Archive for the ‘Lobby for Clean Water Act’ Category

HEC’s Environmental Policy for Waterways in 2011

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Hoosier Environmental Council 2011-2012 Legislative Policy Guide

According to the 2010 Impaired Waters List, Indiana has more than 2,600 impaired waters that are unsafe for drinking and recreation.

The following is a summary of information presented in the guide regarding water issues:

Issue 1) Restriction unnecessary use of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers on turf grass unless it is TRULY needed.  This is the first issue discussed because lawn fertilizer has been linked to “dead zones” in Lake Erie, where over 50% of our fish from the Great Lakes come from! (pg 4)

Issue 2) The Clean Water Act’s Anti-Degradation Policy was adopted by the Indiana General Assembly, but IDEM’s proposed rules do not meet this standard and must be improved.  Too many exemptions allow companies to avoid justifying their new or increased discharges.  There are several weaknesses in proposed rule so it needs to be strengthened. (pg 4)

Issue 3) Confined Feeding Animal Operations (CAFO’s) in Indiana number over 3,000.  At 80% of these operations; hogs and dairy cows are confined by the thousands or chickens are raised by tens of thousands at a single facility.   These large scale operations lead to public health disasters like fish kills, and Salmonella tainted eggs, blue-green algae blooms. The waste from these animals contain pathogens and medications that contaminate our waterways as well as food crops.  Traditionally, animal waste is used to fertilize crops but at this magnitude land application is dictated by the need to get rid of the waste rather than necessary fertilizer.  HEC believes that little is being done to effectively regulate the industry.
(pg 5)

Issue 4) Financial Assurance to Indiana Taxpayers. One example happened in 2009 – in Muncie, Indiana.  4-5 million gallons of manure was released and the State of Indiana paid the clean up cost associated with the defunct hog farm.  The primary purpose is to ensure that funds will be available to protect human health and the environment in the event that the facility owners of operators are unable or fail to do so. (pg 5)

Indiana Hog Farm:

SUSTAINABLE agriculture builds food and fiber production systems that are both economically viable and protect or enhance the environmental quality of the agricultural lands.  It also increases the quality of life for farmers and those people that live in the area surrounding the farms. (pg 5)

Primary’s over…election to come

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

So politics are directly related to water issues….who gets the money and what issues will be addressed and which ones take priority?  Here is the 2009 Indiana State Senator Listing by District. (updated 3-25-10)

Click on one to see the
1. District of your Senator
2. First / Last Name
3. Party
4. Office Phone Number
5. Email Address
6. City Represented (or surrounding areas)
7. Total campaign contributions that legislators accepted from Utility, Coal, Oil, or Railroad Corporations (
8. 2008-2010 Average Percentage of Pro-Consumer Voting (v/s voting big business)

Pro Consumer Voting Recordpro-consumer-voting-record-2.jpgpro-consumer-voting-record-3.jpg

I thought you may want to know who should get the votes!

D.C. Update

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Washington D.C.  February 24, 2010 – Great Lakes Day

Today Save Maumee Grassroots Org., Save the Dunes and Healing Our Waters met in person with representatives from the offices of:

  • Senator Richard Lugar
  • Representative Mike Pence
  • Representative Brad Ellsworth
  • Representative Andre Carson
  • Representative Baron Hill
  • Representative Mark Souder

  Information packets were received by:

  • Representative Peter Visclosky
  • Representative Joe Donnelly
  • Senator Evan Bayh

  • Our coalition of groups from Indiana descended upon Capitol Hill to ask for support of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding to; aid in stopping invasive species (most notably Asian Carp), cleaning up toxic sediments, stopping polluted runoff, preventing beach contamination, restoring degraded wetlands and protecting fish and wildlife resources.  Congressional action is needed on several regional priorities. Too much time has been spent avoiding issues.

Great Lakes Task Force – Great Lakes Alliance – Our Healing Waters – National Wildlife Association all had speakers to brief us on issues for Hill visits along with our own agendas.  It included state-by-state planning, lobbing refresher, and education about urgent issues facing the Great Lakes and priorities. Literally millions of citizens were represented at our meetings with lawmakers.

Our group believes that congress should strengthen accountability, provide transparency, boost coordination with stakeholders and ensure a strong scientific foundation for Great Lakes restoration efforts. 

  Save Maumee Grassroots Org. representing northeast Indiana specifically asked for:

  • Funding to develop and implement a watershed management plan for the Upper Maumee in Indiana/Ohio to improve the receiving waters in Ohio downstream.
  • Fix failing sewers and drinking water infrastructure.
  • Stronger enforcement, oversight of NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permits; and fines for illegally discharging more than straight pipe permits allow.
  • Anti-degradation laws (passed down from federal law) need to be correlated and consistent between states and nations sharing the same receiving waters.
  • Create alternative designation for wetlands to be considered a vital “protected area” to alleviate flooding, pollution and green space need.
  • Floodplains should remain free and clear of structures and/or added fill dirt


We realize that planning is an important element, yet immediate projects on the ground action is needed through projects on the ground are how improvements are actually made!

 Our groups were also honorably received at the Canadian American Embassy with cocktails and nice appetizers!

Abigail Frost
Save Maumee Grassroots Organization Founder
Master Naturalist
Watershed Expert

Fact Sheet For NE Indiana

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Fact Sheet – Understanding the Depth of Northeast Indiana Water Related Issues

Save Maumee goes to D.C.

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Welcome to the first post of Save Maumee Grassroots Org. Blog.  I am finished with the fact sheets for NE Indiana.  Bruce Allen and myself have received a scholarship through Our Healing Waters to lobby in Washington D.C. for Clean Water Week, February 22-25.  CLICK HERE FOR FACTS ABOUT YOUR WATERWAYS!dc-fact-sheet.pdf

Water Quality Indiana Facts:

Highest amount of toxic discharges to bodies of water among all states – more than 11% of the nations total (EPA, 2007) Indiana toxic releases to water decreased for the second year in a row- by 6.7 million pounds-  last year.  Indiana still leads all states in discharging pollutants and toxic chemicals into waterways. (EPA & IDEM)

16th highest in the U.S. for the number of people exposed to tap water with contaminants above acceptable limits, out of 42 states studied (National Tap Water Quality Database, 2005)

The EPA limits certain pollutant discharges.  When a limit is not listed, it is up to the permit writer to decide whether the pollutant discharge will “cause, have a reasonable potential to cause or contribute” to exceeding state water quality standards.  A permit writer is not required to develop a case-by-case limit for a pollutant, (Enesta Jones EPA Spokesperson, Dec. ’09)

Major disagreement between the permit writers and environmentalists is whether certain pollutants should have specific discharge limits in wastewater permits (NPDES)…NOT having such limits violates the Clean Water Act, which as a federal law overrides state law.  (NRDC Midwest, Ann Alexander)

Anti-degradation policy in Indiana fails to comply with the Clean Water Act.  The [draft water quality] rule proposes setting an “insignificance” level under which plants would not need to prove the increased pollution is necessary – (Albert Ettinger, Environmental Law & Policy Center)