Grassroots Clean Energy Campaigns Ramp Up in Five New Jersey Towns

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Climate and Energy

Food & Water Watch is launching new petition campaigns in five cities and towns to help create community choice aggregation programs, marking a notable expansion of the group’s ongoing work to move the state off dirty energy.

The simultaneous petition drives in Woodbridge, North Brunswick, Cherry Hill, Teaneck and Long Branch are part of the group’s yearslong campaign to build local support for moving off fossil fuels and onto 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2030. The campaign is backed by a broad coalition of environmental, social justice and grassroots community groups across the state. 

“I believe in the power of grassroots activism and local solutions. We have the ability to transition Teaneck’s power from fossil fuels to renewable sources,” said State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. “It’s in our hands to decide if our community will be sustainable or not. I encourage my friends and neighbors to join me.”

The grassroots campaigns are based on state laws that give residents of more than half of New Jersey municipalities the power to directly petition local governments to consider a specific ordinance. Once presented with that ordinance, a governing body can either pass it as presented, or put the question to voters to decide. 

In each municipality, organizers and residents will work together to collect the signatures necessary to have local councils vote on the ordinance.  

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Teaneck voters to bring a 100% renewable energy CCA program to our community. While our Environmental Commission supported CCA, the Teaneck Township Council refused to adopt an ordinance, “said Paula Rogovin, Teaneck resident of 38 years. “So we’re asking youth and people of all ages to reach out to get Teaneck voters to sign a petition to put a referendum on the ballot in November. Everyone in Teaneck can participate in the effort to grow renewable energy in our region and to help stop climate change.” 

A state law enacted in 2003 (the Government Energy Aggregation Act) has led to the creation of community choice energy programs, which give residents the power to buy electricity in bulk, an arrangement that saves money on residents’ energy bills. A growing number of communities across the country are using them to increase their use of clean, renewable energy.

Food & Water Watch has worked with residents to win similar 100% clean energy programs in Edison, New Brunswick, Collingswood, Asbury Park, Piscataway, East Brunswick, South Brunswick and Red Bank, and has a goal of enacting the policy in 10 addition towns and cities this year to put more than one million New Jersey residents on a path to achieve 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2030.

“As climate change threatens our vulnerable coastal communities, Red Bank’s future and the future of the Jersey Shore is under siege,” said Red Bank Councilwoman Kate Triggiano. “It is our responsibility as elected officials to protect the environment, and Red Bank’s 100 percent renewable community aggregation program is one way we can be leaders in the fight for a healthy and resilient future.”

“Even while deeply feeling the existential threat of climate change, it’s sometimes hard for citizens to envision a role in reversing it,” said Katie Ingersoll of Collingswood Progressive Democrats. “The campaign for CCA in Collingswood, NJ prompted necessary conversations about direct local action to protect our climate and allowed residents to come together to take a step forward. Now that our leaders have committed to a local CCA program we are excited to see it implemented and work with neighboring towns to grow this opportunity in our region.”

Food & Water Watch, a national advocacy group with an office in New Brunswick, started its CCA advocacy program with a successful petition drive in 2018 that created the first-of-its-kind 100 percent renewable energy program in New Brunswick. Their efforts expanded to Piscataway the following year, where voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to create the program.

“This is a truly grassroots, neighbor-to-neighbor campaign that brings real climate action to the local level,” said Food & Water Watch New Jersey State Director Matt Smith. “While we take these actions to build clean energy and clean up climate pollution, we’re also building a stronger democracy by organizing with community members and building popular support for bold solutions to the climate crisis.” 

New York Panel Recommends Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Plants

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Climate and Energy

Albany, NY — Today, the Power Generation Advisory Panel delivered its official recommendation to the state’s Climate Action Council regarding fossil fuel infrastructure. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act set standards to ensure zero statewide emissions for the electric generation sector by 2040. To meet those standards, the Panel recommended a moratorium on new and repowered fossil fuel plants, and urged comprehensive regulations to close current fossil fuel-powered plants.

