Keystone Pipeline Spills Over 200,000 Gallons Of Tar Sands

A Victory For Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

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By The Indigenous Americans. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory today in its fight to protect the Tribe’s drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline. A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which were hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration, violated the law in certain critical respects. In a 91-page decision, Judge James Boasberg wrote, “the Court agrees that [the Corps] did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.”

Coalition Of Water Protectors Call For Nestlé Boycott

A US Charity Is Helping Big Business Take Indigenous Peoples' Water In Mexico

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By Tamara Pearson for OpenDemocracy – The town of Puebla is a miniature version of the world’s inhumane water inequalities. Here, people living in the wealthy part of town get all the water they need, and Coca Cola gets first dibs on the best water in the state. Meanwhile, the rest us get running water for half an hour a week, or none at all. US religious charity Living Water claims it is trying to help the poor, but in reality it is only increasing such inequality by supporting further privatization of the water system. Right-wing senator Ted Cruz, VP of Goldman Sachs Heidi Cruz, and the owner of Halex Oil Corporation Mike Hale all make up the leadership of Living Water, which has also collaborated with Coca Cola on projects around Latin America. Living Water has some 132 projects here in Puebla state, and with the support of a state law that allows for private investment in water, has been encouraging big businesses to “solve” the water supply problems in poor rural areas. “Living Water went into indigenous towns like Ocotepec saying things like “Jesus says water is for everyone”. At first, people trusted them, but then they realized the charity has connections to Femsa (Coca Cola) and they protested. There were arrests, and the police stopped the protests,” Fernando told me.

Flint Water Summit Participants Vow To End Nestlé’s Water Takings

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By Dylan Penner for Council of Canadians. Flint, MI – Sixteen water protector groups along with local residents, Indigenous representatives and activists attended the Water Is Life: Strengthening the Great Lakes Commons in Flint this past weekend. Attendees pledged to challenge Nestlé’s water takings and end the water crises in Flint, Detroit and Indigenous nations. Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians presented the keynote speech on Friday evening to a crowd of more than 200 people at Woodside Church in Flint. “The summit this past weekend was a powerful moment for water justice organizations, Great Lakes residents and Indigenous representatives. We came together to challenge the issues that our governments are failing to address.”

Nestlé Pays $200 A Year To Bottle Water Near Flint – Where Water Is Undrinkable

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By Jessica Glenzain for The Guardian – While Flint battles a water crisis, just two hours away the beverage giant pumps almost 100,000 times what an average Michigan resident uses into plastic bottles. Gina Luster bathed her child in lukewarm bottled water, emptied bottle by bottle into the tub, for months. It became a game for her seven-year-old daughter. Pop the top off a bottle, and pour it into the tub. It takes about 30 minutes for a child to fill a tub this way. Pop the top, pour it in; pop the top, pour it in. Maybe less if you can get gallon jugs. Luster lives in Flint, Michigan, and here, residents believe tap water is good for one thing: to flush the toilet. “I don’t even water my plants with it,” she said. Flint became synonymous with lead-poisoned water after government officials, looking to save money, switched the city’s water supply from Detroit city water to water from the corrosive Flint river. Once the city had switched, the number of children with elevated lead exposure doubled; residents reported unexplained rashes and losing hair. An unpublished study recently found fetal deaths in Flint increased by 58% during the crisis.

State Denies Key Water Quality Permit For Longview Coal Project

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By Jan Hasselman for Earth Justice – The Washington Department of Ecology denied a necessary water quality permit for the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export facility in Longview today, citing the project’s negative impacts on climate, clean air and water. Absent a successful legal challenge to the decision, the denial renders the project formally dead. If built, Millennium would have been the largest coal export facility in North America, sending up to 44 million tons of Powder River and Uinta Basin coal per year to Asian markets that are quickly turning away from coal-fired power. The state’s own analysis, found that the climate pollution from this project would be equivalent to adding 8 million cars to the road at a time when our changing climate is contributing to catastrophic forest fires and stronger hurricanes. Millennium would also add up to sixteen trains a day traveling between the Powder River Basin and Longview, tying up traffic and impacting public safety response times in rail communities across the Pacific Northwest and contributing to higher rates of cancer in low-income communities, including Longview’s Highlands neighborhood.

