Friday 24 November 2017

Dec. 4th Public Meeting & Rally on Coal Ash Disposal in Virginia

Back in April, Governor McAuliffe put the brakes on issuing coal ash solid waste permits to Dominion for at least a year so the toxic coal ash threats posed at their facilities can be assessed and the full range of disposal solutions explored, including recycling. This assessment will be presented to the State Water Commission on December 4th.

Please join us Dec. 4th from 10:00 – noon to hear the results of this finding. The meeting will be located in Virginia State Capitol, House Room 1, 1000 Bank Street, Richmond, Virginia. Remember to bring a state issued ID to gain entry into the Virginia State Capitol.

Immediately following the meeting there will be a press event and a Dominion: Move Your Ash rally. RSVP today to receive updates. We need to tell Dominion and Virginia loud and clear that they can’t bury toxic coal ash in leaky ponds at their power plants!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1310974965680909/


Water is Life Rally & Concert to Stop Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Dec. 2nd

This rally and concert will focus attention on the Virginia Water Control Board hearings coming up in Richmond on December 6, 7, 11 & 12 to decide whether or not to grant water quality certifications for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. The Rally & Concert on Dec. 2nd and the public hearings represent the last political chance in Virginia to stop these fracked gas pipelines. Help surround Capitol Grounds from 1-2pm to send a strong message to our public officials. Then join for food, fun, and music at The National.

WHEN: Saturday, 12/2 from 1-4:30pm

WHERE: 1:00 pm at Capitol Grounds in Richmond and 2:00 pm at The National.

https://www.facebook.com/events/127828584582997/


Public Hearing on Water Permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Dec. 11 - 12

The Virginia State Water Control Board will hold hearings to consider the application for water quality certification for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The consideration is part of the process required under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.

The meetings are scheduled for: 9:30am, Monday, Dec. 11 and Tuesday, Dec. 12 at Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA.

The Water Control Board is the last hurdle Dominion faces in Virginia, and our last hope to block it before heading to federal court.

Help us send a message to the Board and Governor McAuliffe – come out to the hearings on December 11 & 12 and demand they put Virginians and our environment ahead of national politics and Dominion influence-peddling. Check our Facebook page for updates.


Public Meeting on Water Permit for Potomac Pipeline Dec. 19th

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is holding a public meeting on TransCanada’s proposed fracked gas pipeline that would tunnel under the Potomac River.

The hearing is Tuesday, Dec. 19th, 6:00 – 9:30 pm at Hancock Middle/High School, 289 West Main Street, Hancock MD 21750.

At this meeting, MDE will hear from Marylanders to inform their decision about whether to approve or deny the 401 Water Quality Certification under the Clean Water Act. Denying the 401 permit would stop the construction of this pipeline in its tracks, and is the best way for Governor Hogan and MDE to protect our drinking water!

Join us on Dec. 19th to stand united in saying NO to the Potomac Pipeline. This is a critical moment to stop the Potomac Pipeline, show up and speak up!

Details about how to prepare your testimony to come. If you can’t join us on December 19th, stay tuned for instructions to submit written testimony through January 16th.

https://www.facebook.com/events/498027433917323/

 

Please support our work to defend and protect your clean water!

Join your Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, along with neighbors and the brave defenders of the Potomac watershed on November 5th in Chevy Chase, Maryland from 7-10pm at the Meadowbrook Park Activity Building. We will celebrate and learn about our unique watershed and a small community's fight against a large hog Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) in Fulton County, PA. 

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This factory-like facility would be the largest in the county and would house close to 9,000 hogs, while confining sows to production of 9,600 piglets each month – or 115,200 piglets annually. With this many pigs comes even more manure. The CAFO would apply over 11.4 million gallons of manure to land in our watershed and use an estimated 14 million gallons of water each year.

Our upstream neighbors and community members, led by homeowner Marjorie Hudson (pictured below) - who lives across from the proposed hog CAFO - have opposed the project since it was proposed in 2014. Thanks to their efforts, they have been able to stop the CAFO from polluting nearby air, land and waterways.

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The location of the proposed CAFO is on a hill that drains into tributaries of Big Cove Creek, a popular fishing location. The waters of Big Cove Creek flow into Licking Bend Creek, which is a tributary of the Potomac River. The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay and provides drinking water for approximately 4.5 million people. 

Marjorie and her neighbors can't go it alone - they need our support! Please join us in support of Marjorie’s life-sustaining work because we all live downstream.

RSVP & DONATE on EventBrite or Facebook

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Want to know more? 

