Water Feed

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Requests Hearing on City of Waukesha Lake Michigan Water Diversion

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By Allison Torrence


LogoOn August 19, 2016, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (the GLSL Cities Initiative) requested a hearing before the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council (the Compact Council) regarding the Compact Council’s June 21, 2016 decision to approve the City of Waukesha’s application for a diversion of Great Lakes Basin Water.

The Compact Council was established in 2008 pursuant to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (the Compact). The Compact details how the States will work together to manage and protect the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin. The Compact Council is comprised of the Governors of each of the eight Great Lakes States (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin).

The Compact prohibits diversions of Great Lakes water outside of the Great Lakes Basin, with limited exceptions. One exception allows a community that is not located within the Great Lakes Basin, but is located within a county that is partly within the Great Lakes Basin, such as the City of Waukesha, to apply for a diversion of Great Lakes water if that community can meet strict conditions. The City of Waukesha submitted an application for a diversion of Great Lakes water in 2011, and a revised application in 2013. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources approved Waukesha’s diversion application and sent the application to the Compact Council in January 2015. The Compact Council approved Waukesha’s Great Lakes diversion application, with conditions, on June 21, 2016.

The GLSL Cities Initiative is a binational coalition of over 120 U.S. and Canadian mayors and local officials, representing over 17 million people, working to advance the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. The GLSL Cities Initiative maintains that the Compact Council’s decision to approve Waukesha’s diversion of Lake Michigan water fails to protect the integrity of the Compact. The request for hearing states that:

Allowing a Diversion that is contrary to the strict requirements of the Compact threatens the resource that provides drinking water for 40 million people and is the foundation upon which a strong regional economy is based, to the detriment of the members of the GLSL Cities Initiative.

To date, the Compact Council has not responded to the request for hearing.

Jenner & Block is representing the GLSL Cities Initiative in this matter, and Jenner Partner Jill Hutchison and Associate Laura Bishop authored the GLSL Cities Initiative’s Request for Hearing.

 

An Idled Pipeline Must Be an Abandoned Pipeline—New PHMSA Advisory

SirosBy Steven M. Siros

PHMSA logoA recently issued PHMSA advisory bulletin seeks to clarify the regulatory requirements that apply to mothballed or idled unused gas or hazardous liquid pipelines. As required by the Pipeline Safety Bill that was signed into law on June 22, 2016, PHMSA recently issued an advisory bulletin providing  guidance to owners and operators of gas or hazardous liquid pipelines regarding the requirements for idle and/or unused pipelines. 

Although the bulletin recognizes that owners and operators often refer to pipelines that are not in operation but that might be used again in the future as “idled,” “inactive,” or “decommissioned,” the PHMSA regulations do not recognize “idle” or “inactive” status for hazardous liquid or gas pipelines. Instead, the regulations consider such pipelines to either be active and fully subject to all relevant parts of the safety regulations or abandoned. Assuming that these pipelines have not been abandoned in accordance with the requirements set forth at 49 CFR §§ 192.727 and 195.402, these pipelines must comply with all relevant safety requirements, including periodic maintenance, integrity management assessments, damage prevention programs, and public awareness programs. 

The bulletin goes on to suggest, however, that in situations where the pipeline has been purged of all hazardous materials but not yet abandoned because of an expectation that the pipeline may later be used, the owner/operator may be able to defer certain of these safety requirements. Although PHMSA indicated that it intends to engage in a future rulemaking to provide further guidance as to which requirements might be deferred, in the interim the bulletin suggests that owners or operators planning to defer certain activities coordinate the deferral in advance with the regulators. 

The guidance also reiterates that notwithstanding that companies might not have access to records relating to where historical pipelines might be located and/or if these pipelines were properly purged of combustibles, the owners and operators still have a responsibility to assure facilities for which they are responsible or last owned do not present a hazard to people, property, or the environment. 

Please click here to see PHMSA's advisory bulletin.

EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager Updates For Commercial Buildings--New Webinars Announced

Energy Star logoGrayson By E. Lynn Grayson

EPA has announced a new waste and materials tracking feature in its Energy Start Portfolio Manager—a free benchmarking and tracking tool for commercial building owners and managers. The new waste tracking functionality allows the management of energy, water and waste via one secure online resource. This is another effort to promote and encourage sustainable materials management to conserve resources, remain economically competitive and support a healthy, sustainable environment.

EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager provides a platform to improve energy performance, prioritize efficiency measures, and verify energy reductions in buildings. It currently measures energy, water and greenhouse gas metrics in more than 450,000 U.S. buildings, representing 40 percent of U.S. commercial space. The new resource unifies energy, water and waste under one virtual “roof” to streamline sustainability management programs allowing entities to better understand their environmental footprint and resource costs.

EPA is hosting two webinars to introduce the basics of the new waste tracking component in the Energy Start Portfolio Manager:

  1. Introducing Waste & Materials Tracking in Portfolio Manager—August 18 at 2:00 p.m. ET
  1. Introducing Waste & Materials Tracking in Portfolio Manager---September 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET

To learn more about sustainability initiatives in commercial buildings or to register for the upcoming webinars: https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/owners_and_managers/existing_buildings/use_portfolio_manager/track_waste_materials

California Proposes MCL for TCP

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson


Water testingThe State Water Resources Control Board has proposed a new maximum contaminant level (MCL) for 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP) of five parts per trillion (ppt).TCP is a manmade chemical found at industrial and hazardous waste sites. It has been used as a cleaning and degreasing solvent and also is associated with pesticide products.

California recognizes TCP as a carcinogen, and it has been found in numerous drinking water sources in the state. In August 2009, a public health goal (PHG) for TCP was developed by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) for use by the State Water Board to establish an MCL. The PHG represents the level of TCP in drinking water that OEHHA believes does not pose a significant risk to health over a lifetime of exposure (70 years). The PHG for TCP is 0.0007 µg/L, or 0.7 ppt.

A drinking water standard, or MCL, establishes a limit on the allowable concentration of a contaminant in drinking water that is provided by a public water system. The State Water Resources Control Board is proposing 5 ppt as the MCL for TCP. Formal rulemaking is expected later this year, and if approved, the MCL would become effective July 1, 2017.

EPA published a technical fact sheet about TCP in 2014. More background information and guidance on the proposed MCL action for TCP also is available from the California State Water Resources Control Board.

TCP is yet another emerging chemical that has been the subject of ongoing federal and state regulatory review and discussion for several years. It also is a chemical being analyzed and assessed at the lower threshold level of ppt versus more traditional parts per billion (ppb). As is often the case, it appears that the State of California is initiating regulatory action addressing TCP concerns, and it is likely that other states will follow.

2016 Democratic Party Platform: Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice

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By Allison Torrence

 Last week, we examined the key environmental issues raised in the 2016 Republican platform. Now that the political focus has shifted from Cleveland to Philadelphia, where Democrats are holding their convention, we will examine what the Democratic Party has to say about its environmental priorities in the 2016 Democratic Party Platform. One of the Democratic Party platform’s 13 main sections is entitled “Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice.” Environmental issues are also raised in the section titled “Confront Global Threats”, which discusses “Global Climate Leadership.”

In the platform’s preamble, the Democrats state that:

Democrats believe that climate change poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures, and that Americans deserve the jobs and security that come from becoming the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.

Other key positions from the Democratic environmental platform include: 

Continue reading "2016 Democratic Party Platform: Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice" »

2016 Republican Platform – A Focus on American Natural Resources

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By Allison Torrence

On Monday, Republicans gathered in Cleveland to kick off the Republican National Convention and adopt the official 2016 platform of the Republican Party. One of the platform’s six main sections is titled “American Natural Resources: Agriculture, Energy, and the Environment.” Republicans summarize their environmental platform by stating:

“We firmly believe environmental problems are best solved by giving incentives for human ingenuity and the development of new technologies, not through top-down, command-and-control regulations that stifle economic growth and cost thousands of jobs.”

