By Brett Wilkins
While some mainstream environmental organizations welcomed Tuesday's introduction of the CLEAN Future Act in the House of Representatives, progressive green groups warned that the bill falls far short of what's needed to meaningfully tackle the climate crisis—an existential threat they say calls for bolder action like the Green New Deal.
<div id="25965" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6116a1c2b1b913ad51c3ea576f2e196c"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1366827205427425289" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">BREAKING: Rep @FrankPallone just released his CLEAN Future Act — which he claims to be an ambitious bill to combat… https://t.co/M7nR0es196</div> — Friends of the Earth (Action) (@Friends of the Earth (Action))<a href="https://twitter.com/foe_us/statuses/1366827205427425289">1614711974.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="189f0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa31bacec80d88b49730e8591de5d26d"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1366863402912657416" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">The CLEAN Future Act "fails to grasp the fundamental truth of fighting climate change: We must stop extracting and… https://t.co/yREn6Qx9tn</div> — Food & Water Watch (@Food & Water Watch)<a href="https://twitter.com/foodandwater/statuses/1366863402912657416">1614720605.0</a></blockquote></div>
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Brett Wilkins
An international survey conducted by the University of Cambridge and YouGov ahead of this November's COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and published on Monday, found overwhelming support around the world for governments taking more robust action to protect the environment amid the worsening climate crisis.
<div id="26ea0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7aa0d6136bd98584572b3d9cc3ccc8fc"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1366418460289470467" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Nine out of ten people in the UK, Brazil, India, China, Indonesia and Poland want governments to “do more” to prote… https://t.co/URLdsms6LB</div> — Cambridge University (@Cambridge University)<a href="https://twitter.com/Cambridge_Uni/statuses/1366418460289470467">1614614522.0</a></blockquote></div>
Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" data-width="1244" data-height="1244" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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Many congressional districts with the most clean energy potential are current fossil fuel hubs, potentially reducing political barriers to a just transition away from the energy sources that cause climate change, a Brookings report says.
After a second day of Senate hearings, Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM) is poised to become the first Native to serve as Secretary of the Interior (or any such high-ranking cabinet position.)
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By Jessica Corbett
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday was the lone progressive to vote against Tom Vilsack reprising his role as secretary of agriculture, citing concerns that progressive advocacy groups have been raising since even before President Joe Biden officially nominated the former Obama administration appointee.
<div id="a420d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5369c498a5855fe2143b86fa07e23dff"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1364300806988652548" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨🚨🚨 Bernie Sanders voted against Tom Vilsack's nomination. It's great to see the Senator stick to his principles a… https://t.co/u4XNU4viNC</div> — RootsAction (@RootsAction)<a href="https://twitter.com/Roots_Action/statuses/1364300806988652548">1614109634.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Taryn MacKinney
First, the bad news: An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists reveals that federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have lost hundreds of scientists since 2017. The good news: With the Biden administration already acting on its pledge to lead with science, a new day has dawned, and it's time to get to work.