The proposed hog CAFO in Fulton County would:

  • Apply over 11.4 million gallons of waste to land in our watershed
  • Pollute groundwater and drinking water aquifers, as manure will be spread in a Karst area. Some Karst features are springs, sinkholes, and underground streams.  
  • Threaten private drinking wells
  • Jeopardize aquatic habitat and trout fishing in Big Cove Creek
  • Harm local air quality
    • Not only do hog CAFOs create harsh odors for neighboring communities, but they also emit toxic pollutants, like hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, that can cause serious health problems for residents.
    • Children and other vulnerable populations are more likely to experience asthmatic symptoms near hog CAFOs.
    • Unlike other industries, hog CAFOs are not regulated by the Clean Air Act.
  • Decrease overall water quality in the watershed
    • Runoff from hog CAFOs contains microbes, hormones, pesticides and other harmful chemicals that degrade water quality, kill fish, cause algal blooms, and impairs drinking water sources.
  • Use an estimated 14 million gallons of water each year
    • CAFOs and other agricultural operations are responsible for 80-90% of all water consumption, using 34-76 trillion gallons of water every year. 

Just one CAFO with 800,000 pigs generates 1.6 million tons of animal waste every year. This is as much waste is 1.5 times the amount of waste produced by the city of Philadelphia! Unlike human waste, animal waste from hog farms is often left untreated in open lagoons.  This waste also contains harmful microbes and hormones, that make their way into local waterways.

‘We Are All Downstream’ is dedicated to the memory of the late Kathy Ozer who for 24 years tirelessly advocated for small family farms as Executive Director of the National Family Farm Coalition.

 On this 45th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, we reflect on how our local Waterkeeper programs are needed more than ever to safeguard our clean water resources.

Over the past few years, Waterkeepers Chesapeake has successfully brought together 19 local Waterkeepers programs to collaboratively advocate for and bring legal action to protect communities and waterways throughout the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Bay regions.

Waterkeepers Chesapeake has focused on unifying Waterkeeper efforts behind important clean water priorities, like the passage of the fracking ban in Maryland and the passage of protective coal ash laws in Virginia. Waterkeepers Chesapeake also works on issues at the federal level - coordinating efforts against EPA's rollback of clean water protections, the slashing of EPA funding, and Scott Pruitt's appointment.

Through the Fair Farms campaign, Waterkeepers Chesapeake is addressing agricultural pollution while supporting sustainable farming efforts. This year, we worked to pass a second-in-the-country law to restrict the routine use of human antibiotics in livestock.

At the core of our work we empower people to stop pollution and encourage better local water quality through tools and legal rights under the Clean Water Act. Waterkeeper programs were founded to engage and organize citizens to protect their right to clean water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is supposed to promulgate and enforce laws and regulations to protect human health and the environment. Sadly, under this administration, the EPA has been fully captured by the fossil fuels industry and industrial polluters. To date, the EPA has rolled back or repealed the Clean Water Rule, the Clean Power Plan, and effluent limits on the discharge of toxic coal wastewater.

Now, our Waterkeepers are the last line of defense for citizens to protect their clean water. Some examples of how our Waterkeepers are encouraging public participation in protecting our waters include:

  • For the past several years, the Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN) has conducted compliance sweeps of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits issued under the Clean Water Act to assess violations before a major incident occurs. In a recent sweep, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper found that 38 out of 291 facilities had severe violations. PRKN’s first step is to communicate pollution concerns with the facility, and to offer assistance in mitigating the problem. If there is no cooperation or development of a remedy, then they notify the State. If the State does nothing to remedy the problem, then they escalate to legal action on behalf of the impacted citizens.
  • Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) and Chesapeake Legal Alliance (CLA), produced the Citizen Guide – Public Participation in Maryland’s NPDES Permitting Program. The Guide was produced for the purpose of improving the vital component of citizen involvement in environmental decision-making in Maryland. The Guide is used as an outreach tool to engage organizations and citizens to get involved with the many key avenues for public participation in protecting our waters. It is critical that those impacted by permit violations be engaged in the early stages.
  • The Lower James and Upper James Riverkeepers have created an advocacy tool called Our River at Risk to educate and rally citizens around toxic pollution threats like coal ash. They use maps, online petitions and email updates to elevate the public’s voice and participation in regulatory and permitting processes.
  • The South Riverkeeper published a report on a county’s enforcement of its environmental code to show the county that it needs to step up resources for clean water enforcement. The report clearly showed that current penalties are not effective deterrents for environmental carelessness.

These are just a few examples of how our Waterkeepers bring the Clean Water Act to life on the local level and empower citizens to participate in the protection of their right to clean water. In an era when the EPA administrator only meets with corporate polluters and ignores the public, an engaged and active citizenry on the local level is more important than ever.

What You Can Do

  • Visit our website to get involved and support your local Waterkeeper program
  • Support Waterkeepers Chesapeake
  • Use our Water Reporter app to report pollution to your local Waterkeeper
  • Take Action! Tell your federal representatives to resist any rollbacks or repeals of clean water protections, to stop any reductions in funding of the EPA, and to protect citizens’ right to sue when government fails to enforce the law.