Freshwater Future Weekly: November 3, 2023

Your Voice is Needed to Improve Minnesota’s Water System Funding; Seneca Lake Guardian Providing PFAS Test Kits to Residents Near New York’s Largest Landfill; Salmon Farms and Our Great Lakes; Proposed House Funding Bill Guts Clean Water Programs; No One Held Accountable for the Flint Water Crisis
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Deadline November 13th: Your Voice is Needed to Improve Minnesota’s Water System Funding! 

Water systems across the nation are aging, delivering dangerous and unaffordable water to our homes. Our neighbors in Minnesota deserve access to safe, clean, and affordable water! Now is your chance to comment on the main funding program to improve drinking water infrastructure in the state – the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. Changes must be made to Minnesota’s program, or this money may not reach the communities that need it most. You can help by taking action through Freshwater Future today. Right now, Minnesota’s annual plan is open for public comment until November 13th. Don’t wait — submit comments for Minnesota today! 

Seneca Lake Guardian Providing PFAS Test Kits to Residents Near New York’s Largest Landfill

A report by the New York, Department of Environmental Conservation determined, “the presence of PFAS compounds in groundwater near inactive landfill facilities is relatively common.” Because of this threat, a New York based community group, Seneca Lake Guardian is offering testing for residences near New York’s largest landfill, utilizing support from a Freshwater Future Project Grant. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), commonly referred to as forever chemicals due to their persistence in the environment, are associated with serious health conditions including cancer and liver damage. Seneca Lake Guardian is continuing to track activity at the landfill and work to protect nearby drinking water sources. 

Salmon Farms and Our Great Lakes 

Recently, we reported on how a salmon farm in Williams County, Ohio would withdraw Five-Million gallons of water per day. Meanwhile, in Michigan’s Muskegon County, a massive aquaculture project hopes to raise 10,000 salmon per week using up to two million gallons of water each day. Both projects have raised concerns by local advocates about the potential environmental impacts associated with massive water withdrawals and waste coming from these facilities. A salmon farm operated by the same company as the proposed Ohio farm has faced consistent pushback from whistleblowers and advocates on water pollution, antibiotic use, and the health of the fish. Sherry Fleming of the Williams County Alliance shared, “Communities dependent upon the Michindoh Aquifer continue to have hope that AquaBounty’s financial difficulties combined with no confirmed route to obtain water from the aquifer will mean an end to the proposed GMO salmon facility in Williams County.”  Freshwater Future is committed to seeing sustainable fisheries in the Great Lakes. 

Proposed House Funding Bill Guts Clean Water Programs 

The proposed U.S. House of Representatives budget seeks to gut funding for critical clean water programs and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that administers them. Jill Ryan said of the budget, “If anything, we know more now than ever that the challenges of the Great Lakes require funding to prevent catastrophic impacts on public health and the environment – that will require greater investments into the future.” Freshwater Future encourages you to tell your Congresspeople to reject this budget and stand strong for funding to ensure clean and affordable water in this country. 

No One Held Accountable for the Flint Water Crisis

On October 31st, nearly a decade after the onset of the Flint water crisis, the Michigan Supreme court closed the door on holding former Governor Rick Snyder and other officials accountable for their part in the crisis. Criminal charges that included ‘willful neglect of duty’ have now been dropped by the Michigan Attorney General. Freshwater Future’s Jill Ryan said in response “This is an incredibly disappointing outcome.”  Freshwater Future will continue to work toward a future without lead poisoning. As the EPA prepares to release its draft Lead and Copper Rule Improvements, we are demanding a stronger federal lead and copper rule – sign our No Lead is Safe pledge to add your voice!