OCE News

What have we done for you lately? 

See below for some highlights of recent media coverage of OCE Foundation's work. 

We are constantly developing cases and campaigns, engaging with communities impacted by pollution, and working toward cleaner and healthier ecosystems to help humans and wildlife thrive. Our lawsuits and other advocacy efforts focus on protecting the most vulnerable; especially children, seniors, and threatened species. 

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September 2016:  Environmental groups signal intent to sue St. Pete after sewage dump Suncoast Waterkeeper, Inc., Our Children’s Earth Foundation and the Ecological Rights Foundation filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue for violating the federal Clean Water Act. The groups want the city to undergo sewage system upgrades and to fund “environmental mitigation projects.” “St. Petersburg’s recent extraordinarily large sewage discharges to Tampa Bay have caused serious human health risks and environmental damage. The needed infrastructure improvements are urgent, the ecological impacts will take a long time to heal, as will the damage to the public’s confidence, shaken by the city’s failure to notify and warn the public of these spills. The systemic improvements required to address these shortcomings are significant and will benefit from citizen participation and oversight,” the groups said in a press release. The groups acknowledged the city has admitted its failures and promised to improve sewage systems. While the groups called that, “a positive and welcome step,” they also said it’s not enough. “St. Pete does not have a good record of addressing the root causes of the ongoing sewage system problems. Citizen suit enforcement is needed because the legal system functions differently, and in many cases more efficiently, than the political system.” Read more here.

September 2016: 

Environmental groups signal intent to sue St. Pete after sewage dump

Suncoast Waterkeeper, Inc., Our Children’s Earth Foundation and the Ecological Rights Foundation filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue for violating the federal Clean Water Act. The groups want the city to undergo sewage system upgrades and to fund “environmental mitigation projects.”

“St. Petersburg’s recent extraordinarily large sewage discharges to Tampa Bay have caused serious human health risks and environmental damage. The needed infrastructure improvements are urgent, the ecological impacts will take a long time to heal, as will the damage to the public’s confidence, shaken by the city’s failure to notify and warn the public of these spills. The systemic improvements required to address these shortcomings are significant and will benefit from citizen participation and oversight,” the groups said in a press release.

The groups acknowledged the city has admitted its failures and promised to improve sewage systems. While the groups called that, “a positive and welcome step,” they also said it’s not enough.

“St. Pete does not have a good record of addressing the root causes of the ongoing sewage system problems. Citizen suit enforcement is needed because the legal system functions differently, and in many cases more efficiently, than the political system.”

Read more here.

 

 
July 2014:  Sewage in San Francisco Bay: Settlement reached to prevent overflows Over the past 10 years, about 2.4 billion gallons of partially treated sewage has entered the bay, said Jared Blumenfeld, an EPA regional administrator. “For many years, the health of San Francisco Bay has been imperiled by ongoing pollution, including enormous discharges of raw and partially treated sewage from communities in the East Bay,” Blumenfeld said. “Many of these discharges are the result of aging, deteriorated sewer infrastructure that will be fixed under the EPA order.” Along with spreading disease-causing organisms that can threaten public health, the raw and untreated sewage can deplete oxygen in the 1,600-square-mile bay and hurt fish, migratory birds and other wildlife. “It’s more of ‘death by 1,000 cuts’ in terms of impact to the bay,” said Deb Self, executive director of San Francisco Baykeeper, which was among those that brought the legal action to enforce the Clean Water Act.  Others behind the lawsuit were the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board and the Our Children’s Earth Foundation. Under the agreement, EBMUD, the Stege district and the cities will assess and upgrade their sewer system infrastructure, including at EBMUD’s three wet water treatment facilities. Read more here.

July 2014: 

Sewage in San Francisco Bay: Settlement reached to prevent overflows

Over the past 10 years, about 2.4 billion gallons of partially treated sewage has entered the bay, said Jared Blumenfeld, an EPA regional administrator.

“For many years, the health of San Francisco Bay has been imperiled by ongoing pollution, including enormous discharges of raw and partially treated sewage from communities in the East Bay,” Blumenfeld said. “Many of these discharges are the result of aging, deteriorated sewer infrastructure that will be fixed under the EPA order.”