Science Under Attack<p>Since the birth of the National Academies of Sciences <a href="http://www.nasonline.org/about-nas/history/archives/founding-and-early-work.html" target="_blank">more than 150 years ago</a>, US federal science has fueled many of the nation's and the world's great achievements. Federally funded scientists have mapped the <a href="https://www.genome.gov/human-genome-project" target="_blank">human genome,</a> <a href="https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/yes-government-researchers-really-did-invent-the-internet/" target="_blank">created the World Wide Web</a>, protected <a href="https://www.fws.gov/midwest/eagle/History/index.html" target="_blank">species from extinction</a>, and saved countless lives through revolutionary vaccine campaigns—against <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/polio/what-is-polio/polio-us.html" target="_blank">polio</a> and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/smallpox/history/history.html" target="_blank">smallpox</a> in years past, and today, against COVID-19.</p><p>At the heart of these triumphs stand the government scientists. Whether chemist or physician, economist or engineer, each has dedicated their career to the American public and its interests: clean air and water, safe homes, a healthy future for all.</p><p>But cracks have formed in the foundations of government science. Especially since 2017, political officials have stunted or stalled <a href="https://blog.ucsusa.org/taryn-mackinney/the-white-house-scrapped-the-science-on-tricholorethylene-so-were-urging-the-epa-to-investigate" target="_blank">scientific research</a>, retaliated against <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/07/25/has-trump-sidelined-restricted-government-scientists-yes/4" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">scientists</a>, weakened <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science/epa-alters-protocol-scientific-advisory-committees-selection?_ga=2.125629898.1514278020.1611251739-397048884.1590005808" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">science advisory committees</a>, left <a href="https://envirodatagov.org/embattled-landscape-series-part-2b-the-declining-capacity-of-federal-environmental-science/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">scientific positions vacant</a>, and <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/science-ranks-grow-thin-in-trump-administration/2020/01/23/5d22b522-3172-11ea-a053-dc6d944ba776_story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">undermined career staff</a>. Some federal offices, battered by political attacks, have hemorrhaged scientific experts.</p><p>Now that the sun has set on the Trump administration, questions remain. How have federal scientists fared in the last four years? How many work in government today? And how can the Biden administration repair what was broken?</p>
The Hunt for Numbers<p>To answer these questions, we needed government information and lots of it. Last autumn, we requested, via the <a href="https://blog.ucsusa.org/genna-reed/a-thank-you-to-foia-officers-purveyors-of-sunshine" target="_blank">Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)</a>, two decades of staffing records from nearly 30 federal science agencies, from the FWS to the Census Bureau.</p><p>We're still waiting on a lot of data, but the results we <em>have</em> gotten are revealing. In the last four years, five of the seven agencies we analyzed collectively lost more than 1,000 scientists.</p>
A Blow to Science at the EPA<p>The losses at the EPA weren't random. Between 2016 and 2020, the EPA lost 550 environmental protection specialists — 1 in 4. These specialists implement air and water quality programs and track environmental law violations, tasks that the last administration spurned.</p>
Losses Beyond the EPA<p>Other agencies also lost experts between 2016 and 2020. The FWS lost 231 scientific staff, a nearly 4% decline. This includes a net loss of 68 wildlife biologists (about 1 in 8) and 48 staff in wildlife refuge management (about 1 in 12). The US Geological Survey, meanwhile, lost 118 hydrologists (1 in 10), 55 geologists (1 in 10), 45 wildlife biologists (1 in 4), and myriad others.</p><p>The Department of Education's research branch, the Institute of Education Services, lost 33 scientific staff—a staggering 19 percent decline. More than half were education researchers.</p><p>BOEM — a young agency with fewer than 600 employees — steadily gained scientists through the last quarter of the Obama administration, when it reached a high of 450 scientific staff. But then this number began declining, falling to 403 in Q2 2019. As with the EPA, many of BOEM's losses were highly specialized scientific staff, including 10 geologists (-10%) and 7 oceanographers (-29%).</p><p>On the flip side, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has <em>gained</em> scientific staff since 2016, continuing a trend that dates to at least 2010. NASA gained 91 scientific experts — a modest 0.7% increase. We're heartened to see this, but don't be fooled: all is not well in government science.</p>
