Clean Water Network Status Report-April
In this issue:
1. Earth Day and the Clean Water Act at 30 Look What the
Bush Administration is Putting in Your Water 2.
Network Status Report Become Paperless! 3. Urgent Action Needed on Clean Water and Drinking
Water Infrastructure! 4.
Say NO to Waste in Our Waters-Thousands of Miles
of Streams Have Been
Buried in Waste: Yours Could Be Next Even if There Is
No Coal Mining in Your State! 5. America’s Most Endangered Rivers- Brought to
You by the Corps 6. EPA
Takes a Hands-off Approach to Herbicides in Water 7.
Coast Alliance to Release Guides to Sediment Contamination
8. National Coastal Condition Report Finds Coasts
in Trouble 9. Network Workgroup Meetings 10. Modeling and TMDLs White Paper Available 11.
Threatened and Impaired Waters Listing Call Series
12. Protect America’s
Unique Wetlands 13. Big
Changes at the Network--Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator Position Available 14. Network Activist Spotlight-Mobile
Bay Watch15. See Your Favorite Waters in a
Whole New Way through SkyTruth
1. Earth Day and the
Clean Water Act at 30 Look What the Bush Administration
is Putting in Your Water
In 1972 the federal
government passed a broad and sweeping piece of
legislation called the Clean Water Act.
Thirty years later the goals of
the Act are yet to be a reality. Protections the public and Network members used to take for granted are being unraveled
by the Bush administration. The administration has handed polluting industries
the pen to draw
up regulatory rollbacks for their own profit.
are allowed to bury streams with mining waste while another
important water resource, wetlands, continue to
be filled at an alarming
rate. Raw sewage, which most people think is a thing
of the past, is still
discharged into urban waters, streets, and playgrounds.
Finally, the program that was included in the original
Clean Water Act in 1972 to
address impaired waters-the Total Maximum Daily
Load (TMDL) program-has yet to be seriously implemented.
We contacted Network
members in March about a national Earth Day event
on Saturday, April 20, the focus of which will
be all the types of pollution
the Bush administration is ignoring or opening up the
Act to allow. The theme is: "Look what the Bush administration
is letting polluters
put in your water!"
Network members will also be tying in the
30th anniversary theme of "The Clean Water
Act at 30: Time to Keep the Promise."
Network members have developed fact sheets, model
press releases, photographs and B-roll for media outlets
depicting the types of
pollution the Bush administration is putting in your water. Interested Network members should contact Ami
Grace at 202-289-2421 or
Network Status Report Become Paperless!
The Clean Water Network
monthly Status Report will now only be
electronically available to Network members.
We are hoping this change will cut down on the amount of paper we are
sending out each month and
will allow us to get our newsletter out more quickly
to our members. So, if you look at the front of this newsletter
and do not see an e-mail
address by your name or if you see the wrong address
by your name, please contact the Network at email@example.com
and let us know what e-mail
address to use. After
this month you should not expect another
paper newsletter unless you do not have e-mail.
Urgent Action Needed on Clean Water and Drinking
On Thursday, April 18,
the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee will
consider a bill to reauthorize Clean Water and Safe Drinking
Water state revolving
fund dollars- S. 1961 co-sponsored by Senators Jeffords (I-VT), Smith (R-NH), Graham (D-FL), and Crapo
(R-ID). We need
your help to ensure that these funds, $35 billion,
are used to fund environmentally
beneficial projects. (Refer to our the March Status Report for more on several infrastructure bills
in the House and Senate.)
This bill will determine
whether we start spending our dollars more
wisely, increase public participation, and begin
to use more pollution
prevention and green infrastructure approaches
or whether we lessen state accountability for the use of funds, diminish
opportunities for public
input, and lock in the hard infrastructure approaches
of the past, even when green infrastructure approaches
would achieve greater
environmental benefit at the same or lower cost.
Your Senator needs to
hear from you on how to vote to make sure that the
SRF is environmentally helpful, not harmful.
Please go to our
Legislative Action Center at www.cwn.org
and send an e-mail message or
print out and fax a letter today!
The text of the e-mail or letter is
provided for you to pass on to your members.
Dear Senator ________,
I am writing to urge
you to vote to ensure that the State Revolving Fund
Reauthorization Bill (S. 1961) that the Senate
will consider on April 18
includes crucial environmental provisions.
Please vote YES to Senator
Wyden’s green infrastructure amendment. This amendment
will provide more funding for the smartest, most beneficial
projects, reduce a broad range of water pollution
sources, and would fund
projects already determined to be priorities for each
state’s water program.