Along with spreading disease-causing organisms that can threaten public health, the raw and untreated sewage can deplete oxygen in the 1,600-square-mile bay and hurt fish, migratory birds and other wildlife.

“It’s more of ‘death by 1,000 cuts’ in terms of impact to the bay,” said Deb Self, executive director of San Francisco Baykeeper, which was among those that brought the legal action to enforce the Clean Water Act. 

Others behind the lawsuit were the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board and the Our Children’s Earth Foundation.

Under the agreement, EBMUD, the Stege district and the cities will assess and upgrade their sewer system infrastructure, including at EBMUD’s three wet water treatment facilities.

Read more here.

August 2016:  Environmental Groups Win National Victory for Clean Water The agreement marks the first time that EPA will evaluate setting numeric standards and practices for responsible stormwater retention at industrial sites.  Stormwater retention is a green infrastructure practice that involves holding water and sediment on site through features like bioswales and rain gardens.  Keeping and treating stormwater on site instead of discharging it into the nearest river improves water quality and slows erosion in smaller creeks and rivers.  Another first time outcome of the settlement is EPA’s agreement to propose restrictions on the use of coal tar sealants in the United States, a product that is poisoning ecosystems nationwide and exposing infants and children to a high risk of developing cancer later in life.  Read more here.

August 2016: 

Environmental Groups Win National Victory for Clean Water

The agreement marks the first time that EPA will evaluate setting numeric standards and practices for responsible stormwater retention at industrial sites.  Stormwater retention is a green infrastructure practice that involves holding water and sediment on site through features like bioswales and rain gardens.  Keeping and treating stormwater on site instead of discharging it into the nearest river improves water quality and slows erosion in smaller creeks and rivers. 

Another first time outcome of the settlement is EPA’s agreement to propose restrictions on the use of coal tar sealants in the United States, a product that is poisoning ecosystems nationwide and exposing infants and children to a high risk of developing cancer later in life. 

Read more here.


November 2013:  Country’s Largest Public Power Provider Takes Next Major Step to Move Beyond Coal Today the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced it will retire coal boilers at three of its coal plants in Alabama and Kentucky. Retiring these coal boilers means less pollution in the air and water in the southeast U.S. According to the Clean Air Task Force, the Colbert coal plant in Alabama alone contributed to 940 asthma attacks, 83 heart attacks, and 57 deaths per year. These retirements also mean less of the carbon pollution that is pushing our climate to the brink. This is big. It’s a great move for public health, for clean air and water, and for our climate. It will also help protect families across the southeast from rising energy bills as the cost of coal-generated electricity has continued to increase. I applaud TVA and its new president and CEO, Bill Johnson, for their leadership in setting this great American institution on a new course for the twenty-first century. This is also big news for the people of the Tennessee Valley who have been working for years for cleaner air and a healthier environment in the Valley, including our friends at the Southern Environmental Law Center, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Earthjustice, Environmental Integrity Project, Our Children’s Earth Foundation, and National Parks Conservation Association. Residents, businesses and industries have spoken loud and clear: they want TVA to provide affordable, reliable and clean power. Read more here.

November 2013: 

Country’s Largest Public Power Provider Takes Next Major Step to Move Beyond Coal

Today the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced it will retire coal boilers at three of its coal plants in Alabama and Kentucky. Retiring these coal boilers means less pollution in the air and water in the southeast U.S. According to the Clean Air Task Force, the Colbert coal plant in Alabama alone contributed to 940 asthma attacks, 83 heart attacks, and 57 deaths per year. These retirements also mean less of the carbon pollution that is pushing our climate to the brink.

This is big. It’s a great move for public health, for clean air and water, and for our climate. It will also help protect families across the southeast from rising energy bills as the cost of coal-generated electricity has continued to increase. I applaud TVA and its new president and CEO, Bill Johnson, for their leadership in setting this great American institution on a new course for the twenty-first century.

This is also big news for the people of the Tennessee Valley who have been working for years for cleaner air and a healthier environment in the Valley, including our friends at the Southern Environmental Law Center, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Earthjustice, Environmental Integrity Project, Our Children’s Earth Foundation, and National Parks Conservation Association.

Residents, businesses and industries have spoken loud and clear: they want TVA to provide affordable, reliable and clean power.

Read more here.