The Humans Behind the Data<p>These numbers validate what many civil servants have long witnessed: the decline of federal science. We've tracked <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science" target="_blank">nearly 190 attacks</a> on science since 2017, and stories abound of scientists being <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science/climate-change-resilience-study-halted" target="_blank">ignored</a>, <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science/cdc-defunded-politically-motivated-ad-campaign" target="_blank">defunded</a>, and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/25/trump-administration-climate-crisis-denying-scientist" target="_blank">pushed out</a>. In <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2018/08/science-under-trump-report.pdf/" target="_blank">our 2018 survey</a>, majorities of scientists across agencies reported seeing workforce reductions.</p>
The Path Forward<p>Still, have hope. Already, President Biden has given the microphone back to federal scientists like <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/president-biden-takes-office/2021/01/21/959378061/after-sparring-with-trump-dr-fauci-says-biden-administration-feels-liberating" target="_blank">Dr. Anthony Fauci</a>, assembled a team of qualified <a href="https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-technology-francis-collins-022fc771e262e6f1c7e33ffe80e1d37b" target="_blank">science advisors</a>, and, in <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/climate/biden-paris-climate-agreement.html" target="_blank">rejoining the Paris climate agreement</a>, did what his predecessor never could: recognized the truth of climate change and vowed to work with the world to solve it.</p><p>But rebuilding is not enough. Federal science must be fortified. In the coming months, the Biden administration must do all it can to invite more early-career scientists into government—for example, by bolstering <a href="https://www.epa.gov/careers/research-fellowships-and-scholarships" target="_blank">fellowship programs</a> and expanding recruitment to underrepresented communities. The administration must also work to <em>keep </em>these vital staff, by strengthening mentorship of early-career scientists and, of course, funding them (a robust White House science and technology budget is a great start).</p><p>President Biden must also support policies that promote and protect scientists and their work. We at UCS have a <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/2020-08/si-report-roadmap-for-science.pdf?_ga=2.102051905.1514278020.1611251739-397048884.1590005808" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>lot </em>of recommendations</a>, and we're thrilled to see many of them already in the administration's <a href="https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/01/new-biden-scientific-integrity-policy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">latest memorandum</a> on scientific integrity.</p><p>The United States is a divided country, cleaved by <a href="https://time.com/5898231/republicans-democrats-coronavirus-news/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">rival realities</a> and <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2019/10/10/partisan-antipathy-more-intense-more-personal/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bitter partisanship</a>. But as our leaders brace themselves for the rocky seas ahead, science must be their lighthouse. We implore the Biden administration, and all those elected by the people, to "<a href="https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-technology-francis-collins-022fc771e262e6f1c7e33ffe80e1d37b" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">lead with science and truth</a>." The nation depends on it.</p><p><em>Taryn MacKinney is an investigative researcher for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from the <a href="https://blog.ucsusa.org/taryn-mackinney/federal-agencies-have-lost-hundreds-of-scientists-since-2017-what-comes-next" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Union of Concerned Scientists</a>.</em></p>
By Jacob Carter
Since 1918 the federal government has implemented its authority under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) to hold industries accountable for the death of birds due to their operations. Such operations include the spraying of insecticides that poison birds, maintaining oil pits that can lead to drowning, or contact with infrastructure such as wind turbines that can cause death on impact.
The Logic is Ludicrous<p>I think that the logic used in the revised MBTA is ridiculous for one very important reason: we know that migratory bird species die because of bad industry practice and that such deaths are preventable.</p><p>There is a clear need to hold industries accountable for migratory bird death, especially since we know it happens and that <em>it is preventable</em>. And if we know a bad thing is <em>preventable</em>, we should create mechanisms (like the MBTA) to encourage folks to take <em>prevention</em> measures to help ensure that a bad thing does not happen.</p><p>Imagine that you have a toddler that continues to explore that "dangerous chemicals cabinet" (you know the one) in your household. What do you do? Well, you probably "toddler-proof" that cabinet to <em>prevent</em> said toddler from ingesting harmful chemicals — or you potentially face punitive measures for child neglect.</p><p>My point is that it makes absolutely no sense to discourage the use of measures to prevent a bad thing we know will happen — in this case it is the death of migratory bird species.</p>
