Archive for the 'Protecting America’s Waters' Category

A Body Blow to Fracking Industry Spin

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

Photo by Andrew Grinberg

Photo by Andrew Grinberg

This post is part of Clean Water Action’s ongoing series this month on California Oil and Gas policy. The entire “July: Oil and Gas Month” series can be found here.

Another day, another major oil and gas development. In just 2 weeks we’ve seen the implementation of new fracking regulations, certification of a statewide environmental impact report on fracking, the release of Kern County’s environmental impact report for all oil production activities and the adoption of groundwater monitoring rules.

Last week was a major turning point in the fight to protect California from fracking and other dangerous oil production activities. The state-sponsored scientific study dropped on Thursday. And, while it wasn’t a knockout punch to Big Oil, it was a scientific body blow that cuts through the misinformation and turns back the spin. 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 »

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 »

The California Budget: Big Wins for Water

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

Oil and Water Don't mix

Photo: Andrew Grinberg

Last week, the Legislature and Governor Brown agreed to a new California budget. How our state will spend $115 billion in 2015-16 is a big deal. It has major implications for our environment and water supply, especially in the midst of the drought. In addition to where the money goes, the budget includes direction on how the state spends its money. In many cases these directives amount to key policy decisions that reach well beyond their fiscal impacts.

The new budget addresses some of Clean Water Action’s top priority issues. Over the next few days we will highlight two of our biggest victories in the budget: providing public access to existing groundwater data, and protecting water quality from the oil industry.

Today, we highlight budget victories that will help protect water from oil and gas industry pollution. Read the rest of this entry »

Stick That in Your Pipeline and Smoke It!

By Denny Green, Michigan Communications Coordinator

Anybody who’s ever visited Michigan’s Great Lakes has been taken aback by their inspiring splendor and breath-taking beauty, laid out for all to see. What you don’t see, however, are Enbridge’s two aging pipelines, known as Line 5, that run under the Straits of Mackinac, the waterway that joins Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. And these old pipelines are not only hidden beneath this splendor and beauty, but they actually threaten to destroy it.

You see, Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline is a 62 year-old system that carries nearly 23 million gallons of crude oil every day, right through the middle of the pristine Great Lakes. (My uncle is 61, and we no longer let him carry the Thanksgiving turkey to the table.) 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 »

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