Vote NO to Senator Voinovich’s
amendment that reduces important public
participation and transparency provisions from
S. 1961, reduces state accountability, allows SRF funds to go to communities
that are in significant
noncompliance with the Clean Water Act, and limits avenue for citizen opposition to environmentally destructive
Support the Chairman’s
mark if it retains the following provisions:
denying funding to entities that refuse to agree
to comply with the Clean
Water Act, strong coordination provisions for state and
local planning efforts, expanded eligibility for projects
that protect surface waters
using soil and vegetation ("mother nature’s way"),
consideration of more environmentally sensitive approaches
for use of SRF funds,
expanded use of integrated priority setting, and
enhanced public participation in priority setting process.
Say NO to Waste in Our Waters- Thousands of Miles
of Streams Have Been
Buried in Waste: Yours Could Be Next Even if There Is
No Coal Mining in Your State!
Thanks to calls and
pressure from Clean Water Network members across the
country, the Bush administration has not yet moved
forward with a rule that
would allow a wide variety of waste material to bury and
destroy our nation’s
wetlands and streams.
Thanks for the amazing outcry!
However, all signs point to an imminent rule change
on the horizon so we must
continue to make the Administration feel the heat that
this rule change
will generate among Network members and the American public.
The proposed change
to the definition of 'fill' material under the Clean
Water Act would result in an unconscionable weakening
of the Clean Water Act by allowing the Corps to permit water bodies
to be turned into waste
dumps - the very thing the Act was adopted 30 years
ago to prevent. The proposed
rule change came about as a result of the Corps’ desire
to legalize mountaintop removal mining in West
the proposed rule would not only allow mining waste
to bury waters of the
United States, but it would also allow other types
of waste to bury our waters as well. So, even if coal mining or mountaintop removal
mining is not an
issue in your state, your waters would be threatened because
of this rule change.
For that reason, we are still asking Network
member to contact the Bush administration and to
tell them to say NO to
the fill rule. To contact President Bush and to learn more,
go to the Network’s
web site at www.cwn.org
and click on the Legislative Action Center.
America’s Most Endangered Rivers- Brought to You
by the Corps
On April 2 American
Rivers released their annual report, America’s Most
Endangered Rivers. This year American Rivers declared
the Missouri River the most endangered river of 2002. Army Corps of Engineers dams are contributing to the decline of native Missouri
River fish, birds, and
other species, and extinction is a strong possibility
for some of these species unless the Corps changes dam operations
and dramatically accelerates
its efforts to restore habitat, Review of the Most Endangered Rivers lists for the past 16 years
reveals a startling statistic:
one single organization has been directly responsible
for, or has contributed to, almost 60% of the listings.
Astonishingly, this organization
works for you-the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Others that made American
Rivers’ top 11 list include: Big Sunflower River,
Klamath River, Kansas River, White River, Powder River,
Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Canning River, Guadalupe
River and Apalachicola River.
For the full report, to go
EPA Takes a Hands-off Approach to Herbicides in
Can an individual spray
pesticides directly into your local lake without
a Clean Water Act permit?
In the January edition of the Status Report
we mentioned a May 2001 Ninth Circuit decision,
Headwaters, Inc. v. Talent
Irrigation District, that held that a permit is required
for the discharge of aquatic herbicides directly into
waters of the United States. The waterbody in question in the Talent case
was an irrigation canal. Members of the Clean Water Network sent a letter
to EPA last fall
on the issue and reminded the administration that the
Clean Water Act "requires a permit for all direct applications
of an herbicide into waters
of the U.S. There
is no exception from this requirement for
herbicides or other pesticides regulated under
the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), nor should
In early April EPA released
a memorandum on the issue stating that
return flows from irrigated agriculture are not
regulated under the Clean
Water Act and, therefore, a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit is not needed
to directly discharge
herbicides into irrigation canals and ditches,
even when they discharge into waters of the United States. EPA’s memo is based on 1977 amendments to the Clean Water Act that exempted
irrigation return flows
from point source requirements under the Act, but
it appears to be squarely inconsistent with the Talent decision.
For more information, go to
Coast Alliance to Release Guides to Sediment Contamination
Coast Alliance is announcing
the upcoming release of their new
publication Citizens’ Guides to Contaminated Sediments
in Communities. These
guides will present a national overview about the problems encountered from sediment contamination in the
nation’s waters as well
as provide local citizens with information about
toxic sediments in their backyards. The guide will also critique
EPA’s 1997 National Sediment Inventory.
