Posts Tagged ‘Clean Water Act 40th Anniversary’

Happy Birthday, Clean Water Act!

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 - posted by meghan

The Clean Water Act celebrated 40 years of protecting America’s waterways on Oct. 18. Appalachian Voices’ Red, White and Water campaign celebrated the success of this landmark legislation with the report, “The Clean Water Act at 40: Real People, Real Successes, Real Threats.”

The report highlights examples from around the Southeast that show how Clean Water Act programs have helped communities restore water quality in local waterways. The report also analyzes the voting record of the southern congressional delegations on recent anti-clean water bills.

“The Clean Water Act is creating jobs and economic benefits, restoring impaired fisheries and cleaning up famed whitewater tourism destinations,” says Sandra Diaz, coordinator of the Red, White and Water campaign with Appalachian Voices.

Highlights from the report include an oyster farm on the Chesapeake Bay, dairy farms in the Carolinas and a watershed polluted by coal mining in West Virginia.

When the Clean Water Act passed in 1972, all but one of 65 representatives from the southeastern states voted in support. But in the last two years, the region’s representatives have voted more often than not in favor of weakening clean water laws, as tallied in the report.

Through our Red, White and Water campaign, Appalachian Voices co-hosted a birthday party on Oct. 18 on Capitol Hill in conjunction with the Clean Water Network and others. Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia, a champion of protecting clean water laws, was on hand to cut the birthday cake.

Also present was Mike King, who was featured in the report; he spoke about how the Clean Water Act enabled him and his community to revive a waterway that runs behind his home in Montgomery, W. Va. Morris Creek went from being “orange and sometimes white, depending on what the coal company was doing, with a horrible smell of rotten eggs,” to a creek that now supports trout and other fish.

“We wanted to show that the Clean Water Act is helping real people so that decision-makers understand the consequences of weakening the Act,” says Diaz.

Organizational Round-Up

Friday, October 19th, 2012 - posted by molly

Showing Some Clean Water Love

On October 18, shortly after we go to press, the Clean Water Act will turn 40 years old.
In conjunction with that anniversary, our Red, White & Water team is putting together a report on the successes of the long-standing program, complete with personal stories of residents and communities who have benefited from the protections it affords.
Also included will be an outline of the recent political threats to the legislation’s very existence. Watch the virtual birthday party video and find out how you can join the movement to protect America’s waterways at appvoices.org/clean-water-love/.

Accolades for an Amazing Advocate

Appalachian Voices has had more than our share of passionate and dedicated volunteers over the years, and one person’s energetic devotion shines like a solar-powered LED light bulb. .

Sheila Ostroff, a student at Appalachian State University focusing on Sustainable Development, Appropriate Technology, Communications and Non-Profit Organization Management, has championed Appalachian Voices as a volunteer, intern, unofficial university liaison, cheerleader, and most recently as a paid administrative assistant. She has tabled at events, given guest presentations, and spoken with strangers in coffee shops with a fervent passion to educate people about our mission and encourage them to take action.

Her enthusiasm and commitment to achieving social and environmental justice never ceases to amaze us. Besides her work with Appalachian Voices, she was one of 300 selected from 127 different countries to attend the Oxfam International Youth Project in 2010.
During her time with Appalachian Voices, Sheila took the lead on planning an event for more than 50 children during the 2011 Summer Adventure Camp, and this summer engaged local businesses to display Appalachian Voices brochures and sell the very popular I Heart Mountains bumperstickers.

Our deepest gratitude for everything this amazing young woman has accomplished for us so far. If all the world were filled with environmental advocates like Sheila, there would be no need for environmental advocacy.

An Efficient Proposition

Appalachian Voices recently joined with other regional and national organizations to support a proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture rule that would open the door to low-interest loans for energy efficiency upgrades for residential and commercial customers of rural electric cooperatives. Our technical comments in support of the rule encouraged a focus on tools like on-bill financing, flexibility for borrowers and an increase in the amount of money put towards the program.

Rooting for Clean Energy

Appalachian Voices joined forces with nearly thirty organizations to urge Congress to continue tax incentives for onshore and offshore wind development on the East Coast. Set to expire at the end of this year, the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit and the Investment Tax Credit both offer financial incentives to companies seeking to develop wind in resource-rich areas. A letter to congressional leadership from the groups — including National Audubon, Oceana, Sierra Club and Physicians for Social Responsibility — noted that the incentives provide an economic boost through job creation and also provide a clean energy alternative to fossil fuels. Congress is scheduled to review the measure when legislators return for their final session in December.

A “Degree” in Eco-Literacy

ILoveMountains.org, the Alliance for Appalachia website administered by Appalachian Voices, was recently highlighted as a “recommended teaching tool” in a new book published by the Center for Ecoliteracy. Co-authored with bestselling author Daniel Goleman, Ecoliterate tells the stories of activists, educators and young people from across the nation who are creatively addressing issues related to coal, oil, food and water. THe book provides instruction on how we can advance academic achievement while protecting the natural world on which we depend. iLoveMountains.org’s My Connection tool was highlighted in the book as a useful application to help students understand their personal stake in the seemingly remote issue of mountaintop removal coal mining. For more information visit: ecoliteracy.org.

Happy 40th Birthday, Clean Water Act!

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 - posted by sandra


At Appalachian Voices, we strive to connect communities, families and individuals to their decision-makers to help them protect their land, air and water. We see ourselves in service to those people to help them achieve their goals of providing a good quality for themselves and others.

The Clean Water Act, which is 40 years old today, is very similar. The landmark legislation fundamentally changed the nation’s relationship to its waterways. Going into the 1970s, our waterways were in terrible shape. Only one-third of our waterways were fit for swimming and fishing. Chemicals were allowed to spew into our rivers and streams. Time magazine had written Lake Erie’s obituary. The Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio was so choked with pollution that it had burst into flames several times over a decade.

