Clean Water for All Campaign 8-1-17
Water is the great connector. It seems so obvious: Everyone needs clean water to drink. Communities need clean water for public and economic health. Water continually polls at the top of public environmental concerns, and those concerns have been growing in the wake of public health crises in places like Flint and Toledo. Yet, basic clean water protections are under increasing threat of being undermined at the federal level. Even though the Administration’s attempt to eliminate funding to restore the nation’s iconic water bodies, like the Great Lakes, Puget Sound and the Chesapeake Bay, was defeated with broad bipartisan support, the Administration continues to promote ill-conceived action, putting forward a budget proposal that makes clear its intent to starve enforcement and other basic actions to effectively implement the Clean Water Act. Regulations, adopted with fair public involvement, are being gutted.
Against the backdrop of these serious challenges is a huge opportunity. The prospect of losing basic clean water protections combined with the need for a major investment in equitable and sustainable water infrastructure is a shared cause that can build a movement around clean water that includes not just environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts, but also people working on social justice, public and community health, labor, and faith based issues. That is the distinguishing premise of the Clean Water for All Campaign.
The Clean Water for All Campaign brings together advocates with diverse backgrounds, focused at local, regional, and national levels, to promote clean drinking water for all communities through a flexible campaign, with clear regional and local benefits. The Campaign has three distinct and mutually reinforcing priorities, to:
Defend foundational water protections –prevent regulatory rollbacks and environmental budget reductions;
Advance appropriate water infrastructure– promote natural solutions and target built investment to communities in need without reducing environmental protections;
Reduce agricultural nutrient pollution - expose the implications of harmful algal outbreaks, promote effective implementation of selected current USDA conservation/compliance and diversity programs, identify and support targeted initiatives in the 2018 Farm Bill, and educate about the importance and effectiveness of Farm Bill conservation programs for reducing agricultural nutrient pollution.
Of equal importance to these policy goals is the intention to broaden the coalition of those that care about water to create an inclusive movement that will last beyond any single imminent policy fray. This is reflected in the structure of the campaign itself. The steering committee includes representatives from conservation, public health, labor and social justice advocacy groups. In addition, the campaign plan calls for resources to be shared with groups who are working in target states and frontline communities. The day-to-day campaign decisions are made by three co-chairs from diverse backgrounds and a campaign director with deep experience in both environmental protection and social justice. A complete description of campaign membership is included in a companion document.
Individual workgroups focused on Hill/defense, Communications, Field, Engagement, Infrastructure and Agriculture are up and running, refining detailed work plans and targets while responding to ongoing threats, such as the repeal of the Clean Water Rule, as they occur.
To maximize the impact of available resources, the campaign has selected target states (PA, VA, MT, OH, ME) for immediate field level focus, with others (WI, MI, MN, IL, NY) identified for enhanced outreach. State Tables are being established or expanded to create linkages and mutual support between groups working in the field and the central campaign infrastructure. This structure incorporates a protocol designed to maximize the “bottom up” approach to decision making. In addition, the effort to gather stories extends beyond the target states. The testimonies of real people with authentic points of view on the impacts of losing clean water protections, the tangible effects of pollution and the multiple community benefits of equitable water infrastructure will come from all corners of the country.
The Campaign strategy will involve multiple tactics; however, any lobbying-related activities described will be undertaken pursuant to all applicable laws and regulations and funder-imposed restrictions.
Even as we seek to add resources to this campaign, the work outlined above is well under way. We are moving swiftly to align and strengthen leaders around the country to support clean water. We are actively recruiting new partners to join this effort. For more information on the Clean Water for All Campaign, contact Verna Harrison at email@example.com or the Campaign Director, Rosemary Enobakhare at Enobakharer@nwf.org