Sign up to receive email updates, action alerts, health tips, promotions to support our work and more from EWG. You can opt-out at any time. [Privacy]

 

Clean Energy Advocates Hail Call for “Road Map” for Water Implications of U.S. Energy Policy

Push by Two Dozen U.S. House Members Seen As Major New Momentum for Release of Federal Research Findings
Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
alex@ewg.org or ssciammacco@ewg.org
For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 23, 2013 -- Today, leaders of the Committee for the American Clean Energy Agenda praised Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and 22 of her House colleagues for publicly urging U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to release a long-overdue “road map” of how to manage the development of U.S. energy resources without harming the quality and supply of water supplies. These water-related recommendations were required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and have yet to be submitted to Congress.

The Committee for an American Clean Energy Agenda (www.americancleanenergyagenda.org) is comprised of 120 citizen organizations with nearly 2 million members in 33 states and the District of Columbia. In particular, the coalition is concerned about the link between energy development and a clean, safe water supply.

Pam Solo, president and founder of the Civil Society Institute, said:  “Without this information, Congress is flying blind when it comes to developing an energy policy so reliant on the availability of fresh water. As we enter the summer months when the impacts of droughts on agriculture and water shortages are felt across the country, access to these recommendations become all the more crucial. We should have an energy policy where people matter and that includes having access to clean and safe water.”

Heather White, executive director of the Environmental Working Group said: “This letter from lawmakers echoes the sentiment of the American people that we must better understand how our energy policy impacts this country's precious water resources. The Department of Energy cannot afford to delay any longer the release of the 'Water Nexus' roadmap when energy production increasingly threatens water quality across the country, as well as quantity in places where water is scarce.”

A January 2013 ACEA national opinion survey found that 92 percent of Americans think “U.S. energy planning and decision making” should be based on “a comprehensive understanding of what our national water resources are” – a national water roadmap that Congress asked for, but which was never produced. The national water roadmap attracts the support of 92 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Independents, and 94 percent of Democrats. For more information about the full survey, go to http://www.americancleanenergyagenda.org/poll-water-is-high-priority-for-bipartisan-majority-of-americans/ on the Web

The letter from U.S. House Members to Moniz is available online at http://democrats.science.house.gov/press-release/ranking-member-johnson-congratulates-secretary-moniz-requests-information-department.

In the US Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress instructed the Secretary of Energy submit a report assessing the state of water supply and demand and recommending future actions. DOE split the report into two parts: a general review of the connections between water and energy in the US and recommendations to offer Congress guidance in policy making.

The general review portion was submitted to Congress in 2007. However, the recommendations part, called the “Roadmap” has still not been released, though it was prepared some time ago.  

The members of Congress who signed the letter are: Earl Blumenauer, Donna M. Christensen, Steve Cohen, Gerald E. Connolly, John Conyers, Elijah Cummings, Alan Grayson, Raul M. Grijalva, Michael Honda, Joe Kennedy, John Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Nita Lowey, Jim Moran, Grace Napolitano, Scott Peters, Charles Rangel, Jan Schakowsky, Eric Swalwell, Paul Tonko, Chris Van Hollen, and Marc Veasey.

Below is the full text of the letter: 

Dear Secretary Moniz:

We would like to congratulate you on your confirmation and look forward to working with you this Congress.

We are writing to ask that the Department of Energy fulfill the Congressional mandate of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and prepare a comprehensive analysis of the impact of current energy production on our nation's water quality and water supply.  Water shortages and the availability of clean drinking water are real concerns to millions of Americans.    The recent and prolonged droughts affecting much of the country, underscore the urgent need for a national inventory and water impact assessment of US energy policies. This comprehensive analysis would give policymakers the information we need to develop new energy sources that require less water and result in lower water pollution.

In Section 979 of the 2005 Energy Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. § 16319, Congress directed the Energy Department to document the impact of our national energy choices on our nation’s water cycle.  

Specifically, the 109th Congress requested that the Energy Secretary submit a report describing the state of “planning, analysis, and modeling of energy and water supply and demand,” which should provide “recommendations for future actions.”

The DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) was eventually tasked with producing the report and shepherding it through the review process. EM contracted Sandia National Lab to write the report in two parts. The first part, called “Energy Demands on Water Resources,” was submitted to Congress in January 2007. It describes the interconnectedness of energy and water resources and the inherent risks of managing them independently of one another. 

Part two of the report, known as the “Roadmap”, would outline specific recommendations to Congress about how to overcome these challenges using the best science, management strategies, and appropriate technologies. Now, eight years after the initial request, policymakers and the public still need facts about how our energy portfolio affects water quality and water quantity in the United States.  While we understand that various drafts of the Roadmap exist, we are more concerned about having an up-to-date report that builds upon the advice of expert stakeholders to guide policymakers on the impact of energy choices on water quality and access.

Our energy choices are water intensive and may have profound impacts on water quality and water availability.  This information is critical for a range of stakeholders, from city planners to farmers, electric grid operators to the sportsmen and recreational industries

We believe that a comprehensive analysis and data that catalogues the impact of current energy production on our access to clean water will help Congress make responsible decisions on energy policy.  U.S. energy planning and decision making should be based on a comprehensive understanding of our national water resources. The national water roadmap that we are once again requesting is thus essential to our work on both energy policy and stewardship of America’s water resources.

We urge you to act quickly and assess the impact our energy choices have on American water quality and quantity.  We believe this information will be critical as we debate a balanced approach to energy production in the future.

 

ABOUT THE GROUPS:

The Committee for an American Clean Energy Agenda is comprised of 120 citizen organizations with nearly 2 million members in 33 states and the District of Columbia. Organized by the nonprofit Civil Society Institute and the Environmental Working Group, it is committed to promoting new, grassroots-driven politics to bring about a renewable energy future that goes beyond “business as usual”. Instead, taxpayer dollars should support an energy system that prevents degradation of the environment, protects public health, preserves access to clean water, sustains the electric grid and combats global climate change, all while laying the basis for an adequate standard of living for today’s populations and future generations.

Based in Newton, MA, the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org) is a think tank that serves as a catalyst for change by creating problem-solving interactions among people, and between communities, government and business that can help to improve society. Since 2003, CSI has conducted more than 25 major national and state-level surveys and reports on energy and auto issues, including vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, consumer demand for hybrids/other highly-fuel efficient vehicles, global warming and renewable energy. In addition to being a co-convener of TheCLEAN.org (http://www.TheClean.org), the Civil Society Institute also is the parent organization of the Hybrid Owners of America (http://www.HybridOwnersofAmerica.org).

EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. http://www.ewg.org.

 

Key Issues: