Archive for the 'Protecting America’s Waters' Category

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 »

Facing global issues with community based work

By Andrew Van, Rhode Island Summer Intern

The West End of Providence was a treasure trove of potential when I first walked through it, vacant lots occupied every street, curbs were wide and dilapidated and unused impervious surfaces were abundant: the ideal community for green infrastructure. My imagination ran wild; I would walk around and envision small rain gardens or massive pedestrian refuges in the streets. I was full of optimism; I had high hopes for the community and believed that we could make a real difference. Read the rest of this entry »

Feet First on Water

Kids Get It image for blogBy Susan Eastwood, Connecticut Communications Manager

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with a group of fifth graders at the IB School in West Hartford, CT who had chosen to study water issues. They invited me to address some tough questions – “Why should we save water when we have plenty of clean water? How does this help those who are without adequate water supplies? Will using more or less water in West Hartford make any difference? “

This made me think. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth saves several gallons of water, but how will that help women and girls in Botswana who must walk miles for a bucket of water for their families? Good question! It is very true that you can’t ship our extra water overseas! Read the rest of this entry »

Fracking: It’s Complicated and Industry Would like to Keep It That Way

Oil and Gas Operations

Oil and Gas Operations

By John Noël, National Oil & Gas Campaigns Coordinator, @noel_johnny

Last month two reports were released highlighting the nuances that don’t appear in oil and gas industry PR campaigns. First, is the conventional idea that fracking always occurs far below the surface many miles beneath any aquifer. This separation between the actual fracking of the rock and aquifers, we are told, is the key to protecting potential sources of drinking water. However, a new study from Robert Jackson and his Stanford research team indicates that not all fracking takes place deep underground. In fact, 16% of all the wells analyzed in FracFocus are fracked under one mile from the surface. This is unsettling because the volumes of water and chemicals used to frack a shallow well are virtually “indistinguishable” from the volumes used in deeper wells. Naturally, we expect there be a more rigorous set of drilling and monitoring requirements for these little known shallow frack jobs, but alas there are not. In reality only two states have tailored requirements for shallow wells. Read the rest of this entry »

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