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4/29/22: Take Action to Protect Lake Superior from Mining Pollution

 

A proposed mine in Minnesota received a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to destroy wetlands during construction. The Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has objected to the permit, based on the potential for toxic mercury contamination of fish and aquatic life. This is the first time a Band has exercised its right to object to federal permits.

 

Please share your support for the Band’s actions to protect the St. Louis River and Lake Superior from harmful mining pollution. It is easy, you can click HERE and through our online system send the message directly to the US. Army Corps of Engineers. Freshwater Future appreciates the commitment of the Fond Du Lac Band and WaterLegacy for their efforts to protect these special waters.

 

4/15/22: Your Urgent Action Is Needed to Protect Ohio’s streams! Urge Governor DeWine to Veto Bill (HB 175) Removing Regulations on These Important Water Resources

 

Ohio has over 36,000 miles of seasonal streams, that are critical to reducing polluted runoff and preventing flooding. Unfortunately, this week the Ohio legislature sent a bill (HB 175) to Governor DeWine’s desk that removes regulations on these important water resources. Your urgent action is needed to protect Ohio’s streams.

 

Please urge Governor DeWine to veto this harmful legislation. It is quick and easy through our online system to send the message directly to Gov. DeWine, just CLICK HERE. Weakening regulations on these streams mean permits may not be needed for activities that could harm seasonal streams. Filtering polluted runoff and reducing nutrients that cause harmful algal blooms and storing water during large rain events that help prevent flooding are just two of the important benefits seasonal streams provide. Another downfall of the legislation awaiting signature is that the legislation is in direct conflict with existing federal regulations, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The health of our downstream lakes and rivers, that are often a source of drinking water depend on strong protections for smaller streams. Thank you for taking action today and sending a strong message, that weakening Ohio’s stream regulations will have damaging results.

 

Message sample:
I am writing to you today regarding a very important issue
I urge you to veto HB 175 that removes regulations on over 36,000 miles of seasonal streams, also called ephemeral streams. These small but mighty waterways contribute a number of benefits to the health of larger streams, rivers, and lakes including decreasing pollution and flooding-risk. In addition, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the legislation is in direct conflict with existing federal regulations.

According to the Ohio EPA the many benefits that seasonal streams provide include:
–Control flow of water and reduce local and downstream flooding, that has become increasingly important due to the increase in extreme rain events that cause flooding
–Reduce nutrient pollution, that is particularly important for the Lake Erie watershed
–Maintain base flow in larger streams in times of drought
–Reduce sediment pollution that aids in reducing dredging costs
–Provide habitat for wildlife and maintain biodiversity

Please veto this short-sighted legislation that not only conflicts with federal regulations but harms important water resources.

 

1/18/22: Contact Your Local Officials to Ensure Your Community Benefits from Recent Federal Investments in Water

With the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law last year, there is cause to be excited yet focused and vocal in anticipation of a one-time, 5-year program (2022-2026) that will increase the amount of grants and low-interest loans available to local governments, especially those considered disadvantaged communities, to fund lead service line replacements and other large water storage, treatment, and distribution upgrades.

Applications for these “state revolving funds” (learn more here) are time-consuming, very detailed, and often beyond the scope of a local government’s capacity. And while these loans are low-interest, many communities have not been able to afford taking out loans to pay for aging water infrastructure since this program was created by a 1996 amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

We encourage residents to engage NOW with their local officials on this issue because of the upcoming annual deadlines for funding consideration. Many localities have already completed the process, and usually the number of qualified applicants outnumbers the available annual funding. If it is too late this year for your community, it is the perfect time to begin the process for next year to ensure your community has access to safe, affordable drinking water for decades to come.

How can you begin the conversation with your local officials?

Ask if the local government has considered applying or has already applied to the state revolving fund for water infrastructure upgrades If not, share your concerns over needed water infrastructure upgrades in your community, such as lead line replacement

Not sure if there are problems with your water infrastructure?  Talk to your community about their perspective and ask local officials what upgrades are or will be needed in the future.

Emphasize that this is a rare opportunity, time-sensitive, and time-consuming, but can deliver a lot of overdue assistance through both grants and/or loans

 

Let us know how your conversations go! Contact Kristen at 231-348-8200 x 9 or kristen@freshwaterfuture.org.

 

8/9/21: Take Action – Call your Congressional Members today and urge them to pass the Maintaining Access to Essential Services Act

Millions of people across the country currently do not have access to tap water or are facing their water being shut-off due to the billions of dollars of utility debt that has grown exponentially during the pandemic. As the Delta COVID variant cases ramp up, it is imperative to pass legislation that secures utility debt relief so everyone has the ability to wash their hands and masks.

Unfortunately, the over $1 trillion Bi-partisan Infrastructure Bill moving through the Senate does not include a prohibition on utility shut-offs or utility debt relief. Access to clean, safe, and affordable water is a basic human right and need. Congress has a role in ensuring all Americans have access to this life giving resource. Call your Congressional members today and urge them to pass the Maintaining Access to Essential Services Act.

 

8/6/2021: Talking Points to Share in Comments with Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)

Last week we shared that an asphalt plant was proposed near Flint and that due to its proximity it may increase exposure of Flint residents to environmental pollutants from the facility. Freshwater Future has prepared a summary with talking points you can use to submit comments to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. The deadline to submit is August 16, 2021. To view these talking points, click here

 

 

7/15/2021: Submit Your Comments on Revisions to Lead and Copper Rule by July 30, 2021!

