Archive for the 'Protecting America’s Waters' Category

Victory: California’s new plastic microbead ban is nation’s strongest

Breaking News!  Governor Brown signed AB 888 (Bloom) to ban the use of plastic microbeads in personal care products into law. Clean Water Action was a co-sponsor of the bill fought for three years to get this landmark bill passed. This would not have been possible without Clean Water Action members like you.
AB 888 memeAB 888 is the strongest plastic microbead ban in the country. Unlike laws passed in other states, there is no loophole that allows biodegradable plastics to be used as a substitute. This is huge because biodegradable plastics don’t actually degrade in the marine environment. The new law does allow the use of natural alternatives.

This historic law will keep 38 tons of plastic out of California’s coastal waters and inland waterways.

Governor Brown should be commended for signing the bill today. But special congratulations must go to the bill’s author, Assemblymember Richard Bloom of Santa Monica. Assemblymember Bloom stuck to his guns in the face of fierce industry opposition attempts to weaken the bill.

And finally, special kudos go to Clean Water Action’s members who, over the last 3 years, sent thousands of letters and emails to their state legislators and the Governor supporting the ban. We can’t win these fights without you and are delighted to celebrate our success with all of you.

The Golden State Exemptions: California Aquifers Are Being Lost to the Oil and Gas Industry

Sacrificing our water for oil and gas

Exempting an aquifer is to sacrifice it forever

 By John Noël and Andrew Grinberg – On Twitter: @Noel_Johnny and @AndrewBGrinberg

In January, Clean Water Action exposed a little known secret in the Safe Drinking Water Act that lets oil and gas companies dispose of their wastewater and conduct oil and gas extraction activities directly in potential sources of drinking water.

The secret is called an “aquifer exemption”. The reason it exists to make things easier and cheaper for drilling companies. The oil and gas industry had a hand in writing the provision decades ago and has been writing off our drinking water in the name of fossil fuel production ever since.

We wish we were making this up. Read the rest of this entry »

This Fall We Celebrate a HUGE Victory for Clean Water, Thanks to You!

PPP Chemicals Kid Pic

By Jennifer Peters, National Water Programs Director – On Twitter: @EarthAvenger

For years Clean Water Action and our allies have been fighting to rein in the largest toxic water polluter in the U.S. – coal-burning power plants. It’s no secret that coal-burning power plants pollute our air with unhealthy chemicals. What is not as well known is these plants have also been dumping arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium and other nasty pollutants directly into our lakes, rivers, streams, and bays for decades – far more than any other polluting industry.

At the end of September, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) finally closed this longstanding polluter loophole in our nation’s Clean Water Act. Thanks to this power plants will no longer have a free pass to pollute our water with chemicals that are known to cause cancer, lower children’s IQs, or harm fish and other aquatic life. These first-ever national limits will reduce the water pollution from power plants by 1.4 billion pounds a year, protecting public health and water quality across the nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Supporting Fenceline Communities

Vernice and Rosanna

Vernice and Rosanna

By Rosanna Esparza, Kern County Organizer

Clean Water Board Member, Vernice Miller-Travis and I spent a day in Bakersfield, CA with organizers and representatives of U.S. EPA Region 9, Central CA Environmental Justice Network and Global Community Monitor at a workshop examining community-based air monitoring projects and the importance of quality assurance plans.

The workshop identified ways for community partners and regulatory agencies to work together, learn more about Bucket Brigade Projects and understand each others’ priorities and needs.

Clean Water Action received a grant from the New World Foundation to conduct a feasibility pilot project to evaluate the establishment of community air monitors for collection of neighborhood-level air pollution data and to evaluate the use of this monitoring data to conduct targeted air sampling of specific chemicals.

Collaborators on the project: Residents of the community of Lost Hills, CA, University of Washington, the California Environmental Health Tracking Program, Kern Environmental Enforcement Network and Earthworks.

By collecting this data we hope to enable residents and other concerned stakeholders to better characterize air pollution in the community and to use this information to support actions to reduce hazards and exposures along the fence line of oil and gas production.


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 »

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