Taking Action Around The Country
Communities Are Fighting For Clean Water & Safer Standards For PFAS, Fracking & Radioactive Waste
Proposed PFAS Regulations
Yesterday, the White House announced a proposal for the first-ever national drinking water standard for six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.”
Finally, legally enforceable levels! I know that’s music to many advocates’ ears across the country who have worked tirelessly FOR YEARS to bring attention to this class of persistent, toxic chemicals.
“No one should ever wonder if the PFAS in their tap water will one day make them sick,” said Clean Cape Fear co-founder Emily Donovan in a statement. “We all deserve access to health-protective drinking water. It’s a basic human right.”
Emily’s work helped elevate the PFAS contamination crisis to the national stage.
For more than 40 years, DuPont and its spinoff, Chemours, exposed communities in North Carolina to dangerous levels of PFAS, all the while knowing these chemicals endangered people’s health.
She has testified before Congress twice regarding PFAS contamination. She helped secure reverse osmosis filling stations for 49 public schools impacted by PFAS contamination in Brunswick and New Hanover counties. She has served as a member of the leadership team for the National PFAS Contamination Coalition and sits on various community advisory boards and coalitions working to address PFAS contamination.
And that’s just one community. We’ve also featured Stel Bailey at Fight For Zero, who has worked in her home state of Florida and at the national level to protect and save lives and expose the impact of PFAS chemicals. You can read about her story and work here.
Our first-ever story in this newsletter was about PFAS pollution in Maine. If you’re new here or want to re-read that story, go here. The state has been at the leading edge nationally of responding to and regulating PFAS.
You can also listen to me talk with my friend, environmental attorney Robert Bilott, who helped to expose Dupont’s history of chemical pollution.
This national law would set the first new chemical standards in the Safe Drinking Water Act since 1996.
If finalized, the proposed regulation would track PFOA and PFOS as individual contaminants, and regulate four other PFAS—PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS, and GenX Chemicals—as a mixture.
It will require public water systems to not only monitor for these chemicals, but also require systems to notify the public and reduce PFAS contamination if levels exceed the proposed regulatory standards.
The EPA anticipates that if fully implemented, the rule will, over time, prevent thousands of deaths and reduce tens of thousands of serious PFAS-attributable illnesses. This action establishes nationwide protection from PFAS pollution for everyone.
Save The Aurora Reservoir
A group of Colorado residents are working to protect their families, homes, schools, neighborhoods, air, water, and community reservoir from the risks of fracking. The Southeast Aurora residents oppose the Lowry Ranch fracking project.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is an advanced extraction method for getting previously hard-to-reach fossil fuels out of the ground. It involves injecting millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals miles underground to release natural gas and/or oil.
I’m not against the practice itself. The right regulations exist to extract safely, but they are not being enforced. Fracking is exempt or excluded from many major federal environmental laws put in place to protect us and the environment.
Let’s face it. When you pump a brew of substances containing manmade chemicals into the environment (through underground water aquifers), you can absolutely taint the water.
The EPA has reported that up to 700 different chemicals are used for this process in sites throughout the country. They include chemicals such as arsenic, benzene, cadmium, lead, formaldehyde, chlorine, and mercury, which are associated with developmental or reproductive toxicity.
We have more than a thousand documented cases of water contamination from fracking operations—whether it’s from toxic wastewater, well blowouts, or chemical spills.
Not to mention that most fracking decisions are made at the state or federal level, even though local communities see the biggest impact from this practice. In fact, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned voter-approved fracking bans in several Colorado cities back in 2016.
If approved, this project will build drilling pads as close as 2,000 feet of local homes and the Aurora Reservoir, which provides drinking water to almost 400,000 Aurora residents and surrounding communities. In a state that is semi-arid and drought-prone, why risk damaging the little water that is there?
Those in Colorado can support efforts to save the reservoir here and with these steps:
Sign a petition for your Metro District or HOA. Participate in your Metro District and HOA meetings and voice your concerns. Tell the board members to just say no to leasing mineral rights for neighborhood common areas.
Contact your elected officials at the state, county, and city and tell them to put community health and safety first and to stop the Lowry Ranch fracking project.
Talk to your neighbors about the project and its risks to our community's water, air, and property values.
Stop Radioactive Waste From Getting Dumped In NY
I can’t believe this news is real, but plans are in place to dump one million gallons of radioactive wastewater into the Hudson River in New York State, according to the Hudson Valley Post.
That’s all thanks to the Indian Point Power Plant, a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant located just 24 miles north of New York City, which officially closed down in April 2021.
For years, we’ve followed the adage that “the solution to pollution is dilution.” But we have reached a point where even large bodies of water can’t possibly dilute the constant barrage of toxins. The Hudson is already a federally designated toxic Superfund site.
According to Riverkeeper.Org, Holtec International, which owns the plant, says they will resume discharging radioactive wastewater into the Hudson River as early as August.
The 315-mile river runs from the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York down through the Hudson Valley farmlands and into the Atlantic Ocean near New York City.
You can support new legislation introduced (S5181/A5338) by state Senator Pete Harckharm and Assemblymember Dana Levenberg to help stop to any planned discharge into the Hudson River.
Instead of discharging the wastewater, Riverkeeper is calling for secure storage of the contaminated water on the Indian Point site while safer disposal methods are evaluated.
You can sign the petition here.
Your voice matters. Add your thoughts in the comments below!
Such a great win for communities across the USA! We are definitely lagging behind you in the UK and Europe on this. Our government authorities seem barely aware of PFAS at all, despite the levels found in our waterways.