Key positions from the Republican environmental platform include: 

Continue reading "2016 Republican Platform – A Focus on American Natural Resources" »

Navigating Hawkes, the Newest Wetlands Ruling from the Supreme Court

By: Matt Ampleman, J.D. Candidate, 2017, Yale Law School

Pond-hdrThe Supreme Court last Tuesday ruled in favor of landowners seeking the right to challenge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (the Corps) wetlands determinations in federal courts. In U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc., 578 U.S. ____ (2016), the owner of a peat mining company in North Dakota, Hawkes, sought to expand its operations to wetlands in northwest Minnesota and sell the peat for golf courses, sports turf, landscaping, and gardening. Unfortunately for Hawkes, the Corps issued a “jurisdictional determination” (JD), which stated that the wetlands on its property were “waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and thus Hawkes would be subject to costly CWA Section 404 permitting requirements. The Corps argued that its determination could not be challenged in federal courts because it was not a final agency action. The Supreme Court disagreed, upholding the Eighth Circuit ruling that the JD, as issued by the Corps, constituted a final agency action and could be challenged in federal court.

Continue reading "Navigating Hawkes, the Newest Wetlands Ruling from the Supreme Court" »

Gold King Mine Spill Update: New Mexico Sues EPA

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson

Gold King mine spill yellow water

EPA’s woes over alleged mismanagement of the Gold King Mine spill in August 2015 continue with a new lawsuit recently filed by the State of New Mexico in federal district court in Albuquerque. The lawsuit names the EPA as a defendant, along with an EPA environmental contractor and mine owners contributing to the mismanagement of reclamation waters. New Mexico contends that the Agency has not done enough to remedy the toxic release of a flood of wastewater contaminated with an estimated 880,000 pounds of heavy metals into local rivers.

New Mexico’s suit seeks a declaratory judgment that the contractor and mine owners violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for alleged negligence and gross negligence. New Mexico also is asking for a declaratory judgment against all defendants under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.

Although the suit does not specify damages, attorneys for New Mexico said communities are owed at least $7 million for emergency response costs and third-party monitoring of water quality. They said the defendants should pay another $140 million in damages for estimated economic harm. This calculation estimated the harm done to rivers that are critical for agricultural and ranching use; to the Navajo Nation, which owns a tract of land the size of a small state that was affected; and to recreation that provides a significant amount of New Mexico’s income.

The New Mexico Attorney General is requesting full and just compensation for the environmental and economic damage caused by EPA’s spill. The lawsuit alleges that the effects of EPA’s spill were far worse than reported. New Mexico Environmental Department Cabinet Secretary Ryan Flynn has stated publicly that “from the very beginning, the EPA failed to hold itself accountable in the same way that it would a private business.”

While EPA declined to formally comment on the lawsuit, an Agency spokesperson advised that the EPA has taken responsibility for the spill and already paid the State of New Mexico $1.3 million.

The lawsuit is the first state litigation against the EPA over the spill. Other states impacted include Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and the Navajo Nation.

Great Lakes Water Diversion Moves Forward

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson

PhotoLast week the Regional Body for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact agreed that the City of Waukesha, WI met the compact exception criteria—moving one step closer to approval for a diversion of Great Lakes water outside of the boundaries of the river basin. Many are concerned that this move may establish a bad precedent for others seeking diversion of water from the Great Lakes to address growing water quality and quantity challenges.

The City of Waukesha, located in southeast Wisconsin 17 miles west of Lake Michigan, seeks an exception from the prohibition of diversions under the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement. The Compact and Agreement prohibit diversions of Great Lakes water, with limited exceptions. One exception allows a “community within a straddling county,” such as Waukesha, to apply for a diversion of Great Lakes water.

