Biden Lacks Vision on Water

November 15, 2019

Former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden released a $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan. The 12-page plan includes three short bullet points for water infrastructure and proposes allocating only an estimated $6 billion or so as federal investment in water infrastructure, which is only $3 billion more than is currently appropriated for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water infrastructure programs and still insubstantial.

In response, Mary Grant, the Public Water for All Campaign Director at Food & Water Action, released the following statement:

“Former Vice President Joe Biden’s proposed plan to update our aging water systems is woefully inadequate and disappointing. It is not a bold or inspiring vision to provide safe water to every person in our country. In order to keep our water safe and clean, our aging water and sewer systems need more than $35 billion a year just to comply with existing federal standards.

“Right now, EPA water funding falls under $3 billion a year, and Biden’s proposal to double that amount would not even meet a fifth of the need that our systems have. He further touts expensive and false solutions through ‘private-sector innovation’ like desalination.

“People are suffering right now — from toxics in their water to failing water systems to increasingly expensive water bills. As many as one in three American households are struggling to pay their water bills today, and climate change and privatization are deepening this national water crisis.

“Our country needs a comprehensive solution through the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability Act (H.R. 1417, S. 611) to fully fund our water infrastructure, eliminate lead from our public schools, and help ensure that every American has safe, affordable water in their home.”

Mike Bloomberg Sides with Fossil Fuels and Fracking

November 8, 2019

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 7) – With news that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is planning to file for the Democratic Party presidential primary in Alabama, Food & Water Action Climate & Energy Program Director Mitch Jones issued the following statement:

“As mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg opposed efforts to ban fracking. He also supported the Keystone pipeline. Earlier this year he confirmed his support for continued use of fossil fuels. It is clear that Bloomberg’s reputation as a climate warrior is drastically overblown. He has been and he remains a pro-fracking, pro-pipeline, pro-nuclear billionaire who favors half measures and false solutions because he’s more interested in protecting his friends in the C Suites than he is in stopping climate change.

“This race doesn’t need another candidate supporting tepid climate change policy. As our climate crisis deepens, this is a “which side are you on” moment. We know which side Bloomberg is on – the side of fossil fuel fracking and pipelines.”

Contact: Seth Gladstone – [email protected], 917.363.6615

Food & Water Action Endorses Bob Fisher in Salem Supervisor Race

November 4, 2019

Food & Water Action, the political arm of the environmental group Food & Water Watch, is endorsing Robert (Bob) Fisher in the race for Township Supervisor in Salem, Pennsylvania.

Bob Fisher has advocated for the health and safety of his community for many years, and most recently helped pass an ordinance to protect Salem Township residents’ clean air and pure water from the harmful impacts of nearby factory farms.

Fisher, who has been a leader in the fight against factory farms gobbling up the local economy, has long been a fierce advocate for community health and safety. His campaign platform emphasizes the need for stronger representation and protections for residents.

“Bob Fisher has already demonstrated his commitment to the health and safety of all Salem residents,” says Rebecca Wolf, Senior Factory Farm Organizer at Food & Water Action. “With his leadership and the organized support of residents, we can protect the air and water rights of Salem residents, and create a model for other communities in the state to emulate.”

Food & Water Action has successfully mobilized voters to support candidates in Pennsylvania. In 2017, the group knocked on 16,000 doors to elect candidates to the Uwchlan and West Goshen Township Board of Supervisors, and it played an instrumental role in Danielle Friel Otten’s successful 2018 campaign in the 155th State House District.

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New Chinese Trade Deal Will Make Chicken a Booby Trap in America

October 30, 2019

Trump Administration Misses Opportunity for Stronger Country of Origin Labeling While Opening Door to Unsafe Imports

Washington D.C. – News reports indicate that a tentative trade deal has been reached between the U.S. and China that would lift the yearslong ban on poultry imports and exports between the two countries. 

In response, Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Action Executive Director said:

“The Trump administration is bowing to China at the expense of public health in America with his new poultry deal. In one fell swoop, this trade deal means that American families can serve contaminated chicken for dinner and not even know it.

“Chicken from China has historically been so unsafe that hundreds of dogs have died from eating treats derived from Chinese poultry. Thousands of quality control inspections have shown that Chinese food-processing plants often fail basic hygiene standards and in some cases, outsource food containing abnormal levels of pesticides, antibiotics, heavy metals, bacteria, and viruses. Even the Chinese government admits that the country needs to improve its food safety system. Apparently, the Trump administration has no qualms about opening our doors to products from places with such poor food safety records – and even worse while keeping Americans in the dark about it.

