Friday 24 November 2017

Press Statements (59)

(Updated March 10, 2017) Waterkeepers® Chesapeake and our 19 independent RIVERKEEPER®, SHOREKEEPER®, COASTKEEPER® organizations follow legislation at the local, state and federal level. At the beginning of each year, the legislatures in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia are in session. We are tracking bills in the interest of clean water in order to maintain and restore swimmable, drinkable, fishable waters in the Chesapeake Bay. As the legislative sessions move along, we may want you to write your legislator to help us support specific bills. Be on the lookout for our legislative Action Alerts or subscribe to your local independent Waterkeeper lists to stay up to date on actions they are supporting. MARYLANDThe state of Maryland’s General Assembly’s 90 day session meets January 11 to April 10. Fracking ban. The current moratorium on fracking in Maryland will expire October 2017. A bill (Senate Bill 740) to ban fracking in the state of Maryland is working its way through the 2017 Maryland General Assembly. Send an email to your Maryland legislator today and tell them you support #cleanwater and want fracking to stay out of our state. On March 10, the House version of this bill passed in the Maryland General Assembly. Septic regulations. The “On-site Sewage Disposal-Best Available Technology” (House Bill 281) is in the Maryland House of Delegates and is supported by Waterkeepers around the region. In August, Gov. Larry Hogan rolled back state requirements for new construction to use Best Available Technology (BAT) when installing new septic systems.  This legislation would require…
Waterkeepers Chesapeake Asks MDE to Take Closer Look at Polluted Rivers in Maryland Comments Issued on 2016 Report of Surface Water Quality   Waterkeepers Chesapeake, along with nine independent Riverkeeper organizations, asked the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to look at a number of river and stream segments in the state to assess and quantify the level of pollution associated with each waterway. Each of the rivers and streams included in the MDE report, “Maryland’s Draft 2016 Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality” had previously been isolated as needing coverage under the Bay TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, the so-called “pollution diet,” a blueprint for cleaning the Chesapeake Bay. In previous years, some of the segments were listed as Category 5, the most impaired waterways. Under provisions of the Clean Water Act, these river and streams should have been assigned a TMDL for cleanup. The list includes Miles River, Jones Falls, Gwynns Falls, Gunpowder River, Chester River, Potomac River, Susquehanna River, West River, Pocomoke River, Wicomico River, Choptank River, Middle River, Back River, Patapsco River, Baltimore Harbor, Magothy River, Severn River, South River, West River, Patuxent River, St. Mary’s River, Mattawoman Creek, Piscataway Creek, Anacostia River, Monocacy River, Youghiogheny River and a few others.  In addition, MDE has not followed up on river segments listed as Category 3 (insufficient information on water quality standards) and Category 4 (impaired or threatened). Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director of Waterkeepers Chesapeake, said “we need to know that MDE is taking the cleanup of…
Waterkeepers Chesapeake Calls on MDE to Prohibit Fracking in Maryland The EPA has reversed it’s earlier conclusion of it’s 5-year fracking study and now concludes that hydraulic fracturing activities can impact drinking water resources under some circumstances and identifies factors that influence these impacts. The report identified several vulnerabilities to drinking water resources, including water withdrawals for fracking in drought-stricken areas; inadequately cased or cemented wells resulting in below-ground migration of gases and liquids; inadequately treated wastewater discharged into drinking water resources; and spills of hydraulic fluids and wastewater. The EPA removed the “widespread, systemic” language because it “could not be supported due to data gaps and uncertainties” and “did not clearly communicate the topline finding of the report.” The EPA had inserted the earlier statement about “no widespread systemic” contamination under pressure from the oil and gas industry. Waterkeepers Chesapeake issued this statement: “We applaud the EPA for basing the conclusion of their 5 year study on science, instead of oil and gas industry spin. The EPA now concludes what we have known all along: our drinking water sources have been contaminated with toxic compounds from fracking activities. This conclusion would not have happened without all of the public feedback and participation on the report, especially from the impacted people from across the country who shared their stories with the Science Advisory Board. This highlights the increased need for citizen engagement and enforcement to hold regulators and polluters accountable. In our recent comments on Maryland’s draft fracking regulations, we…