Because this is not
only a national report but also a state-by-state
report, Coast Alliance is currently looking for
Network members willing
to co-release the guide in their state.
To help release the guide in
your state or for more information, please call
or e-mail Jaime Matera with Coast Alliance at (202) 546-9554 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Coastal Condition Report Finds Coasts
EPA recently released
the first environmental report card on water
quality at our nation’s coasts. The National Coastal
Condition Report presents
a broad baseline picture of the overall condition of U.S. coastal waters as fair to poor, varying from
region to region. The
findings in the report were based on seven coastal
water quality indicators - water clarity, dissolved oxygen,
coastal wetland loss,
eutrophic condition, sediment contamination, ecological
condition of bottom-dwelling organisms, and fish tissue contamination.
The report finds
all coasts are in either fair or poor condition (none
are in good condition) and 44% of estuarine areas in the
U.S. are impaired for human
use or aquatic life use.
EPA intends to conduct additional studies on
more specialized coastal issues and measure condition
changes over time. For a copy of the report, go to: http://www.epa.gov/owow/oceans/nccr/
or call 800-490-9198
for a free copy.
9. Network Workgroup Meetings
Reminder: Deadline to
Register for June 2-4 Water Quality Standards
Mini-Caucus is April 26!
The Clean Water Network
is holding its first-ever water quality
standards mini-caucus in Washington, DC from June
about this meeting was sent to the standards listserve
and was in the last newsletter. If you are interested in learning more or if
you still have
not registered, please contact Ami Grace at 202-289-2421
We must have all registrations by April 26.
Animal Factory Farm
Meeting a Great Success!
The Clean Water Network
hosted a mini-caucus for its Feedlot Workgroup
on March 18-20 in Washington, DC.
Over 40 activists, representing 19
states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, participated
in the strategy
the meeting, participants engaged in
discussions on topics such as, winning state and
local strategies around the country, ways to keep new Concentrated Animal
Feeding Operations (CAFOs)
out of our communities, and permitting.
enabled litigators to share ideas for bringing
novel claims against bad actors, and organizers to share strategies for
Overall, the event was
a success. Bringing this group of dedicated individuals with different experiences together
proved valuable. We identified a number of areas where we could
effectively work together
with the assistance of the Clean Water Network’s
workgroup will be working to develop model materials
that can be adapted for
use by activists all over the country. For instance, we will be working to pull together the best state components
of regulatory programs,
as well as to develop model permits, regulations, and
local health ordinances and moratoria on construction
of new CAFOs or expansion
of existing CAFOs. If
you would like more information on
these efforts of would like to offer assistance,
please contact the Feedlots Workgroup Coordinator,
Melanie Shepherdson, at email@example.com
Wetlands Activists Attend
activists attended the SWANCC Summit April 6-8 in
Washington, DC. The meeting was sponsored by the Clean Water
Network, the National
Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, the Izaak Walton League and the National Audubon Society. The meeting was a wonderful opportunity for wetlands activists to learn
more about the biology and
importance of isolated wetlands, to share state-level
strategies for isolated wetlands protections, and to share
ideas for a federal strategy
to protect isolated wetlands and other waters.
A list of tools that the
Network and its partners could provide to wetlands
activists was compiled. Participants
met with their members of Congress and asked them to support legislation which would restore
protection for all waters
under the Clean Water Act. We would like to thank all
the speakers and Network members who made this event
Modeling and TMDLs White Paper Available
Total Maximum Daily
Loads (TMDLs) are watershed cleanup plans for our
most polluted waters. As such, TMDLs are of huge
interest to the members
of the Clean Water Network.
Over the next decade or more, Network
organizations and their members will be faced with
approximately 40,000 cleanup
plans. These plans will be key to progress on clean water.
However, with so many plans and so many of them
requiring technical review, watershed organizations may be quickly
To help mitigate this problem, the Network
is producing a series of
'white papers' on technical and policy issues associated
with TMDL cleanup
plan development and implementation. These white papers
are designed to help the dedicated layperson constructively
weigh in on the TMDL
process or on a draft TMDL cleanup plan that is out for
The first paper focuses
on the use of models in TMDL development.
Citizens involved in TMDL cleanup plans need to
know when a model should
be used and when it shouldn’t, how complex a model
needs to be to be successful,
what models are out there, and how they can best watchdog
modeling efforts. For a copy of the paper, visit
our website at www.cwn.org
or call Merritt Frey at 208-345-7776.
