Archive for the 'Protecting America’s Waters' Category

Clean Water? We’re in it for the Long Haul

Put Drinking Water First

by Jonathan A. Scott, editor, Clean Water Currents (on Twitter @jscottnh)

Gina Video

Watch EPA Administrator McCarthy’s March 25 call to #ProtectCleanWater

Since 2002, Clean Water Action has doggedly fought an uphill battle to restore Clean Water Act protections for some of America’s most important water resources. On March 25, 2014, the Obama Administration announced it was finally taking action to fix the problem.

When was the last time you thought about your water? We’ve made so much progress since the early 1970s when Clean Water Action first got started, it’s easy to see how almost anyone in the U.S. might make the mistake of taking clean water for granted.

Don’t do it! “An awakened local citizenry will always be needed to support the tough stands officials will have to take to get the water clean.” Clean Water Action’s founder, David Zwick, wrote these words back in 1972, but they’re just as true today. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s About Time

By Bob Wendelgass, President and CEO (Follow Bob on Twitter – @BWendelgass)

#ProtectCleanWater today! click here to submit a comment.

#ProtectCleanWater today! Click here to submit a comment.

Thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) for finally announcing critical steps to fix a mess the Bush Administration made back in 2002.  That’s when EPA and the Corps  “broke” the Clean Water Act by removing its protection from many small streams and wetlands.  A lot has happened since (more on that later this week), but this is the first real progress on this issue in a long time.

Over the past twelve years, Clean Water Action and our allies worked to get the US Congress to fix the problem.  We got the “Clean Water Authority Restoration Act”, the “Clean Water Restoration Act” and, later, ”America’s Commitment to the Clean Water Act” introduced. While these bills generated board support in Congress and among faith groups, environmentalists, and conservation, fishing, and hunting organizations, none ever crossed the finish line.  And frankly, the prospects for getting a bill through the current anti-environment Congress are pretty close to zero! Read the rest of this entry »

Gubernatorial Candidates pledge environmental protections

Elizabeth Saunders, Clean Water Action Massachusetts Director, introduces Gubernatorial candidates Joe Avellone, Don Berwick, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Treasurer Steve Grossman, and Juliette Kayyem

On Friday, March 21st, Clean Water Action joined a coalition of 30 organizations in co-hosting a Massachusetts Gubernatorial Candidates forum on Energy the Environment and the Innovation Economy. Candidates Joe Avellone, Don Berwick, Marthy Coakley, Steve Grossman and Juliette Kayyem answered rounds of questions on a wide array of topics from toxic chemicals in consumer products, natural gas infrastructure, incineration, energy efficiency, sustainable fishing, to their personal sustainability practices.

All candidates who are competing in a primary and whose campaigns met minimum standards were invited to the forum, which was moderated by Boston Globe Columnist Derrick Jackson and former Secretary of Commonwealth Development Douglas Foy.  As it happened, the five candidates who accepted the coalition’s invitation are all competing against each other for the Democratic nomination.

Among the highlights of their responses:

  • Four candidates voiced support for legislation to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives wherever feasible (see Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow);
  • Four candidates are in favor of a moratorium on the building of new incinerators in Massachusetts and one is opposed;
  • Five candidates would designate at least 1% of the state budget for environmental protection.
  • With varying stipulations, most candidates supported taxing carbon and pension fund divestment from fossil fuels, and opposed the Keystone XL pipeline.

You can watch or listen to the entire forum, including an introduction by Clean Water Action’s Massachusetts Director, Elizabeth Saunders. 

Sponsors of the Gubernatorial Candidates forum on Energy the Environment and the Innovation Economy:

The Alliance for Business Leadership * Alternatives for Community And Environment * Appalachian Mountain Club * Better Future Project * Boston Harbor Association * Boston Harbor Island Alliance * Ceres * The Charles River Watershed Association * Clean Water Action * Conservation Law Foundation * Environmental Business Council of New England * Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) * Environmental League of Massachusetts * Green Justice Coalition * Livable Streets * Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions * Mass Audubon * Massachusetts Chapter, American Institute of Architects * Massachusetts Climate Action Network * Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters * Massachusetts River Alliance * Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition * Massachusetts Sierra Club * Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance * Mothers Out Front * The Nature Conservancy * Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP) * Sudbury Valley Trustees * Trust for Public Land * Trustees of Reservations


Bye Bye Plastics

San Francisco Supervisor Chiu holds up a plastic water bottled filled with the amount of oil it takes to make just one bottle!

San Francisco Supervisor Chiu holds up a plastic water bottled filled with the amount of oil it takes to make just one bottle!

By Samantha Meyer, Zero Waste Program Manager – Follow the campaign on Twitter: @Rdisposable

It’s already been a big month for cracking down on plastic pollution in California. March 3rd marked a historic day in the fight against plastic bags – San Rafael became the 100th California jurisdiction to ban single-use plastic bags! This is a huge accomplishment since San Francisco became the first city in the nation to ban plastic bags back in 2007.

Recognizing that plastic bag bans are just one of the first steps in curbing our plastic addiction, San Francisco has already made its next move. The Board of Supervisors voted on March 4th to ban the sale of bottled water on city property. Now let’s hope that SB 270 – the statewide plastic bag ban – passes this legislative session and that other cities start banning bottled water!

We’re doing our part too through our ReThink Disposable campaign. We’ve been working with restaurants and cafes around the Bay Area to replace disposable food packaging with real dishes. So far, we’ve gotten great feedback – restaurants are saving money, reducing waste and their customers are happier!

Congrats California – we’re getting closer to kicking the single-use plastic habit. Read the rest of this entry »

Op-ed: CT bill could help keep our children safe from toxins

By Joyce Acebo-Raguskus, Clean Water Action Member and activist with the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut

“America’s children are at risk of becoming the first generation in a century to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.” – Dr. Philip Landrigan, Mt. Sinai Children’s Hospital

This statement should be a wake-up call for all of us. Read the rest of this entry »

Mind the Store, Protect the Customer

mts-logosBy May Woo, Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow

This originally appeared here

With great market power comes great responsibility. Retailers hold the power to choose which products are available to consumers, and what ingredients go into store brand items. With a lack of federal regulation over toxic chemicals in consumer products, retailers have the potential to step in and screen their inventory, and by doing so have a large impact on improving public health and the environment. In support of pressuring retailers to take action, the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow coalition is excited to join other environmental and health organizations in joining the efforts of Mind the Store this spring. Read the rest of this entry »

Keystone XL – Just Say No

By Aaron Haskins, Michigan Energy Program Intern

For years, we have been heard a lot about the Keystone Pipeline. Oil companies like TransCanada continually reassure us that the pipeline will have minimal impact on the environment while creating thousands of jobs for both Americans and Canadians. Those who oppose the pipeline say that it will contaminate drinking water, endanger the environmentally sensitive farmland it passes through, and raise oil prices throughout the Midwestern United States.
Stop Keystone XL by chesapeakeclimate, on Flickr
The proposition for an extension to the pipeline called “Keystone XL” has been hotly debated by economists and politicians for years now, but the project is still in limbo. The northern half of the pipeline would cross the U.S.-Canada border, which means it can’t be built without approval from the Obama administration. Given the controversial nature of the pipeline and the pressure coming from both sides, I am not surprised that a final decision hasn’t been made. I am, however, disappointed that there even needs to be a discussion an either/or debate when it comes to creating jobs and protecting wildlife and the environment.

If Keystone is allowed to move forward, it will indicate America’s commitment to tar sands as a long-term form of energy – which isn’t good. Tar sands are an unconventional form of petroleum proven to be much more polluting than regular oil. Approving a pipeline designed to put tar sands extraction in the express lane would be a sorry symbol of our lack of progress toward clean energy.

Proponents of the extension have argued that the pipeline will not increase harm to the climate or our communities because those tar sands were going to be burned anyway. For them the pipeline merely serves as a more convenient method of transport. Justifying the project using this kind of logic is akin to saying, “I don’t want my friend to drink and drive, but since he’s going to anyway I might as well start his car for him.”

In 2008 (around the time Keystone XL was first proposed), President Obama called on us to “be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil.” Now, it is our turn to call on him to be the president who helped us do it by saying no to Keystone XL.

Clean house at Alcosan

By Tom Hoffman and Emily Alvarado

This post was originally published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Included in the short list of issues that Mayor Bill Peduto raised with President Barack Obama back in November at a meeting of incoming mayors was a request for the Environmental Protection Agency to let Pittsburgh pursue greener solutions to our sewer system “big fix.” Every time it rains, our pipes overflow and we dump raw sewage into the rivers. Fixing our sewer system is both long overdue and federally mandated.

Mayor Peduto gets it: It’s good for communities, workers and the environment if we maximize our area’s largest-ever public investment to stop water pollution and solve multiple community needs at the same time.
Read the rest of this entry »

One simple tip to turn a difficult time of year into something good (for our water)

by Jonathan A. Scott (twitter handle @jscottnh)

Sorry, no tips here for dealing with extreme winter weather or the spring that never seems to come.

This is about the dreaded lead-in to mid-April. Not the Earth Month part of April, or Earth Day itself. Those are great and well worth looking forward to.

No, I mean the blood, sweat and tears of preparing annual income tax returns, which add up to by far this season’s biggest ordeal for many of us, myself included.Soothing Blues

Here’s one way you can reduce some of the painful red and bring some soothing greens and healthy blue colors into the mix. Read the rest of this entry »

“Polluter Pays” Paying Off in Rhode Island – Part 2

By Jamie Rhodes, Rhode Island State Director (Follow Jamie on Twitter – @jrhodes97)

Read part one here

After Southern Union was found guilty of illegally storing mercury in Pawtucket, Judge William E. Smith, in an unprecedented move, in his opinion stated “I am inviting the parties, and the greater environmental community, to suggest community service obligations that I could impose upon Southern Union which would have the broadest possible impact.” Clean Water has been a leader in the Rhode Island community for developing campaigns designed to reduce the use of mercury in products and meters and provide for the safe recycling of items that contain it. A proposal was submitted that would provide us funding to advance efforts to collect mercury thermostats and create a collection program for CFLs, which contain mercury. At the end of 2013, Judge Smith announced that Clean Water would be among the recipients of part of these funds, along with the RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the City of Pawtucket. Read the rest of this entry »

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