The decision is a victory for the communities who have been mobilizing against dirty fossil fuel plants statewide. Should Governor Cuomo heed the advice of his own advisory panel, the Danskammer plant in the Hudson Valley, the Astoria NRG plant in Queens and the Gowanus plant in Brooklyn would all be shut down.

In response, Food & Water Watch Northeast Region Director Alex Beauchamp issued the following statement:

“The writing is on the wall for fossil fuel infrastructure in New York. New Yorkers have been adamant for years that fossil fuels cannot be a part of the rapid climate action we must pursue in order to avert the worst of climate disaster. New York’s official expert panel on power generation has taken a bold and necessary step today — now Governor Cuomo must heed their advice and put a moratorium on fossil fuel infrastructure in New York, starting with Danskammer, Astoria and Gowanus.”

Colonial Pipeline Shutdown Spotlights Need for Safe, Distributed Clean Energy Networks

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Climate and Energy

Washington, D.C. – Since an apparent crippling cyberattack last Friday, the Colonial pipeline – a primary source of petroleum products for the U.S. East Coast – has been shut down. A prolonged shutdown poses a threat to consumer financial security if gasoline prices continue to rise, as well as a grave public safety threat if the volatile, explosive contents of the pipeline somehow become unstable. In response, Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:

“The ongoing shutdown of the Colonial pipeline is just the latest in a long litany of examples of why we must urgently transition off of highly vulnerable and dangerous fossil fuel networks. Given the centralized nature of major fossil fuel pipelines, a disruption anywhere along the line can adversely impact tens of millions of people, as we are seeing now. And this says nothing of the grave threat posed by the highly flammable, explosive petroleum products flowing through these pipelines. Any deviation from normal operation elevates the inherent risk posed to communities on the front lines of these pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure. 

“Wind and solar power networks are by their very nature more distributed, more sensibly scaled, and more resilient than fossil fuel systems. And of course, unlike fossil fuels, clean wind and solar power pose no threat to our climate. This latest pipeline disruption makes it ever more clear: We must break free from dangerous fossil fuel dependance, now.”

Contact: Seth Gladstone – [email protected], 917.363.6615

Is Oregon Environmentally Friendly? Governor Brown’s Inaction Casts Doubt.

Categories

Food System

by Mark Schlosberg

Oregon has a reputation as a progressive and environmentally friendly state. In reality, however, it has a dirty factory farming problem that is polluting its rivers, streams, and groundwater, threatening public health in rural communities and contributing to climate chaos. This legislative session we made progress towards stopping an expansion of these mega-dairies, but bold action is needed from Governor Kate Brown to combat this growing problem.

The Transition Away From Family Farms In Oregon Has Been Disastrous

Oregon has long been a dairy state, and small and mid-sized farms have been a lifeblood of rural Oregon. But while the number of dairy cows in the state increased fourteen fold between 2007 and 2017, those cows are largely concentrated in enormous operations with thousands or even tens of thousands of cows. The resulting flood of cheap milk has made it difficult for small and mid-sized family farmers to compete, forcing them out of business. This rapid transition from family farms to mega-dairies has been a disaster for Oregon’s communities and environment.

In 2019 alone, large dairies in Oregon produced almost 6.5 billion pounds of manure — twice the waste produced by the entire Portland metropolitan area’s more than 2 million residents. But while waste from Portland residents is treated, mega-dairies dump their waste into large “lagoons,” where it can leach into drinking water aquifers. They then dispose of it — untreated — on cropland, often in far greater quantities than can be absorbed by crops. This results in runoff into local waterways that threatens aquatic ecosystems and recreation with pathogens, pharmaceuticals, and algae-causing nutrients. 

Oregon’s Mega-Dairies Are A Significant Contributor To Climate Change

Mega-dairies also drive climate change by emitting huge amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in the first 20 years it’s in the atmosphere. Corresponding with an explosion of factory farming across the country, U.S. methane emissions from manure management increased 60% between 1990 and 2018. Just as we cannot afford to keep expanding fossil fuel production, we cannot afford to keep building new factory farms.  