Threatened and Impaired Waters Listing Call Series
To help our members
gear up for the 2002 Impaired and Threatened Waters
list (303(d) list), the Network is hosting a series
of several calls on listing issues. The goal of these calls is to have folks from
around the country
share the problems they face on a particular issue and
to hear strategy
ideas from their peers in other states. Learn from the best brains out there - your Clean Water Network
Instead of setting 'policy'
the goal of the calls is to generate ideas,
strategies, and action items for use in your on
the ground work. Participants
bring specific examples of proposals or actions by their
states on specific issues. Other call participants then share media,
organizing, policy, or legal strategies that they
have tried or considered.
Good ideas bloom!
Network staff will also
try to identify places where Network or other
resources could be brought to bear in order to
help our members tackle
the good ideas we generate.
Listing issue calls
tackled so far include:
'Credible' data and bad listing/delisting methodologies
· Citizen monitoring
data and 303(d) listing ·
Got a listing issue
you want to brainstorm on? Let us know!
Contact Merritt at
Protect America’s Unique Wetlands
Thanks to the Izaak
Walton League for sharing this information on American
American Wetlands Month,
which is celebrated during the month of May, is
a wonderful opportunity for communities to conserve
wetlands and to educate
others about their importance. Join thousands of Americans
this year in celebrating
the beauty and uniqueness of wetlands through
on-the-ground projects, activities and events.
The theme for 2002-03
is Bogs, Playas, Pools: Protect America’s Unique
Wetlands! The League encourages communities to
focus American Wetlands Month activities and wetland conservation efforts
throughout the year on
the protection of vernal pools, prairie potholes,
bogs, fens, cypress domes and other wetlands that are ephemeral
(dry up during part of the
year) or isolated from streams, lakes, oceans or
other water bodies. Isolated and ephemeral wetlands provide vital
breeding and resting habitat
for migratory waterfowl, essential breeding habitat for amphibians, flood protection, beauty, and many
other benefits. Community
education and action is needed to fill potential
gaps in federal protection of these vital ecosystems following
the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County
(SWANCC) v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Supreme Court
ruling in 2001.
The League plans several
events in May to kick-off American Wetlands
Month nationwide. This year, events include wetland
for the entire family in Washington, D.C.; Cortland, NY;
WI. More information is available on the League’s web
site at www.iwla.org/sos/awm.
Also, please visit the League’s interactive Wetlands Activities Calendar (click on Take
Action, then Wetland Activities
Calendar) to find American Wetlands Month activities near
you and to list your activities. The web site also
includes an American Wetlands
Campaign kit that includes fact sheets on wetlands, project ideas, case studies, step-by-step information
on how to coordinate specific
projects, and additional resource listings.
The Clean Water Network
encourages members of the Wetlands Workgroup to
participate in American Wetlands Month in the ways
outlined above, and also
by getting your city council to protect wetlands through
the Network’s City Clean Water Proclamation Campaign!
We are asking city councils’ across the country to recommit to
the Clean Water Act by
adopting our clean water proclamation and by making
specific commitments to clean water. We highly encourage Network members to work
with their cities
to protect isolated waters.
Use the proclamation campaign and
American Wetlands Month to protect isolated waters!
Go to www.cwn.org/docs/30thanniversary/city_clean_water_proclamation_ca.htm for more on the Network’s proclamation campaign
and ideas on how to get
your city or county to protect isolated waters.
13. Big Changes at the
Spring represents a
time of new beginnings. The Network will see a number of changes this spring and summer as
staff at the Network embark
upon exciting new career opportunities within the
environmental community. We
are sad to say that Lindsey Christ, our Program Assistant and Webmaster, will be leaving the Network to
go back out into the field
to perform field research on gypsy moths in southwestern
Michigan for the University of Chicago. Lindsey’s organizational and technical skills have kept the Network running smoothly
for the past year and she
will be missed by Network staff and members.
Thanks for all your hard
And on that note, I
am sad to say that Ami will be leaving the Network
in July to pursue her goal of earning a law degree
to continue to fight the
good fight: she’s trading in her telephones and action
alerts for gavels
and lawsuits. (I guess all those technical discussions on
the TMDL and standards
listserves really inspired her!)
She’ll still be around until then, so please continue to contact
her this spring and summer. But now, the Network needs YOU to help us find
a new Grassroots Advocacy
Coordinator to take her place.
Please read the job description
below and pass it on to any interested co-workers
or friends. Please help
the Network find a great organizer - we’d love to have
one of the amazing
organizers we’ve worked with in the states get this job.
Network members are strongly encouraged to apply.