“Without stronger country of origin labeling, this deal will mean processed chicken products containing Chinese chicken do not have to be labeled. The Trump Administration is subjecting Americans to a new world where munching on a chicken nugget could mean getting sick. This agreement also rewards outsourcing, as Cargill has plants in China that stand ready to export Chinese chicken products to the U.S. It is unacceptable to take such unnecessary risks with the health of American families in the name of ‘free trade.’”

Baltimore City Council Shows Unanimous Support for Water Reforms

October 28, 2019
Baltimore Right to Water Coalition stands with City Council President Brandon Scott

Water Accountability & Equity Act Passes Second Reader in City Council 15-0 without Chow amendments

Baltimore, MD —Today, the Baltimore City Council voted 15-0 to pass the Water Accountability and Equity Act (WAEA) through second reader without the proposed amendments of the Department of Public Works (DPW). Next, the bill moves to third reader where the Council is expected to vote in favor of the bill again before sending it to Mayor Jack Young to sign into law. In an article in the Baltimore Sun published earlier today, Lester Davis, a spokesman for Young, said the mayor is eager to sign the bill into law.

The City Council, led by City Council President Brandon Scott, voted in support of the bill without any of the amendments proposed by DPW’s Dir. Rudy Chow. This move by the City Council proves that Baltimore City is ready for a complete overhaul of its water billing program.

“We know that every Councilmember has experienced the breakdown of our water billing system. We see it through our constituents’ communication every day,” said City Council President Brandon Scott. “This legislation is focused on structural change — on accountability and transparency within the Department of Public Works. DPW must be held accountable to its customers – Baltimore residents.”

“This bill helps tens of thousands of Baltimoreans receive due process in water billing and assistance in paying for this life-giving resource, when needed,” said Molly Amster, Baltimore Director of Jews United for Justice. “We applaud the Council for taking a strong stand to meet this basic need for all of the people they represent.”

Years of powerful grassroots campaigning across communities in Baltimore demonstrate the significant public support for the comprehensive bill. DPW Dir. Rudy Chow, who came under fire for his outrageous amendment proposals, announced his plan to retire as DPW director last week. With Chow on his way out, the City Council rejected his amendments. Advocates in the Baltimore Right to Water Coalition hope to see Baltimore’s leadership usher in a new era of safe, accountable, and affordable water for all people, regardless of income.

Right now, more than half of the city is ineligible for water billing assistance. WAEA includes renters – who make up 53% of the city. At the same time, WAEA’s affordability program would cost over $19 million dollars less through FY2024 than the current H2O assists program being implemented by DPW.

“Baltimore is a stone’s throw away from becoming a leader for water equity in this country,” said Rianna Eckel, Senior Organizer Food & Water Action. “The WAEA would ensure all Baltimoreans have access to clean and safe water at a lower cost to the city. Passing a strong bill into law as soon as possible should be a no-brainer.”

“Considering the cost and the number of people covered, this legislation is the easy choice. Homeowners and renters have access to assistance with high water bills. Plus, when people can afford their water bills, they pay them,” said Amy Hennen, Managing Attorney with Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.

FERC Is Gambling With Virginia’s Future On Behalf Of Big Energy

October 18, 2019

Richmond, VA– The Federal Energy Resource Commission (FERC) approved Williams Company’s dangerous Transcontinental Southeastern Trail Expansion Project. This news comes despite the fact that FERC failed to do an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), neglecting their responsibility to do a thorough review.

In response, Food & Water Action Virginia Organizer Jolene Mafnas said:

“We are disappointed but not shocked that FERC has rubber-stamped yet another pipeline despite the widespread outrage and grave environmental violations behind the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. FERC has carelessly given approval to another hazardous pipeline project that Virginia doesn’t need.

“Williams Company, the operator of the Transco pipeline which is one of the longest pipelines in the country, has historically acted recklessly with multiple pipelines and even caused a severe explosion in Appomattox, Virginia. With this decision, it’s clear FERC is willing to risk it all for industry profit at the expense of safe water, clean air, and a habitable climate in Northern Virginia where the pipeline will be built.

“Given impending climate disaster that will mean irreversible effects like droughts, extreme flooding, and high sea-level rise, we demand Governor Northam and the rest of our elected officials oppose all state permits for Transco and enact a fossil-fuel moratorium on new and pending projects. It’s imperative to Virginians’ safety.” Continue reading