The Waterkeeper Weekly
February 27, 2017
The Waterkeeper Weekly (née The Sturgeon) is the weekly internal newsletter of
Waterkeeper Alliance, aimed at keeping Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates
around the world connected to each other's great work and activities.
On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order setting up “regulatory reform officers” and “task forces” within the agencies to help carry out the destruction of regulations. Stopping regulatory “overreach” is one thing, but destroying agencies and regulations that, for example, ensure the tap water your children drink doesn’t contain pollutants that cause cancer or brain damage, is outrageous and immoral.
“President Trump’s action to slash regulation is more like a pollution prison sentence, subjecting our communities to increased exposure to polluted water, toxins, disease and economic burden for generations to come. There is no justification for this type of brazen policy that only benefits the richest and most powerful corporations in the world,” said Waterkeeper Alliance Executive Director Marc Yaggi. “Americans and all world citizens want and deserve clean water and clean air. President Trump will face massive resistance to this misguided executive order.”
Congress was on recess last week, so we had a bit of a reprieve from the onslaught of bills. We do have some updates since this time last week:
· There are two very concerning bills targeting clean water introduced in the House. We are working with partner groups to monitor these bills closely and craft an effective strategy to advocate against them.
o H.R. 1179 - Called the “Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act,” this bill would make it so that groups that bring lawsuits under the Clean Water Act and do not prevail are required to pay the other side’s legal fees. This would significantly hamper the ability of public interest groups like ours to bring citizen suits.
o H.R. 465 - The deceptively named “Water Quality Improvement Act of 2017” allows municipalities to take costs into account when deciding how to address their obligations to control wastewater and stormwater pollution.
· Updates on other concerning bills
o H.R. 953, which we have mentioned before, would allow pesticides to be discharged into waterways without a permit. It has passed the House Committee on Agriculture, which means it could be coming up for a vote in the House soon. The Center for Biological Diversity wrote an article explaining the potential implications of this. Our partners on the Hill are watching this very closely, and we might be reaching out for opportunities to engage on this soon.
o H.R. 637, called the “Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2017” has gained 120 Republican Co-sponsors. This bill revises the Clean Air Act to state that greenhouse gases are not air pollutants and cannot be regulated by EPA. It also includes a ludicrous provision that says anytime EPA wants to issue a regulation that might negatively impact employment, the regulation must be approved by Congress and signed by the President. Note: while regulations sometimes decrease jobs in one industry, they also create new jobs in others, and “only about two tenths of one percent of layoffs are caused by government regulations of any kind, including environmental regulations.”
Republicans have also been making it clear that
they want to target the Endangered Species Act, with bills introduced in both
the House and Senate. H.R. 717 would
amend the Endangered Species Act to require government agencies to consider the
economic costs tied to listing a species as threatened and would get rid of the
requirement for the government to respond to listing petitions within a certain
timeframe. S. 375 makes it
more difficult to ensure species are considered for protection in a timely
Please pass along any information you find or any feedback you have to Larissa Liebmann. Additionally, please continue to encourage your networks to call their Senators on the Methane Rule, which has not been voted on yet (make sure you call too!).
Keep the Endangered Species Act Strong!
Our friends at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) are looking for sign-ons to this letter opposing the Western Governors Association’s (WGA) policy resolution and recommendations that would significantly weaken the Endangered Species Act if it were implemented into law. Sign-ons are due by February 22.
Conference Registration is Open!
Registration for the 2017 Waterkeeper Annual Conference in Deer Valley, UT is now open! The early-bird deadline for registrations is February 15. Register today so you don't have to do it tomorrow!
Now Accepting Applications for the 2017 SPLASH Event Series
Waterkeeper Alliance is now open to receive applications for the 2017 SPLASH Event Series presented nationally by TOYOTA! We ask that all Waterkeeper organization members who wish to participate in the 2017 SPLASH Series, regardless of past participation, please submit your event here — DDEADLINE for event submissions is 5pm EST - Friday, February 17, 2017.
Waterkeeper Alliance Mapping Project
Waterkeeper Alliance is undertaking a project to accurately map your jurisdictions, and we need your help! You should have received an email last week related to this project.
Our vision for this information is to create a global map, that among other things, will be used on our website when visitors are looking for their local Waterkeeper or Affiliate, a map that will be used for campaign and advocacy purposes. We are asking you, to the best of your understanding, knowledge and ability, confirm your Exclusive Jurisdiction and your Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (if you have it) by declaring your hydrologic unit code(s), aka your HUC(s), as established by the USGS.
Please take a few minutes to fill out this form for us so we can gather your responses and work on creating a dynamic map of all of your jurisdictions. If you don't already know your HUC(s), or you need help figuring out how to determine them, please contact Pete Nichols or Bart Mihailovich and they will assist you.
It is policy of the Waterkeeper Alliance to share addresses we gather from WKA’s direct mail program with U.S. Waterkeeper Member Organizations. If you are interested in participating, please send YOUR REGIONAL COORDINATOR a list of all zip codes in your jurisdiction by March 1. Shortly after July 1st, we will send you a list of all of our direct mail contacts within the zip codes you provided along with a calendar of Waterkeeper Alliance's direct mail schedule for the upcoming fiscal year.
Protecting and Restoring River Flows: State Policies for Water Security and Sustainability | March 9, 10am PT/1pm ET
This informative webinar will focus on opportunities to protect and restore river flows through state policy. River Network recently completed a comprehensive evaluation of state-level flow protection policies in the southeast U.S. Their analysis includes the scientific foundations of water budgets, supply management, flow protection and demand management policies, as well as policies for the built environment. The report synthesizes policies in five Southeastern states and offers recommendations and models for how these policies can be strengthened. This research was compiled in the report: Protecting and Restoring Flows in Our Southeastern Rivers: A Synthesis of State Policies for Water Security and Sustainability. Join this webinar to learn more about how you can protect and restore your river’s flows through state policy. >>> Click here to register.
