Biden’s 100-Day Must-Do List for a Cleaner, Healthier Country

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Clean Water

President Biden has the work of a lifetime ahead of him if we have any chance of undoing the damage and destruction of the Trump administration — much less stopping the worst effects of climate change, fixing our broken food and farm system, and ensuring clean, accessible water for all. There is no time to lose, and Biden’s first 100 days will be a litmus test for whether his policy vision comes close to matching what this moment in history demands.

Ban Fracking on Public Lands

During the campaign, President Biden promised to put an end to new fossil extraction on public lands and waters. In 2015 we worked with Representative Mark Pocan to introduce the first legislation that would have banned fracking on public lands – the Protect Our Public Lands Act. We know that to fight the worsening effects of climate change, we must keep fossil fuels in the ground. Banning new extraction on public lands and waters would be a good start. About a quarter of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions come from energy extraction on federal lands and waters.

Under the Trump administration, our public lands and waters have been practically given away to the oil and gas industry. According to The Wilderness Society, 90 percent of U.S. public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management are open to oil and gas leasing; only 10 percent are protected for wildlife, conservation or recreation. The number of public land acres leased for oil and gas production jumped 117 percent between 2016 and 2018. Over 100 million acres of onshore and offshore leashes have been offered by the Trump administration. Over five million acres have been sold. President Biden must protect our public lands and waters and fulfill his campaign promise to stop new fossil fuel extraction on them — period.

Let President Biden know you support banning fracking on public lands.

Halt All Water Shutoffs During the Pandemic

Throughout the COVID pandemic the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that one of the top ways to fight the spread of the coronavirus is to wash your hands. Yet millions of Americans still face the threat of having their water shutoff because they cannot afford their bills.

President Biden must issue an executive order instructing the CDC to use its public health authority to ban water shutoffs for the full duration of the Covid-19 national emergency. The local and state moratoria issued by local authorities have sporadically protected some Americans from water shutoffs. But their issuance is localized, while the disease is not. Biden’s CDC director-nominee Dr. Rochelle Walensky can take a strong stance to ensure this public health protection is in place for everyone to prevent the further spread of the virus and allow people to stay safe at home. No person should be forced to weather this pandemic without running water in their home.

With more than 20 million Americans having contracted the coronavirus and nearly 400,000 deaths, it’s clear that people can’t wait for safe water. Our country needs the incoming Biden administration to act immediately by issuing a national moratorium on water shutoffs.

Stop Agri-Business Mega-Mergers

If his campaign and administration appointments are any indication, President Biden has no clear vision for what his agencies must do to hold Big Ag accountable for its anti-competitive practices, threats to workers and consumers, unregulated air and water pollution, and destruction of rural America. Biden has already doubled-down on failed USDA policies of the past by appointing Tom Vilsack to reprise his role as Secretary of Agriculture. Under the Obama administration he failed to tackle corporate consolidation and oversaw policy initiatives that made our food supply less safe. On the campaign trail, Biden was out-of-touch in championing ethanol, biotechnology, and other “rural investment” strategies proven to benefit corporate agribusiness, not rural communities.

If Biden is serious about revitalizing rural America, tackling climate change and undoing the worst damage of the Trump administration, he must begin correcting course on day one. He should start by enacting a moratorium on large agribusiness mergers and increasing antitrust enforcement in the food and ag sector.

Protect Workers and Communities from Big Ag

Biden must also prioritize worker safety, both through rescinding dangerous Trump USDA rules that increased hog slaughter line speeds and took federal inspectors off the line (and abandoning similar plans for poultry and beef plants) and by enacting long-term meat and poultry worker protection standards.

Big Ag has long profited from being able to pollute communities with impunity, but Biden’s EPA should immediately restore the few protections in place that Trump removed — including rules gutting the scope of the Clean Water Act and eliminating rural communities’ right to know about toxic factory farm air emissions. But returning to Obama-era policies is not nearly enough. Biden’s EPA must move beyond the agency’s decades-long approach of exempting factory farms from all meaningful pollution regulation, and it must adopt strong new air and water pollution rules for factory farms during the first 100 days.

So far, President Biden has given very little indication that his to-do list is aligned with what our communities and planet need. But with your support we can hold this administration accountable and not only undo the worst damage of the last four years, but begin to make the progress needed to address the most urgent issues of our time. As a first step, will you add your name to the growing list of people telling President Biden to ban fracking on public lands?

Your voice can make a difference in matters this important.

5. KEEPING WATER WHERE IT BELONGS

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Clean Water

Keeping water where it belongs

We fight every day to make sure water remains a right and not a luxury.