That’s why Food & Water Watch is working with the Stand Up to Factory Farms (SUFF) coalition, a diverse range of organizations committed to stopping the spread of mega-dairies across Oregon. 

Governor Kate Brown Fails The Leadership Test On Our Mega-Dairy Moratorium Bill 

In 2019 SUFF first introduced legislation to place a moratorium on mega-dairy expansion in the Oregon Senate. In the two years since, our campaign’s momentum has grown, and in the 2021 session we got our bill introduced in both houses with an increased number of sponsors. Our bill was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, and we organized to pressure chair Lee Beyer to move the bill out of committee. Despite hundreds of calls and emails to Beyer’s office and over 130 people submitting testimony in favor of the bill (with only 16 against), Beyer refused to schedule the bill for the required work session in order to pass it out of committee.

Governor Kate Brown, who has the authority to unilaterally put a pause on approval of mega-dairies, was silent on the bill, despite her call for bold actions to combat climate change “in all policy decisions.” She clearly continues to look the other way when it comes to factory farms.

Kate Brown’s Pattern Of Inaction When It Comes To Mega-Dairy Scandals 

Take for instance the specific permit application currently pending before her Department of Agriculture by Easterday Dairy. Easterday is an entity with no dairy experience, yet seeks to operate a 30,000 head mega-dairy on the site of the disastrous Lost Valley Farm. Lost Valley was cited with over 200 environmental violations including overflowing lagoons that threatened water supplies. Only after pressure by Food & Water Watch and our allies in SUFF, the state finally revoked its permit in 2018. 

Oregon regulators and elected officials have claimed that Lost Valley was simply one bad actor, but recent events have proven that to be false: the Easterday family and its companies were recently caught up in a modern day cattle rustling scandal, and Cody Easterday recently pled guilty to federal fraud charges for ripping off Tyson Foods for the feed and care of cattle that didn’t actually exist — to the tune of $244 million. Two of Easterday’s companies have declared bankruptcy, and Cody Easterday could face up to 20 years in prison. Was Lost Valley Farm a lone bad actor? Clearly not.  

Brown’s response to these huge red flags? Her administration has “paused” processing the Easterday permit, but has remarkably refused to deny it outright despite clear authority — and good reason — to do so.

Help Motivate Governor Brown To Do Right When It Comes To Easterday And More

Oregonians need real leadership from Governor Brown. Between now and the next legislative session, we’ll be working with our allies across the state to continue to build an even more powerful movement to stop mega-dairies in the state — demanding both the Governor and legislative leaders stop giving this polluting industry a free pass. If Governor Brown is serious about addressing the climate crisis, she must use the power of her office to stop the expansion of these dirty factory farms and support our small and mid-sized farmers. And she must order the Oregon Department of Agriculture to deny the Easterday Farms mega-dairy permit outright to prevent another disaster like Lost Valley. 

Urge Governor Kate Brown to deny permitting to Easterday Farms.

Caroline Wren

Caroline Wren

Researcher

WASHINGTON, DC

The Fossil Fuel Industry Spent $3.3M In New Mexico To Undermine Climate Action

Categories

Climate and Energy

by Mark Schlosberg

The powerful fossil fuel industry flexed its significant muscle in New Mexico this year, blocking a bill which would have paused new fracking in the third largest oil producing state in the country. Yet despite this setback, anti-fracking voices continued to make progress this legislative session.

Fossil Fuel Interests Unleashed A Tidal Wave of Money On Elections In New Mexico

It is hard to understate the influence of fossil fuel money on politics in New Mexico. According to a report from New Mexico Ethics Watch, the fossil fuel industry spent $3.3 million on elections in the state in the 2020 cycle and leadership of both parties accepted significant campaign contributions from them. For this reason, when state Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez introduced a bill to pause fracking this year, few gave it much of a chance of passing out of a single committee, let alone the legislature.