On January 7, 2016, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources forwarded the City of Waukesha’s diversion application to the other Great Lakes states, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec for regional review. On May 18, 2016 the Regional Body approved a Declaration of Finding concluding that, with conditions, the City of Waukesha’s diversion application meets the Compact exception criteria. Conditions included a reduced maximum diversion volume of 8.2 million gallons per day and a reduced area the diverted water can be served. The Compact Council will make the final decision with a vote on whether to approve, approve with conditions, or deny the City of Waukesha’s diversion application. The Compact Council is scheduled to meet June 21, 2016 in Chicago, IL.

The Compact was passed in 2008 to protect the Great Lakes from attempted water grabs. The Waukesha, WI proposal to pump water from Lake Michigan, 15 miles to the east, as a replacement water supply for its radium-contaminated wells is the first such application under the compact. The proposal has been the subject of critical review as environmental groups and others worry about setting an inappropriate precedent for access to water from the Great Lakes.

The underlying documentation is available from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as well as more detail about the upcoming meeting of the Compact Council in Chicago.

Challenges When Dealing with Unregulated/Emerging Contaminants in Drinking Water Systems

SirosBy Steven M. Siros

Drinking waterOne of the more challenging issues for companies dealing with contaminated groundwater sites near public drinking water supplies is how to handle contaminants for which there are uncertain or evolving regulatory action levels. For example, perfluorinated chemicals (“PFCs”) have garnered a lot of publicity recently after these contaminants were detected in several municipal drinking water supplies. However, there currently is no federal maximum contaminant level (“MCL”) for PFCs generally, and more specifically, for perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”). Instead, there are conflicting health advisory levels that vary drastically between U.S. EPA and the individual states, ranging between 20 and 400 parts per trillion (“PPT”). Similarly, 1,4-dioxane is another contaminant that is the subject of conflicting regulatory standards in drinking water. There is no MCL for 1,4-dioxane but it, along with PFOA, is on U.S. EPA’s Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List 4. As such, if detected, the municipality is required to provide notification to the public via its Consumer Confidence Report. However, the health advisory and/or clean-up level for 1,4-dioxane in groundwater varies greatly from state to state, ranging from .3 to 5 parts per billion, and as such, there is no consistent regulatory standard for 1,4-dioxane in drinking water.

Continue reading "Challenges When Dealing with Unregulated/Emerging Contaminants in Drinking Water Systems" »


Climate Action Summit Brings Together Climate Leaders in Wake of Paris Agreement Signing

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By Allison Torrence

Approximately 700 participants, including leaders from government, business, finance, academia, philanthropy and civil society, will meet in Washington, DC on May 5-6, to attend the Climate Action 2016 Summit. Seven organizations have come together to jointly co-host the summit, providing this diverse group with the information, connections and tools they need to lead effective implementation in a new climate regime.

The co-hosts of the Summit are:

  • E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group
  • Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change; Founding Partner, Compact of Mayors
  • Naoko Ishii, Chief Executive Officer, Global Environment Facility
  • Judith Rodin, President, Rockefeller Foundation
  • Peter Bakker, Chief Executive Officer, World Business Council on Sustainable Development
  • Nigel Topping, Chief Executive Officer, We Mean Business
  • Wallace Loh, President, University of Maryland

The goal of the Summit is to strengthen the multi-stakeholder approach to climate implementation. The summit will address how to deliver on climate commitments and embed the transformation agenda across the globe in government, key sectors and among the general population. At the same time, the summit will focus on near-term implementation actions and long-term implementation needs. These will focus on City and Sub-national implementation; Transport; Land-use; Energy; Resilience/Adaptation; and Analysis and Tools to Support Decision Making.

More information about Climate Action 2016 is available here.

Earth Day: 2016 Interesting Insights

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson

On April 22, more than one billion people every year celebrate Earth Day in more than 190 countries. According to the Earth Day Network, it is the largest civic observance in the world. Here are some interesting insights about Earth Day this year: 

Earth Day 2016 J&B and earthday-org

  1. It’s going to be more important than ever because at last count 155 countries, including the U.S., have agreed to sign the Paris agreement on climate change during a special ceremony at the United Nations in New York.
  1. This year’s celebration is a lead up to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, and the Earth Day Network has pledged to plant 7.8 billion trees worldwide to account for every single person living on Earth.
  1. Learn more about Earth Day by viewing Google’s latest Doodle with fascinating paintings and pictures from around the world.

