Archive for the 'Protecting America’s Waters' Category

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 »

EPA Fracking Assessment: Combining Quality Research with Poor Communication

By John Noël, National Oil & Gas Campaigns Coordinator – Follow John on Twitter (@Noel_Johnny)

It bears repeating: EPA’s just released Assessment on the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources smashes the myth that there can be oil and gas development without impacts to drinking water. We know that fracking is a complex process that poses a complex array of potential risks to drinking water. The Assessment informs actions we need to take to protect drinking water and public health by outlining the numerous vulnerabilities throughout the fracking water lifecycle. Read the rest of this entry »

Pursuing a Passion for Clean Water

By Kaitlyn Lindsey, Clean Water Action Maryland Intern – Follow our Maryland Team on Twitter (@CleanWater_MD)

Hey Clean Water Community! My name is Kaitlyn Lindsey. I am going into my fifth and final year at Towson University where I have been studying Family Science.

I have a passion for helping people. More specifically, my passion is for helping families. I hope to one day make a difference by working with advocacy and policies that affect family life and maybe even go to law school. Read the rest of this entry »

35 Years of Clean Water in Maryland!

Group Photo from Maryland Celebration

Celebration in Baltimore!

By Will Fadely, Baltimore Program Organizer – Follow Will on Twitter (@TrillChillWill)

Clean Water has been organizing and advocating for Maryland’s communities for 35 years now so we decided to throw a party!

Advocates, elected officials, community members, and the like dressed up and came down to Baltimore to honor former Regional Directors, Andy Fellows and Dru Schmidt-Perkins. Read the rest of this entry »

A Clean Water History Lesson

426_EPA_CleanWater_RallySign_03_x1a-1 - smallerBy Jon Scott , Director of Corporate Relations – Follow Jon on Twitter (@JScottNH)

Richard M. Nixon (R) 1969-1974 (1972 Clean Water Act veto over-ridden by Congress, which passed the law and overrode the veto with strong bipartisan support. After veto attempt and unsuccessful attempt to embargo Clean Water Act funding, upholds the Clean Water Act)

Gerald R. Ford (R) 1974-1977 (upholds the Clean Water Act)

Jimmy Carter (D) 1977-1981 (upholds the Clean Water Act) Read the rest of this entry »

#MakeExxonPay More Day of Action

By Alessandro Ciari, former community organizer with Clean Water Action and student, Montclair State University

make exxon pay lobby day 5“Ditch this dirty deal! Ditch this dirty deal!” chanted activists at a Day of Action at the Statehouse in Trenton yesterday. Environmental activists joined hundreds of concerned residents for a lobby day and rally against the egregious ExxonMobil settlement which lets the company off the hook for paying for over 100 years of pollution in New Jersey.

“Governor Christie – Don’t Sell Us Out to Exxon! Don’t Sell Us Out to Exxon!” intoned the audience with signs that read “Make Polluters Pay” and “Protect Your Future.”

make exxon pay lobby day 2These calls for action aren’t unwarranted. The State of New Jersey and Exxon have been in court for years over the cleanup of the Bayway and Bayonne refineries. The court found ExxonMobile liable for damages originally estimated at $8.9 billion, yet the Christie Administration has decided to settle the groundbreaking case for only $225 million. That adds up to only 3 cents on the dollar!

The $8.9 billion estimate included removal of oil and chemical pollution in order to properly restore the wetlands, waterways and habitat that existed on the site before ExxonMobil’s pollution. The $225 million in the proposed settlement will not come close to covering the costs associated with restoring and replacing the lost resources at these sites.

It gets worse. The proposed settlement also permits Exxon to meet weaker cleanup standards at the Linden Bayway refinery and waives Exxon’s liability at 16 other industrial sites and over 800 gas stations across the state.

make exxon pay lobby day 1At the rally, activists discussed what the settlement means for the people of New Jersey:

“Governor Christie’s shady backroom deal with Exxon would give the world class polluter an $8 billion windfall while forcing working families to pick up the tab,” said Analilia Mejia, Executive Director of NJ Working Families.

“We are here to prevent the settlement from going forward and do the job that DEP is supposed to do, which is to make polluters pay what they are supposed to pay,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the NJ Sierra Club. “We are here to make sure this could never happen again.”

And legislators we are proud to call our allies showed up at the rally to show their outrage as well. Senator Ray Lesniak and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson and John McKeon took the podium declaring their support for a measure (SCR163/ACR230) that would ensure money from Natural Resource Damage litigation would go to remediating and restoring the polluted sites.

make exxon pay lobby day 3After the incredible speeches of our leaders and legislators, the people banded together to march from the historic West State street down to East State street to deliver over 60,000 petitions to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offices.

“The public has been loud and clear in rejecting Governor Christie’s sweetheart deal with Exxon,” said David Pringle, New Jersey Campaign Director for Clean Water Action. “In my hand, I hold tens of thousands of handwritten letters we will now personally deliver to the DEP!”

The department and a judge will soon formally submit a settlement, which could be heavily influenced by industrial polluters. That’s why we need everyone to speak out for clean water and our health! Tell the NJDEP to reject the outrageous settlement – written comments can be submitted electronically to with the subject “ExxonMobil Bayway Settlement.

Just Released Fracking Study is First Step in “Putting Drinking Water First”

By Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director – Follow Lynn of Twitter (@LTCWA)

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaited draft Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil & Gas on Drinking Water Resources. For anyone who cares about drinking water, this is big news. The Assessment includes literature review and new research on dozens of topics related to how fracking threatens drinking water.

Spoiler alert: As my colleague John Noël says in our press statement here: The Assessment smashes the myth that there can be oil and gas development without impacts to drinking water. Fracking is a complex process that poses a complex array of potential risks to drinking water. The Study lets us know what we need to do to protect drinking water and public health by outlining the numerous vulnerabilities throughout the fracking water lifecycle. Read the rest of this entry »

Looking at the Clean Water Rule through a Trout’s window

Eastern Brook trout. Credit: USFWS

Eastern Brook trout. Credit: USFWS

By Chris Bathurst, National Canvass Coordinator

I live and fish in Western Massachusetts. I am particularly interested in native Brook Trout, which I have fished for more than 25 years. These beautiful creatures require very specific conditions to thrive. The presence of Brook Trout is an indicator as to the cleanliness and health of both the surrounding and upstream environment. Over the last 25 years of wading streams I have learned that all water, no matter how small the stream, eventually connects and influences the larger branch to which it flows. And it is the Trout that taught me. Read the rest of this entry »

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