People power is how we protect our access to safe public water for all.

2. ENDING WATER SHUTOFFS

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Clean Water

Ending water shutoffs

If everyone can’t wash their hands frequently, then we can’t stop coronavirus. Period.

Water shutoffs endanger public health.

3. STOPPING THE PRIVATIZATION OF A PUBLIC RIGHT

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Clean Water

Stopping the privatization of a public right

Water is a human right — corporations have no business managing public utilities.

Public ownership ensures our water systems are safe and affordable for everyone.

1. OUR RIGHT TO CLEAN, AFFORDABLE WATER

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Clean Water

Our right to clean, affordable water

Water is a human right and it should never be withheld from anyone.

Corporations have no business profiting off of what belongs to the people.

Stop Water Shutoffs In The Wake Of Coronavirus

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Clean Water

Too many people across the country can’t wash their hands because their water service is turned off. This endangers all of us, especially when the most widely endorsed strategy to prevent or manage the coronavirus (COVID-19) is to wash our hands frequently. 

Water must be turned on for everyone, right now, for the safety of the entire country. That’s why we’re pushing both Congress in their stimulus package and Governors at the state level — demanding that they stop all water shutoffs  and enact long-term solutions that will ensure our water systems are funded.

This emergency has proven one thing: Withholding water costs lives and it’s time our representatives stepped up to protect us.

Two Easy Things You Can Do Right Now To Help Stop Water Shutoffs During Coronavirus

Here are two immediate ways to do something about water shutoffs in your community and nationwide.

1. Tell President Biden: No water shutoffs during a pandemic! 

2. Urge members of Congress to cosponsor the WATER Act

We Can Stop Water Shutoffs Amid This Pandemic

By taking action you can be a part of the amazing response from people all across the US demanding water shutoffs in their state and around the country. Together with 53,000 of our supporters signing on to our actions, we’ve:

  • Stopped water shutoffs in 15 states and DC. 
  • Helped 663 local jurisdictions suspend all water shutoffs for nonpayment, 
  • Protected 206 million Americans – that’s 63% of the U.S. population. 
  • Found that the top 10 cities with the most water shutoffs, as found in our national survey conducted in 2018, are now among the places that have paused shutoffs.
  • Coordinated with 80 members of congress joined our movement and released a letter (headlined by Rep. Brenda Lawrence) demanding federal action on water. 
  • Joined more than 230 environmental, social justice, labor, and religious organizations from across the country sending a sister a letter echoing the demands. 
  • Worked with more than 830 groups to send a letter to Congress also pushing for federal action on water, along with protections for electricity and broadband connectivity access. 

You can check to see every city, state, and utility that has taken action to provide water for all on our public spreadsheet with live updates.  

States That Are Showing The Nation How It’s Done

Some states have been responding faster than others. Here’s are some of the top grassroots movements that have formed to push for water justice during the pandemic:

Washington State: Governor Inslee does the right thing in Washington state. 

Maryland: Groups urge Baltimore Mayor Young to suspend water shutoffs for 180 days.

Pennsylvania: Governor Wolf must stop water shutoffs in Pennsylvania. 

Ohio: Ohio passes legislation strongly supporting rights to water — now Governor DeWine MUST sign it.

New Jersey: Governor Murphy pushes utilities to stop shutoffs in New Jersey. 

Louisiana: New Orleans has one of the highest shutoff rates in the nation — suspend shutoffs during coronavirus!

Read About Suspending Water Shutoffs To Fight Coronavirus

Here is more of our analysis around the need for an immediate suspension of water shutoffs. 

Coronavirus has brought a major warning about our water. 

House Democrats urge state and local governments to suspend water shutoffs and restore water.

We need a national ban on water shutoffs!

Other Ways To Help Protect Water

Our efforts are starting to work, but we need to keep pushing. Consider becoming a monthly donor to support fights like this one. We need your help to keep pushing!

Help support our campaigns, like keeping the water on for families nationwide. Become a monthly donor now!

Coronavirus Has Brought A Major Warning About Our Water

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Clean Water

Water has always been crucial to our survival. But the coming challenges from climate chaos and new diseases are about to put it into sharp perspective, and hopefully we can protect water in time.

COVID-19, or the new coronavirus disease, is affecting our nation and world in major ways. Between school and workplace closings, mandatory lockdowns in some places, a panicked run on grocery stores, and the burden on hospitals which are not equipped with enough supplies to help everyone who will need it, the coronavirus is showing us just how vulnerable we are. 

But with climate chaos nipping at our heels, coronavirus might just be the first of new viruses, or prehistoric ones, coming at us. Pair that with major threats to our water sources, like fracking, and it becomes clear we need to act now to protect our future.

