By Larissa Liebmann, Waterkeeper Alliance
In 2019 we saw monumental attacks on federal clean water protections. The Trump administration is advancing plans to eliminate Clean Water Act protections from waterways across the nation, trying to carve out a massive loophole for pollutants that come into contact with groundwater, and attempting to limit the power of states to protect their waterways. If these efforts are successful, they would mean a bonanza for polluters and devastation for waterways and the communities that rely on them. We appreciate all of you that took action against these outrageous proposals. Next year will be even more challenging as the administration rushes to finalize all of its ongoing efforts before the end of the current presidential term. We will need your help more than ever!
The administration continues its attempts to prop up the failing coal industry by weakening public protections. We are fighting against efforts to allow coal-fired power plants to release more mercury in the air, dump more toxic coal ash wastewater into waterways, and keep disposing of coal ash in unsafe pits that contaminate groundwater. These regulatory rollbacks line the pockets of corporations, do nothing to help coal workers, and push the costs of dirty coal-based energy onto our shared resources. We will fight each and every attempt to prop up this outdated form of energy at the expense of our communities.
We also spoke out against other polluter giveaways—including attempts to advance projects that will have devastating local and global impacts, such as Alaska’s Pebble Mineand Oregon’s Jordan Cove Energy Project. Many of you stood with us as we called out an outrageous misuse of legislative power by Senator James Inhofe, who used the defense funding law to sneak in a provision that may benefit him personally by allowing larger boats at his lake house but will also lead to devastating flooding for Indian tribes and other upstream communities.
Despite these enormous threats to a healthy environment and sustainable future, there are rays of hope. With your help, we supported advancing legislative efforts to protect public lands and offshore areas from fossil fuel extraction. We also joined in Congressional efforts to support true green infrastructure.
While 2019 brought an onslaught of attacks on clean water protections, Waterkeeper Alliance is entering 2020 prepared to fight harder than ever for drinkable, fishable, and swimmable waterways. Your comments and calls to Members of Congress play a pivotal role in not only preventing dangerous policies and projects but also in building support and momentum for the future we all hope to see.