Archive for the 'Protecting America’s Waters' Category


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

Family, friends, coffee (especially this time of year), clean water. That’s my list right now.

What’s yours?

Most of us have been focused on other things the past few days (and rightly so!).

But here’s the thing –  now is a great time to re-focus on protecting clean water, no matter where it is on your list. Will you make your tax-deductible clean water gift today?Checklist_owl

You know that clean water is fundamental. But did you know your financial support has never been more important? It will ensure that we start 2016 off right and that we can make sure that putting drinking water first is on the top of everyone’s list to start the new year.

Whether it’s winning the fighting to protect streams and wetlands, getting toxic chemicals out of everyday products or protecting communities from oil and gas development, your support will make sure that protecting clean water is the number one priority in 2016.

Donate now, while there’s still time. You’ll be glad you did.

  • Bob Wendelgass, President and CEO

Keep Us on Keepin’ On

by Andrea Herrmann, Director of Development

It's clear, sustaining gifts protect clean water all year long.It doesn’t happen overnight.

And it takes a movement.

Winning the fight to protect clean water, safeguarding communities from the threats of oil and gas extraction, and putting drinking water first is an ongoing mission. With each breakthrough we find another threat to our water, our health and our communities.

And that’s where you come in. You can make sure Clean Water has the ongoing funding needed to win by making your sustaining, monthly gift today.

Monthly gifts ensure a steady stream of support for research and policy work, organizing our neighbors one-on-one and inspiring them to take action, and so much more. Plus, a sustaining gift makes things easy for you. Make your monthly (or quarterly) gift now, and you will support Clean Water throughout the year without having to do anything else.

Your sustaining gift will make sure Clean Water can keep on keeping on, protecting clean water throughout 2016 and beyond!

Streams and Wetlands: 3, Polluters: 0

National_CWR_YearEnd_BudgetUpdate_Meme_WinterStreamBy Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director – On Twitter: @LTCWA

Thanks to support and action by Clean Water Action members, we once again fended off Congressional attacks on clean water and other important protections. The spending bill Congress approved last week did not include any of the nearly 200 anti-environmental provisions that were on the table.

We are especially happy that yet again, we beat opponents of the common-sense Clean Water Rule. That’s three times in just over a month that polluter allies in Congress tried to block protections for streams, wetlands and drinking water sources. And three times they failed. Read the rest of this entry »

One thing we can’t do without

Without Clean Water There is No Beer!

We were working recently with Hugh Sisson and his team at Heavy Seas Beer, trying to come up with the right labeling to include on cases of his company’s craft beer during 2016, when Heavy Seas’ case sales will generate donations for Clean Water Fund’s programs to protect clean water in seventeen states and the District of Columbia, as well as in the region where the beer is brewed.

Our suggestion included the wording “You need clean water to brew great beer.” Hugh came back with something much stronger, and that’s what we’ll be going with. Here’s how Hugh tells it in a recent email to Clean Water members and supporters.

Hugh’s message: “I support clean water for one simple reason. Without Clean Water, There is No Beer!”Heavy Seas

You don’t have to be a scientist or a hard-core environmentalist to get the connection between clean water and great beer. As founder of an award winning craft beer company, I know my business depends on clean water for its success. My employees care about clean water, in part because their jobs depend on it. My customers care about clean water, too, and I know they expect me to do the same.

Of course, beer isn’t the only reason to care about clean water. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, where you work or live, or who your customers are. We all care about clean water and want to see it protected. Read the rest of this entry »

California green lighted more irrigation with oil wastewater

oil well, almond trees, shafter, clouds

By Andrew Grinberg, California Oil and Gas Program Manager – On Twitter, @AndrewBGrinberg

Last week, regulators approved the expanded use of oil wastewater for irrigation of crops in Kern County.

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board), unanimously approved a Waste Discharge Requirement (WDR) permit for California Resources Corporation (CRC) to sell 21,200 acre feet (6.9 million gallons) of oil and gas wastewater from the Kern Front Oil Field to the North Kern Water Storage District annually. The produced water will be distributed to farmers for irrigation and used for groundwater recharge, despite significant questions about the safety of this practice, and lack of any established protocols for monitoring or treatment. The Regional Board acted without adequate information and the permit approval did not follow appropriate process, leaving serious questions about the safety of this practice unanswered.

California Resources Corporation site Location MapThe clearest inadequacy of this permit is the safety of using produced water for irrigation has never been scientifically vetted. A review of the literature on this topic turns up a dearth of information. There are open questions about whether oil and gas associated chemicals could bioaccumulate in crops and threaten food safety, as well as the long term impacts on groundwater from irrigation or groundwater recharge with produced water. The risks have not been assessed and the appropriate monitoring and reporting requirements may not be in place.

