Freshwater Weekly 12/7/17
This week: speak up for the Clean Water Rule + great days for the Great Lakes in Canada + Flint water defendant to lead new health panel + Ontario drinking water report + funding opportunities + ways you can make a difference.
CLEAN WATER PROTECTIONS UNDER THREAT BY EPA
We need your help. EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt has proposed a plan that would retroactively change the effective date of the 2015 Clean Water Rule. This commonsense rule restored protections to the drinking water sources for over 100 million Americans and to millions of acres of wetlands that filter pollutants and safeguard thousands of communities from flooding.
TAKE ACTION: Public comments on the proposed revision of the Clean Water Rule are being accepted here until December 13th, 2017. We’ve made it easy for you to submit a comment—copy, paste, and personalize the one we wrote on our blog.
SOME GREAT DAYS FOR THE GREAT LAKES IN CANADA
Just a few weeks ago, over 25 leaders from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence region—including Freshwater Future’s own Tony Maas—gathered in Ottawa to advocate for increased investment and programming to protect the waters in our Great Lakes.
They came together for the second annual Parliament Hill Days to deliver a common message: Canada needs to up its game on protecting and restoring the health of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River—because doing so is the key to developing sustainable and resilient communities and economies in a region that holds 20% of the world’s fresh water.
The message resonated with decision makers from across party lines—and certainly seems to have struck a chord with the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Last Friday, just days after the Ottawa meetings, the Minister came to Toronto to publicly announce the Government of Canada’s investment of $44.84 million in its Great Lakes Protection Initiative as part of the $70.5 million allocated for freshwater protection in its 2017 Budget.
This is great news! Learn more about the investment—and about the work still ahead—on our blog.
MICHIGAN OFFICIAL FACING CRIMINAL CHARGES IN FLINT WATER CRISIS TO LEAD NEW PUBLIC HEALTH PANEL
On November 20th, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced his appointment of Dr. Eden Wells to lead a new Public Health Advisory Council. Dr. Wells is Michigan’s chief medical executive and one of fifteen current and former government officials facing prosecution for their role in the Flint water crisis.
Hilliard Hampton, Freshwater Future Director for Urban Programs, responded to the governor’s appointment of Dr. Wells: “entrusting someone who has been criminally charged in the Flint water crisis to lead the Public Health Advisory Council, which is intended to provide advice about emerging issues in public health, simply cannot instill public trust in our system of government.”
Our partners working in Flint and Detroit were equally critical of this appointment. You can read our joint press release on our blog.
NEW REPORT SHOWS GAPS IN ONTARIO’S DRINKING WATER PROTECTION
Last month, the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change released a report that evaluates how well its programs are doing at protecting drinking water, including the Great Lakes. While most Ontarians enjoy access to safe and reliable drinking water—99.8 percent of municipal drinking water tests are meeting the standards—there are worrisome gaps that leave some residents, including First Nations, vulnerable. Learn more at our sister organization Freshwater Future Canada.
FUNDING FOR RESILIENCE AND RESTORATION WORK
Two funding opportunities are available to grassroots groups working on projects in the Great Lakes basin. Michigan Sea Grant (MISG) is soliciting proposals from Michigan coastal communities to improve their resilience planning initiatives, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service is currently accepting project proposals to protect, restore and enhance Great Lakes fish and wildlife habitat under the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act.
Learn more about these and other grant opportunities on our website.
There are lots of simple ways to help protect our waters. Find more at freshwaterfuture.org/take-action.