Likely Carcinogen Contaminates Drinking Water Of 90 Million Americans

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By Zoe Loftus-Farren for Earth Island Journal – According to a new report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, the drinking water of more than a quarter of Americans — some 90 million people — tested positive for a likely carcinogen known as 1,4-dioxane between 2010 and 2015. And public water systems serving more than 7 million people in 27 states have average 1,4-dioxane concentrations that exceed the level US Environmental Protection Agency has said can increase the risk of cancer. According to a new report, a likely carcinogen was detected in the public water systems serving nearly 90 million Americans. 1,4-dioxane water contamination is linked to several sources, not least of which is the use of the chemical as an industrial solvents to dissolve oily substances. It is also a byproduct of plastic production and manufacturing of other chemicals, and can contaminate drinking water through wastewater discharge from industrial facilities, as well as due to leaching from Superfund and hazardous waste sites. In addition to being a likely carcinogen (in California, the chemical is listed as a known carcinogen), 1,4-dioxane exposure has also been linked to liver and kidney damage, lung problems, and eye and skin irritation.

Court Of Appeals Upholds NY’s Denial Of Water Quality Certification For Constitution Pipeline

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By Eric Schneiderman for EcoWatch – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld New York State’s denial of a water quality certification for the Constitution Pipeline Friday, a critical win for the Attorney General’s office and the state’s authority to take necessary action to protect its waters and natural resources. The appeals court noted that the state is entitled to “conduct its own review of the Constitution Project’s likely effects on New York waterbodies and whether those effects would comply with the state’s water quality standards.” New York must be able to do what’s necessary to protect our environment—and we’re glad that the court agreed. It would be unacceptable for a pipeline—or any project—to pollute our waters and undermine New Yorkers’ health and water resources. Today’s decision marks a major win for New Yorkers, and for the state’s right to take the actions necessary to protect the public and our environment. My office stands ready to continue to vigorously defend New Yorkers’ right to a safe and healthy environment from all who may harm it.

Crumbling Pipes, Tainted Water Plague Black Communities

Troy Lowe, 4, sleeps under the arm of his father, Tory Lowe, in Milwaukee. Troy tested positive for lead poisoning after ingesting the tap water in their home. (Michael M. Santiago/News21)

By William Taylor Potter, Brandon Kitchin and Alexis Reese for Troubled Water – CAMPTI, La. – Deep in the winding mass of crumbling back streets in Campti, Leroy Hayes sets a glass of water from his faucet in a patch of sunlight on the railing of his porch and watches specks of sediment float to the top. Hayes said the town’s water system has been bad for years, with water often coming out brown and smelling like bleach. The family uses bottled water for drinking and cooking and often has to drive to the city of Natchitoches, 11 miles away, to wash their clothes. The Campti water leaves their clothes with a yellowish tint. “Don’t nobody drink that mess,” Hayes said. Like many poor African-American communities, Campti’s poverty is a significant impediment to making crucial improvements to the town’s infrastructure – including its old water system. Hayes is a lifelong resident of the town, where according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of the predominantly African-American population lives in poverty. Campti’s median household income is only $15,428.

Standing Rock Spawned A Generation Of Water Protectors. Now They’re On The Move.

Water protectors holding a ceremony on the banks of the Cannon Ball River were met by riot police who shot rubber bullets at point-blank range on Nov. 2, 2016. Photo by Robert Wilson

By Joseph Bullington for In These Times – BISMARCK, N.D.—Forty miles north of where the Standing Rock resistance camps once stood, Matt Lone Bear and Carter Gunderson crouch on the curb, changing the brakes on a Chevy Blazer. As they wrestle a worn rotor off the axle, they discuss their plans. They’ll stick around until their court dates later in June, then hit the road for a tour of the Standing Rock diaspora—camps that have sprung up across the country to oppose fossil fuel projects, living on after the battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). To the east, in Huntingdon County, Penn., the Gerhart family and their supporters have formed Camp White Pine on family property, which lies in the path of the Mariner East 2 natural gas pipeline. The pipeline’s owner, Energy Transfer Partners—the same company behind DAPL—hasinvoked eminent domain to cross the property, but construction faces resistance in the form of tree sits and other direct actions. Farther east, in Mahwah, N.J., the Native-led Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp stands in the way of the Pilgrim pipeline. The camp’s Facebook page declares “solidarity with Standing Rock & all who resist the black snake worldwide.”

