It’s only fitting that we closed out a record-breaking summer with a record-breaking climate action. Megafloods, droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires pummeled communities across the country. So this summer, we helped organize the biggest climate action of the year.
On September 17, 75,000 people joined us at the March to End Fossil Fuels. This breathtaking show of people power underscored what we already know to be true — Americans are ready to end our country’s reliance on fossil fuels and usher in a new era of clean energy for all.
Work like this is only possible with the support of our members, who help us take on the biggest food, water, and climate issues of the day. From holding leaders accountable to their promises, to exposing the corporate villains behind our most urgent crises, Food & Water Watch is fighting for the change we need for a livable future.
In case you missed them, here are our biggest stories from this summer.
1. Suing the EPA After It Refuses to Tackle Factory Farm Pollution
Six years ago, we called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review its rules on factory farm pollution. The agency has failed for years to protect communities from dangerous pollution. It finally responded to our petition last month — only to say it will start studying the issue next year.
We have decades of research showing just how bad factory farm pollution is. The EPA’s response is an unacceptable delay tactic that the agency is using to shirk its legal duty. Meanwhile, factory farms continue to endanger public health in fenceline communities nationwide. So we’re suing the EPA and fighting for the protections we need.
2. Revealing the Biggest Threat to the Colorado River: Big Ag
The Colorado River is in crisis mode. The river, which provides water to tens of millions of people, is drying up.
The federal government directed states to agree on a plan for cuts to their water usage. But this approach fails to address the crisis’s root cause: Big Ag and other industries are wreaking havoc on our precious water resources.
It sounds like a no-brainer; we shouldn’t grow water-hungry crops in the desert. Yet, some of the most arid parts of the country have become home to our largest alfalfa fields. This notoriously thirsty crop is almost entirely used to feed livestock on factory farms.
In our new report, Big Ag is Draining the Colorado River Dry, we explain Big Ag’s impact on the Colorado River Crisis and the policies we need to fix it.
3. Watchdogging Pollution and Plastics in Fracking Country
Southwestern Pennsylvania has been one of the epicenters of the fracking boom. More recently, polluters have set their sights on the region for a new dirty industry: petrochemicals and plastics.
Last year, oil and gas giant Shell opened a new plastics plant in Beaver County, PA. In the months since, it has blown past its already oversized air pollution allowances, malfunctioned countless times, and endangered its neighbors with dangerous chemicals like carcinogenic benzene. Moreover, this plant is contributing to our growing glut of toxic plastic pollution.
4. Shining a Light on Wall Street’s Play to Profit Off Our Water Crisis
We know that privatizing water systems is dangerous. It takes invaluable water out of public oversight and makes water services more expensive and inaccessible for many families.
So why did the Biden administration release a new report that recommends privatizing water systems? The chair of the council that worked on the report might have the answer. He’s the CEO of an investment bank taking over some of our most essential infrastructure — including water systems.
This is part of a wider trend in the U.S.: private companies’ growing interest in profiting off water. In September, we published new research showing how some of the most powerful players on Wall Street are buying up water in the American West.
In a time of water scarcity and rising prices, private companies and investment bankers want to profit from our precious public resources. We can’t let them get away with it.
5. Exposing the Climate Scams Big Ag is Pushing for the Farm Bill
If you’ve been following our food work this summer, you’ll know that we’re going big on the Farm Bill. Every five years, lawmakers negotiate and reauthorize this multi-billion-dollar mega-bill, which includes funding for several programs that shape our food system.
Agriculture emits up to a quarter of the world’s climate pollution, so policy like the Farm Bill has a huge potential to help address the crisis. But Big Ag and its allies in Congress are pushing several wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Big Ag claims these measures have climate benefits, but really, they’ll pad corporate pockets and support the polluting, climate-wrecking business-as-usual.
6. Calling Out Biden for Pushing Us Further Toward Climate Chaos
The Biden administration has talked a big game on climate. On the campaign trail, Biden made big promises to reduce emissions and ban drilling in federal lands.
Just a few weeks ago, he proclaimed he “practically” declared a climate emergency. But fact check: you didn’t actually declare one, Mr. President.
Instead, Biden has approved or supported several fossil fuel projects that put our future in jeopardy. For example, it issued a key approval for the apocalyptic Alaska LNG project in April.
This project promises to frack, process, and export gas abroad — adding up to 108 million metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere every year for 30 years.
As we said in the March to End Fossil Fuels, it’s not too late. Biden can and must reverse course and put us on a path toward a livable future.
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