National

Tell Congress to Protect Communities from Toxic Coal Ash

No community should have to worry about arsenic, lead, hexavalent chromium or other toxic metals poisoning their drinking water because of reckless coal ash dumping.  Yet polluters and their friends in Congress want to make it harder for communities to protect themselves from harmful coal ash pollution. Don't let this happen - act now!

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.

You + Me + Congress = Action on Climate and Energy Legislation!

post by Christine LeMieux, Global Warming and Energy Programs Coordinator

While media headlines as of late are dominated by the latest healthcare happenings on the Hill, progress on climate and energy legislation continues. Both issues are related to critical questions about how we will take care of our public health and our economy in the coming decades. Over the past month, 6 Senate committees have held hearings and action is expected after Congress returns from recess in September. 

Annual Report - 2014

There’s a very good reason the cover of our latest Annual Report (2014) features what we like to think of as a “happy picture.” You’ll understand what I’m talking about when you check out the Big Win for Our Water article.
It’s nice to know that we’re making progress and that there’s good news to report from time to time -- despite having our hands full with a Congress whose leaders seem determined to undermine our most fundamental environmental and health protections.

Yes, 2014 brought good news for our water, and, so far, 2015 is continuing that momentum. The Obama Administration’s Clean Water Rule, finalized this spring, will go a long way to close Clean Water Act loopholes, restoring protections for small streams, wetlands and drinking water.
Abstract: 
There’s a very good reason the cover of our latest Annual Report (2014) features what we like to think of as a “happy picture.” You’ll understand what I’m talking about when you check out the Big Win for Our Water article.
It’s nice to know that we’re making progress and that there’s good news to report from time to time -- despite having our hands full with a Congress whose leaders seem determined to undermine our most fundamental environmental and health protections.

Yes, 2014 brought good news for our water, and, so far, 2015 is continuing that momentum. The Obama Administration’s Clean Water Rule, finalized this spring, will go a long way to close Clean Water Act loopholes, restoring protections for small streams, wetlands and drinking water.

As we wrote in the report, we view this victory and the positive momentum we see coming in its wake as a case study for how our signature program strategies can offer progress and hope in the most challenging of circumstances. To put it another way, we couldn’t have done this without you.

We’re in this for the long haul, and having you as part of our team, makes it all possible.
Thanks for all you do for our water, now and for the future.

Yours for clean water,

Robert Wendelgass, President & CEO
Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund

11 Environmental Groups Oppose Energy Bill as Drafted - 7-27-15

Alaska wilderness league *American Rivers * Clean Water Action * Defenders of Wildlife * Earthjustice * Environmental Defense Fund * Friends of the Earth * GreenLatinos * League of Conservation Voters * Natural Resources Defense Council * Sierra Club

July 27, 2015 (Download the letter here)

U.S. House Guts EPA Coal Ash Rule

Washington, DC - Tonight, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1734 which weakens the Environmental Protection Agency's recently issued coal ash rule. Clean Water Action Water Programs Director, Jennifer Peters, released the following statement:

Published On: 
07/22/2015 - 15:54

Oppose H.R. 1599, the improperly-named “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015.”

Clean Water Action * Earthjustice * Environment America Friends of the Earth * Greenpeace * League of Conservation Voters Natural Resources Defense Council * Sierra Club

July 21, 2015 (Download the letter here)

11 Enviro Orgs Call on Changes to Energy Print and Raise Concerns over Specific Provisions

Center for Biological Diversity * Clean Water Action * Earthjustice * Environment America
Friends of the Earth * GreenLatinos * League of Conservation Voters
Natural Resources Defense Council * Public Citizen * Sierra Club * Southern Environmental Law Center

July 21, 2015 (Download the letter here)

House and Senate: Restore Environmental Funding and Reject Damaging Riders to FY 2016 Interior, Environment, Appropriations

Alaska Wilderness League • American Bird Conservancy • American Rivers Association of Partners for Public Lands • Audubon Society • Center for Food Safety Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice • Center for Sustainable Communities
Clean Water Action • Defenders of Wildlife • Earth Day Network • Earthjustice • Earthworks Endangered Species Coalition • Energy Action Coalition • Environment America Environmental Defense Fund • Environmental Investigation Agency
Epic-Environmental Protection Information Center • Friends of the Earth Interfaith Power & Light • International Forum on Globalization • Klamath Forest Alliance KyotoUSA • League of Conservation Voters • Los Padres ForestWatch
National Parks Conservation Association • Natural Resources Defense Council
New Energy Economy • Oceana • Rachel Carson Council • Sierra Club Southern Environmental Law Center • Southern Oregon Climate Action Now Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance • The Wilderness Society

July 20, 2015 (Download the letter here)

Dear Mr. President, Senators and Representatives:

On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, we write to emphasize the importance of restoring funding for environmental programs and avoiding environmentally damaging policy riders in the FY16 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bills.

Both the House and Senate Interior and Environment Appropriations bills are deeply flawed, and we view recent developments stalling those harmful bills as an opportunity to entirely revisit the FY16 Interior appropriations process. We urge both chambers not to move forward with these bills that undermine popular environmental investments and bedrock environmental laws through dozens of drastic policy riders.

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