 

More Than 150 Countries to Sign the Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day

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By Allison Torrence

EDThe United Nations has announced that up to 155 countries, including the United States, are planning to sign the Paris Climate Agreement at the Ceremony for Opening Signature, on Earth Day, April 22, 2016. The ceremony will take place at UN headquarters in New York. With over 150 world leaders set to sign the Paris Climate Agreement, the signing is expected to be the largest single signing of an international agreement in world history.

For more information about the signing ceremony and the Paris Climate Agreement, visit the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change website.

What is Your Global Footprint?

SirosBy Steven M. SirosEarth Day 2016 J&B and earthday-org

As part of our ongoing focus on Earth Day 2016, I found an interesting tool that allows one to measure one’s global footprint. The Earth Day Network has put together a Ecological Footprint Calculator that allows one to input specific parameters and determine how much of an impact each one of us has on the planet as a whole.  At least for me, the results were somewhat sobering. Please click here  to use the calculator to measure your impact.

Earth Day: U.S. Business Perceptions of Water Scarcity

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson Earth Day 2016 J&B and earthday-org

In the U.S., water scarcity often seems a non-issue when you turn on a faucet and receive plentiful, clean, and sometimes even free water. Water is fundamental to business to heat, cool, clean, and manufacture goods. More so than oil, increasingly water is a limited natural resource with supplies adversely impacted by quality, pollution, insufficiency of infrastructure, drought, and flooding. PwC’s 17th Annual Global CEO Survey reveals interesting insights into the views and perceptions of business leaders regarding water.

  1. Water crisis was identified as the #1 global business risk in terms of impact in 2015.
  1. 46% of CEOs surveyed believed that resource scarcity and climate change will transform their business in the next five years.
  1. According to the World Resource Group, the world will face a 40% global shortfall between forecast demand and available water supply by 2030; moreover, in 2030, 47% of the world population will be living in areas of high water stress and a significant percentage of businesses will be operating there too.
  1. A 2014 survey of the FTSE 500 companies noted that 68% believed water was a substantive risk to business up from 59% in 2011.
  1. The Global Water Intelligence suggests that $84B has been spent by business around the world to conserve, manage, or obtain water.

Water-related risk poses differing challenges for business, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Business Development identifies the following broad categories of risks: financial, operational, market, reputational, and regulatory.

Does your business understand its water footprint, where water stresses exist, or have back up plans to address insufficient availability of water?

PwC’s recent publication Collaboration: Preserving Water Through Partnering That Works provides a good overview of water challenges as well as success stories focused on the water needs of business.

Earth Day: Climate Change Attitudes and Perceptions

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson

Earth Day 2016 J&B and earthday-orgOne of the most significant environmental and energy policy issues today is climate change. One of the biggest events of the past year in environmental and energy policy was the Paris COP21 talks. More countries than ever have pledged to significant carbon cuts, yet in many people’s views, those pledges fall short of what a lot of scientists say is necessary. A recent interview of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with Kimberly Strassel, a member of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial board, highlights some of the challenges.

The WSJ found that attitudes toward climate change differ markedly by region of the world and by political affiliation:

WSJ

The U.S. has a plan to reduce emissions by 28% but the proposal is the subject of ongoing litigation. In his interview, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over the impact internationally if the U.S. cannot obtain approval to meet its commitments to reduce GHG. President Obama has said that climate change is a bigger threat than terrorism and when asked if he agreed, the Secretary-General noted that “….longer term, it is a much, much more serious issue....concluding that climate change does not respect any borders. It affects a whole humanity, it affects our planet Earth.”

Earth Day 2016 Special Series: April 18–22, 2016

SirosBy Steven M. Siros

Earth Day 2016 J&B and earthday-org
In celebration of Earth Day 2016, the Corporate Environmental Lawyer blog will host a special campaign April 18-22 featuring unique news and stories about Earth Day events and activities taking place around the world, in addition to important developments in environmental law. As environmental lawyers, this is a good day for us to remember the contributions our clients and friends make to improving the environment in the communities where we live and work.

