finding that the ability to leave a lasting difference on our beleaguered planet is more rewarding than I could ever have imagined.  Being a canvasser is not an easy job,  especially when you consider what Clean Water Action is up against.
The people and companies responsible some of the most horrendous acts damaging the earth are well funded and deeply connected, so when I pick up the phone at Clean Water Action, one of my goals is to broaden the base of Earth’s stewards.
Our members run the gamut from school teachers and scientists, to students and nuclear-power-plant employees and everything in between. The most important thing is the care we all have for our solitary planet. Water is the most basic, fundamental necessity we have and I don’t know why it is so scary for the companies that wage war against us. No wait, I do know why: GREED.  That’s the bottom line sometimes, greed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Still Fracking with Diesel After All These Years

By John Noël, National Oil and Gas Program Coordinator – follow John on Twitter

Today our allies at the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) released a groundbreaking report on the oil and gas industry’s use of diesel fuels in fracture fluids. As we’ve written before, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempted hydraulic fracturing from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), except when diesel fuels are used. Even under intense industry pressure, Congress recognized the potentially toxic impacts from injecting diesel fuels underground. This process is alarming because of the toxic chemicals contained in diesel fuels, especially the “BTEX” compounds. “BTEX” compounds – benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene – are highly mobile in ground water and present an elevated threat when injected underground at high pressures. Health impacts associated with these chemicals include cancer, nervous system problems, kidney and liver problems and anemia.

The report appropriately sums it up, “To put this in perspective, a quarter teaspoon of benzene is enough to make an average swimming pool exceed the benzene MCL [Maximum Contaminant Level].” Not something you want anywhere near your drinking water. Read the rest of this entry »

Abbott’s Saber Rattling Prattle Against Protecting Our Water

By David Foster, Texas Director – Follow Clean Water’s Texas Campaign on Twitter

Sadly, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s August 11th letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) threatening to sue if it does not retreat from its plan to strengthen protections for the sources of our drinking water is more about politics and ideology than public health. For Abbott, it does not matter that EPA simply wants to return protections back to where they were during the Clinton and Reagan administrations. It does not matter that its proposal is based on peer-reviewed scientific studies. It does not matter that the proposal would restore protections to headwater streams and wetlands that connect with the drinking water supply of 117 million Americans, including 11.5 million in Texas. It does not matter that 75% of stream miles dry up part of the year in our drought-prone state, and hence could lose protections if Abbott has his way. It does not even matter that EPA will not issue a final rule before 2015, at which time Abbott will no longer be in a direct position to sue, since he is resigning as AG to run for governor. Read the rest of this entry »

Clean Water Action and American Sustainable Business Council Baltimore Press Conference

By Will Fadely, Baltimore Program Organizer

Protecting clean water is a cause that not only resonates with environmental types; it reverberates into the private sector too.

Clean Water Action (CWA) joined by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) took to Federal Hill Park for a press conference to announce their successful work and the results of their latest poll, last Thursday morning.

The podium and a colorful display of children’s “protect clean water” drawings were set in front of the Baltimore Harbor, where in 2010 a coalition of businesses, nonprofit groups, and City agencies formed the “Healthy Harbor” initiative, which aimed to increase efforts to eliminate polluted runoff and trash in the Harbor and to achieve fishable, swimmable, drinkable water by 2020. Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s #kickcoalash out of our communities

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

Join us for a coal ash week of social media action, August 4th – August 8th.

Next week marks six months since Duke Energy’s coal ash spill, which dumped more than 39,000 tons of toxic ash and 27 million gallons of contaminated wastewater into the Dan River, the source of drinking water for thousands of Virginians living downstream.  Activists from around the country will be highlighting this by using social media, letters to the editor, and blogs (even here!) to urge the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House to finalize safeguards to better protect public health and the environment from this harmful waste. Read the rest of this entry »

Protect Clean Water, Protect the Merrimack River

By Shanene Pierce, Massachusetts Intern – Boston Office

It wasn’t until I joined the cross-country team in high school that I began to pay closer attention to the Merrimack River and Valley that I called home. I used the winding paths along the Merrimack to challenge and build my running endurance while training for my first 5k race. I’ve seen bald eagles soar above me while commuting along the river to and from my classes at University of Massachusetts Lowell. The Merrimack River is a beautiful place: when the Pawtucket Falls freeze over in midwinter, the rushing of snowmelt come spring transforms the steady flowing river into raging rapids that bring life to the connecting wetlands and streams. Read the rest of this entry »

Protecting Clean Water in the Real World


Ellen Gilinksy -the EPA Senior Advisor for Water- at event in Austin, Texas

It’s hard to imagine a U.S. House of Representatives more out of touch with reality.  People support protecting water resources and getting in front of climate change and off of fossil fuels.  Today, the Committee responsible for implementing the Clean Water Act passed a bill to block EPA progress in restoring protection to streams and wetlands.  Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee passed a spending bill blocking important policy proposals on both these critical issues.

Out in the real world, our Protect Clean Water Campaign activities continue to demonstrate that elected officials, farmers and the public want to protect our streams, wetlands and drinking water sources.

  • Over the weekend, Senator Mark Udall attended a “Celebration of Clean Water” event hosted by Clean Water Fund, the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union, the Colorado Renewable Energy Society and the American Sustainable Business Council.
  • Today in Austin, Texas our staff joined Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Environment Texas at an event with top EPA officials to share comments in support of the proposed rule.
  • Clean Water’s Eastern Pennsylvania Director Brooks Mountcastle had a compelling opinion editorial published in the Reading, Pennsylvania Berks Country today.  Contrary to PA Farm Bureau, Farmers Do Support Clean Water Rules.

DC Imposes a Citywide Ban on Polystyrene Foam

by Lily Biggar, Communications Intern

For folks like me living in the nation’s capitol, this summer has brought unbearable humidity, another so-so season for the Washington Nationals, and continued congressional frustrations. However, DC has finally given us a reason to smile.

On July 14th, the City Council voted to place a ban on polystyrene foam, the harmful petroleum-based material used in everything from packaging to takeout containers.

While the ban may go unnoticed by consumers using polystyrene only to hold their morning coffee, it will certainly be noticed by our environment. Read the rest of this entry »

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