Still, Food & Water Watch and our allies across the state rallied around Sedillo Lopez’s bill, generating hundreds of emails and phone calls to legislators as well as significant media coverage. The result was the bill passing out of the Conservation committee. Though the bill ultimately died in the Judiciary Committee when Chair Joseph Cervantes refused to bring it forward for a vote, the fact that it passed out of its first committee showed the growing strength of the anti-fracking movement in the state. It was not surprising that Cervantes killed the bill as he received 17% of his campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. 

This legislative battle highlighted both the growing anti-fracking movement in the state as well as the power of the oil and gas industry. This year we worked to help bring together diverse groups to support the fracking pause bill in the legislature. Bringing together a statewide coalition effort is an important step in building a more powerful presence in New Mexico. 

The State of New Mexico Must Reduce Its Dependence on Fossil Fuel Revenue So They Can Adapt

At the same time, it is clear that the oil and gas industry continues to run politics in New Mexico, thanks to their significant political spending and also the way New Mexico funds its governmental operations. Approximately a third of the New Mexico state budget comes from revenue from the oil and gas industry. This state dependence on fossil fuels gives industry an extraordinary amount of political power and leverage in addressing legislation. It is therefore critical that New Mexico diversify its revenue streams and economy if the state is ever going to move off fossil fuels. 

For this reason, we are heartened by passage of SB 112, which for the first time creates a task force to study how to advance this critical economic diversification. While the bill is much needed, we remain skeptical about how much progress will be made, as the bill still allows the oil industry to have a seat at the table and the person in charge of the taskforce — Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham — took over $50 thousand in oil money during the 2020 election cycle. 

Time Will Tell If Governor Grisham Is More Than Just Talk On Clean Energy 

This task force will be a key test for Lujan Grisham. The Governor has called climate change an “existential crisis” and said we need a “clean energy revolution,” yet has spoken out against Biden administration plans to halt leasing for oil and gas on federal lands and continues to take money from dirty energy interests. How she guides the task force will be a key indicator of whether she is really interested in a renewable energy future or just interested in window dressing for the fossil fuel industry.

As we move forward, we will continue to pressure Lujan Grisham to end the state’s dependence on fossil fuels, as well as take on the factory farm industry which continues to pollute New Mexico’s environment. At the same time, we will continue work to protect the greater Chaco region from fracking, in concert with our partners in the Chaco coalition. 

New Mexico is a big oil state and change here will not come overnight. Still, the 2020 legislative session represents progress and we are well positioned to work with our allies across the state to build on the progres from this session as we work to advance a clean energy future.

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Water Problems Add To Widespread Environmental Injustice. Two Major Bills Could Change That.

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Clean Water

by Rianna Eckel

Two landmark pieces of legislation could change our future. The Biden administration’s next big move is passing the American Jobs Plan, his proposal to repair our crumbling infrastructure — from bridges, roads, and public transportation to our underground water pipes and treatment systems. It is an actual plan to put real federal dollars — not fake privatization schemes — into the systems critical to society. This is a chance to stop our growing water crisis, and to finally treat water as what it is: a basic necessity and human right. 

Additionally, we’ve been pushing to fully fund our water systems for nearly a decade by working to pass the WATER Act (S916 / HR 1352), sponsored this Congress by Representatives Brenda Lawrence and Ro Khanna, and Senator Bernie Sanders. The WATER Act has been cosponsored by over 80 Members of Congress, and endorsed by more than 550 organizations who share the same vision: universal access to safe, affordable, public drinking water. 

Congress will be considering the President’s plan over the coming months, and it’s crucial that we win big for water justice. These negotiations are a huge opportunity to create a real change in our dysfunctional water system. 

Here’s what’s in the preliminary outline of the American Jobs Plan and the WATER Act.

How The Funding Compares For The American Jobs Plan And the WATER Act

American Jobs Plan — $13.9 billion annually

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan proposes $111 billion for our water systems over 8 years, which breaks down to roughly $13.9 billion each year. This is a big increase over the roughly $2 billion a year our water and wastewater systems currently receive — and a huge boost over the $6 billion from the Obama administration’s stimulus after the Great Recession — but it’s just not enough by itself. 