The theme for Earth Day 2016 is Trees for Earth.  In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, planting trees is the first of five major goals that will highlighted in each of the next five years.   The Earth Day Network challenges the world to plant 7.8 billion trees by 2020. 

You are invited to follow and participate in our Earth Day special series next week at http://environblog.jenner.com/ and follow us on Twitter @JennerBlockEHS.

If you have any questions about our Corporate Environmental Lawyer blog or this special series, please feel free to contact me at ssiros@jenner.com or 312-923-2717.

Alexander Bandza Moderating Young Professionals in Energy Event on Hydraulic Fracturing in Illinois

Torrence_Allison_COLORBy Allison A. Torrence

 

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On Thursday, April 7, 2016, Young Professionals in Energy (Chicago) is hosting an event titled “Hydraulic Fracturing in Illinois: What Has The National Frenzy Meant For Our State?” at Jenner & Block’s Chicago office. The event will be moderated by Jenner & Block attorney and YPE Board Member, Alexander Bandza, and will feature presentations from Jenny Cassel, Staff Attorney at Environmental Law and Policy Center, and Nancy Loeb, Director of the Environmental Advocacy Center, Northwestern University School of Law.

For more information and to RSVP click here.

Continue reading "Alexander Bandza Moderating Young Professionals in Energy Event on Hydraulic Fracturing in Illinois" »

Understanding Water Management: A Business Priority

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson

 

LogoWWD-2016-mobileIt is difficult to envision a water scarcity issue when you turn on your tap in most places in the U.S. and immediately are provided with clean, fresh, and relatively low cost or even free water. Increasingly, this is not the case for many, and we only need to look at the recent water crisis in Flint to learn of the water quality and quantity concerns existing today. Understanding the water management needs and resources for your business is critical, as well as how this precious natural resource may be adversely impacted by climate change, population growth, and drought, among other considerations.

Summarized below are some important insights for business:

Continue reading "Understanding Water Management: A Business Priority" »

Two New York Times Op-Ed Pieces Highlight Domestic Water Challenges and Solutions

Bandza_Alexander_COLOR By Alexander J. Bandza

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Two recent New York Times op-ed contributors shed light on the magnitude of the challenges that we face domestically with respect to water, its infrastructure, and our ability to measure it, and offer possible policy prescriptions. 

Continue reading "Two New York Times Op-Ed Pieces Highlight Domestic Water Challenges and Solutions" »

Flint Water Advisory Task Force Issues Final Report on Flint Water Crisis

Torrence_Allison_COLORBy Allison A. Torrence

 

On March 21, 2016, the Flint Water Advisory Task Force (FWATF) issued its Final Report regarding the Flint water crisis. The FWATF is a 5-member task force appointed by Governor Rick Snyder and charged with conducting an independent review of the contamination of the Flint water supply. The FWATF report contains some harsh criticism of government actions that caused and exacerbated the Flint water crisis, concluding that "the causes of the crisis lie primarily at the feet of the state by virtue of its agencies' failures and its appointed emergency managers' misjudgments." The FWATF lays much blame on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) as well as on the state-appointed emergency manager who had replaced local representative decision-making in Flint and made the decision to switch Flint's water supply to the Flint River.

The report contains 36 findings and 44 recommendations. 

Key findings include:

Continue reading "Flint Water Advisory Task Force Issues Final Report on Flint Water Crisis" »

World Water Day 2016—Water and Jobs

LogoWWD-2016-mobile Siros_Steven_COLORBy Steven M. Siros

 

Today is World Water Day, and consistent with this year’s theme of “Water and Jobs,” this blog focuses on the impact of water shortages on  jobs globally. According to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, an estimated three out of every four jobs globally are dependent on water, and a lack of access to water is likely to limit economic growth in the coming decades. More than 1.5 billion people are employed in industries that are heavily dependent on water, most in farming, fisheries, and forestry. The lack of clean, available water now and in the future will obviously have a very significant impact on all of these jobs.

