Senator Van Hollen, Rep. Raskin to Speak at Waterkeepers Chesapeake’s Annual Awards Event

Awardees to be recognized for work on Clean Water Act litigation and coal ash storage

(Chevy Chase, MD) Waterkeepers Chesapeake will host its 3rd annual In Defense of Water awards event this coming Thursday, September 5 from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m., at the Audubon Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase. Attendees will celebrate regional Waterkeepers, toast to recent clean water successes, and raise funds to “keep up the fight for clean water for all.”  Senator Chris Van Hollen and U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08) will be the honored speakers.

“A healthy Chesapeake Bay is critical to Maryland’s environment and our economy, and we must continue working to preserve and protect it. Our local Waterkeepers are on the frontlines of this fight, and I’m proud to support and recognize their efforts. I will continue working in Congress to provide the funding our state and local partners need to improve the quality of the Bay and to ensure this national treasure will thrive for generations to come,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“Protecting our beloved Chesapeake Bay – and all its tributaries – is essential to the long-term well-being of our eco-system and our natural resources,” said Rep. Raskin. “I am proud to join Waterkeepers Chesapeake in recognizing the invaluable work of local activists who protect our precious waters.”

The organization will honor Potomac Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks and James Riverkeeper Jamie Brunkow with the Waterkeeper Outstanding Win (WOW!) Award.

“Dean and Jamie worked for years in local communities and the courts, alongside other advocates, legislators, and citizens, to find a commonsense solution to the toxic legacy of coal ash stored on Virginia riverbanks,” said Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director, Waterkeepers Chesapeake. “Their work set a national precedent for how to safely remove toxic coal ash stored along waterways.”

That campaign resulted in this year’s bipartisan Virginia Safe Disposal of Coal Ash bill (SB 1355), which mandates the safe disposal of the 28 million tons of toxic coal ash that Dominion Energy, an electric and power company, currently stores in leaking ponds on the banks of the Potomac, James, and Elizabeth Rivers.

Waterkeepers Chesapeake will also honor Earthjustice with its Water Warrior Award. Earthjustice is the legal backbone for the environmental movement, representing clients free of charge, and has been instrumental in protecting local waterways from pollution.

“Several Earthjustice attorneys have represented Waterkeepers Chesapeake and many of our member Riverkeepers and Coastkeepers in the region, resulting in lasting protection of our waterways from pollution, through stronger permits, more protective water quality standards and protective water quality certifications,” said Nicholas.

The organization will spotlight its new campaign: Clear Choices Clean Water – Chesapeake Bay, which is designed to increase awareness about everyday choices residents make and their effects on our rivers and streams – and ultimately the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays. The campaign inspires people to pledge to implement water-friendly practices to reduce polluted stormwater runoff and to volunteer with their local Waterkeepers.

Sponsors and guests will enjoy fresh, local food from La Prima Catering​, mingle with Waterkeepers, and bid on silent auction items. For more information, visit

Contact: Betsy Nicholas, 202-423-0504, betsy(at)

IDW 2019 press release