Citizens from across the country, realizing that we needed to do something, and do something quickly, took to the streets and demanded change. A slew of new environmental protections came into being, including the Clean Water Act in 1972. (more…)

Clean Water Act Under Siege as the Popular Law Turns 40

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 - posted by molly

Report highlights success stories — and congressional assault

For Immediate Release
October 18, 2012

Contact:
Sandra Diaz, Red, White & Water Campaign Coordinator, 828-262-1500, sandra@appvoices.org
Cat McCue, Communications Director, 434-293-6373, cat@appvoices.org

Washington, D.C.— Despite major cleanups of the nation’s rivers and lakes and improvements in the safety of drinking water for most Americans under the 1972 Clean Water Act, the landmark law is under unprecedented attack in Congress, according to a report released today by Appalachian Voices. The report highlights examples from around the South in which Clean Water Act programs are helping communities restore water quality in local streams, and analyzes the voting record of the southern congressional delegation on recent anti-environmental bills.

Appalachian Voices is releasing the report, The Clean Water Act at 40: Real People, Real Successes, Real Threats, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act today. The organization is co-hosting a birthday party on Capitol Hill in conjunction with Clean Water Network and others. Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia, a champion of clean water, will be on hand to cut the birthday cake, and the “Cap2Cap” canoe team, which is paddling from Ottawa to D.C. to draw attention to the importance of waterways, will make a special appearance. The event is from 4-6 p.m. in Room 2253 of the Rayburn House Office Building (more info here). View a 2-minute video of Southerners celebrating the Clean Water Act.

When the Clean Water Act passed on October 18, 1972, all but one of 65 representatives from the southeastern states voted to support it. But in the last two years, the region’s representatives have voted more often than not in favor of weakening clean water laws, as tallied in the report.

“Forty years ago, Congress made clean water a national priority, a commitment that has yielded real improvements in the health of our waters and positive results for people who have benefitted from this environmental law that sets us apart from much of the world,” says Sandra Diaz, coordinator of the Red, White & Water Program with Appalachian Voices.

Highlighting place-based success stories from eight southeastern states — from an oyster farm on the Chesapeake Bay, to dairy farms in the Carolinas, to a watershed polluted by coal mining in Appalachia — the report puts a human face on the role the law plays in improving the lives of Americans who rely on clean water for their livelihoods, health and well-being.

“The Clean Water Act is creating jobs and economic benefits, restoring impaired fisheries, and cleaning up famed whitewater tourism destinations,” Diaz says. “People become very upset when they realize that Congress is attempting to weaken the Clean Water Act so industry can go back to using our waterways as industrial sewers. Americans have a right to know their water is safe and clean.”

The report details the 112th Congress’ assault on clean water laws, focusing on the southern delegations. No part of the country has seen a greater erosion of support for clean water protections over the past 40 years than the Southeast, according to Appalachian Voices. In the last two years, representatives of southeastern states have voted in favor of weakening clean water laws 75 percent of the time.

“We urge our elected leaders to uphold the strong bipartisan commitment the nation made four decades ago to restore and maintain the integrity of its waters,” says Diaz.

Some of the successes of the Clean Water Act over the past 40 years include:

    • The number of Americans receiving clean drinking water has increased from 79 percent in 1993 to 92 percent in 2007;
    • More than 2,000 water bodies identified as impaired in 2002 now meet water quality standards;
    • 60 percent more Americans were served by publicly-owned wastewater treatment facilities from 1968 to 2008.

A Summary of Success Stories from the South:

Alabama: Hal Lee and other farmers in Morgan County received education and funding through the Clean Water Act to reduce agricultural runoff along a 28-mile segment of the Flint River, leading to its removal from the national list of impaired waters.

Georgia: Water quality monitoring support from the Clean Water Act led to the creation of a series of stormwater retention ponds and constructed wetlands in the city of Griffin that prevent flooding, improve water quality and provide wildlife habitat.

Kentucky: Poor agricultural practices and failing septic tanks in Clark County threatened Strodes Creek until John Jones and other local citizens received new septic tanks and funding support through the Clean Water Act’s nonpoint source pollution program.

North Carolina: Iredell County residents and horse owners Bob and Jill Kinser received funding through the Clean Water Act to build fencing, horse trails and waste composters to prevent runoff and manure from entering nearby Fourth Creek.

South Carolina: When the Stevens Creek watershed was found to be polluted by poor agricultural practices, Edgefield County resident Watson Dorn and other local farmers secured Clean Water Act funding to build fencing to prevent livestock from entering streams and to create alternative watering systems leading to improved water quality downstream.

Tennessee: Uncle Johnny’s Nolichucky Hostel in Erwin relies on clean water to attract tourists to the famed rapids of the Nolichucky River. Due to poor agricultural practices upstream, portions of the river were listed as impaired. With funding from the Clean Water Act, farms along the Nolichucky were able to prevent runoff from entering the creek, improving water quality and benefiting downstream businesses and communities.

Virginia: Upstream pollution from the city of Virginia Beach has threatened the Lynnhaven River and the livelihood of fishermen, such as Hal Chalmers, who work there. With the help of Clean Water Act funding, more than 1,450 acres of the Lynnhaven River now meet water quality standards, the most since 1931.

West Virginia: Acid mine drainage from abandoned coal mines and poorly reclaimed surface mines poisoned the once vibrant Morris Creek in Kanawha County. Projects funded through the Clean Water Act helped local agencies to construct limestone channels that absorb toxic heavy metals from acid mine drainage.

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