Tell Congress: No Polluter Giveaways

Last year thousands of Clean Water members like you joined more than 800,000 Americans to call for strong safeguards for our nation’s streams and wetlands. Thanks to you, we won big for our water

Unfortunately some in Congress want to block the biggest step forward for clean water protections in more than a decade.  Contact your members of Congress today and tell them to stand with people, not polluters!

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. 

Senate: Oppose SJ Res 23 and 24

November 16, 2015

Dear Senator,

On behalf of our millions of members, the undersigned organizations urge you to oppose Senators McConnell and Capito’s Congressional Review Act resolutions of disapproval (S.J. Res. 23 and 24) that would permanently block the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

These resolutions are an extreme assault on public health, the clean energy economy, and modernizing our energy sector. The Clean Power Plan puts in place commonsense limits on power plant carbon pollution, developed with the input of thousands of stakeholders, and provides the flexibility states need to develop their own plans to meet pollution reduction targets. Blocking these commonsense safeguards puts polluter profits before the health of our children.

Clean Water Action Applauds President's Keystone XL Decision

Today the President rejected the Keystone XL pipeline proposal. Clean Water Action National Oil & Gas Campaigns Coordinator John Noel released this statement:

"Today the Obama Administration stood with landowners, farmers, and Native American communities to protect our water and the people in the path of the Keystone XL pipeline. There is no upside, no "national interest" to a pipeline that carries the dirtiest oil on the planet through the nation's heartland; there is only the risk of catastrophe - to our ground and surface water from an inevitable spill and to the climate from increased carbon pollution. As the Environmental Protection Agency noted in its review, the Keystone XL would significantly increase emissions from tar sands. It fails the President's 'climate change test.'

Published On: 
11/06/2015 - 11:43

The Dirty Water Caucus Strikes Back: Clean Water Action Statement on S.J. Res. 22

A day after failing to advance S.1140, “The Federal Water Quality Protection Act,” the Senate today passed S.J. Res. 22 to permanently block the Clean Water Rule.  The Obama administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy yesterday that recommended a veto of S.J. Res. 22 if it is presented to the President.

Bob Wendelgass, President and CEO of Clean Water Action, released this statement:

Published On: 
11/04/2015 - 13:17

The Dirty Water Act Fails

Today the Senate failed to advance S 1140, a bill that would have blocked the Clean Water Rule and forced the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to restart the rulemaking process. The Clean Water Rule finalized by the Agencies earlier this year restored important protections against pollution and destruction for streams, lakes, wetlands and other vital water resources.

Bob Wendelgass, President and CEO of Clean Water Action, released this statement:

"The millions of Americans who care about commonsense clean water protections won today. Thanks to clean water champs in the Senate, the Dirty Water Act failed to move forward. This is a huge victory for our water and communities across the country. 

Published On: 
11/03/2015 - 12:11

Senators: Oppose S.J. Res. 2s (November 2015)

American Rivers • American Whitewater • Amigos de los Ríos • California River Watch • Californians for Alternatives to Toxics • Clean Water Action • Conodoguinet Creek Watershed Assn • Earthjustice • Endangered Habitats League • Greenpeace • Gulf Restoration Network • League of Conservation Voters•  Maryland Conservation Council • Midwest Environmental Advocates • Missouri Coalition for the Environment • Natural Resources Defense Council • Ohio Wetlands Association • Prairie Rivers Network • Sierra Club • Southern Environmental Law Center • Surfrider Foundation • Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, Inc. • WESPAC Foundation

November 2, 2015 (Download this letter here)


The undersigned organizations, and our millions of members and supporters, oppose the Dirty Water Resolution (S.J. Res. 22). The “Resolution of Disapproval” under the Congressional Review Act attacks the Clean Water Rule, the Obama administration’s landmark initiative to restore safeguards against pollution and destruction for lakes, streams, wetlands and other water bodies.

The Clean Water Rule restores important safeguards that once existed for a variety of water bodies. Those safeguards were eroded after a pair of Supreme Court decisions and by policies the Bush administration adopted, which left many water bodies inadequately protected or lacking the pollution control requirements of the Clean Water Act. The rule restores prior protections for many critical wetlands, which curb flooding, filter pollution, and provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, including endangered species and wildfowl and fish prized by hunters and anglers.

Letter to the Senate: Reject SB 1140

Alliance for the Great Lakes · American Canoe Association · American Rivers · BlueGreen Alliance · Bluestem Communications · California River Watch · Central Ohio Watershed Council · Clean Water Action · Clean Up the River Environment · Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation · Defenders of Wildlife · Earthjustice · Endangered Habitats League · Environment America · Florida Wildlife Federation · GreenLatinos · Greenpeace · Gulf Restoration Network · Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited · Kentucky Waterways Alliance · Lake Champlain International ·League of Conservation Voters · Massachusetts Rivers Alliance · National Parks Conservation Association · Natural Resources Defense Council · Nature Coast Conservation · N

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