Congress Holds Hearings on PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’

Congressional committee continues to investigate the risks of  per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) forever chemicals. An initial hearing in March focused on human health, a second hearing in July considered communities and the third hearing in September addressed corporate accountability.

PFAS are chemicals designed to be resistant to degradation, and are used as fire retardants and for stain protection, non-slip surfaces and food protection purposes under the brand names of Teflon and Scotchguard. They are termed ‘forever chemicals’ and are now present in natural water, drinking water and in the blood of more than 99% of Americans.

The risks and impact of these chemicals was not well understood when the Clean Water Act of 1972 was written and now is the time for a better understanding of the impact and risks and the potential control and remediation options. The Trump administration is resisting these efforts.

The Boulder Creek watershed has two sites with measurable PFAS contamination.

House Committee on Oversight and Reform – PFAS Contamination and the Need for Corporate Accountability September 11, 2019

Trump Administration Proceeds with Redefinition of the Waters of the United States

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced that the Trump administration is proceeding with the plan to overturn a 2015 rule defining the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. According to the Center for Biological Diversity this action could eliminate protection and oversight for streams and wetlands in more than 3,000 watersheds. The Waterkeeper Alliance will be a key participant in litigation.

EPA News Release September 12, 2019 Repealing 2015 WOTUS Rule

Boulder Waterkeeper Presses for CDPHE Funding for Clean Water Act Enforcement

Boulder Waterkeeper has issued a public letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and Colorado Governor Jared Polis calling for increased funding for enforcement of the Clean Water Act in Colorado. Currently CDPHE enforcement funding is permit based. We believe this source of funding is insufficient to address the 43% of stream miles and 75% of lakes and reservoirs in Colorado that do not meet water quality standards. Greater visibility, focus, education, funding and action is necessary for Colorado to be a leader in watershed protection.

Boulder Waterkeeper Letter to EPA, CDPHE and Governor Polis May 20, 2019

Waterkeeper Alliance Submits Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Comments

The Waterkeeper Alliance submitted extensive comments regarding Executive Order 13778 proposing a redefinition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) for the Clean Water Act. Comments from the Waterkeeper Alliance, fourteen US states, the District of Columbia and multiple advocacy groups and individuals all illustrating legal, economic and health challenges to the potential removal of environmental protections from ephemeral streams, canals and ditches, artificial ponds and lakes, isolated wetlands and interstate waters. Comments are being reviewed and a final rule and legal challenges are expected in late 2018.

Waterkeeper Alliance public comments submitted to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149

Associated Factsheets highlighting specific watersheds (including Boulder Creek)

Clean Water Act under Attack

Boulder Waterkeeper provides a guest opinion on the Trump administration’s proposed executive order redefining the definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS). The Boulder Creek watershed is at risk for losing protections for mountain ephemeral streams, Community ditch seepage from Marshall Landfill and discharges and coal ash in Leggett Reservoir.

Daily Camera Guest Opinion – March 31, 2019 – Ted Ross: Trump proposal would strip water protections

Boulder Waterkeeper Watershed Advocate Lobbies Congress regarding WOTUS Executive Rule

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to remove selected portions of the Clean Water Act. This action would removed water quality protection to upper watershed tributaries, marshes and wetlands (not directly adjacent to waterways) and ephemeral streams. Protection to over 1/3 of existing wetlands will be eliminated. This actions will essentially change the definition of Waters of the United States.

Art Hirsch (Boulder Waterkeeper Advocate) participated in a lobbying effort organized by Environment America to lobby the following representatives not to approve this Clean Water repeal:

Congressman Tipton
Congressman Coffman
Congresswomen DeGette
Senator Bennet
Senator Gardner

Waterkeeper Alliance Connects the Dots between Gross Reservoir and the Colorado River

Dear Boulder,

We’re part of a coalition of conservation groups fighting to save the Colorado River — and we need your help.

The expansion of the Gross Dam in Boulder County, Colorado would create the tallest dam in the state’s history; it also would increase water diversions from small tributaries to the Colorado River that are home to the endangered green lineage cutthroat trout. The project likely would kill thousands of these fish, which are protected under the Endangered Species Act. “The project would cause massive negative impacts on both sides of the continental divide, further drain the Colorado River, and further imperil endangered species,” said Gary Wockner, Poudre Waterkeeper and Director of SaveThe Colorado. “We will fight to protect the rivers and its fishes, and we will enforce the law.”

We are working to raise $5,000 to fund our efforts to stop this dam. Thanks to a generous benefactor, every dollar you donate before the end of the year will be matched!

Please join us in our fight to save the Colorado River, and the endangered fish that need free-flowing rivers in order to survive.

To clean water,

Marc Yaggi
Executive Director

Clean Water Act in Crisis

A proposed executive order changing the definition of the Waters of the US puts 3,000 watersheds at risk.

By limiting protections only to wetlands and streams that are “physically and meaningfully connected” to larger navigable bodies of water, the proposal would virtually eliminate the Clean Water Act’s protections across the arid West, from West Texas to Southern California, including most of New Mexico, Arizona,  and Nevada.  (Tan colored in the featured graphic)

Watershed advocates need to be outraged and active.

Hoover Dam as a $3B Battery?

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Los Angeles mayor Mayor Eric M. Garcetti are proposing a $3B project to utilize Hoover Dam for hydroelectical pumped power storage to manage electricity demand.

The concept targeted, for 2028, is to pump water uphill from 20 miles downriver from the dam using peak solar and wind power to be released for hydro-generation when required.  Significant political, environmental and economic challenges will need to be considered and addressed.