Blue Ribbon Oil and Gas Task Force Gets Underway
In August, Governor Hickenlooper announced the creation of the state commissioned Blue Ribbon Oil and Gas Task Force. The Task force is charged with making policy recommendations focused on state and local regulations of oil and gas operations. The task force is comprised of an equal number of representatives from affected communities, the environmental community, civic organizations, agriculture, and the oil and gas industry. The task force will make its policy recommendations in late February 2015.
The creation of the task force was the result of a compromise between two ballot initiative campaigns proposing both pro- and anti-oil and gas amendments to the Colorado constitution. Rep. Jared Polis was backing two of these initiatives. One would have given local governments more control over oil and gas development within their borders. The second initiative would have mandated a 2,000 foot setback rule — keeping drill sites at least 2,000 feet from homes. Additionally, the oil and gas industry was offering two ballot initiatives that would have taken local control away from municipalities and blocked communities attempting to regulate oil and gas operations from receiving oil and gas tax revenues. Read more
New Jersey Currents
Climate Change, Water, and Jobs
On September 21, Clean Water Action joined more than 400,000 people in New York City for the largest climate march in history, the People’s Climate March. “Climate change is water change,” says Clean Water Action’s New Jersey Director, Amy Goldsmith, “and if we want clean water for our future, we have to take action on climate now.”
When Congress first passed the 1972 Clean Water Act, it was with the understanding that all streams and wetlands can impact the biological, physical and chemical integrity of larger downstream waters. But starting in 2001, polluter-friendly court decisions and the agency actions that followed stripped away longstanding Clean Water Act protections, leaving critical resources vulnerable to pollution and destruction. We’re taking action here - you can too. Read more
Pushing Forward on Clean Water Protections
Clean Water Action’s tireless campaign in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to restore protections to headwater streams and wetlands has entered a critical phase, with public comment set to end this November. The EPA rule would restore protections to streams that only run seasonally or after storms, but which when wet flow into the drinking water sources of more than 117 million Americans — including 11.5 million Texans. Some 75% percent of Texas’ stream miles dry up part of the year, especially during drought.
Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell joined EPA Senior Advisor for Water Ellen Gilinsky and Clean Water Action’s David Foster at a July press conference in Austin expressing support for the policy. “The purpose of the rule is to clarify protection for the upstream waters that are absolutely vital to downstream communities,” said Gilinsky. “Clean water is essential to every single American, from families who rely on safe places to swim and healthy fish to eat, to farmers who need abundant and reliable sources of water to grow their crops, to hunters and fishermen who depend on healthy waters for recreation and their work, and to businesses that need a steady supply of water for operations. Read more
On the Environment: Snyder Fails
Clean Water Action’s scorecard for Gov. Rick Snyder’s first term highlights his failure to safeguard Michigan’s environment. “As someone who just wants to have their water and drink it too,” says Clean Water Action’s Denny Green, “the Governor couldn’t have done much worse on the environment if he’d tried.”
Gov. Snyder received a failing grade based on actions he took (or failed to take) on fourteen different bills, coming up on the wrong side twelve times. “This subpar performance, nearly a 90% rate of failure, is shameful for the governor of a state literally defined by its Great Lakes,” Green says. Read more
Bag Ban Victory
On September 30, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the first state legislation banning single use plastic bags — a huge victory for the environment! Hawaii has a defacto statewide ban as each island has passed a local ordinance banning single-use plastic bags.
Over the last nine years, similar measures failed to pass in California, but steady growing support organized by Clean Water Action and allies made the winning difference this time. The 121 local bag ban ordinances enacted around the state — many with Clean Water Action’s assistance — combined with grassroots pressure on state lawmakers to push the measure through, finally. Other states are now likely to follow California’s lead, passing their own bag bans. Read more