Simple actions you can take to protect our waters, from source to tap:
Coast Guard Authorization Act Would Exempt Ballast Water Pollution from Clean Water Act Standards
The US Senate may soon take up a bill that weakens the existing federal standards for ballast water pollution. The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017 exempts ballast water pollution from Clean Water Act protections, and Senate Republicans may bring it to the floor this week.
Currently under the Clean Water Act, the EPA and Coast Guard have integrated national standards that states may choose to make more protective. If enacted, the bill would transfer regulatory authority from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Coast Guard, block states from creating more stringent ballast water rules, and prevent citizens from challenging weak protections in court.
Tell your Senator that Great Lakes residents can’t afford any more ecological and financial damage from invasive species. Click here to learn more on our blog, then let your Senator know ballast water pollution standards must be maintained.
Michigan Legislature Passes Bill to Lower Ballast Water Pollution Standards; Sends to Governor
House Bill 5095 passed the Michigan House by a vote of 66-42 and the Senate by a vote of 25-11. The bill would effectively repeal the ballast water pollution standards passed in 2005 with near unanimous bipartisan support, leaving us to rely exclusively on weaker federal standards for ballast water pollution. You don’t have to be a Michigan resident to take action. Click here to ask Governor Snyder to veto this bill.
Michigan House Passes “No Greater Than the Feds” Bill; Passes to Senate
There’s a bill working its way through the state legislature that would prevent the state from enacting any environmental protections that are stronger than existing federal protections. It just passed out of the Senate Oversight Committee today and now goes to a vote by the full Senate. You can read more about it here, and we’ve made it easy to contact your state Senator to let them know you oppose this bill.
Michigan Legislators Want Homeowners to Cover Flood Cleanup Costs
A bill in the Michigan House would leave home and business owners 100% responsible for covering flood cleanup costs, even when an outdated sewage and stormwater system is clearly at fault. The bill would let the government off the hook for sewage overflows and ruined basements if it rains more than 1.7 inches in one hour, or 3.3 inches in a continuous 24-hour period. These are common rain events that are only becoming more frequent in our warming climate. Read more about the bill here.
Michigan’s water infrastructure is old. Like many Great Lakes communities, cities across the state continue to live with 50-150 year old systems unable to keep up with population growth and modern water use. Instead of finding solutions for Michigan’s aging water infrastructure, the state House is voting on whether to push costs off on homeowners.
Michiganders, tell your elected representative to vote NO on Bill 4290. Take action here.
Wisconsin Considers Repeal of Popular Mining Law
Wisconsin State Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) has introduced a bill that would effectively rescind the state’s popular “Prove It First” law, which currently presents a significant obstacle to the construction of new sulfide mines in Wisconsin. Aquila Resources, a Canadian exploration company that owns the controversial Back Forty mine proposal in Michigan, has expressed interest in several Wisconsin sites, and this bill’s passage would remove the only formidable legal barrier to expanding operations there.
72% of Wisconsinites support “Prove It First” and want it preserved; if you’re one of them, make sure your Wisconsin legislators know it. Learn more about the bill—and how to take action—on our blog.
Proposed Site Would Store Nuclear Waste Less Than One Mile from Lake Huron
Plans for a proposed nuclear waste dump in Ontario—less than a mile from the Lake Huron shore—have stalled as the Canadian government requests more information about the proposal.
Opposition has been swift and decisive on both sides of the border: 224 resolutions opposing the plan have been passed in jurisdictions representing more than 23 million Canadian and American citizens. If radioactive wastes make it into Great Lakes waterways, there is no technology to recover it at this scale. Radioactive material would slowly spread throughout the basin, and remain there for thousands of years.
Add your voice to the chorus of opposition to a nuclear waste dump on Lake Huron. Get more background information on our blog and then tell the Canadian government to reject this proposal.
Brandon Road Study Recommendations Need to Be Expanded
The recently-released Brandon Road Study details promising increased protections that should be implemented quickly to decrease the possibility of invasive carp entering the Great Lakes. However, even if all of the Corps’ recommendations are implemented, there is still an estimated 13% chance that Asian carp will breach the Brandon Road lock and dam and swim through the Chicago waterways to Lake Michigan. We cannot let this happen.
The Army Corps of Engineers is soliciting public comments on their recommendations here. We believe that the best plan for preventing the spread of Asian carp is to restore the natural divide between the Mississippi River Basin and the Great Lakes by closing the Brandon Road passageway.
Please join us in calling for the Corps to expand its recommendation and use every tool at our disposal to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. Get guidance and submit comments here on our blog.
Foxconn Deal Would Roll Back Great Lakes Protections
The state of Wisconsin is considering a deal with Foxconn—maker of iPhones and electric components—that would roll back decades of hard-won environmental protections for a plant likely to use upwards of 10 million gallons of Great Lakes water a day.
A bill to approve the deal was recently passed by the Wisconsin Assembly and is now under consideration by the Senate Joint Finance Committee. Governor Scott Walker brokered the deal and is expected to sign the bill if it’s passed by the state Senate.
Learn more about why this deal is bad for Wisconsin, bad for the Great Lakes, and bad for the environment—as well as what Wisconsinites can do about it—on our blog.
THIS CAMPAIGN HAS ENDED. Thank you for taking action to protect Wisconsin waters. Unfortunately, despite opposition from thousands of concerned Great Lakes residents like you, the Wisconsin legislature passed this bill and Governor Scott Walker signed it into law.
The EPA is Accepting Public Comments on Repealing the Clean Water Rule
The Trump administration recently announced a major legal step toward repealing an Obama-era regulation designed to limit pollution in 60% of the nation’s bodies of water. The rule, known as the Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, extended existing federal protections of large bodies of water (under the 1972 Clean Water Act), such as the Great Lakes, to smaller bodies that flow into them, such as rivers, small waterways, and wetlands. One third of Americans rely on these waterways for drinking water.