We Need Running Water To Combat Coronavirus

Without running water for everyone, fighting the new coronavirus disease is impossible. Food & Water Watch demands a nationwide moratorium on water shutoffs and rapid restoration of water service for all people. Our leaders need to make sure water is turned back on in households where it’s been shut off for non-payment. Without water, people can not wash their hands to combat the spread of the coronavirus. 

Support the WATER Act by urging your member of Congress to support it!

Coronavirus is showing our nation the importance of universal access to water. Decades of federal underinvestment in water infrastructure has caused a water affordability crisis in our country. Let this moment prove the critical urgency of revamping our water systems. Congress must pass the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act, dedicating $35 billion a year to help repair drinking water and sewage systems, while also creating almost 1 million jobs. It is a crucial step to proactively improve our water infrastructure and make access universal.

The WATER Act Is Our Best Tool To Protect Our Water Future

Safe water is non-negotiable. Access to affordable service is non-negotiable. Clean drinking water is a human right — people shouldn’t have to worry about whether their water is safe to drink or whether they can wash their hands.

We need dedicated funding to keep our water systems up-to-date and affordable, protecting our water for generations to come.

Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) and Representatives Brenda Lawrence (MI) and Ro Khanna (CA) introduced legislation that will help fix our aging water systems and ensure that every person has access to safe, clean water. And the Congressional Progressive Caucus unanimously endorsed the WATER Act on October 1, 2019. 

Now is the moment to call for federal action. In fact, today is World Water Day, an annual holiday designed to highlight the connection between water and public health. Let’s honor it by calling on Congress to pass the WATER Act to ensure every person in our country has safe water. 

Nearly Every Future Climate Change Headline Will Trace Back To Water

Warmer air holds more water than cooler air. As our planet warms, so changes our water cycles. Wildfires, supercharged hurricanes, flooding, drought, agricultural anomalies, rising sea levels, emerging viruses — our survival in all of these areas hinges on how we are protecting our planet and the water that’s on it. 

https://www.facebook.com/GLBLCTZN/videos/1450527581709672/

We must rewrite that water story for future generations — a story where the ones who came before them acted in time to preserve this precious resource. 

Fracking Threatens Our Water Supply

It turns out, fracking is even more of a water hog than many realized, even those of us critical of it from the beginning. A Duke study showed that not only was fracking sucking up more water than the industry told us, but that much of it was forever unusable and untreatable afterward. 

The study found:

  • From 2011 to 2016, the water use per well increased by as much as 770 percent. 
  • Toxic wastewater produced from fracking had increased up to 1440 percent between 2011 and 2016.

There has been no practice of water treatment that returns this water to usable condition for humans — and at this scale, one can reason that unless fracking is stopped, it’s on pace to severely impact U.S. water sources.

Add this on top of the fact that fracking and fossil fuels are largely responsible for climate change, and we can see that fracking is one of humanity’s number one enemies that must be stopped. 

We Must Stand Together To Fiercely Protect Our Water

Food & Water Watch and its members battle the corporations stealing water, polluting water, and causing climate change. We expose their playbook through our research and we organize community members to stop these predators. We’ve done this work for fifteen years, and shoulder to shoulder with you we will continue this work until our water is safe from these threats. Will you support The WATER Act to protect our water future?

Send Congress a message to show your support for the WATER Act.

Privatized Water Costs More Than Public Water

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Clean Water

We’ve known for years that when communities sell their water systems to private companies, water bills tend to go up. But by how much?

Food & Water Watch did a survey of 500 municipal water systems – the largest survey of its kind – and found that public utilities charge an average of $315.56 per year for a typical household. Private water utilities averaged $500.96 – an increase of 59%.

That’s an extra $185 each year for the same amount of water.

In some areas, private water companies’ track record is even worse:

  • In Illinois, private water cost $286 more.
  • In New Jersey, private water cost $230 more.
  • In New York, private water cost $260 more.
  • In Pennsylvania, private water cost a whopping $323 more.

What do residents get for their extra money? Generally nothing good. As we’ve worked with communities affected by privatized water systems, we see the same trends everywhere: service gets worse, maintenance costs increase, and jobs vanish. Private water companies are motivated by their own profits, not by the public good, and they make decisions about their services accordingly. And unlike publicly operated systems, these companies aren’t accountable to residents, leaving people with little recourse to fix the situation.

Keeping our water in public hands usually means water service that’s more equitable, more affordable, and more reliable. Get the facts about public water, and take action to help fund critical repairs to our nation’s water infrastructure.

Will you join us in supporting the WATER Act?