The WATER Act — $35 billion annually

The EPA has said that to comply with existing federal water standards, we must invest more than $35 billion annually in our water and wastewater systems. That’s why the WATER Act would appropriate $35 billion/year in permanent, self-sustaining funding through a water trust fund. We’ll need Congress to increase the total funding to meet the country’s needs, and dedicate permanent funding to a trust fund so that our water isn’t a bargaining chip during annual funding battles. 

Both the American Jobs Plan and the WATER Act recognize that our water systems need real federal money. Both plans would make big corporations pay their fair share to improve public infrastructure. 

Funding Priorities For Minority And Disadvantaged Communities

Black, brown and Indigenous communities have been disproportionately harmed by our water crisis. The money must first go to the communities that need it most. 

The American Jobs Plan would provide $56 billion in grants and low-cost flexible loans to states, Tribes, territories, and disadvantaged communities across the country. President Biden has also promised at least 40 percent of the benefits of the investments will reach disadvantaged communities. 

The WATER Act would require that at least half of funding would be dedicated to disadvantaged communities, dedicates 3 percent of funding as grants to Indigenous Nations, and provides funding for technical assistance to help rural small municipalities and Indigenous communities improve their water and wastewater systems. It would also dramatically expand funding to upgrade and install rural household drinking water wells. 

The WATER Act would also require the EPA to produce guidance on water affordability programs, and to coordinate a study about water affordability, civil rights violations by water and sewer providers, water shutoffs, and more.

Both proposals get much needed money to impacted communities, but the WATER Act would provide a bigger pool of funding. We cannot allow our water and wastewater systems to perpetuate environmental racism, and must have enough funding to go around. Congress must require the federal government to act so no communities face an undue burden in the future. 

Dedicating Funding Specifically For Lead and PFAS Contamination

Too many people don’t have tap water they can actually drink. Pollutants like lead or PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are extremely harmful to our health. This infrastructure package must remediate them now. 

President Biden’s plan makes a bold environmental justice commitment to eliminate all lead service lines going into homes, investing $45 billion in grants for impacted communities. This comes close to what the American Water Works Association estimates it will cost to eradicate these toxic pipes — the main source of lead-in-water poisoning. 

The American Jobs Plan would also provide $10 billion in funding to monitor and address PFAS in drinking water, and invest in rural small water systems and household wells. 

The WATER Act would guarantee that money from the total funding level could be used to provide grants to utilities and private properties to replace homeowners’ at-risk service lines. It also expands a grant program to replace all lead piping and plumbing in public schools, dedicating $1.1 billion a year to schools. 

The WATER Act would also provide safe alternatives when community water systems or household water wells are contaminated with PFAS.

Both the WATER Act and American Jobs Plan have funding for expansive lead remediation and address PFAS — a non-negotiable priority.

Keeping Water Corporations From Raiding Federal Funding

Private corporations should not be able to profiteer off of a basic necessity. Water privatization generally leaves customers with higher bills (59% higher on average), declining water quality, and worse service — in the name of profit. 

The WATER Act is the only explicitly pro-public water funding proposal. It would limit funding eligibility to publicly owned water systems and small, locally owned private systems. It allows communities to use funds to buy their water systems and exit water privatization contracts.

It’s critical for Congress to keep water under community control by blocking water companies’ access to federal funds. 

American Jobs Plan And WATER Act Are Great For Workers’ Rights And Jobs

Investing in our infrastructure will create jobs. According to the Clean Water Council, every $1 billion in water infrastructure investment creates an estimated 20,003 to 26,669 jobs and can have far-reaching benefits, tripling in size with total demand for goods and services estimated at $2.87 to $3.46 billion.

Biden’s proposal has incredibly strong provisions to support workers. Importantly, it includes the PRO Act, which would require that employers follow strong labor standards and remain neutral when their employees seek to form a union. It also includes provisions to promote local hiring, create more apprenticeship and training opportunities, and provide $10 billion for workplace safety enforcement. 

