Tuesday 12 December 2017

Press Statements (59)

 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…
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Rubberstamps Pipelines, Ignoring Strong Evidence of Significant Harm & Lack of Need Waterkeepers Chesapeake, a coalition of nineteen independent Waterkeeper and Riverkeeper programs, condemns the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve the Atlantic Coast (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipelines (MVP), despite strong evidence of significant harm. The potential water quality impacts from these natural gas pipelines in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is alarming, specifically for the headwaters of the Shenandoah and James rivers. Waterkeepers Chesapeake applauds Commissioner LaFleur dissenting view that questions the need for the ACP and MVP, and recognizes the dire environmental, ecological, and public health impacts that will result from these needless projects. The Commission’s approval seriously undermines FERC’s credibility as a supposedly objective permitting agency, given the fact that its decision was made in advance of necessary and required decisions by the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the state environmental authorities in the affected states of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina on critical environmental issues.  Over the coming weeks and months, Waterkeepers Chesapeake will join the Shenandoah Riverkeeper, Upper James Riverkeeper, hundreds of landowners, scientists, faith leaders, businesses, public health organizations, non-profits, and other community organizations and thousands of Virginians to stop these pipelines at the federal, state, and local levels. [The Virginia State Water Control Board will hold town meetings in December to consider the application for water quality certification for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The consideration is part of the process required under Section…
On August 16, 2017, on behalf of Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Assateague Coastkeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance and more than 70 organizations, representing thousands of businesses and citizens, Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) submitted comments asking the Trump Administration to reject offshore drilling in the Atlantic. SELC released this statement: The comments said “Opening the Atlantic to offshore oil and gas drilling poses a direct threat to the fragile and unique ecosystems of the southeast coast and to the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on our clean coastal resources.” The comments specifically argue against offshore drilling in the Southeast because: Coastal communities and governors in the region strongly oppose drilling on the coast; Drilling would harm the tourism and ocean economies along the coast; Drilling would threaten unique and sensitive shorelines, valuable salt marshes, barrier islands, productive marine habitats and fisheries, and numerous areas designated for state and federal protection; Drilling would conflict with many important uses for these ocean areas, including Department of Defense and NASA operations, commercial and recreational fisheries, and renewable energy development; Chronic pollution and the risk of catastrophic oil spills, especially given the lax oversight and regulatory environment, present too great of a threat to the Atlantic coast; The oil and gas industry’s economic projections are based on faulty assumptions that overestimate jobs and income, while discounting the existing tourism- and recreation-based economies; and The United States should invest in and develop clean, renewable energy sources instead of wasting resources on developing dirty energy sources. “There is overwhelming opposition…