Freshwater Future Weekly: September 8, 2023
This Week: Limited Space Available–Register Today for the All About Water Convening, October 4th; Make a Donation Today to Help Make Drinking Water Safer and More Affordable; Freshwater Future Fall Project Grants Deadline is Approaching Fast; Celebrate Success: Major Shift in PFAS Clean Up Effort at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda; Court Rules for PFAS Manufacturer Over Michigan’s Drinking Water; President Biden: Don’t Give Wall Street Control of Our Public Water Systems; Ontario Housing Minister Resigns but Government Not Pausing Development on Greenbelt Lands
Limited Space Available–Register Today for the All About Water Convening, October 4th
You are invited to join community water leaders from around the Great Lakes to learn from their experiences addressing challenges such as lead, toxic algae, and forever chemicals known as PFAS. The program also highlights innovative ways that communities can keep water affordable. The one-day conference in Benton Harbor, MI is FREE. Register here to join us and view the agenda. We can’t wait to see you there! Registration Deadline is September 19th.
Make a Donation Today to Help Make Drinking Water Safer and More Affordable
Throughout September, Freshwater Future board, staff, and friends are walking, paddling, rolling, and getting creative to raise $8,000 for clean water all across the region! Catch staff cleaning up your local park, raising awareness on 5K walks, and donating their talents for the cause. Join our Walk Paddle and Roll Challenge and click to donate now. Thank you for your support!
Freshwater Future Fall Project Grants Deadline is Approaching Fast!
The deadline for Freshwater Future’s Fall Project Grants is just a few weeks away – get your application in by midnight on September 30th! If your community’s or organization’s advocacy efforts focus on protecting or improving drinking water, rivers, lakes, wetlands, shorelines, and groundwater in the Great Lakes region you may be eligible for these grant funds. Any questions regarding applications can be directed to [email protected] or [email protected] or call, 231-348-8200. Please watch the recording of our Grants Q&A Webinar or visit our grants portal to learn more!
Celebrate Success: Major Shift in PFAS Clean Up Effort at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda
The U.S. Air Force is intensifying PFAS pollution cleanup at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, MI. This “major shift” in the Department of Defense’s approach to containing and cleaning up widespread contamination at the site is thanks to champions like Tony Spaniola, Co-Chair of the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network. “We are thrilled that our citizen-developed plan to “stop the bleeding” at Wurtsmith has become the Defense Department’s national policy directive, and that Wurtsmith, fittingly, is the first place it’s being implemented,” Spaniola said.
Court Rules for PFAS Manufacturer Over Michigan’s Drinking Water
In a recent decision, a Michigan Court of Appeals panel ruled in favor of 3M, a chemical manufacturer, arguing that Michigan had not followed proper procedures when implementing regulations regarding PFAS in the state’s drinking water. The regulations will remain in place until a potential appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.
President Biden: Don’t Give Wall Street Control of Our Public Water Systems
President Biden’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council recommended the privatization of the nation’s water systems last week. The council’s chair is the CEO of Global Infrastructure Partners, a significant infrastructure investment bank, and the report suggests removing barriers to privatization for community water systems. Mary Grant, at Food & Water Watch, responded to the new advisory report:
“Privately owned water systems charge 59 percent more than local government systems, and private ownership is the single largest factor associated with higher water bills — more than aging infrastructure or drought. Instead of relying on Wall Street advisers, President Biden should support policies that will truly help communities by asking Congress to pass the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act… The WATER Act would fully restore the federal commitment to safe water by providing a permanent source of federal funding at the level that our water and wastewater systems need to ensure safe, clean and affordable public water for all.”
“Rather than focusing on how to create profits, our local municipally owned water systems can create value without profit, keeping water bills affordable. We need our federal and state leaders to step up to help fill the funding gap created by decades of delayed maintenance so that we can ensure access to affordable water for everyone,” commented Jill Ryan, Freshwater Future executive director.
Ontario Housing Minister Resigns but Government Not Pausing Development on Greenbelt Lands
After two damning reports by both the Integrity Commission and the Auditor General on the Ontario Provincial Government’s decision to remove 145 parcels of lands from the Greenbelt, Steve Clark, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP), has resigned as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. While Premier Doug Ford admits that there were errors in the process that opened up over $8 billion dollars of land for housing, he will not pause development on these parcels at this time. Freshwater Future continues to work with our partners to share information with the public and identity opportunities for action.