Bird Death Affects Us All<p>The number of birds in the U.S. is falling. The number of birds in North America <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/366/6461/120" target="_blank">has fallen by 29 percent since 1970</a> according to one study in <em>Science. </em>There are <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/science/bird-populations-america-canada.html#:~:text=The%20number%20of%20birds%20in,half%2Dcentury%2C%20scientists%20find.&text=The%20skies%20are%20emptying%20out,1970%2C%20scientists%20reported%20on%20Thursday." target="_blank">2.9 billion fewer birds than there were 50 years ago</a>.</p><p>These losses do not only mean that we have fewer gorgeous birds for birders to enjoy. Bird species are incredibly vital to ecosystem health that your health, my health, my grandmother's health, are all dependent on. Bird species control unwanted pests, they pollinate plant species, they are seed dispersers, and they bring in loads of cash to our economies every year. The FWS estimates that <a href="https://www.fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/bird-watching/valuing-birds.php#:~:text=Economic%20Impact,-Birds%2C%20Bird%20watching&text=Local%20community%20economies%20benefit%20from,on%20food%2C%20lodging%20and%20transportation." target="_blank">bird watchers alone bring in nearly $15 billion to local economies</a> and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.</p><p>If we lose our native bird species then our ecosystems will be not be the same, our local economies will not be the same, our health will not be the same. This is the future-to-come if the Biden administration allows the new interpretation of the MBTA to go into effect on February 8 of this year. We should be working to strengthen protections for bird species, not fighting to kill them.</p><p>President Biden's nominee to lead the Department of the Interior (DOI), Deb Haaland, should prioritize and work quickly to interpret the MBTA to its original intent to protect declining bird populations. In fact, we have provided a number of recommendations for President Biden and Representative Haaland <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/2020-08/doi-fact-sheet-roadmap-for-science.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">to restore science back to the DOI</a>. President Biden has stated that he plans to bring science back to decision-making — and we will be holding him accountable to his word.</p><p> <em><a href="https://blog.ucsusa.org/author/jacob-carter" target="_blank">Jacob Carter</a> is a research scientist for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from the <em><a href="https://blog.ucsusa.org/jacob-carter/outgoing-administration-gave-thumbs-up-to-migratory-bird-massacre-its-time-to-reverse-the-damage" target="_blank">Union of Concerned Scientists</a>.</em></em></p>
By Katy Neusteter
The Biden-Harris transition team identified COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change as its top priorities. Rivers are the through-line linking all of them. The fact is, healthy rivers can no longer be separated into the "nice-to-have" column of environmental progress. Rivers and streams provide more than 60 percent of our drinking water — and a clear path toward public health, a strong economy, a more just society and greater resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis.
Public Health<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUyNDY3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MDkxMTkwNn0.pyP14Bg1WvcUvF_xUGgYVu8PS7Lu49Huzc3PXGvATi4/img.jpg?width=980" id="8e577" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1efb3445f5c445e47d5937a72343c012" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3000" data-height="2302" />
Wild and Scenic Merced River, California. Bob Wick / BLM<p>Let's begin with COVID-19. More than <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection&impression_id=2f508610-2a87-11eb-8622-4f6c038cbd1d&variant=1_Show" target="_blank">16 million Americans</a> have contracted the coronavirus and, tragically,<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection&impression_id=2f508610-2a87-11eb-8622-4f6c038cbd1d&variant=1_Show" target="_blank"> more than</a> <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection&impression_id=2f508610-2a87-11eb-8622-4f6c038cbd1d&variant=1_Show" target="_blank">300,000 have died</a> due to the pandemic. While health officials encourage hand-washing to contain the pandemic, at least <a href="https://closethewatergap.org/" target="_blank">2 million Americans</a> are currently living without running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater treatment. Meanwhile, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/23/millions-of-americans-cant-afford-water-bills-rise" target="_blank">aging water infrastructure is growing increasingly costly for utilities to maintain</a>. That cost is passed along to consumers. The upshot? <a href="https://research.msu.edu/affordable-water-in-us-reaching-a-crisis/" target="_blank">More than 13 million</a> U.S. households regularly face unaffordable water bills — and, thus, the threat of water shutoffs. Without basic access to clean water, families and entire communities are at a higher risk of <a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2020/08/05/488705/bridging-water-access-gap-covid-19-relief/" target="_blank">contracting</a> and spreading COVID-19.