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Our Programs

Clean Water & Air

Goal: Protect the water we drink and the air we breathe by holding polluters accountable, networking local clean water champions, and more.
In a greener, healthier world, all of us would treat our air and water as the precious life-giving resources they are, not as dumping grounds for our waste. Environment America takes concrete steps to move us closer to the world we want to live in, from holding illegal water and air polluters accountable to networking local citizens who serve as champions of the local waters they love.
  • <h4>LITIGATION PROJECT</h4><h5>Our litigation team has helped win more than $250 million in court-ordered penalties and water and air pollution-reducing actions, from San Francisco Bay to Boston Harbor.</h5><em>Photo Denbow</em>
  • <h4>CLEAN WATER NETWORK</h4><h5>Our Clean Water Network connects more than 250 local and regional watershed protection groups, so they can share ideas and resources, gain expertise, and band together to take on bigger challenges.</h5><em>Gordon Black / Cahaba River Society</em>
  • <h4>GET THE LEAD OUT</h4><h5>Medical experts estimate more than 24 million American kids will lose IQ points due to lead exposure. Some will be exposed in their schools’ drinking water. We’re calling on state and local leaders to Get the Lead Out.</h5><em>Phase4Photography / Shutterstock.com</em>
  • <h4>ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE: OUR WATER</h4><h5>Washington officials are pushing to turn back the clock on clean water protection. We’re defending our water by working to make sure the EPA gets the money it needs to do its job, keeping our streams protected and more.</h5><em>Nicholas Thomas</em>
  • <h4>ACTION & RESULTS</h4><h5>From making polluters clean up and pay through more than 100 enforcement actions, to steps reducing pollution from power plants and other sources, our national network has a strong record of action and results for our water and air.</h5><em>staff photo</em>
Clean air to breathe, clean water to drink

To promote clean water and air, Environment America, our network of 29 state affiliates, and members and activists in all 50 states are running these projects and campaigns:

Litigation Project: For 30 years, our litigation team has taken polluters directly to court under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and other environmental laws, winning more than $250 million in court-ordered penalties and pollution-reducing actions.

Clean Water Network: Since 2014, we’ve coordinated the Clean Water Network, uniting more than 250 local and regional citizen groups to become more effective clean water champions.

Get the Lead Out: It’s not just Flint: Millions of American kids are being exposed to lead in their drinking water. We’re calling on state and local leaders to get the lead out, starting with schools and day care centers.

Environmental Defense: Our Water: Deep cuts to the EPA and the repeal of clean water protections threaten our waters and the people and wildlife that depend on them. We’re connecting the votes and actions of our elected officials with the health of the local waterways people care about most.

The Environment America approach

Each of these campaigns and projects aims to protect the water we drink and the air we breathe in unique ways. But they share a common approach. Each campaign strives to:

Put the environment first. A healthy environment isn’t the hoped-for by-product of prosperity. It’s the necessary precondition and only sustainable source. Through our research and public education, we’re working to shift more hearts and minds over to this point of view.

Take a strategic approach. We must think big and act boldly, but we recognize that progress comes one step at a time. Our focus is on making a difference in public policy and in our lives and our environment, not just making a statement.

Build on what works. We’ve won policies, actions and decisions that have resulted in cleaner rivers, streams, lakes, bays, harbors, estuaries and drinking water across the country. We know which policies work, how they can be improved, and what it takes to win their approval. As always, we’re also open to new ideas that work even better.

Work together. We work to unite people from all across the political spectrum around clean water and air, whether it’s parents in New Jersey concerned about their children’s drinking water or the families in Texas who live near polluting petrochemical refineries. Our advocates in Washington, D.C., lobby members of Congress from both parties. Our advocates in the states build coalitions that include doctors and nurses, outdoors lovers, small business owners and people from all walks of life. Our organizers and canvassers engage literally hundreds of thousands of people. Our members and activists live in all 50 states.

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Through Environment America, thousands of citizen members are teaming up with a professional staff to stand up for the places we love and the environmental values. Sign up for updates and opportunities to get involved.