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In Light of Colorado Floods, New EPA Report Reveals Importance of Wetlands and Streams
By Laura Beans
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report, Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence, detailing the impact that small bodies of water, such as streams and wetlands, have on larger waterways further downstream. The report looks at the effects of downstream pollution on drinking water and public health.
“Each day, our nation’s streams provide drinking water for millions of families and more than a third of Americans," said Micheal Brune, executive director of Sierra Club. "Without strong protections, these streams risk pollution, and wetlands risk being filled, exacerbating—or even causing—downstream floods that threaten public safety and homeowners."
According to Environment America, the report is expected to trigger the Obama Administration to clarify and restore protections for some of America's most important waterways. According to the U.S. EPA's own data, loopholes in the Clean Water Act leave 59 percent of streams across the country unprotected. The U.S. EPA’s report pulls together the existing science on these streams, wetlands and other unprotected waterways and outlines their connection to downstream waters. Americans across the country have spoken out in support of protecting all of America’s waterways—more than 200,000 public comments were submitted to the U.S. EPA, and more than 430 local elected officials and 180 farmers have encouraged the Obama administration to restore critical protections to our waterways.
“Loopholes in the Clean Water Act have left the drinking water for 117 million Americans at risk of dangerous pollution,” said Ally Fields, clean water advocate for Environment America. “This report pulls together the best science available on how our smaller lakes, streams and wetlands are connected to iconic waterways across the country.”
“Protecting our waters also makes economic sense," Brune continued. "Wetlands in the continental U.S. save at least $30 billion a year in flood damage repair costs—an important fact as our nation faces stronger and more destructive weather brought on by climate disruption."
“Wetlands and small streams are critical habitat for fish and wildlife but they will remain at risk until the new 'waters of the U.S.' rulemaking is complete," said Jan Goldman-Carter of National Wildlife Federation. "The White House must move quickly to protect the many wetlands, lakes and tributary streams that influence the health of our nation’s rivers and our drinking water supplies.”
Visit EcoWatch’s CLEAN WATER ACT page for more related news on this topic.
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By Jennifer Molidor
One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.
"The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism wishes to inform the public that following extensive consultations with all stakeholders, the Government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension," the government announced in a press release shared on social media.
Company Safety Data Sheets on New Chemicals Frequently Lack the Worker Protections EPA Claims They Include
By Richard Denison
Readers of this blog know how concerned EDF is over the Trump EPA's approval of many dozens of new chemicals based on its mere "expectation" that workers across supply chains will always employ personal protective equipment (PPE) just because it is recommended in the manufacturer's non-binding safety data sheet (SDS).
By Grant Smith
From 2009 to 2012, Gregory Jaczko was chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which approves nuclear power plant designs and sets safety standards for plants. But he now says that nuclear power is too dangerous and expensive — and not part of the answer to the climate crisis.
By Brett Walton
When Greg Wetherbee sat in front of the microscope recently, he was looking for fragments of metals or coal, particles that might indicate the source of airborne nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park. What caught his eye, though, were the plastics.
In a big victory for animals, Prada has announced that it's ending its use of fur! It joins Coach, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and many others PETA has pushed toward a ban.
This is a victory more than a decade in the making. PETA and our international affiliates have crashed Prada's catwalks with anti-fur signs, held eye-catching demonstrations all around the world, and sent the company loads of information about the fur industry. In 2018, actor and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson sent a letter on PETA's behalf urging Miuccia Prada to commit to leaving fur out of all future collections, and the iconic designer has finally listened.
If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.
"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
- Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change ›
- How working less could solve all our problems. Really. | ›
- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›