I am proud to support Charleston Waterkeeper. I have served on the board since 2016.
The right to clean water was a catalyst for my career in environmental policy and strategy. I grew up on a hog farm in rural Maryland. A nearby polluting landfill – later declared a superfund site – was found to be leaching and contaminating local drinking water supplies. As a child, I was astounded that this could happen. People in our community were very sick from a preventable pollution problem. At the same time, news of agricultural runoff contaminating rivers and streams was generating headlines and proposed new rules to address them were hotly debated. I was proud that our farm was an early adopter of now commonplace practices that enhanced soil and water health.
A decade later, working in the House and Senate and for the Natural Resources Defense Council, I relied on public water quality data to push for improved Right to Know laws for toxic chemicals and require better enforcement systems to address spills and illegal discharges.
Charleston Waterkeeper’s water quality monitoring program requires careful, consistent, patient work. It is easy to take it for granted. Many people assume that state officials are testing our water to make sure we are safe. They would be shocked, as I was as a child, to learn that without Waterkeeper’s vigilant testing and sampling, they could be exposed to elevated bacteria and other pollutants that sicken them and endanger our marine life.
I am very proud of the Charleston Waterkeeper’s work and encourage you to support us. Your investments have enabled expanded testing locations, training of dedicated volunteers, addition of new pollutant testing parameters, and ensured that the rigor and quality of the data can be used to press for the regulatory oversight and reforms necessary to stop the pollution that threatens us.
Stand up and show up for clean water!