Strengthening Your Advocacy and Community Organizing: Moving the Environmental Agenda Needle! | March 16, 2pm EST
Join this River Network webinar on assessing and building our capacity to do advocacy and community organizing in our communities. Regardless of political affiliations, the general public remains interested and committed to having clean and ample water for our everyday activities and operations. How we go about protecting our watersheds largely depends on our strategies and public policies, despite our limited resources. Presented by Alliance for Justice staff, this 90- minute FREE webinar will discuss the relationship between community organizing and advocacy. We will incorporate free tools to help clarify the components of strong advocacy and community organizing programs. We will discuss how to talk to funders about supporting such programs. >>>Click here to register.
GIS Mapping 101: Understanding Mapping Programs to Best Serve Your Organization | March 30, 11am PT/2pm ET
There is an ever-growing variety mapping software, all with different capabilities. This webinar will discuss opportunities with - and the pros and cons of ArcMap, ArcOnline, Google Maps, Google Earth, and other products. We will also discuss sources of publicly available data that can easily be uploaded and shared. Presenter: Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins
Clean Water Defense
Surma River Waterkeeper Abdul Karim Kim and his family had to flee their home when a Facebook post asked for his head, offered an award and gave out his home address. The Bangladesh police took a report and our staff worked to get the Facebook post down - however it took weeks through bureaucratic processes. Within 24 hours of making contact with the Vice President of Global Communications, Marketing and Public Policy at Facebook, the post was removed and Facebook is now investigating their own failed internal processes. This story is a reminder of the incredible risk Waterkeepers face and Waterkeeper Alliance is working to put together a security rapid response protocol to ensure quick action for our Watekeeper’s safety.
Pure Farms, Pure Waters
Waterkeeper Alliance and Puget Soundkeeper have joined a coalition of environmental groups to file an appeal with the Washington state Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) challenging the Department of Ecology’s waste discharge permits for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The appeal alleges the permits fail to include basic water quality monitoring requirements and fail to require best-available technology for CAFOs such as synthetic manure lagoon liners, which prevent pollution from manure leaking into groundwater. The appeal also alleges the permits lack necessary standards to ensure compliance with state and federal water quality laws: the state-only permit authorizes groundwater discharges and removes the power granted to citizens under federal law to defend their clean water rights if dangerous pollution from CAFOs threatens water quality.
Waterkeeper Alliance NCPFPW campaign staff, Will Hendrick and Christian Breen, and the 10 North Carolina Riverkeepers met this week to evaluate ongoing work and anticipated opportunities. Christian trained riverkeepers on new sampling Standard Operating Procedure and Betsy Nicholas from Waterkeepers Chesapeake lead a discussion about the possible expansion of the successful Fair Farms Initiative into North Carolina.
Waterkeepers Around The World
· Columbia Riverkeeper, Snake River Waterkeeper and partners filed a lawsuit against EPA and Scott Pruitt calling for a total maximum daily load, or TMDL, for temperature pollution in the rivers within a year. This is the nation’s first lawsuit against EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt listed as defendant in his official capacity.
· Save the St. Johns: Activate the River campaign by St. Johns Riverkeeper aims to get people out on the water from March 18 to April 2 to help save the river.
· Puget Soundkeeper Chris Wilke is highlighted on a segment of King 5 News discussing his worries about the sewage spill in Puget Sound.
· Mountain Goat Beer was so excited about a fur seal's frequent frolics in the Yarra River, they brewed a beer its honor and donated proceeds to Yarra Riverkeeper Association. Shoutout to longtime Waterkeeper supporter SweetWater Brew for the inspiration!
· Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has been compiling stories to document personal connections residents of the Great Lakes have with the water to fuel passions to protect the environment.
· Poudre Waterkeeper Gary Wockner explains seven reasons why climate change will undermine dams and reservoirs as a source of water and electricity. Poudre Waterkeeper is also planning an anti-NISP ballot initiative. NISP would lead to the creation of Glade Reservoir and Galeton Reservoir, which would pull water from the Poudre River to create extra storage for 15 Northern Colorado municipalities and water districts.
· To maintain salmon populations in the Bay, San Francisco Baykeeper is calling for a 50-60 percent increase of river water to the Delta and Bay.
· Join Karnali River Waterkeeper on a 12-day expedition to highlight the impacts of the proposed tallest dam in the world on Nepal’s only free-flowing and most pristine river, the Karnali.
· Cape Fear Riverkeeper, Upper Neuse Riverkeeper, and Pamlico Tar Riverkeeper spoke on how rivers are the lifeblood of North Carolina in a piece in Wrightsville Beach Magazine.
Action of the Week
Facebook: Don't let the Senate repeal the Methane Rule. Call you Senators today and ask them to take action to protect our environment and our taxpayer financial interests, to choose us, their constituents, over the oil and gas industry: senate.gov/senators/contact/ http://waterkeeper.org/act-now-stop-repeal-methane-rule/
Twitter: .@realDonaldTrump why destroy agencies that ensure the water our children drink is safe? There is no justification. bit.ly/2mfVnFD
Instagram: [ LINK TO PIC] Way to go Waterkeepers! @columbiariverkeeper & @snakeriverwaterkeeper have filed the 1st lawsuit against EPA with #PollutingPruitt in charge. #WaterkeepersUnite
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