In June, the Biden administration delayed the implementation of the Trump Administration’s federal lead and copper rule (LCR) until December 2021 to seek additional public comments and potentially revise the Trump Administration’s LCR. Along with the delay, the U.S. EPA launched a public commenting period, holding roundtable discussions in 10 locations across the U.S. They are also seeking public comments until July 30, 2021. The U.S. EPA is asking individuals to submit comments through a specific online portal, and we are asking you to take a few minutes and use the talking points HERE to craft and submit your individual comments by going to https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/EPA-HQ-OW-2021-0255-0001

 


4/30/21: Ohio Organizations Seeking Endorsements for $1 Billion Request for Safer Water

A variety of Ohio, Regional, and National organizations, representing medical, environmental, housing, and community interests, are requesting $1 billion of the proposed more than $5 billion the state will receive in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to be dedicated to residential full lead service line replacements. Ohio is second in the nation for lead service lines at an estimated 650,000 lines. The American Medical Association and CDC have determined there is no safe level of lead in humans. Impacts to children exposed to lead include: neurological disorders, decreased cognitive behaviors, lower IQ, ADHD, and kidney disease. If you are involved in an organization that would like to support this request, please contact Jill Ryan at jill@freshwaterfuture.org.

4/6/21: Take Action:Urge Governor Cuomo to Sign-into Law a Statewide Moratorium on Water Shutoffs Today

New York State residents, take this urgent action today to ensure the health of everyone! Urge Governor Cuomo to Sign-into Law a Statewide Moratorium on Water Shutoffs Today! PLEASE SHARE.

Go online HERE to sign on.

4/5/20:Take Action Now – Restore the prohibition on water shutoffs!

 

Contact state Senator and House of Representatives Leadership today and urge them to keep tap water flowing to all Michiganders!

On March 31st, the moratorium on shutting off water and restoring tap water to residents unable to pay their water bills expired. NOW is not the time to resume water shutoffs. While Michiganders are getting vaccinated, COVID is once again on the rise. The CDC still maintains washing hands frequently is one of the best ways to prevent spreading COVID-19.

Our decision-makers must ensure all families have access to running water in their homes for good individual and public health. The National Bureau of Economic Research found the number of deaths due to COVID-19 would have been reduced by 14.9% if a federal water shut-off moratorium was in place from the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak through November 2020.

No one should have to worry about how they will wash their hands and masks, cook their food, and get their drinking water. Please take action today by contacting Michigan State Legislature leadership to ensure all Michiganders have access to tap water until June 30th.

Click HERE to go online and easily contact your legislators.


 

9/4/20: Call To Action: Extend New York’s Moratorium On Water Shutoffs

 

In this pandemic, millions of New York households are struggling to keep healthy, receive and pay for medical care, pay rent, stay current on mortgages, put food on the table, find work or keep their jobs, provide childcare, and pay utility bills. Moreover, New Yorkers struggling the most are disproportionately people of color. Thankfully, the Public Service Commission has begun implementing New York’s new law establishing a moratorium on utility shut-offs during the COVID-19 state of emergency and has issued directives in a guidance published on August 11th for all utilities’ (including formerly non-jurisdictional municipal water utilities’) responsibilities under the shut-off law. 

Very few municipal water utilities, however, have complied with the directive to submit a compliance plan and other information. A group of environmental-conservation and community groups, which includes Freshwater Future,  has identified only a handful of municipal water utilities that have created forms for customers to declare that they have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 state of emergency. This serious non-compliance by water utilities could leave New Yokers unprotected from unlawful water shut-offs when New York’s state of emergency expires on September 7. The Commission and Department of Public Service staff must take immediate action to strengthen implementation requirements and to enforce the law regarding both public and private utilities.

New York is currently unprepared to deal with the expiration of the state of emergency and blanket moratorium on utility shut-offs on September 7. Moreover, New York utilities appear to have done little to advise their customers, as required by the shut off law, of the rights provided to utility customers in that law. Without strong policies in place guaranteeing New Yorkers their rights under the new shut-off law, and broad and effective communication of such rights and consumer remedies, waves of water shut-offs will likely sweep the state and countless New Yorkers will fall victim to crushing water bill debt.

Send a message to the Public Service Commission demanding that they take action to ensure that utility providers are following the law to keep New Yorkers safe during the COVID-19 crisis.

 

7/10/20: Tell Your Legislators to Protect Everyone’s Right to Access Clean, Safe, and Affordable Water

Water is essential for life and protecting public health. No one person should ever have to worry about whether they are able to put food on the table or have water flowing from their taps.  You can urge your Congressional member today to support and work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to swiftly pass the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act and the Emergency Water is a Human Right Act.

Click here to take action!


 

6/05/20: Stop the Assault on Clean, Safe and Affordable Water

During a global pandemic where access to clean water is vital and a time when communities are rising up against inequities faced by African-Americans and communities of color in this country, the Trump Administration once again delivers a massive blow to families and our communities across this nation.

Click here to take ACTION NOW!


 

3/18/20: Ask Gov Whitmer and Robert Gordon to turn water back on for all Michigan residents

Thousands of Michigan residents do not have access to clean water. Let the MI Governor know that you want all public water systems in Michigan to immediately begin supplying water to any and all households that have previously had their water service terminated for any reason. Take Action and Click here to send them an email now to make sure all residents have access to water during the COVID-19 crisis.


 

Join the Movement to Save Lake Erie

 

Stay up-to-date on the latest action alerts and events, and stay in the loop on the work our organization is doing every day with the support of people like you. 

Lake Erie algae is at a crisis point. Each year, hundreds of beach closures, drinking water warnings, and fish consumption advisories afflict communities across the Lake Erie shoreline. We know what solutions will work, and we already have laws on the books to implement them. Let’s fix this.