In addition to preserving the above-referenced jobs, a 2016 United Nations Water Development Report noted that investing in projects intended to provide and improve access to safe water can result in a significant economic growth. For example, investments in small scale projects in Africa could offer a return equivalent to five percent of the continent’s economic output. Similarly, for every $1 million invested in the United States to upgrade water supply and treatment systems, approximately 10 to 20 additional jobs are generated, per the United Nations Development Report.

Please click here to view a video message from Guy Ryder, the ILO Director-General and Chair of UN Water, discussing the importance of World Water Day 2016.

White House Water Summit

Grayson_Lynn_COLORBy E. Lynn Grayson

 

WhiteHouseWaterSummitToday the White House is hosting a Water Summit to shine a spotlight on the importance of cross-cutting, creative solutions to solving current water problems as well as to highlight innovative strategies that will catalyze change in how we use, conserve, protect and think about water now and in the years to come. The Water Summit brings together public and private entities to consider some of the most significant water-related challenges. 150 external institutions are joining the Federal government in announcing new efforts and commitments to enhance the sustainability of water in the U.S. by managing our water resources and infrastructure for the long term.

Examples of these new developments include:

  1. Nearly $4B in private capital committed addressing water-related infrastructure;
  1. More than $1B from the private sector over the next decade to conduct R&D into new technologies;
  1. A Presidential Memorandum and supporting Action Plan on building national capabilities for long term drought resilience;
  1. Nearly $35M this year in Federal grants from EPA, NOAA, National Science Foundation and DOA supporting water science; and,
  1. The release of a new National Water Model to enhance river-forecasting capabilities.

Read the White House Fact Sheet for more breaking news about the Water Summit and new developments in recognition of World Water Day.

#WHWaterSummit #WorldWaterDay

Better Water, Better Jobs

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By E. Lynn Grayson

LogoWWD-2016-mobileAlex Wheeler, writing for the International Business Times, provides a good explanation of the connection between better water and better jobs.

There is no life without water. Yet it is not often mentioned that the availability and sustainable management of water has a direct link with the creation of quality jobs. The theme of 2016 World Water Day — Better water, better jobs — aims to highlight how water can create paid and decent work while contributing to a greener economy and sustainable development.

Today, almost half of the world's workers, or about 1.5 billion people, work in water-related sectors. Around 650 million people (one in 10 of the world's population) do not have access to safe water, putting them at risk of infectious diseases and premature death. Dirty water and poor sanitation can cause severe diarrhoeal diseases in children, killing 900 under-fives a day across the world, according to United Nations estimates — or one child every two minutes. The availability and quality of water has a direct impact on workers' lives. Every year over 340,000 workers die because of inadequate water supply and sanitation. Fishermen depend on the quality of fresh water, while a farmer's job depends on the ability to manage the available freshwater. In factories, 38 workers die from water-related diseases every hour, which can be prevented with cleaner water and sanitation.

Women and often children have to trek for hours every day to bring home water for their families. However, if availability of water was guaranteed, they could be learning skills that would help them to find better work. This is why the 2016 World Water Day theme — water and jobs — is so important. It is focusing on how enough quantity and quality of water can change workers' lives and livelihoods — and even transform societies and economies.

Read the entire article and see compelling images that accompany it of the importance of water to the economy and better jobs.

Week-Long Blog Series for World Water Day

Torrence_Allison_COLORBy Allison A. Torrence

 

LogoWWD-2016-mobileMarch 22, 2016, is World Water Day. World Water Day is an international observance created by the United Nations in 1993, designed to provide an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others, and take action to make a difference. World Water Day has been held annually since 1993. This year's theme for World Water Day is: Better Water, Better Jobs.

In recognition of World Water Day, The Corporate Environmental Lawyer blog will feature a series of blogs next week focused on water-related issues and developments. Please follow our blog to learn more about these important issues.

To learn more about World Water Day, visit the UN World Water Day Website.