Our Clean and Safe Energy campaign focuses on shifting away from our reliance on dirty fossil fuels towards more environmentally sustainable energy sources.
Whether it’s dirty coal, oil, or fracked gas, our dependence on fossil fuels is driving changes to the earth’s climate that are already affecting our water and our communities. The challenges to our waterways are growing.
Fossil fuel extraction, transport, and combustion are causing devastating impacts to waterways and communities all across the world. They are the leading cause of climate change and ocean acidification. They pollute and consume the water needed for all life to survive.
The Clean and Safe Energy campaign focuses on protecting waterways and communities by stopping the polluting effects of fossil fuel extraction, transportation, and combustion. In order to protect our planet and all living things that depend on clean water for life, 80% of known carbon reserves must stay in the ground. Waterkeeper Alliance fights to keep coal, oil and natural gas in the ground and supports a global economic transition to a no-carbon future that utilizes clean and safe energy.
The irresponsible disposal of the wastes generated by the fossil fuel industry during combustion can have long-lasting environmental impacts on waterways. This problem is most prominent in the case of coal ash, which has high concentrations of toxics and heavy metals and has traditionally been stored in massive unlined pits. This has lead to coal ash disposal sites contaminating waterways and groundwater around the world. Coal-fired power plants—and particularly their coal ash waste—are the largest source of toxic water pollution in the United States.
Waterkeeper Alliance fights the impacts of fossil fuel waste by:
- Joining Waterkeeper groups in opposing new fossil fuel plants
- Advocating for stronger regulations on coal ash disposal practices and discharge limits
- Investigating water pollution from coal-fired power plants and bringing lawsuits to force polluters to remediate the contamination
Our climate is at a tipping point. To avoid catastrophic warming, scientists estimate that approximately 80% of proven fossil fuel resources need to stay in the ground. At a time where we need to rapidly transition to clean energy, the last thing we should do is lock ourselves into decades of continued fossil fuel extraction. Furthermore, the extraction of oil, gas, and coal all have devastating impacts on our water resources and the communities that rely on them for drinking water, jobs, and ways of life. Waterkeeper Alliance works with Waterkeeper groups around the world to reduce the extraction of dirty fuels like coal, oil, and gas by:
- Joining partners in challenging the leasing of public lands and offshore areas to fossil fuel interests
- Participating in the permitting and environmental review processes to force the government and companies to account for the full impact of their activities
- Taking companies to court when they violate the law and damage our shared resources
Whether by pipeline, train, or barge, the process of transporting fossil fuels comes with significant risks to waterways and communities. The build-out of fossil fuel transportation infrastructure also makes it more profitable for companies to expand extraction, locking countries into years of fossil fuel dependence.
Considering that fossil fuel transportation can impact many communities and poses a continued risk of dangerous leaks, spills, and explosions, regulations and the approval processes should be cautious and thoughtful, taking into account all of the potential impacts and whether the action is truly in the public interest. In many countries, fossil fuel transportation regulation and permitting unfairly puts the interests of fossil fuel companies above any other concerns.
Waterkeeper Alliance fights the irresponsible transportation of fossil fuels by:
- Exposing and challenging inadequate regulations that put communities and waterways at risk
- Working to delay or stop proposed fossil fuel transportation projects in key watersheds
- Challenging agencies charged with regulating and permitting fossil fuel transportation to be more responsive to the public and take into account all impacts
- Exposing the dangerously irresponsible practices of fossil fuel transportation companies
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