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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.

San Francisco Stepping Up to Keep Drugs Out of the Bay

Thanks to the support of our local members who wrote letters to their County Supervisors, San Francisco has passed an ordinance requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to pay for and implement convenient programs for consumers to dispose of unused and out of date medications.  Special thanks also goes to Supervisor London Breed, who led the fight to get the ordinance passed, and the staff at the Department of the Environment who will be implementing the new law.  

In late March, Mayor Ed Lee signed the ordinance into law.   This victory for San Francisco Bay and public safety comes on the heels of a 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals decision upholding a similar ordinance adopted by Alameda County in 2012 against an industry attack.  Not surprisingly, the industry opposed a new ordinance in San Francisco despite the fact that when companies band together and support proper disposal – like they do in Canada – it costs so little per bottle, they haven’t raised drug prices.

Learn more here

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.

NEW Report: Oil Industry waste disposal into unlined pits threatens California's water and air

In the Pits - Oil and Gas Wastewater Disposal into Open Unlined Pits and the Threat to California’s Water and AirClean Water Action has released a new report exposing the threats to air and water from oil wastewater disposal into open-air and unlined pits. Across the Central Valley of California, already the home of severe water shortages, degraded groundwater and the worst air quality in the country, Big Oil is dumping wastewater containing a mixture of harmful chemicals, including volatile organic compounds and heavy metals, into unlined and open-air pits. These pits are designed both to percolate the toxic wastewater into the ground and evaporate it into the air. California water and air regulators have allowed this form of waste disposal despite the fact that they are aware that many of these operations have inadequate and severely out of date permits, and that some are creating huge underground plumes of wastewater that threaten nearby drinking and irrigation water.

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 

Michigan Currents - Fall 2014

Michigan Currents

Fall 2014 Edition 

On the Environment: Snyder Fails

Clean Water Action’s scorecard for Gov. Rick Snyder’s first term highlights his failure to safeguard Michigan’s environment. “As someone who just wants to have their water and drink it too,” says Clean Water Action’s Denny Green, “the Governor couldn’t have done much worse on the environment if he’d tried.”

Gov. Snyder received a failing grade based on actions he took (or failed to take) on fourteen different bills, coming up on the wrong side twelve times. “This subpar performance, nearly a 90% rate of failure, is shameful for the governor of a state literally defined by its Great Lakes,” Green says. 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.

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