Act Now

Maryland forest in late summer

Georgetown University is currently proposing to cut down 249 acres of Southern Maryland’s largest forest to build a large-scale solar facility. This forest is one of Maryland’s targeted ecological areas, meaning it is a conservation priority for the state. It is home to many at-risk birds as well as Tier II streams, the designation given to Maryland’s highest quality streams.

As we know, forests play an important role in climate and water quality. They sequester carbon and are natural filters that stop sediments and other pollutants from reaching our streams and rivers.

Pennsylvania Capitol, photo: Clean Water Action

In 2018 we successfully defeated a package of bills crafted under the guise of “regulatory reform”. Unfortunately these bills (House Bills 430, 507, 509, 762, 806, and 1055) have reared their ugly head again and are likely to be voted on this week in the state house.

This package undercuts the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) ability to develop and implement needed protections and effectively hold accountable polluters who violate our laws and impact the quality of our air and water. Some of the more dangerous aspects would:

a man conducting water testing

PFAS are a family of approximately 4700 human-made chemicals that are incredibly effective at combating oil fires as well as repelling grease, water, and stains. Original PFAS chemicals, known as PFOS and PFOA, are linked to cancer, high cholesterol, birth defects, suppression of vaccines, and other serious health effects.

Great Lakes / photo: flickr.com/gsfc (CC BY 2.0)

In early March, Governor Whitmer announced her first state budget proposal. Much of the press coverage of Governor Whitmer’s budget so far has focused on her proposal to increase the gas tax by 45 cents per gallon ovcritical road infrastructure investments. The focus on a single aspect of the budget has resulted in several key components of the budget proposal, which would have significant impacts on our water, being neglected.

CMI Cleanups Map

From 1990 until 1995, Michigan had the strongest “polluter pay” law in the country. If a corporation was responsible for contaminating our land, air, or water, that corporation was also responsible for cleaning up the mess they made. In 1995 the administration of former Governor John Engler, backed by their allies at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, gutted the polluter pay law, and funding for environmental cleanups in Michigan has suffered ever since.

Protect the Great Lakes, Shut Down Line 5

Late last year the state legislature rushed to pass Public Act 359, the law that would pave the way for Enbridge Energy to build an oil tunnel through the Straits of Mackinac.

Attorney General Nessel’s recently concluded that there are many fatal flaws in PA 359, which was passed in haste and was not properly vetted by lawmakers or legal staff. The Attorney General also concluded that, due to the flaws in PA 359, the subsequent agreements made between MSCA and Enbridge are also void.

Methane flare, black smoke. Photo credit: Leonid Ikan / Shutterstock

Pennsylvanians are calling Governor Wolf today and letting him know that cutting methane pollution from existing oil and gas operations must be a central action to addressing the threat of climate change.

We must amplify our voices and, more importantly, make sure Governor Wolf’s actions speak the loudest. Join residents from across Pennsylvania today in calling into the Governor Wolf’s office and leaving a message urging him to act on climate change by directly implementing measures to control methane from existing oil and gas operations.

Did you know the Philadelphia Water Department found that plastic bags comprise 17% of the total debris recovered by their skimming operations? Philadelphia’s litter index and 311 reporting show that business associations and residents of Philadelphia’s underserved communities bear the heaviest burden of litter cleanups and that underserved communities also suffer a disproportionate burden to their health. Plastic pollution affects everyone though by reducing our quality of life, blighting our neighborhoods, and by contributing to water pollution and the degradation of our planet.

In 2015, Minnesota made important progress by banning four of the most toxic flame retardants from our furniture and children’s products, but our work isn’t done.  There are many other dangerous flame retardants, and they exist in more parts of our homes than just furniture and children’s products.  Other states like Rhode Island, Maine, and recently California have banned flame retardants as a class of chemicals, and that’s what it will take to fully address this problem.