The warming up of the planet poses tremendous challenges for the entire world. For America's Atlantic coast, rising sea levels will dramatically affect shorelines, with increasing flooding, droughts and severe storms having devastating consequences for water quality, quantity and residents of the region. Maryland's 3100 miles of coastline make it the fourth most vulnerable state to the coastal effects of climate change.
In Western Maryland, the Frederick County Board of Commissioners is considering building a solid waste incinerator, and hoping to do so in partnership with Carroll County. During the past few years, over 3,000 Clean Water Action members, staff and allies have been working to persuade the Board to scrap the idea, or at least institute a 5 year moratorium on its construction to study alternative solutions like a Resource Recovery Park for waste diversion and recycling.
Clean Water Action is working to resolve the growing problem of marine debris by preventing litter at the source. Thanks to the plethora of waste from our "throw away" society, there is a garbage patch in the Northwest Gyre1 of the Pacific Ocean estimated to be twice the size of Texas.
The Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) is fast tracking implementation of two bills passed by the state Legislature in 2008 -- AB 1879 (Feuer) and SB 509 (Simitian) -- with the goal of establishing related regulations this year. Clean Water Action is taking a lead role, along with our allies in the CHANGE (Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy) coalition, in DTSC's public stakeholder process. Our goal is to ensure that the regulations will be developed and enforced in a way that truly protects the environment and human health and drives the development of "green" chemicals.
The Federal Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law by President Obama on February 17 of this year, but Clean Water Action has been working with the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the State Water Board (Board) since last November to establish criteria under which more than $400 million of stimulus funding for water projects should be spent.
Our goal has been to ensure that disadvantaged communities with the greatest public health and infrastructure needs are able to access these funds. Many of these communities not only lack safe drinking water, but also have no staff able to prepare funding applications.