-Eddie Scher, Director
of the Clean Water Network
Coordinator Position Available
The Clean Water Network;
a national alliance of over 1,000 citizen
organizations working together to strengthen federal
clean water policy is
seeking an energetic, well-organized person to be our
Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator in Washington, DC. We are seeking an individual with environmental experience who is able to
handle multiple tasks at
once, works well with a wide variety of people
and possesses strong written and oral communications skills. This
is an excellent opportunity
to work with national and grassroots groups on
major advocacy and media campaigns.
The ideal candidate
would have some experience in grassroots organizing,
newsletter writing, advocacy campaigns and/or legislative
work, and a strong
commitment to grassroots participation in national coalitions.
Must demonstrate strong writing skills, possess
good diplomatic skills
and an ability to communicate effectively with
a wide variety of people. For a more detailed list of responsibilities
and to apply, please visit
our web site at www.cwn.org
and click on Job Opportunities.
14. Network Activist
Spotlight-Mobile Bay Watch
Do you live in a city
with an antiquated sewer system and serious
sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) problems?
Are high repair costs preventing the city from updating and repairing
the system? Well,
the Mobile Bay Watch, Inc. and the Mobile Area
Water and Sewer System may have created the
model program for dealing with SSO problems (with a
little help from the courts.)
In 1999, Mobile Bay
Watch took legal action against the water and sewer
authority in Mobile, AL because they had violated
the Clean Water Act over
1,000 times during a five-year period. After two years, all the parties involved finally came together and worked
out a settlement that
could become a national model for solving SSO problems
without costly trials or the huge penalties that have been
levied against other cities.
Both Mobile Bay Watch
and the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System were
pleased with the settlement, which basically requires
that the sewer system
speed up major upgrades to prevent more spills. It also
requires more stringent
monitoring and reporting of accidental sewage discharges
with penalties ranging from a few hundred to several
thousand dollars for
each spill. Everyone involved in the litigation focused
heavily on solving
the problems rather than placing the blame and deserves
praise for their
cooperation and communication throughout the settlement.
The settlement includes
some very progressive and innovative solutions
to the SSO problem and allows most of the money
to return to the community
for water quality improvements. Some of the consent decree highlights include $450,000 to buy land for
preservation in Mobile
County, a $50,000 grant to Mobile Bay Watch to
establish a water quality monitoring database, and a $2 million fund for
low-income families to
repair leaking sewage pipes on private property.
After January 2003,
half of the penalties paid by the Mobile Area Water
and Sewer System will be added to the low-income family fund
with the other half going
towards local water quality monitoring efforts.
Other highlights include
an extensive three part monitoring system, the
formation of capacity assurance programs and grease
control program, monitoring
for priority pollutants, streamlined reporting procedures,
and extensive emergency planning.
Mobile Bay Watch will
continue to push for these types of settlement
requirements to become standard in other areas
around Mobile Bay. If
you would like to learn more or view the consent
decree, visit Mobile Bay
Watch’s website at www.mobilebaywatch.org or contact Casi
Callaway, Executive Director of Mobile Bay Watch, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
15. See Your Favorite
Waters in a Whole New Way through SkyTruth
SkyTruth is a new non-profit
organization based in Arlington, Virginia,
whose mission is to promote environmental protection,
education and advocacy
using the powerful information tools of satellite imagery
and digital mapping. To accomplish that mission, SkyTruth provides
environmental organizations and government agencies
with training, expertise
and direct assistance with understanding and using these tools. SkyTruth is already working on
a number of projects with Network
members including American Oceans Campaign, Earthjustice
Legal Defense Fund and the Wyoming Outdoor Council. If you have a project that could use some maps, digital photographs or remote
sensing, you may want to
contact SkyTruth’s president, John Amos at email@example.com
or (703) 276-9790.
Contact CWN Staff
Please use the information
below for contacting CWN staff. Note that the
email address can also be used to contact CWN with general clean water concerns.
Eddie Scher, Director
Ami Grace, Grassroots Director
Lindsey Christ, Program Assistant/Webmaster
Linda Young, Southeast Field Coordinator
Merritt Frey, Watershed Restoration Program
Director firstname.lastname@example.org, 208-345-7776
Jackie Savitz, Coast Alliance Nancy Stoner, Natural Resources
Catherine Hazlewood, The Ocean Conservancy
Ken Midkriff, Sierra Club Martha Noble, Sustainable Agriculture
Richard Caplan, PIRG
Merritt Frey, CWN Coordinator
Julie Sibbing, NWF Daniel Rosenberg, NRDC
Wet Weather and Funding: Nancy Stoner, NRDC
Paul Schwartz, CWA
Clean Water Network listserves are for CWN
members only and messages are intended solely for those