</p><p>We have a moral duty to ensure that everyone has access to clean water to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Last spring, <a href="https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/coronavirus-stimulus-bill-explained-bailouts-unemployment-benefits.html" target="_blank">Congress appropriated more than $4 trillion</a> to jumpstart the economy and bring millions of unemployed Americans back to work. Additional federal assistance — desperately needed — will present a historic opportunity to improve our crumbling infrastructure, which has been <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/23/millions-of-americans-cant-afford-water-bills-rise" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">grossly underfunded for decades</a>.</p><p>A report by my organization, American Rivers, suggests that <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/09223525/ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-2020.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Congress must invest at least $50 billion</a> "to address the urgent water infrastructure needs associated with COVID-19," including the rising cost of water. This initial boost would allow for the replacement and maintenance of sewers, stormwater infrastructure and water supply facilities.</p>
Economic Recovery<p>Investing in water infrastructure and healthy rivers also creates jobs. Consider, for example, that <a href="https://tinyurl.com/y9p6sgnk" target="_blank">every $1 million spent on water infrastructure in the United States generates more than 15 jobs</a> throughout the economy, according to a report by the Value of Water Campaign. Similarly, <a href="https://tinyurl.com/yyvd2ksp" target="_blank">every "$1 million invested in forest and watershed restoration contracting will generate between 15.7 and 23.8 jobs,</a> depending on the work type," states a working paper released by the Ecosystem Workforce Program, University of Oregon. Healthy rivers also spur tourism and recreation, which many communities rely on for their livelihoods. According to the findings by the Outdoor Industry Association, which have been shared in our report, "Americans participating in watersports and fishing spend over <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/30222425/Exec-summary-ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-June-30-2020.pdf" target="_blank">$174 billion</a> on gear and trip related expenses. And, the outdoor watersports and fishing economy supports over <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/30222425/Exec-summary-ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-June-30-2020.pdf" target="_blank">1.5 million jobs nationwide</a>."</p><p>After the 2008 financial crisis, Congress invested in infrastructure to put Americans back to work. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act <a href="https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/25941-clean-water-green-infrastructure-get-major-boost" target="_blank">of 2009 (ARRA) allocated $6 billion</a> for clean water and drinking water infrastructure to decrease unemployment and boost the economy. More specifically, <a href="https://www.conservationnw.org/news-updates/us-reps-push-for-millions-of-restoration-and-resilience-jobs/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an analysis of ARRA</a> "showed conservation investments generated 15 to 33 jobs per million dollars," and more than doubled the rate of return, according to a letter written in May 2020 by 79 members of Congress, seeking greater funding for restoration and resilience jobs.</p><p>Today, when considering how to create work for the <a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">10.7 million</a> people who are currently unemployed, Congress should review previous stimulus investments and build on their successes by embracing major investments in water infrastructure and watershed restoration.</p>
Racial Justice<p>American Rivers also recommends that Congress dedicate <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/09223525/ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-2020.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">$500 billion for rivers and clean water over the next 10 years</a> — not just for the benefit of our environment and economy, but also to begin to address the United States' history of deeply entrenched racial injustice.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.epa.gov/npdes/sanitary-sewer-overflows-ssos" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">23,000-75,000 sewer overflows</a> that occur each year release up to <a href="https://www.americanrivers.org/2020/05/fighting-for-rivers-means-fighting-for-justice/#:~:text=There%20are%20also%2023%2C000%20to%2075%2C000%20sanitary%20sewer,to%20do%20with%20the%20mission%20of%20American%20Rivers." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">10 billion gallons of toxic sewage</a> <em>every day</em> into rivers and streams. This disproportionately impacts communities of color, because, for generations, Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other people of color have been <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/flooding-disproportionately-harms-black-neighborhoods/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">relegated</a> to live in flood-prone areas and in neighborhoods that have been intentionally burdened with a lack of development that degrades people's health and quality of life. In some communities of color, incessant flooding due to stormwater surges or <a href="https://www.ajc.com/opinion/opinion-partnering-to-better-manage-our-water/7WQ6SEAQP5E4LGQCEYY5DO334Y/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">combined sewer overflows</a> has gone unmitigated for decades.</p><p>We have historically treated people as separate from rivers and water. We can't do that anymore. Every voice — particularly those of people most directly impacted — must have a loudspeaker and be included in decision-making at the highest levels.</p><p>Accordingly, the new administration must diligently invest in projects at the community level that will improve lives in our country's most marginalized communities. We also must go further to ensure that local leaders have a seat at the decision-making table. To this end, the Biden-Harris administration should restore <a href="https://www.epa.gov/cwa-401#:~:text=Section%20401%20Certification%20The%20Clean%20Water%20Act%20%28CWA%29,the%20United%20States.%20Learn%20more%20about%20401%20certification." target="_blank">Section 401 of the Clean Water Act</a>, which was undermined by the <a href="https://earthjustice.org/news/press/2020/tribes-and-environmental-groups-sue-trump-administration-to-preserve-clean-water-protections#:~:text=Under%20Section%20401%20of%20the%20Clean%20Water%20Act%2C,seeks%20to%20undermine%20that%20authority%20in%20several%20ways%3A" target="_blank">Trump administration's 2020 regulatory changes</a>. This provision gives states and tribes the authority to decide whether major development projects, such as hydropower and oil and gas projects, move forward.</p>
Climate Resilience<p>Of course, the menacing shadow looming over it all? Climate change. <a href="https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IFRC_wdr2020/IFRC_WDR_ExecutiveSummary_EN_Web.pdf" target="_blank">More than 100 climate-related catastrophes</a> have pummeled the Earth since the pandemic was declared last spring, including the blitzkrieg of megafires, superstorms and heat waves witnessed during the summer of 2020, directly impacting the lives of more than <a href="https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IFRC_wdr2020/IFRC_WDR_ExecutiveSummary_EN_Web.pdf" target="_blank">50 million people globally</a>.</p><p>Water and climate scientist Brad Udall often says, "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQhpj5G0dME" target="_blank">Climate change is water change</a>." In other words, the most obvious and dire impacts of climate change are evidenced in profound changes to our rivers and water resources. You've likely seen it where you live: Floods are more damaging and frequent. Droughts are deeper and longer. Uncertainty is destabilizing industry and lives.</p><p>By galvanizing action for healthy rivers and managing our water resources more effectively, we can insure future generations against the consequences of climate change. First, we must safeguard rivers that are still healthy and free-flowing. Second, we must protect land and property against the ravages of flooding. And finally, we must promote policies and practical solutions that take the science of climate disruption into account when planning for increased flooding, water shortage and habitat disruption.</p><p>Imagine all that rivers do for us. Most of our towns and cities have a river running through them or flowing nearby. Rivers provide clean drinking water, irrigate crops that provide our food, power our homes and businesses, provide wildlife habitat, and are the lifeblood of the places where we enjoy and explore nature, and where we play and nourish our spirits. Healthy watersheds help <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1059952" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mitigate</a> climate change, absorbing and reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Healthy rivers and floodplains help communities adapt and build resilience in the face of climate change by improving flood protection and providing water supply and quality benefits. Rivers are the cornerstones of healthy, strong communities.</p><p>The more than <a href="https://archive.epa.gov/water/archive/web/html/index-17.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">3 million miles</a> of rivers and streams running across our country are a source of great strength and opportunity. When we invest in healthy rivers and clean water, we can improve our lives. When we invest in rivers, we create jobs and strengthen our economy. When we invest in rivers, we invest in our shared future.</p>
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