The WATER Act will create up to 1 million good, reliable jobs across the country. The WATER Act’s worker protections are tied specifically to projects funded by the legislation, encourage the use of union labor, require that the prevailing wage law be applied, and mandate the use of U.S.-made iron and steel on water system projects. 

Congress should protect the labor provisions in the final infrastructure bill, and include the passage of the PRO Act. We must create good union jobs while fixing our water crisis. 

Our Leaders Must Protect Our Water Access While Planning For Infrastructure 

Over the next few months we’ll be organizing to pressure Congress to pass a strong infrastructure plan that prioritizes water at the level our communities need. In this moment of crisis, we cannot just return to the way things were, but truly create the future we want — where every person has access to safe, affordable public water. 

The convergence of the pandemic and climate change has only deepened the harm that communities face. We can’t wait any longer. Water is not a luxury; it is something that we all need to live. 

Sign on to show your support for the WATER Act!

Frontline Environmental Justice Activists Condemn Energy Preemption Bills

Categories

Climate and Energy

Tallahassee, FL — Today, activists on the frontlines of environmental injustice joined with environmental advocates to condemn the suite of energy preemption bills that headed to Governor DeSantis’ desk for signature earlier this week.

If signed into law, Florida’s suite of energy preemption bills, SB 1128/HB 919, SB 856/ HB 839 and SB 896/ HB 539, will prevent renewable energy development and block community choice. Not only do the bills eliminate the power of local governments to act on their constituents’ demands to move off fossil fuels, but they also prevent local community oversight in these decisions.

With one day left in the Florida legislative session, advocates highlighted the legislature’s focus on bills that stripped local communities of their power and choice. From the bad anti-protest legislation signed into law last week that has already mired Governor DeSantis in legal controversy to to the suite of energy preemption bills that represent the most aggressive move in the country to curtail the transition away from fossil fuels, the Florida legislature has prioritized bills this session that attack and eliminate community political involvement.

“Florida has become ground zero for a new brand of conservatism that strips away local power, control and choice, in favor of catering to industry interests,” said Food & Water Watch Southern Region Director Michelle Allen. “When regular people organize, they build power large enough to solve the biggest problems of our day — Florida Republicans know the strength of our power, and are choosing to dismantle it. Governor DeSantis must veto the energy preemption bills sitting on his desk, before he secures the fate of Florida’s climate and most vulnerable communities.”

“This legislative session was incredibly harmful for our civil rights,” said For Our Future Florida Regional Director Bernice Lauredan. “Protest is an American tradition that dates back to the founding of our country. It is unfortunate that instead of focusing on the largest public health crisis in a century, Republicans are taking rights away from Floridians.”

From Gainesville to Tampa, Miami to the panhandle, activists from frontline communities and environmental organizations gathered to highlight the role that communities and local governments play in mitigating climate disaster. The groups highlighted how the suite of legislation exposes frontline communities to exploitation from utility projects by out-of-town corporate actors, and is based in the same injustice as the anti-protest bill.

“We are advocating for well-sited industrial power plants and home rule — we want a transition to renewables. We have to do it, however, with the community at the forefront of these decisions,” said Michelle Rutledge from the Saint Peter/Saint Paul Community Council in Archer, who alongside neighbors led successful local organizing efforts against a utility-scale solar project in Archer last year. “We encourage an inclusive and just transition to cleaner energy. We need an inclusive, equitable and just implementation.”

Advocates point to Initiative for Energy Justice’s Scorecard as a resource to help communities and elected officials identify if decisions around policies and potential energy projects were made with adequate community input.

“The outcome of passing these types of preemptions is that local input will be silenced,” said Gerie Crawford from the Saint Peter/Saint Paul Community Council in Archer. “The voices of local government(s), property owners, rural and historic communities would be excluded from the conversation, thus having no input in the decisions affecting our neighborhoods and promoting environmental injustices at every level.”

