By: Waterkeeper Alliance
Waterkeeper Alliance Launches Crowdfunding Initiative to Grow Rapid Response Network
Organization’s innovative protocol key to successful remediation of natural and human-made disasters on our waterways
New York, NY — November 24, 2014 — Waterkeeper Alliance has launched a new program to respond to an increase of water emergencies. It kicked off a first of its kind Indiegogo crowdfunding initiative to further grow its capabilities to deploy rapid response teams when natural and human-made disasters occur on our waterways. Over the past year alone, Waterkeeper Alliance staff and local Waterkeepers provided on-the-ground support, water quality testing and advocacy when a collapsed storm water pipe released 140,000 tons of toxic coal ash sludge and wastewater into the Dan River in North Carolina threatening drinking water supplies, and a train carrying volatile Bakken crude oil derailed and exploded in Lynchburg,Virginia spilling an estimated 50,000 gallons of oil into the James River. In past years, Waterkeepers have responded to Hurricanes Floyd and Sandy, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Dan River coal ash spill in North Carolina and the James River oil train explosion in Virginia.
The Waterkeeper Alliance Rapid Response Team initiative is an innovative solution that provides trusted and independent emergency response to disasters on our waterways. In a climate of lax federal regulations and extensive budget cuts to state departments of environmental conservation, the need for Waterkeepers to speak truth about the devastating impacts of water emergencies on communities has never been greater.
“The Waterkeeper Alliance rapid response model is critical to the future of remediating disasters that occur on our waterways,” said Marc Yaggi, Executive Director at Waterkeeper Alliance. “No one is better positioned to deploy a highly-trained team of advocates and experts by boat and aircraft to assess a situation, test the water, document the impact and rapidly share information with the media and the public. This Indiegogo campaign will allow us to grow our capabilities to be among the first to arrive on the scene of the next disaster and work quickly to become the voice of affected communities and the environment.”
As a result of rapid response work by Waterkeeper Alliance and North Carolina Riverkeepers on the Dan River, Duke Energy has agreed to clean up not only the spill site but three other sites with leaking coal ash ponds in Asheville, Charlotte and Wilmington. Waterkeeper Alliance used the Dan River spill to support litigation and successfully secure removal of coal ash ponds at other sites so that those communities and waterways were protected from additional coal ash disasters.
Using a specialized rapid response protocol, Waterkeeper Alliance deploys experts and local Waterkeepers to the scene of major crises that threaten waterways to document the impacts via still and video images, water testing, and communicating danger to the public and news media. This ensures that polluters and government officials don’t have the opportunity to downplay or cover up the threat. The WKA response team then advocates for the environment and affected communities until a solution is achieved (i.e., a cleanup plan is implemented, lawsuits are filed and legislative remedies are pursued). Through the Indiegogo Rapid Response Team campaign, Waterkeeper Alliance is seeking to raise $100,000 to expand its ability to respond faster and further afield, no matter where in the world disaster strikes and get results for waterways and communities that protect future generations.