Chesapeake Currents - Fall 2014

October 30, 2014

Baltimore Officials Lead on Water

On September 9, while the U.S. House was voting 262-152 to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers from fixing the Clean Water Act so small streams and wetlands are once again protected, Baltimore took a strong stand for clean water. Baltimore City Council members voted unanimously for a resolution supporting EPA’s clean water rule.

The Council’s decisive action shows that these local officials, at least, understand that small streams and wetlands are “vital to the health of Baltimore’s drinking water,” says Clean Water Action’s Andy Galli. Once EPA’s proposal is finalized, 835 miles of streams and other surface waters flowing into the Baltimore area will benefit, along with “100 percent of Baltimore residents, who get at least some of their drinking water from sources affected by these streams,” Galli says. Read more

Tackling Baltimore's Polluted Runoff

The Chesapeake Bay is being choked to death, and the culprit is polluted runoff. Despite progress tackling many other types of pollution afflicting the Bay, the chemicals, pet waste, pesticides, oils and grease flushed off of urban lawns, streets and other paved areas during every storm still threaten critical tributaries and drinking water sources.

New legislation won by Clean Water Action and allies in 2012 and successfully defended in the legislature during 2013 and 2014 is setting the stage for finally reducing and preventing the worst polluted runoff problems. The measure creates a new “stormwater utility fee” system for Baltimore and Maryland’s nine other largest jurisdictions. Fee revenues are being used to tackle the runoff. Read more

Protecting Clean Water for Delaware

This August 1, Clean Water Action regional director Andrew Fellows and allies met with Delaware’s U.S. Senator Thomas Carper in his Wilmington district office. The topic: finalizing the Obama Administration’s proposed Clean Water Rule to fix the Clean Water Act so small streams, wetlands and drinking water sources are once again protected. Fellows reports that the meeting was a friendly one, finding a great deal of agreement about the rule’s importance to Delaware Bay and other water resources. “Clarifying which upstream and tributary waters are protected under the Clean Water Act will be good for clean water in Delaware,” says Fellows, “and that’s what this rule is all about.” Sen. Carper’s role on the influential Senate Environment and Public Works Committee makes him an important voice for all of America’s waters. You can weigh in to support clean water at www.ProtectCleanWater.org

Clean Water Voters Needed

Clean Water Action has endorsed John Foust in his bid to win the Northern Virginia’s 10th Congressional District seat vacancy created by Rep. Frank Wolf’s retirement. While representing the Dranseville District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and chairing the Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council’s legislative committee, Foust established “a solid record as an environmental champion,” says Clean Water Action’s Michael Bochynski. Read more

In Northern Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, Clean Water Action has endorsed Don Beyer
 to succeed Rep. Jim Moran, who is not seeking reelection. 
A former Lt. Governor, Don Beyer has long been an effective conservation advocate and leader for Virginia. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Beyer will continue that leadership. Read More

The Council of the District of Columbia voted unanimously on July 14 to ban polystyrene foam food containers as part of the D.C. Omnibus Act of 2013, joining Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Amherst, Albany, Portland and other communities across the U.S. who have “banned the foam.” The successful vote came after months of campaigning by Clean Water Action and hundreds of letters from Clean Water Action members to Council members.

The ban takes effect in January 2016 and will cover to-go food containers — clamshells, cups, plates, etc. — at grocery stores, restaurants and take-out locations. In 2017 all disposable food ware items must be recyclable or compostable. Read more