Low-income communities and communities of color suffer under the inextricably intertwined challenges of clean water, climate change, and economic, environmental, and social injustice. In our region, frontline communities (such as the Cherry Hill neighborhood in downtown Baltimore, the historically black communities of Brandywine, MD and Brown Grove, VA, and poultry workers on the Eastern Shore) are burdened by flooding, drinking water hazards due to industrial contamination, and aging, poorly maintained water infrastructure. It is urgent that we all nurture the burgeoning grassroots movement of climate, justice, water, and public health interests coming together demanding equal justice and access to clean water.
It’s more important than ever that we empower everyone to take action when water pollution is harming their communities. This is especially true for communities that continue to experience environmental racism. This is why we developed the Clean Water Act Playbook for Frontline Communities at https://cwaplaybook.org/ for easy access to the Clean Water Act’s tools and resources to enforce the law when government fails to do so. This online resource offers Clean Water Act basics, video stories of how local communities dealt with water pollution, links to tools and organizations that can help, and ways to report pollution. We invite you to explore the Playbook and share it with groups and communities who could benefit from this open resource.
Our priorities include:
- As a regional entity, assist our 17 member Waterkeepers in establishing and implementing their own local plans for DEIJ, through shared fundraising, technical assistance, facilitating peer to peer mentoring, and upholding collective successes.
- Center equity in funding programs by identifying failures in how states prioritize funding in the battle against climate change, investments in infrastructure upgrades, agriculture subsidies, and other restoration programs.
- Oppose developments that increase the burden on already overburdened communities.
- Promote strong enforcement of environmental laws, increased budgets for inspection and enforcement personnel, and more serious repercussions for violators.
- Ensure environmental justice and public empowerment by creating better accountability, systems, and transparency for meaningful environmental justice review.
- Demand corporate accountability for toxics and waste in water by holding corporations liable for the pollution they create and regulate emerging contaminants in their products.
- Enhance access to nature for all.
- Elevate the voices of those fighting for justice and protecting their communities from pollution.