Freshwater Future Weekly: March 15, 2024

This Week: Keep Water Systems Public; Federal Decision Makers Educated on Mining, Algal Blooms, and Public Access Issues; U.S. Food and Drug Administration Takes Step to Reduce PFAS in Food Packaging; Stunning Photo of the Great Lakes from Space!
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Sign the Petition to Keep Water Systems Public

In a region holding 21% of the world’s fresh surface water, it is no surprise that corporations want to profit from the waters of the Great Lakes. When publicly-owned drinking or wastewater systems are run or taken over by for-profit corporations (privatization),  it threatens the affordability and sovereignty of many Great Lakes communities. Privately owned water systems on average charge 59 percent more than their publicly-owned counterparts.  Last year, we reported about how an advisory council to the White House issued a report that recommended making it even easier to privatize the nation’s water systems. Sign this petition to tell your legislators, the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, and President Biden that:

  • Water must remain under public control;
  • Privatization has no place in the future of our water infrastructure; and
  • All recommendations to privatize the nation’s water systems MUST NOT be acted upon!

Federal Decision Makers Educated on Mining, Algal Blooms, and Public Access Issues

Freshwater Future and three powerful community leaders visited Washington, D.C. on March 7th to educate representatives and senators on the needs of our region as part of Great Lakes Day. Freshwater Future staff were joined by Kathleen Heideman, board member of Mining Action Group; Sandy Bihn, Lake Erie Waterkeeper; and Jamie Cross, a lifelong advocate for the Great Lakes. Read more about this important day on the hill in our blog!

Front to back- Alexis Smith, Anna Bunting, Jamie Cross, Kathleen Heideman, Sandy Bihn

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Takes Step to Reduce PFAS in Food Packaging 

A main source of exposure to the toxic chemicals PFAS is food packaging–think fast-food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, and take-out containers.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the voluntary end of sales for grease-proofing PFAS in food packaging, (some of the most persistent types of PFAS). Because PFAS can cause a myriad of health problems, including cancer and high blood pressure, these are much needed changes. Food packaging will not become safer overnight, and it could take 18 months before shelves are completely free of these PFAS-laden products. While this is a step in the right direction, Freshwater Future believes that all types of PFAS should be banned from food packaging.  We will continue to keep you updated.

Save the Date–Freshwater Heroes Celebration, April 10th, 2024

You are invited to the 20th Annual Freshwater Heroes Celebration! Please join us on Wednesday, April 10th at noon (ET) as we honor the people, organizations, and communities throughout the Great Lakes Region committed to protecting our region’s precious freshwater resources. This live virtual celebration is open to the public! Please register for the event here

Stunning Photo of the Great Lakes from Space! 

A phenomenal photo showing all five Great Lakes has been very popular this past week – check it out!