Archive for the 'Protecting America’s Waters' Category

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 »

Protecting Clean Water for All of the Water Bugs

water bug 1

By Becky Smith, Massachusetts Campaigns Director

My little water bug took her inaugural canoe ride on Saturday, May 23rd, just a few weeks before her first birthday. We paddled the waters of the “mighty Nemasket River” which wasn’t exactly mighty, but still a huge adventure for us that sunny day in Southeastern Massachusetts!

On our paddle, we hit a few rough spots of fast water, portaged over a couple of dams, and I shielded her face from several branches while taking a beating of my own. She came out smiling every time! I did not have to protect her from dangerous, dirty water, however, because we were in a river that has long been protected by the Clean Water Act, though it is a small tributary to the larger Taunton River. Read the rest of this entry »

EPA Clean Water Rule: Minnesota will now be the Land of 10,000 Cleaner Lakes

By Steve Schultz, Minnesota Program Organizer

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, and water is an integral part of any Minnesota summer – cannonballs off the dock, mornings on the lake fishing, afternoons on the pontoon, lazy days at the beach. Minnesotans value our water for so many reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Clean Water Rule = Critical to Maryland

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

Having a healthy water source is critical to our economy. From agriculture, to wildlife, to craft brewing, and clean tech, clean water is the lifeblood to it all. Headwater and seasonal streams feed the drinking water sources of two out of every three Marylanders. In some jurisdictions, like Baltimore City, every resident relies on these streams for their drinking water. But these streams have been at risk for more than a decade.

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers (the agencies) changed all of that when they finalized the long awaited Clean Water Rule. The Clean Water Rule closes loopholes and ensures that all tributary streams, regardless of size or frequency of flow are covered under the Clean Water Act. It will restore protections to thousands miles of streams and thousands of acres of wetlands. It is a huge step in the fight to protect clean water. Read the rest of this entry »

A Big Win for Our Water in Maryland

Daniel Niles and Troiano Rivera, Maryland field organizers – Follow our MD team on Twitter (@CleanWater_MD)

As field organizers with Clean Water Action, we inform residents about environmental issues and ask them to contact elected officials to take action. We have been working on the most important water campaign since the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972. And this week we had a huge victory – the Obama administration finalized the Clean Water Rule. The Clean Water Rule will restore protections for the drinking water for 2 in 3 Marylanders and safeguard the streams and wetlands that are vital to communities, wildlife, and small businesses throughout Maryland.

Speaking to residents around the state, especially in Baltimore, we find that protecting clean water is hugely popular. Over the years, Clean Water Action campaigns to restore clean water protections have garnered hundreds of thousands of public comments. The message from the public is the same — our water comes first. This isn’t surprising – a recent poll found that 80% of Americans support Read the rest of this entry »

The Health of Virginia’s Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay Depends on the Clean Water Rule

By Michael Bochynski, Virginia Program Organizer – Follow Our Virginia Team on Twitter (@CleanWaterVA)

This week we are celebrating the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Water Rule, which restores Clean Water Act protections to tributary streams and wetlands. The release of the rule will ensure that polluters must get a permit to limit the amount of pollution that can be dumped into Virginia’s waterways, thereby protecting the quality and health of downstream rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Read the rest of this entry »

Victory for Our Water Is Sweet

By Miriam Gordon, California State Director – Follow Miriam on Twitter (@CleanH2OMiriam)

Yesterday’s announcement by US EPA that it has finalized its rulemaking and restored Clean Water Act protections for drinking water sources that serve 117 million Americans is nothing short of historic.

I can remember when I first came to Clean Water Action, at the end of 2008. Our big campaign was restoring the Clean Water Act – we called it CWARA back then. In 2008, as I learned about the opposition that was engaged to stop EPA from a rule-making to clarify what waters would be protected under the Clean Water Act, it seemed crazy to me  that we even had to fight this fight. Isn’t protecting the waters that support our “navigable” waterways a no-brainer? Didn’t everyone know that America’s drinking water sources are all connected to a large network of streams, rivers, and groundwater that feed them?  Read the rest of this entry »

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