Protect California Waters from Agricultural Pollution

Let your voice be heard! Help to protect the waters that you care about by sending a message to a decision-maker on an important issue.

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Polluted runoff from agricultural operations (“ag runoff”) contaminates Central Coast rivers, bays, coastal waters and groundwater basins with nitrates, phosphates, and toxic pesticides.  This pollution increasingly impacts drinking water supplies and the health of thousands of people.  In 2004, despite decades of opposition from the agricultural lobby, the Central Coast Water Board adopted a regulatory program (known as the “Ag Order”) to monitor and limit ag runoff.  Central Coast communities and groups have fought for nine years to develop an Ag Order to reduce toxics, pesticides and fertilizer discharges to surface water and groundwater.  The new Ag Order is on the verge of final adoption by the State Water Board, and would be a significant step forward to strengthen agricultural pollution controls.  But the agricultural lobby is fighting to weaken the Ag Order and continue business as usual.  Please tell the State Water Board to retain key provisions to protect public health and the environment, and require everyone to do their part to protect California’s waters.

Don’t let the Board go backwards! Stand strong, stand together, for clean water.  Protect what is good in the Ag Order from polluter backlash: (1) submit the letter below by Tuesday, September 3rd at noon; and (2) attend the September 10th State Water Board hearing in Sacramento to support a strong Ag Order. Contact Colin at Environmental Justice Coalition for Water for more information (action@ejcw.org).

 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Felicia Marcus, Chair and Members
State Water Resources Control Board
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95812-0100
c/o Jeanine Townsend, Clerk to the Board

Felicia Marcus, Chair and Members
State Water Resources Control Board
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95812-0100
c/o Jeanine Townsend, Clerk to the Board

Dear State Water Board Members:

I strongly support the Board's work to develop an Agricultural Order that retains key provisions to protect public health and the environment along the Central Coast. Polluted runoff from agriculture and farming operations has contaminated too many Central Coast groundwater basins and waterways with nitrates, phosphates, and toxic pesticides. These pollutants are highly toxic, and endanger California’s communities and watersheds.

The Order provides a solid foundation for moving forward. I urge the Board to retain key provisions within the Order to protect the public’s interest and right to water quality data and clean water. Requiring rigorous monitoring and reporting of these pollutants is essential to evaluating our progress towards reducing pollutant loading in the immediate future. In particular, I urge the Board to retain the following key provisions to the Order:

• Individual monitoring and reporting at a scale that shows the efficacy of the Order for the biggest and highest risk farms;

• Individual and cooperative groundwater monitoring and reporting that includes testing of all wells that provide drinking water, dry and wet season testing, and annual testing of high risk farms;

• Aggressive actions to reduce the nitrogen fertilizer loading that pollutes public water systems, costing urban rate payers millions of dollars to clean up, and endangers the health of thousands of rural families;

• Increased focus on toxicity and less focus on individual chemicals to avoid simply switching from one pesticide to another without solving the critical toxicity problem.

I urge the State Water Board to work with staff to retain these key provisions during the final decision-making process. Thank you for your work to ensure that California waters are safe for swimming, drinking, and fishing for everyone.

Sincerely,

Your Name
Your City

Thank you for your time and activism! And remember to bring your reusable bags for all your shopping needs!