Coal River Mountain Watch, OVEC, And Christians For The Mountains Join More Than 200 Groups Urging Action By President Obama


Jul 16, 2013

W.Va. Groups say White House should Issue Executive Order Making Water A National Priority, Shifting U.S. to Clean Energy Future

OVEC, Coal River Mountain Watch and Christians for the Mountains Join More Than 200 Groups Urging Action by President Obama

 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – July 16, 2013A detailed executive order making water a major national priority and moving the nation to a clean energy future is being submitted today to the White House for the consideration of President Obama. 

 

As composed by the Committee for an American Clean Energy Agenda (ACEA) the draft executive order would require: (1) the completion of a long-overdue national water census; (2) the creation of a “U.S. Water Budget”; and (3) a plan for a shift by 2030 from fossil fuel and nuclear power to clean energy, increased energy efficiency, and enhanced energy storage technologies in key watersheds identified by the US Geological Survey.  (Read the entire draft executive order at http://www.americancleanenergyagenda.org/news/ or e-mail any of the above contacts for a copy.)

 

ACEA represents 120 citizen organizations with nearly 2 million members in 33 states and the District of Columbia. Three West Virginia-based groups are founding members of the ACEA: Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC), Coal River Mountain Watch (CRMW) and Christians for the Mountains (CFTM).

 

“The country continues to squander its precious and diminishing water resources supporting a system of dirty, unhealthy, and unsustainable electricity generation. It’s time to reverse this trend and preserve our most essential, life-supporting resources while we still can. This executive order will be a major step in that direction,” said CRMW Executive Director Vernon Haltom. 

 

“Water is life, simple as that. Extreme fossil fuel extraction like fracking and mountaintop removal is drastically and dangerously accelerating water loss and pollution in West Virginia. Climate change is an increasing concern for power plants. We need a sane energy policy that recognizes these realities, an energy policy not crafted solely for the short-term profit of corporations. President Obama has the power to issue this order and steer us away from the very troubling destination to which we are headed if we continue business as usual,” said Vivian Stockman, a project coordinator with OVEC.

 

CTFM Coordinator Allen Johnson said, “Water is our nation’s most vital resource, yet America’s policymakers have not knuckled down to the critical need for “water smart” energy. Steam-powered electricity generation consumes and degrades vast quantities of increasingly precious water. Meanwhile, the Department of Energy has delayed for years delay the release of the 'Water Nexus' roadmap. A just, sustainable water use policy is imperative for the future of our nation and its inhabitants. Please, no more delay.”
 

In its most recent report to Congress, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) identified three critical watersheds as the subjects of their initial studies.  These include the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin, the Delaware River Basin, and the Colorado River Basin that encompass many smaller, impaired bodies of water.  USGS chose these watersheds due to their importance to the country and because they represent “watersheds with potential water-use conflicts.”   USGS also found in its report to Congress that thermoelectric power and irrigation are the largest users of water in the Nation.

 

BACKGROUND

 

On May 24, 2013, leaders of the Committee for the American Clean Energy Agenda praised Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and 22 of her House colleagues for publicly urging U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to release a long-overdue “road map” of how to manage the development of U.S. energy resources without harming the quality and supply of water supplies. These water-related recommendations were required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and have yet to be submitted to Congress.

 

A January 2013 ACEA national opinion survey found that 92 percent of Americans think “U.S. energy planning and decision making” should be based on “a comprehensive understanding of what our national water resources are” – a national water roadmap that Congress asked for, but which was never produced. The national water roadmap attracts the support of 92 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Independents, and 94 percent of Democrats. For more information about the full survey, go to http://www.americancleanenergyagenda.org/poll-water-is-high-priority-for-bipartisan-majority-of-americans/.

 

In the US Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress instructed the Secretary of Energy submit a report assessing the state of water supply and demand and recommending future actions. DOE split the report into two parts: a general review of the connections between water and energy in the US and recommendations to offer Congress guidance in policy making.  The general review portion was submitted to Congress in 2007. However, the recommendations part, called the “Roadmap” has still not been released, though it was prepared some time ago.  

 

The Committee for an American Clean Energy Agenda (www.americancleanenergyagenda.org) is comprised of 120 citizen organizations with nearly 2 million members in 33 states and the District of Columbia. Organized by the nonprofit Civil Society Institute and the Environmental Working Group, it is committed to promoting new, grassroots-driven politics to bring about a renewable energy future that goes beyond “business as usual.” Instead, taxpayer dollars should support an energy system that prevents degradation of the environment, protects public health, preserves access to clean water, sustains the electric grid and combats global climate change, all while laying the basis for an adequate standard of living for today’s populations and future generations.