Lawsuits Against DuPont And Chemours For Contaminating Drinking Water In North Carolina

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By Sharon Lerner for The Intercept – AFTER YEARS of litigation over PFOA, an industrial toxin used to make Teflon and other non-stick and stain-resistant products, in 2009 DuPont introduced GenX. Now the slippery substitute has followed the path of the molecule it replaced, contaminating water near plants in West Virginia and North Carolina, and attracting its own intense legal interest. The lawsuits over PFOA exposed the chemical’s links to several diseases, including kidney and testicular cancer. Like PFOA, also known as C8, GenX is a perfluorinated compound and similarly, was the subject of internal DuPont research showing it poses many of the same health concerns as the original chemical. Also like PFOA, GenX persists indefinitely in the environment. In the past two weeks, two citizens groups in North Carolina announced plans to sue Chemours, the DuPont spinoff company that now makes GenX, over its release of the chemical from its plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority issued a letter of intent to sue both Chemours and DuPont last week over violations of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act over release of GenX into the Cape Fear River, which is a source of drinking water for more than 250,000 people in the Wilmington area.

Feds Back In Pa. ‘Gasland’ Town To Test Water, Air

This Feb. 13, 2012, file photo shows a Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. wellhead in Dimock, Pa. Federal government scientists are collecting water and air samples in the first week of August 2017 from about 25 homes in Dimock, Pa., a tiny, rural crossroads about 150 miles north of Philadelphia that became a flashpoint in the national debate over fracking, to investigate ongoing complaints about the quality of the drinking water. Associated Press

By Michael Rubinkam for The Sentinel – The federal government has returned to a Pennsylvania village that became a flashpoint in the national debate over fracking to investigate ongoing complaints about the quality of the drinking water. Government scientists are collecting water and air samples this week from about 25 homes in Dimock, a tiny crossroads about 150 miles north of Philadelphia. “Residents have continued to raise concerns about natural gas activities impacting their private water well quality,” the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said Thursday in a statement to The Associated Press. Dimock was the scene of the most highly publicized case of methane contamination to emerge from the early days of Pennsylvania’s natural-gas drilling boom. State regulators blamed faulty gas wells drilled by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. for leaking combustible methane into Dimock’s groundwater. Cabot, one of the largest natural gas producers in the state, has consistently denied responsibility, saying methane was an issue in the groundwater long before it began drilling. The ATSDR, a federal public health agency, said Thursday that it is “conducting an exposure investigation to determine if there are drinking water quality issues that may continue to pose a health threat.”

Pollutants in Virtually All U.S. Public Water Systems

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By Staff for Environmental Working Group. The disturbing truth is that, all too often, a glass of tap water also comes with a dose of industrial and agricultural contaminants that have been linked to cancer, brain and nervous system damage, or developmental defects. “Just because your tap water gets a passing grade from the government doesn’t always mean it’s safe,” Cook said. “It’s time to stop basing environmental regulations on political or economic compromises, and instead listen to what scientists say about the long-term effects of toxic chemicals and empower Americans to protect themselves from pollutants even as they demand the protective action they deserve from government.” The vast majority of utilities are in compliance with federal regulations, but their water still often contains contaminants in concentrations exceeding the levels that scientists say pose health risks. Many of the existing legal limits are set far above levels that are truly health protective.

Trump Administration Makes Key Decision That Threatens Water Supply Of Millions

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By Reynard Loki for AlterNet – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reportedly issuing a proposed rule to undo the Clean Water Rule that was enacted in May 2015, under President Obama’s last term. The rule protects the water supply for more than 117 million Americans. Also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), the Clean Water Rule puts limits on pollution in the wetlands, rivers and streams that feed the nation’s larger waterways. Those limits are essential for protecting the safety of the drinking water on which millions of American rely. The rule also safeguards those waters for swimming, fishing and other activities. In addition, the rule helps to maintain the biological integrity of those smaller waterways, in turn protecting wildlife by keeping aquatic ecosystems healthy. When the rule was issued, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers resolved decades of legal debate among politicians, environmentalists and public health advocates, saying that smaller waterways across the nations—tens of millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of streams—actually qualify for legal protection under the Clean Water Act, the primary federal law that protects communities and ecosystems from water pollution.