January 2015:  Stanford considering the fate of century-old dam threatening endangered trout In 1892, a private company built the dam and created the Searsville Reservoir, hoping to make a new source of water for San Francisco. There was a small problem: the water that pooled up in the Reservoir was undrinkable.  The solution: Searsville Lake! For decades, people flocked there to swim and boat. In the meantime, Stanford acquired the 1,200 acres surrounding the dam to study things like local plant life, animals, and air quality. To protect that research, in 1975, the university made the land off-limits to the public.  Today, Searsville Lake is more of a marsh, almost completely full of sediment that people wouldn’t want to swim in. Steelhead trout, on the other hand, would love to swim in it – if they could get there. And that’s what Sproul says the environmental groups want to see. First, they want Stanford to stop taking water out of the creek. “And we also want them to allow fish passage past Searsville Dam back up to the upper watershed. [There are] various ways they could do that. Taking out the dam would be the best,” says Sproul. Read more here.

January 2015: 

Stanford considering the fate of century-old dam threatening endangered trout

In 1892, a private company built the dam and created the Searsville Reservoir, hoping to make a new source of water for San Francisco. There was a small problem: the water that pooled up in the Reservoir was undrinkable. 

The solution: Searsville Lake! For decades, people flocked there to swim and boat. In the meantime, Stanford acquired the 1,200 acres surrounding the dam to study things like local plant life, animals, and air quality. To protect that research, in 1975, the university made the land off-limits to the public. 

Today, Searsville Lake is more of a marsh, almost completely full of sediment that people wouldn’t want to swim in. Steelhead trout, on the other hand, would love to swim in it – if they could get there. And that’s what Sproul says the environmental groups want to see. First, they want Stanford to stop taking water out of the creek.

“And we also want them to allow fish passage past Searsville Dam back up to the upper watershed. [There are] various ways they could do that. Taking out the dam would be the best,” says Sproul.

Read more here.

 

 
August 2010: Settlement Reached with City and County of Honolulu to Address Wastewater Collection & Treatment Systems The settlement which also resolves lawsuits brought by the Sierra Club, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends and Our Children’s Earth Foundation, includes a comprehensive compliance schedule for the city to upgrade its wastewater collection system by June 2020. Under the settlement, the Honouliuli wastewater treatment plant will need to be upgraded to secondary treatment by 2024. The Sand Island plant will need to be upgraded by 2035, but could be extended to 2038 based on a showing of economic hardship. Work on the wastewater collection system will include rehabilitation and replacement of both gravity and force main sewer pipes, backup strategies to minimize the risks of force main spills, a cleaning and maintenance program, improvements to Honolulu’s program to control fats, oils and grease from entering into the wastewater system from food establishments, and repair to pump stations. “Today’s settlement represents a significant commitment that will address the city and county of Honolulu’s aging wastewater collection and treatment systems,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The end result will not just be an improvement to the system’s infrastructure. It will also significantly reduce both the public health risk caused by exposure to pathogens in raw sewage and the amount of harmful pollutants entering Honolulu’s vibrant marine environment.” Read more here.  

August 2010:

Settlement Reached with City and County of Honolulu to Address Wastewater Collection & Treatment Systems

The settlement which also resolves lawsuits brought by the Sierra Club, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends and Our Children’s Earth Foundation, includes a comprehensive compliance schedule for the city to upgrade its wastewater collection system by June 2020. Under the settlement, the Honouliuli wastewater treatment plant will need to be upgraded to secondary treatment by 2024. The Sand Island plant will need to be upgraded by 2035, but could be extended to 2038 based on a showing of economic hardship.

Work on the wastewater collection system will include rehabilitation and replacement of both gravity and force main sewer pipes, backup strategies to minimize the risks of force main spills, a cleaning and maintenance program, improvements to Honolulu’s program to control fats, oils and grease from entering into the wastewater system from food establishments, and repair to pump stations.

“Today’s settlement represents a significant commitment that will address the city and county of Honolulu’s aging wastewater collection and treatment systems,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The end result will not just be an improvement to the system’s infrastructure. It will also significantly reduce both the public health risk caused by exposure to pathogens in raw sewage and the amount of harmful pollutants entering Honolulu’s vibrant marine environment.”

Read more here.