Celebrities endorse national rally to stop unsafe fracking

Celebrities and environmental leaders will gather for a national rally against fracking on July 28th in Washington, DC. The event, "Stop the Frack Attack," is proposing three demands for Congress: stop dangerous fracking, close seven legal loopholes that exempt the oil and gas industry from parts of the Safe Drinking Water, Clean Air, and Clean Water Acts, and implement a pathway towards 100% clean renewable energy.

Mark Ruffalo, Pete Seeger, Lois Gibbs, Bill McKibben, Ed Begley Jr., Ed Asner, Josh Fox, Gus Speth, Cornel West, Vandana Shiva, Holly Near, James Hansen, Dar Williams, Michael Kieschnick, Joe Uehlein, and Margot Kidder join over 100 organizations and community groups in their call to action.

"Fracking is proof our addiction to fossil fuels has gone too far," said Margot Kidder, "In the face of this kind of destruction, doing nothing is not an option.

"I'll be in DC on July 28th because I'm worried about the world my grandchildren will inherit without immediate action. We have to stop the destruction, and we have to do it now."

Fracking is a hot-button issue in swing states including PA, OH, CO, NM, NC, and MT. In New York, the fight against fracking spurred Governor Cuomo to ban the practice in much of the state, but "Fracktivists" continue to fight for a total ban.

Stop the Frack Attack will be a national mobilization on the West Lawn of the Capitol on July 28th, 2012.

Grant to help drought-proof California utility

A $51 million California Department of Public Health grant will bring the Inland Empire one step closer to drought-proofing its water supply. The $51 million grant will fund a portion of the planned Phase 3 Expansion of the Chino I and Chino II Desalter facilities, which will produce an additional 10 million gallons per day of new water benefitting more than 1.5 million people in the Inland Empire.

The grant comes through the department's Division of Drinking Water and Environmental Management's Prop 50 Chapter 4b: Southern California Projects to Reduce Demand on Colorado River Water.

It will enable the distribution of drinking water and minimize brine discharge in to the Pacific Ocean. Through ongoing collaboration and commitment to provide a reliable local water source, the agencies have successfully partnered to secure more than $70 million in grants, including $5.6 million in federal appropriations, to help the region expand the Chino Desalters, a $130 million project.

Urban Waters program gets $2.7 million EPA grant

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding $2.7 million to 46 organizations in 32 states and Puerto Rico to help restore urban waters, support community revitalization and protect Americans' health.

EPA's Urban Waters program funding supports communities' efforts to access, improve and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land. Urban waters include canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and oceans in urbanized areas. The grants range from $30,000 to $60,000 for projects across the country, including in a number of underserved communities. Recipients will promote the restoration of urban waters through community engagement and outreach, water quality monitoring and studies, and environmental education and training.

Many urban waterways have been polluted for years by sewage, runoff from city streets and contamination from abandoned industrial facilities. Healthy and accessible urban waters can help grow local businesses and enhance educational, economic, recreational, employment and social opportunities in nearby communities. By promoting public access to urban waterways, EPA will help communities become active participants in restoring urban waters while improving and protecting their neighborhoods.

Water pollution grant funds available in Missouri

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is now accepting applications to fund projects that protect Missouri's waters from pollution caused by stormwater runoff. Pollution caused by stormwater runoff, referred to technically as nonpoint source pollution, is a common and serious threat to water quality nationwide. Nonpoint source pollution occurs when pollution is released from multiple indeterminate locations making the sources difficult to identify and control. For instance, stormwater and other surface runoff from agricultural or municipal areas can carry pollutants like fertilizers, construction debris, sediment, bacteria and pesticides into nearby waters.

Grant awards can range from $5,000 to $300,000 and projects can last up to three years. Educational institutions, local governments and not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply for funding.

Eligible projects will implement a Department of Natural Resources-accepted watershed plan to improve impaired waters and provide pollutant load reducing management practices associated with:

• Agriculture nonpoint sources.

• Urban or development nonpoint source concerns not addressed specifically by permits, or regulatory required stormwater plans.

• Abandoned mine land nonpoint sources.

• Nonpoint source issues resulting from hydrologic modification in streams.

• Projects that improve riparian habitat along streambanks.

• Nonpoint source issues in parks or other types of managed natural areas.

• Policy and ordinance development.

• Research and regulatory enforcement related projects are not eligible.

Funding for the grant program comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The deadline to apply is July 23, 2012.

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