When it comes to tackling toxic ‘forever chemicals’, the Clean Water Act has many powerful, yet underutilized, policy tools
President Biden has pledged to take quick action on toxic fluorinated ‘forever chemicals’ known as PFAS “by designating PFAS as a hazardous substance, setting enforceable limits for PFAS in the Safe Drinking Water Act, prioritizing substitutes through procurement, and accelerating toxicity studies and research on PFAS.” These are welcome—and necessary—steps that must be taken to address this toxic pollution, but there’s a lot more the Biden administration can do.
On November 24th, Clean Water Action joined a new lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest rollback of vital safeguards to protect communities from coal ash. Coal ash is the toxic waste left over from burning coal for electricity. More than 100 million tons is generated annually, making it one of the largest industrial waste streams in the United States. Coal ash is packed with some of the deadliest substances known to humans, including harmful carcinogens like arsenic, cadmium, and chromium, and neurotoxins such as lead, lithium, and mercury.
In states across the country, Clean Water Action is tackling the PFAS pollution problem. PFAS (per- and polyflyoroalkyl substances) is known as the "forever chemical" because it persists in the environment and in our bodies. It is associated with a range of health harms from cancers to liver impacts to reproductive issues. PFAS can impact communities in a variety of ways so we will be share updates from spots across the country in the coming weeks to highlight some of these local impacts. Stay tuned and let us know if you'd like to get involved locally!
On Thursday, December 19th I participated in a "virtual" public hearing on the Trump administration's dangerous plan to let dirty power plants dump even more pollution into our rivers, putting more communities at risk. These rollbacks will impact communities across the country. Despite this, EPA decided not to host an in-person hearing on this issue, deciding instead to host the virtual hearing in the middle of the holiday season. This is not the type of meaningful engagement that communities deserve.
Below is what I told EPA. Please read it and then send a message to EPA!
On September 6, 2019 Denver Water submitted its final Lead Reduction Program Plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This groundbreaking plan is an alternative to a mandate from the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) that Denver Water treat its water with orthophosphate.
Groundbreaking Plan to Reduce Lead Exposure in Drinking Water Will Also Protect Denver’s River, Lakes, and Streams
Visit South Platte River Park in Littleton, Colorado (a suburb a few miles south of Denver) on a summer weekend and you’ll likely see dozens of people paddling, wading, fishing, or tubing on the river. A few weeks ago I was one of those tubers enjoying higher than normal flows on the South Platte, thanks to the high snowpack this past winter. As we floated on riffles and gentle rapids, families of ducks grazed at the river’s edge and trout swam beneath us. Occasionally we got caught on someone’s fishing line or bumped tubes in crowded sections of the river.
On April 10th, Trump issued an Executive Order that limits states’ ability to protect their own water resources from harmful pipelines and other dirty energy projects.
This week advocates and activists are in Kansas City, Kansas for the one and only public hearing the Environmental Protection Agency scheduled for it's scheme to strip protections from millions of miles of streams and more than half the wetlands across the nation. Clean Water Action was there as well. This is my testimony to EPA about the Dirty Water Rule. You can watch my testimony here (video courtesy of our friends NWF Water)
Today is a big day for clean water -- a federal court told the Trump administration that it went too far when it suspended enforcement of protections for streams and wetlands. Clean Water Action, along with more than a dozen other plaintiffs, challenged EPA's illegal 2-year suspension of the Clean Water Rule. And we won.