toxics

The Aquifer Exemption Program

Executive Summary

A little known provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Underground Injection Control (UIC) program allows certain oil and gas and mining activity to occur in groundwater that would otherwise be protected as a drinking water source. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the program in the early days of SDWA implementation to respond to oil and gas interests who cited SDWA language which states that EPA “may not prescribe requirements for state UIC programs which interfere with or impede” the injection of fluids associated with oil and gas production. Extraction proponents argued that certain energy extraction activities would not be able to continue if all underground sources of drinking water everywhere were protected. As a result, an aquifer is now eligible for an exemption if it meets certain regulatory criteria.

Regulating Oil & Gas Activities to Protect Drinking Water

When the U.S. Congress first passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)  in 1974,  it authorized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a program to protect vital under- ground drinking water resources from risks of industrial activities in which fluid is injected
into the ground. However, Congress also included language mandating that EPA not “interfere with or impede” oil and gas production unless it is “absolutely essential” in order to protect underground sources of drinking water.

The regulatory and legislative history of the SDWA Underground Injection Control Program (UIC) demonstrates the impact of this language on the UIC program’s evolution.

Austin Runoff Election Endorsements

Happy holidays! Please join Clean Water in celebrating democracy and the holidays by voting in the Austin mayoral and city council runoff elections! Early voting lasts through Friday December 12, and election day is Tuesday December 16.

Clean Water Members lplayed a key role electing Ann Kitchen, Kathie Tovo, and Delia Garza in November, and helped carry most of our other endorsed council candidates into these runoffs.

We need your help to finish the job!

Clean Water Action Endorses:

Holding the Task Force Accountable

The Colorado Oil and Gas Task Force was appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper in August of 2014. The 21-member Task Force is comprised of an equal number of representatives from the oil and gas industry, the environmental and impacted communities, and a group of neutral experts. They are responsible for making a series of policy recommendations to the State Legislature concerning the surface impacts of oil and gas development and concerning other residential impacts.

Protecting Marylanders from Crude Oil-by-Rail Shipments

oil train derailment WVThe volume of crude oil carried by rail increased 423% between 2011 and 2012 and continued to increase in 2013, surpassing 400,000 rail carloads. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) acknowledged the imminent danger crude-by-rail poses.  However, as crude-by-rail traffic has increased, so have accidents, posing significant risks to life, property and the environment. A recent derailment in Lynchburg, VA, spilled and burned an estimated 50,000 gallons of crude, setting the James River on fire, occurred at 23mph[i].

5 Simple Things that Governor Tom Wolf can do for Pennsylvania’s Environment

In the last four years, Governor Corbett and the Pennsylvania House and Senate have made repeated attacks on environmental protection and sought to maximize the profits of the gas, oil and coal industries at the expense of Pennsylvania’s health and safety.

Your Vote is Your Voice - General Elections Endorsements in New Hampshire

Clean Water Action has endorsed Jeanne Shaheen for re-election to the US Senate and Annie Kuster for re-election to the US House of Representatives.

All three have 100% pro environment voting records on Clean Water Action’s recent legislative Scorecard.  Sen. Shaheen in particular has been a leader in pushing for more efficient use of energy to fight climate change, spearheading a bi-partisan bill to promote energy efficiency.

Colorado Currents - Fall 2014

Colorado Currents

Fall 2014 Edition 

Blue Ribbon Oil and Gas Task Force Gets Underway

In August, Governor Hickenlooper announced the creation of the state commissioned Blue Ribbon Oil and Gas Task Force. The Task force is charged with making policy recommendations focused on state and local regulations of oil and gas operations. The task force is comprised of an equal number of representatives from affected communities, the environmental community, civic organizations, agriculture, and the oil and gas industry. The task force will make its policy recommendations in late February 2015.

The creation of the task force was the result of a compromise between two ballot initiative campaigns proposing both pro- and anti-oil and gas amendments to the Colorado constitution. Rep. Jared Polis was backing two of these initiatives. One would have given local governments more control over oil and gas development within their borders. The second initiative would have mandated a 2,000 foot setback rule — keeping drill sites at least 2,000 feet from homes. Additionally, the oil and gas industry was offering two ballot initiatives that would have taken local control away from municipalities and blocked communities attempting to regulate oil and gas operations from receiving oil and gas tax revenues. Read more 

2013 - 2014 Pennslyvania Environmental Scorecard

Clean Water Action, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, and the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter released the joint Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard in October 2014.

This report scores all state legislators on key environmental votes cast during the 2013 - 2014 Legislative Session and whether those votes supported protection of the public and the environment.

Click here to view or download the scorecard.

PA Groups Release Scorecard on State Legislators’ Environmental Votes

State Legislators Receive Scores on Votes Affecting Climate Change, Enforcement of Environmental Protection Laws and Giveaways to Gas Drillers


(Harrisburg) – Three leading citizen-based environmental organizations released today the joint Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard, which scores state legislators on key environmental votes cast during the 2013 - 2014 Legislative Session.

Clean Water Action, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, and the Sierra Club graded lawmakers in the state House of Representatives and state Senate on whether their votes on important legislation supported protection of the public and the environment.
Published On: 
10/16/2014 - 07:01
Syndicate content