The EPA is currently accepting public comment, now through August 28th, on its proposal to repeal this rule. Get some guidance on how to craft an effective comment on our blog.
THIS CAMPAIGN HAS ENDED. Thank you for standing up for clean water. The comment period is now closed.
Three Years Since the Toledo Water Crisis, Toxic Algae is Still a Problem
Lake Erie leaders will meet in October to discuss the future of the Great Lakes. Three years ago, the water supply Toledo draws from Lake Erie was so contaminated with toxic algae that it was declared undrinkable. A year later, the governors of Ohio and Michigan joined with the Premier of Ontario to commit to reducing the amount of runoff pollution—specifically phosphorus—flowing into western Lake Erie by 40 percent. Unfortunately, little progress has been made toward this goal. Please sign our petition and tell them you want them to speed up and scale up efforts to reduce the pollution that causes toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie.
State of Michigan Seeks Comments on Alternatives to Line 5 Pipeline
In the Straits of Mackinac, a 64-year-old pipeline transports nearly 23 million gallons of crude oil a day through Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. In response to growing public opposition to the continued operation of Line 5, the state of Michigan commissioned a study to analyze alternative methods of transport. A draft of the study was released a few weeks ago, and the public has until August 5 to provide comments that will help shape the final report. Get guidance on how to craft effective comments on our blog, and then take action.
Severe Algal Blooms Predicted for Summer
The forecast is out, and this summer the blooms are coming back. Today National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its forecast for the summer algal bloom in Lake Erie’s western basin. The prediction? Severe algal blooms. We’re calling upon governments along Lake Erie to take stronger, more proactive steps to reduce the runoff pollution that leads to these toxic algal blooms each summer.
THIS CAMPAIGN HAS ENDED. Thank you for taking action to protect Lake Erie. You joined over 1,800 caring people in asking the Ontario and Canadian governments to come up with a plan that reduces the harmful algae blooms plaguing Lake Erie.
State of Michigan Needs to Reinstate Water Credits for Flint
Thousands of Flint, Michigan residents could face foreclosure over unpaid bills for lead-poisoned water unless the Governor takes action. The governor’s decision to end water relief credits in February gave the impression that the water crisis was solved. Let’s be clear: Flint residents are now being asked to pay the highest water rate in America for water that’s still toxic to drink without a filter. Tell Governor Snyder and Treasurer Khouri to reinstate the water credits until the water is lead-free.
Live Asian Carp Found Nine Miles From Lake Michigan
On June 22nd a live silver carp was caught in the Calumet River on Chicago’s south side, approximately 9 miles from Lake Michigan and well beyond the electric barrier network designed to prevent invasive fish from reaching Lake Michigan. US Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) have introduced legislation that would require the Trump Administration to release the Brandon Road Study, a report authored by the Army Corps of Engineers that details how best to prevent the spread of Asian Carp. Tell your representatives that we can’t wait any longer. The Brandon Road Study is essential to keeping invasive Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes, and Congress must act before it’s too late.
Flint, Michigan has been without clean water since April 24, 2014. As if Flint residents haven’t already suffered enough, in April the city began shutting off water service to residents with past due bills. Dozens of families in Flint have had their water shut off, and hundreds more anticipate losing service if their bills remain unpaid. No one should have to pay for poisoned water, but we’ve partnered with a grassroots group in Flint to get the water turned back on, and you can help by donating here.
Deep Cuts Proposed to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Governor Synder and the Michigan legislature have proposed millions of dollars in cuts to the DEQ and other agencies dedicated to conserving natural resources, preserving public health, and maintaining safe and clean water. Send a message to your legislators telling them to stand up for Michigan’s waterways.
THIS CAMPAIGN HAS ENDED. On June 22, 2017 the Michigan legislature voted to cut funding for the Department of Environmental Quality by $9.5 million, and Gov. Snyder signed the bill into law. However, the fight continues. This 2% cut may seem insignificant, but given the current makeup of Congress and the Trump Administration’s proposed EPA cuts, that number is likely to grow. The MDEQ relies on the EPA for about ⅓ of its budget, meaning its operations are especially sensitive to national policy changes. We’ll be keeping an eye on the national budget moving forward, and we’ll keep you updated as Congress deliberates.
Michigan House Passes “No Greater Than the Feds” Bill; Passes to Senate
There’s a bill working its way through the state legislature that would prevent the state from enacting any environmental protections that are stronger than existing federal protections. You can read more about it here, and we’ve made it easy to contact your state Senator to let them know you oppose this bill.
It’s Time for Ontario to Take Clear, Decisive Action to Clean Up Lake Erie
Canada and Ontario recently released a draft action plan to tackle the algae blooms plaguing Lake Erie. It falls seriously short. While the comment period has now closed, you can still make your voice heard. Tell governments that you care about Lake Erie and want to see a strong plan that ensures a clean, healthy lake for the people and wildlife that rely on it.
THIS CAMPAIGN HAS ENDED. Thank you for taking action to protect Lake Erie. You joined over 1,800 caring people in asking the Ontario and Canadian governments to come up with a plan that reduces the harmful algae blooms plaguing Lake Erie. Way to go! That amount of vocal support for Lake Erie will not go unnoticed.
Urge Michigan Governor and DEQ to Reject Nestlé Request to Increase Pumping
Let your MI state representative know you support House Resolution 0061 urging the Governor and the DEQ to reject Nestlé Waters’ application to more than double water-taking at its Evart pumping station.
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