Water Currents: The Toxic Water Crisis Caused by PFAS

WATER CURRENTS


The Toxic Water Crisis Caused by PFAS

WHAT ARE WE FOLLOWING?

State and Local Government Responses to PFAS

Most of the PFAS contamination in Alaska is found in the groundwater near airports that use Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) for firefighting.  The state of Alaska tests communities with certified airports where PFAS-containing AFFF was used and likely entered the groundwater.  These communities include Fairbanks, North Pole, Eieslon, Utqiagvik, Dillingham, Gustavus, Yakutat, Galena and King Salmon.  If your community is not on this list, it doesn’t mean the groundwater isn’t contaminated.  The local governments of other communities that have a possibility of contamination, such as Juneau, are also conducting groundwater testing.  Juneau’s results are expected in a couple weeks.  ADEC has published a list of labs approved for PFAS testing in drinking water for any communities or individuals conducting testing on their own.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) has reduced their standards for PFAS testing and protections.  This will leave us at higher risk for PFAS exposure and health impacts, despite increasing knowledge of this widespread, emerging problem.


 

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SEACC’s New Partnership with the National Wildlife Federation!

I’m pleased to share an exciting new partnership for SEACC! This weekend in St. Louis, Missouri, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) will be announcing that the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is joining the federation as its Alaska affiliate! The National Wildlife Federation is an 83-year-old national conservation organization that for the better part of a century has sought to give wildlife a voice and a vote, while simultaneously working to unite Americans from all walks of life around the common cause of conservation.

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Chilkat and Stikine Named 2019’s Most Endangered Rivers

Yesterday, American Rivers announced the ten Most Endangered Rivers of 2019.  Featured prominently on this list, for the first time, are two iconic and highly important rivers of Southeast Alaska – the Chilkat and the Stikine.  Both rivers are facing social, environmental, economic, and health impacts from mining.  Yet, both rivers are critical to the communities, salmon, and wildlife that depend on them. 

 

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SEACC is Making Big Moves!

We have exciting news this spring: SEACC is moving! In the last few years, our ranks have grown along with our program work. So, like fledgling robins in spring, we have gradually outgrown our nest at 224 Gold Street and are taking flight to new digs!

This past week we closed on a bright, airy, spacious new office space at 2207 Jordan Avenue in Jordan Creek, near the airport in Juneau.

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Water Currents: The Power of Collective Action

WATER CURRENTS


The Power of Collective Action

We're trying something new!  Once a month, we'll be sharing three things that are catching our attention on water-related topics throughout Southeast Alaska and beyond, highlighting policies (What are we following?), actions (What are we doing?), and people or groups that inspire us (What are we learning?). We hope you enjoy our new series, Water Currents.  We’d appreciate hearing your feedback and ideas for topics you’d like us to cover.

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Why Brazil’s Mining Record Matters in Alaska

On Friday, January 25th , southeastern Brazil experienced yet another catastrophic mining disaster.  The tailings dam at the Corrego do Feijao Mine, an iron ore mine owned by Vale (one of the world’s largest mining companies), breached and spilled 13 million cubic meters of toxic waste that covered downstream villages and spread into the Paraopeba River.  More than 60 people have been confirmed dead and hundreds are still missing.   

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Southeast Tribes Seek Human Rights Violation Investigation

Taku_Michele_Cornelius.jpgOn Wednesday, December 5th, the Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission (SEITC), which represents 15 sovereign Tribal Nations from Southeast Alaska, submitted a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights stating that the unfettered mine development in British Columbia violates the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

 

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Alaska Roadless Rule Citizens Advisory Committee Recommends Stripping Roadless Protections on the Tongass

Last week the State of Alaska’s Roadless Rule Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) submitted their final report to the Governor and State Forester. These recommendations will be considered as the State develops information for the Forest Service to incorporate into the Environmental Impact Statement and public rulemaking process. This process relates to the Forest Service’s response to the State of Alaska’s petition to unravel national Roadless Rule protections on the Tongass National Forest.  

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Welcome Dan!

Dan.jpgI am excited to officially introduce and welcome our new Tongass Forest Program Manager, Dan Cannon, to the SEACC Team!

Dan first came to Southeast many years ago on a trip to Prince of Wales Island, where the beauty of the landscape inspired him to care about Southeast and recognize the importance of protecting the Tongass. He recently moved to Juneau with his fiancée, and they are looking forward to exploring the waterways and communities of Southeast. When not organizing, Dan can be found in the woods. He has already hiked to the top of Mt. Juneau and is looking forward to hiking up Mt. Roberts next.

Dan is joining SEACC after ten years of experience working in a variety of positions advocating for the protection of the environment. He has worked with communities throughout the country to promote progressive policies through on-the-ground grassroots and digital organizing. Most recently he spent the last 7 years at Greenpeace working on various campaigns including the ‘Shell No’ campaign to stop drilling in the Arctic. Throughout his career, Dan has designed and implemented strategic campaign plans to bring about people-driven political change, and he is excited to bring these experiences to SEACC and the Tongass.

As the Tongass Forest Program Manager, Dan will work closely with SEACC staff, supporters, and community members to promote policies that protect our rainforest home, like keeping Roadless Rule protections on the Tongass. Dan will play a key role in helping our communities organize to participate in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement process for the Roadless Rule next summer. He is eager to help us continue building grassroots power by engaging communities in support of sustainable forest practices here in Southeast.

This is Dan’s first week in the office, so be sure to write and say hi at dan@seacc.org, or come by to say hello in-person at our December First Friday and Gallery Walk event this Friday, the 7th of December, at our office at 224 Gold Street in downtown Juneau.

We are thrilled to have Dan joining us and all of us at SEACC look forward to working with him to protect the places we love.


Bearing Witness: Reflections on the Mt. Polley Mine Disaster Four Years Later

On September 30th, I joined a group traveling through the beautiful and rugged terrain of British Columbia (BC) to reach the site of the Mt. Polley Mine disaster.  The trip was organized by the Western Mining Action Network (WMAN) and MiningWatch Canada, following the annual WMAN Conference.  We took part in the nearly 17-hour trek to witness, first-hand, the devastation caused to the Quesnel Watershed and nearby communities. 

What we saw was heartbreaking, terrifying, and . . . hopeful. 

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