For a recording of the event, please reach out to [email protected].

After 100 Days, Biden and Congress Must Do More to Address Water Crises in America

Categories

Clean Water

Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. Senate is poised to pass the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, which would authorize $35 billion in funding over the next five years for drinking water and wastewater systems. The expected passage comes a day after President Biden gave his first address to Congress to outline progress and promote his infrastructure plan including his commitment to eliminate all lead water pipes and deliver clean water to all. The president’s American Jobs Plan would provide $111 billion over eight years to drinking water and wastewater services.

“Our communities cannot afford a compromise on safe water. This Senate legislation authorizes critical programs and higher funding levels, but it simply isn’t enough,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “We need bold and transformative support for water infrastructure through the WATER Act and in the administration’s American Jobs Plan to ensure that we build stronger, more resilient and more accessible water systems. No one should be denied access to safe water.”

Meanwhile, upon Biden’s 100th day in office, he has yet to take action to protect all people in the United States from the threat of losing utility service due to unaffordable bills and water debt. By May 1, two-thirds of the country will not be protected under a local or state water shutoff moratoria, leaving 216 million people vulnerable to possible disconnection. This includes the lapse of a statewide moratorium in New York State, where the state legislature has passed an extension but has yet to send the bill to the Governor for his signature. Only California, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Vermont, Virginia and Washington State still have comprehensive statewide water shutoff protections in place. 

Ms. Hauter continued: “President Biden must deliver on his promise of providing clean water to every person in the country. Among the many lessons learned during this ongoing pandemic is that universal access to safe water is critical for public health and the functioning of our society. Water is a basic human right, and every person deserves access to safe water regardless of their ability to pay unaffordable utility bills. President Biden must affirm this human right by acting now and ordering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use their public health authority to institute a nationwide water shutoff moratorium now.”

Although Congress has approved $1.1 billion in low-income water bill assistance, the funding has not been released yet to aid local households and it falls far short of the more than $8 billion in estimated household arrears. Hundreds of thousands of people face the threat of water shutoff because of water debts accrued during the economic hardship of the pandemic.

Contact: Seth Gladstone – [email protected], 917.363.6615

Methane Emissions Rule is Another Half-Measure in Dem’s Tepid Climate Agenda

Categories

Climate and Energy

Washington, D.C. – The Senate is expected to approve a resolution today that would reinstate an Obama-era rule requiring stronger regulation of methane emissions from oil and gas extraction operations. 

In response, Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:

“The Senate’s move to reinstate an Obama-era emissions rule is nothing more than an attempt to address today’s climate crisis with inadequate half-measures from the past. In fact, any action that could be seen as ‘cleaning up’ the image of fossil fuel drilling and fracking might do more harm than good. The science is clear: In order to avoid the worst impacts of deepening climate chaos, we must halt new oil and gas development in its tracks, and transition rapidly to a truly clean, renewable energy future.”

Earlier this week, details of a new United Nations climate report were revealed, indicating higher-then-ever emissions levels in the atmosphere last year, and the dire urgency of the need to drastically reduce emissions immediately to avoid perilous climate conditions.

Meanwhile, as President Biden marks his 100th day in office this week, he has yet to honor his campaign pledge to halt new fracking on federal lands. Although the Biden administration has temporarily paused the leasing of new federal land for fossil fuel drilling and fracking, it has continued to grant permits on land that has already been leased. Ms. Hauter continued:

“President Biden’s campaign pledge was clear and unequivocal: no more fracking on federal lands. Yet for the past 100 days, his administration has been regularly approving permits for new fracking operations. Biden needs to honor his pledge to all Americans and cease the permitting of new fracking now. Additionally, Mr. Biden should use his executive authority to halt the development of oil and gas projects approved by the Trump administration, including the Dakota Access, Line 3 and Mountain Valley pipelines. And he must cancel new fossil fuel infrastructure, including petrochemical plants, and ban the export of fracked oil and gas.”

Contact: Seth Gladstone – [email protected], 917.363.6615