The Pacific Institute, in a paper published this month, recommends that “Scientists should conduct a study to determine what level, if any, of chemicals in oil-field wastes is safe for farmworkers, animals, and consumers,”. The paper notes the absence of statewide standards for ensuring safety of the practice and advises that,  “Regional water boards should not issue new permits for the reuse of oil-field wastewater for irrigation until the risks have been comprehensively assessed and appropriate monitoring and reporting requirements put in place.” Read the rest of this entry »

Huh? Governor’s Water Commission declares an end to climate change in 2050!

California Aqueduct - smaller

By Jennifer Clary, Program Manager

“After 2050, climate conditions shall be assumed to remain at 2050 conditions.”

Excerpt from draft regulations for Water System Investment Program, as approved by the California Water Commissioner December 16, 2015

On December 16, the California Water Commission, which is administering $2.7 billion in bonds for water storage projects, forwarded draft regulations guiding that expenditure to the Office of Administrative Law for public review. The draft regulations are wholly inadequate. Among the many problems is that the project managers will only need to calculate climate change impacts on the projects until 2050. This is deeply flawed. Surface and groundwater projects can be expected to last decades beyond 2050, and the impacts from climate change even longer. What this decision means is that projects that are disproportionately affected by climate change – such as new dams – will receive high scores, while those that make us more climate resilient – such as new groundwater storage – may not receive funding. How could a Commission charged with such an important task make such a blunder, just one week after the Paris climate change accord?

The allocation of $2.7 billion to storage projects was the most contentious part of the water bond (Proposition 1) approved by voters in 2014. This was because of the potential that this funding would be used to build environmentally damaging and costly dams. Additionally Proposition 1 is being appropriated without the legislative or budget oversight required of other funding sources. Instead, only the Water Commission will ensure that these funds are invested in a cost effective and environmentally beneficial manner.

Unfortunately, many of the current Commissioners seem unable or unwilling to act in the public interest. The approval of the weak final draft regulations came after months of public stakeholder meetings, two previous drafts, and a month after the Commissioners claimed that they would spend the December meeting fully vetting the draft regulations. But only one Commissioner, Paula Daniels, came prepared to do her job. The remaining Commissioners (excluding Commissioner Herrera, absent for a family emergency) provided a variety of excuses including

  • Not reviewing meeting materials in advance;
  • A reluctance to make edits at a public meeting (after promising at prior meetings to do just that)
  • The inability of three commissioners to stay for the entire meeting, resulting in a loss of quorum and the inability to continue the hearing.
  • An expressed interest in accepting staff recommendations with no changes.

Commissioner Daniels, visibly frustrated at her fellow commissioners’ lack of preparedness, insisted on reviewing and seeking a vote on each of her proposed changes and was able to make some changes. However most of her edits, including those related to the impacts of climate change, were rejected.

These commissioners will be responsible for handing out $2.7 billion in taxpayer funds beginning in 2017. Yet they can’t follow their own governor’s lead in requiring careful climate change planning, and they can’t be bothered to attend a full meeting before the public or review material to prepare. How can we trust these Commissioners to make good investment decisions for California?

Next steps: the regulations as adopted by the Commission will be submitted to the Office of Administrative Law, who will release them for a 45-day public review and comment period in early 2016. The Commission will be required to approve the final draft of the regulations and will have the opportunity to make changes.

Scientists Agree EPA’s Assessment on Fracking and Drinking Water Needs Revision

Oil and Water Don't mix

Photo: Andrew Grinberg

By John Noël, National Oil and Gas Coordinator – On Twitter: @Noel_Johnny

EPA’s multi-year multimillion-dollar study of the impacts of fracking on drinking water on resources is important and will inform the debate around expanded oil and gas development for years to come. However, for it to be truly useful, some critical revisions need to be made to the top-line conclusions.

Clean Water Action and our allies have long been calling for a retraction of the statements that seemingly discount the multitude of vulnerabilities, documented impacts and widespread uncertainty described in the body of the report. Specifically this sweeping statement:

“We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States…….The number of identified cases, however, was small compared to the number of hydraulically fractured wells.

The good news is the Science Advisory Board Panel tasked with reviewing the Assessment agrees, as highlighted in their individual comments. This confirms it is not just NGOs and impacted communities who are confused and concerned with draft Assessment. Many people impacted by fracking rightly feel betrayed by EPA’s unsupported yet widely reported comment, which will no doubt continued to be taken out of context by policymakers as a way to negate the real impacts of oil and gas development. Read the rest of this entry »

Go With What Works

Watch the video to fnd out why Any supports Clean Water - and donate today!

