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Happy World Water Day!

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

That’s right, it’s World Water Day - the international day of recognition of the water initiatives from the UN meeting 18 years ago. Hundreds of events are hosted all around the world today to reinforce the ongoing efforts to conserve dwindling water supplies and protect water quality.  Nations are encouraged to use this day as a reminder to implement the UN recommendations to protect our waters.  Click here to learn more about World Water Day.

Use today to learn more about how you can work to protect water quality!

Scott County residents fight to protect their water resources

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

A landfill is proposed to be built near Oneida, TN and residents are concerned about its possible environmental impacts, specifically to the Bear Creek Watershed.  Citizens of Scott County are working hard to prevent any pollutants from running off into adjacent waters, already impaired from other pollutants.  We applaud the efforts of the residents of Scott County and look forward to continue to work with them to protect their community.  Click here to see TCWN’s comments on the proposed landfill.

NYT article outlines the dangers of Clean Water Act restrictions

Monday, March 1st, 2010

As many of you know, a several years back the Supreme Court ruled on two cases which have created significant uncertainty as to what waters are protected under the Clean Water Act.  As a result, environmental groups around the nation have been working to eliminate the confusion and restore protection to our nation’s waters through gaining support for the Clean Water Restoration Act - a bill which would remove the confusing term “navigable” from the Act, make clear “waters of the United States” means those water bodies protected prior to 2001, and clarify Congress’s broad constitutional authority to protect such waters.

In a recent article, the New York Times highlighted some of the dangerous results of removing protection from smaller, unconnected water bodies, and noting an estimated “more than 1,500 major pollution investigations have been discontinued or shelved in the last four years.”  The lack of enforcement ability on behalf of the EPA and our states threatens our drinking water, wildlife, and recreational use of our streams.

Congress must act quickly to restore protection to our nation’s waters!

EPA rejects Canton paper mill permit!

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

It is almost impossible to live in East Tennessee and not be aware of the damaging effects the Canton paper mill in North Carolina has had on the Pigeon River.  Well, on Monday those fighting to protect the Pigeon River got a small victory.   The EPA’s Atlanta office formally objected to the wastewater permit for the Blue Ridge Paper Products’ Canton mill.

The letter calls for stronger regulation of color and temperature in discharges to the Pigeon River, as well as other water quality issues. If North Carolina does not resubmit an adequately revised permit within 90 days, EPA will take over the permit.

Like I said, this is certainly a victory, but some of EPA’s comments concern those of us working for a clean river.  The requirements from EPA do not go far enough to protect the water quality of the Pigeon River.  However, with the continued efforts of local groups and the hundreds of citizens who have worked to get the process this far, we will keep pushing for a permit protective of our water quality!

EPA developing new stormwater rules!

Monday, January 11th, 2010

EPA is working to prevent construction runoff from polluting our waters.  They announced plans to initiate national rulemaking to develop a program to minimize stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment.  Sediment is the primary pollutant running off construction sites and polluting adjacent streams, but other pollutants can quite feasibly be included in the runoff.  Proper installation and maintenance of best management practices (BMPs) can keep runoff onsite during most rain events.  The EPA and states already have rules addressing construction sites, but this proposal will expand those rules and establish specific requirements for stormwater control.  They also intend to ensure consistency and analyze mechanisms to protect “sensitive areas.”  Five hearings across the country are being held to gather public input.  Unfortunately none of these hearings are being held in the southeast.  To learn more about this rulemaking process go to EPA’s stormwater website.