By Andy Bauer, Clean Water Action Board Member

A friend of mine once said that your environment is wherever you are.  Clean Water understands that we have to work to protect it.

When toxic emissions from CT’s Sooty Six power plants were sending people to hospitals, Clean Water worked to clean them up.

That’s the year I became a huge fan of Clean Water Fund and Clean Water Action.

They have history – leading the campaign to create the Clean Water Act  more than forty years ago because water where we swim, fish, and what we drink. This year Clean Water fought to ensure Clean Water Act protection for small streams and tributaries.

I’m a Clean Water Action board member and a donor because I believe in the good works they do.  

Please join me and make a tax-deductible donation to Clean Water Fund before December 31st. Read the rest of this entry »

Drinking Water News – Protecting Public Health and Your Drinking Water

By Lynn Thorp, Campaigns Director – On Twitter, @LTCWA

Today’s release of the fourth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule won’t make headline news, but it is an important piece of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) work to implement the Safe Drinking Water Act and to protect public health. Two weeks ago, EPA also published Algal Toxin Risk Assessment and Management Strategic Plan for Drinking Water. These actions are connected not only by their relationship to drinking water research and potential regulation, but by what they tell us about opportunities to prevent drinking water contamination. For Clean Water Action, any opportunity to Put Drinking Water First by understanding and preventing pollution in the first place is a headline.

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires EPA to develop a list of unregulated contaminants for which more monitoring is needed to determine how often and how much they are present in drinking water. The Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR), created by the 1996 SDWA amendments, is an important part of the research needed to determine whether a contaminant should be regulated under SDWA. After a public participation process, EPA will review and finalize the list and monitoring will begin in2018.   Some examples of what’s on the proposed UCMR list:

  • Bromide: Bromide is of increasing concern in our work on coal plant water pollution and oil and gas drilling. During the drinking water treatment process, bromide can react with other substances to produce harmful “disinfection byproducts.” We need to understand how much bromide is in which drinking water sources while we work to prevent this contamination in the first place.
  • Disinfection byproducts: The UCMR list includes 3 currently unregulated disinfection byproducts. Bromide is one factor in formation of all three.
  • Cyanotoxins: Cyanotoxins are produced by Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and some cyanotoxins pose public health risk in drinking water. The drinking water disruption in Toledo, Ohio last year was caused by cyanotoxins produced by an HAB outbreak. There are ten cyanotoxins on the proposed UCMR list.

Clean Water Action will participate in the public process around the UCMR proposal but we will also be looking at proposed UCMR contaminants through another lens. We know enough about each of these contaminants in drinking water to be concerned. As monitoring goes forward, is there something we should be doing to keep these contaminants out of drinking water in the first place?

That’s why we were pleased to see emphasis on source water protection in EPAs Algal Toxin Risk Assessment and Management Strategic Plan for Drinking Water. The presence of ten cyanotoxins on today’s proposed UCMR list indicates we need to take these chemicals seriously. But we know we can’t solve this problem only in our drinking water treatment plants.

Shopping Frenzy

by Jonathan A. Scott, Clean Water Action’s Director of Corporate Relations, on twitter @jscottnh

By now, you and everyone else online, has been buried in shopping promotions. Here are my personal tips, as someone who’s been part of Clean Water Action for more than 30 years:JonMeme

  1. Shop smarter, greener. Whenever possible, I try to buy local, from people and businesses in my community. I rely on Fair Trade and Organic certification to help make sure my purchases are better for people and the planet. Or, and this is a radical idea, I don’t buy anything at all.
  2. Make your online purchases count. Our partners at have a great app that works automatically with your internet browser to generate micro-donations that really add up for Clean Water Action (at no cost to you). With hundreds of thousands of users, those donations really add up. Join them by following these easy steps.
  3. Sign up and help us win. A new sweepstakes from offers you the chance to win a $500 travel voucher to fly anywhere this holiday season and other great prizes including big cash $$. If you win Clean Water Action wins a donation too. Enter here, and get additional chances to win with the online shopping app and by sharing with friends.
  4. Shortcut to savings. has curated a great collection of Black Friday and CyberMonday savings. This link takes you direct to online Black Friday deals where your purchases benefit Clean Water Action. Cyber Monday deals for online purchases via this link (which goes live on Monday) will also benefit Clean Water Action. If you’re going to be buying online anyway, why not do it to help our great cause.

Remember, the choices you make about what, when, where, how and whether to buy something at all can have great impact for good. We know you will choose wisely.

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