• Honoring Dr. King, His Legacy, and the Work that Remains

    We recognize the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. not only on the third Monday of January, but all year round. Environmental Justice is Social Justice, and this January 17th, we continue to acknowledge and reflect on the work that remains to be done for racial equity. Belinda Joyner, our Northeastern Organizer based in Garysburg, honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. below: As we approach the Birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. there's a sadness and happiness. Sad because he's no longer with us and happy for the LEGACY he left behind. The Dream that someday ALL GOD'S CHILDREN would come together as one and the INJUSTICE we face still today will one day be a thing of the past. That's why I can't set back and be silent. Like Dr. King, I have to be a VOICE for My People because those same INJUSTICES we faced then we are still facing them today. So we must continue the fight, we must continue to stand for those who feel like they can't. And I quote Dr. King as he sat in the Birmingham Jail from the letter that he wrote to his Fellow Clergymen "Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty" - Belinda Joyner, Clean Water for NC Northeastern Organizer


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  • PRESS RELEASE: DHHS Launches Low Income Household Water Assistance Program

    JANUARY 3, 2022 - The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today announced the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program will expand to include all low-income households needing assistance in paying their water bill. LIHWAP was created in December 2021 after the State of North Carolina was awarded more than $38 million in federal funds to establish a new water assistance program for households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, households with a current water/wastewater bill can begin applying for LIHWAP assistance if they meet the eligibility requirements, whether or not their water service has been disconnected. Households that have had their services disconnected or are in jeopardy of having their services disconnected can continue to apply. "Due to the pandemic and its impact on our economy, many households are struggling to maintain their water service," said Tara Myers, NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Employment, Inclusion and Economic Stability. "LIHWAP will continue to help families in North Carolina keep their water running, a basic human need that’s critical for good sanitation and better health." LIHWAP is a temporary emergency program that helps eligible households and families afford water and wastewater services. The program provides a one-time payment for eligible low-income households directly to the utility company. LIHWAP runs through September 2023 or until the funds run out. Individuals can apply online at epass.nc.gov. Individuals can also apply by printing a paper application from epass.nc.gov and dropping it off at or faxing it to their local county Department of Social Services or by calling their local county Department of Social Services to apply by phone. To be eligible for LIHWAP, a household must have at least one U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen and: Have income equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty level Have household services that are disconnected, in jeopardy of disconnection or have a current outstanding bill Be responsible for the water bill Households can apply through Sept. 30, 2023, or until funds are exhausted. For more information on this program and eligibility, visit the LIHWAP website at www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/energy-assistance/low-income-household-water-assistance-program-lihwap. × ICYMI: We just published our newest report "A Pandemic's Impact: Utility Disconnections, Evictions & Houselessness". Included is a list of resources for individuals facing economic hardships caused by the pandemic.


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  • Our Policy Wishlist for Private Well Users in 2022!

    Direct advocacy with communities on the ground for safe water and clean air is just one part of our Environmental Justice work! Policy development is a key aspect to ensure meaningful, sustainable change. We are excited to share our Well User Protection policy recommendations with our membership & NC legislators in 2022! Support Our Work Today Almost one third of North Carolinians rely on private wells for their drinking water - a source that is not protected under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. In partnership with UNC-Chapel Hill and the statewide Well Water Working Group, our team at CWFNC has developed two policy recommendations that we will be publishing in 2022 with the goal of raising support for these protections on the state level. Increased Funding for Private Well Tests Cost can be a major barrier for regular testing of private wells, particularly for low-income households. We believe this obstacle can be addressed by the Bernard Allen Fund, created in 2006 to improve the state’s response to private well water contamination and provide low-income households with a safe drinking water supply. Recommendations for the Fund include increasing funding available, providing a public application, increasing the household income limit or providing a sliding scale, and further addressing testing of naturally-occurring contaminants to better address threats to safe drinking water for well users. Requiring Well Testing Before a Real Estate Transaction A safe drinking water supply is essential to human health as well as protecting the value of residential property. If a real estate transfer is finalized before the property owner or renter discovers that the groundwater is contaminated, there may be limited options to remediate the issue. CWFNC believes that adequate testing is essential to due diligence prior to the purchase or rental of any property supplied by a private drinking water well, and is exploring policy initiatives in other states to help develop a similar policy recommendation here in NC. Thank you to all our new and recurring members for sustaining our Well User Protection policy work in 2021! We look forward to sharing more of this work and with you into the New Year! If you haven't given yet, consider donating to Clean Water for NC today and receive a tax deduction before the end of the year! Support Our Work Today


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  • Happy Holidays from CWFNC: A Year of Thanks!

    Another uniquely challenging year is coming to an end, as many communities continue to struggle with economic insecurities, health burdens, and social justice challenges during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While work on-the-ground again remained limited in 2021, we have done our very best to stay in touch with community members by email, phone, and Zoom, as well as to plan, inform and advocate for Environmental Justice.   This Holiday Season, we would like to reflect on the amazing work our team has accomplished in 2021 to address disparate environmental health impacts faced by our rural, low-income, and BIPOC neighbors.   Please enjoy our Photo Year in Review, and we look forward to sharing many more community successes with you in the New Year! Our Northeastern Organizer, Belinda Joyner, speaks out against the polluting wood pellet industry and its Environmental Justice impacts on communities in North Carolina during a rally at the legislature building in Raleigh. Rachel Velez, the Water Justice Program Director, organizes private well testing bottles in preparation for an upcoming outreach campaign in Union County. A main focus of our project is to promote environmental health literacy in underserved communities. July 5, 2021 marked the one year anniversary of the defeat of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline! While a victory for countless communities, we continue to review restoration plans and working with partners to restore easements back to property owners. Clean Water for NC staff hosted our Fall Virtual Meeting in September focused on “The Intersection of Civil Rights & Environmental Justice“! Many thanks to our speakers Belinda Joyner and Naeema Muhammad, as well as our 100+ participants! Amanda Strawderman, Polluter Accountability Program Director, monitors air emissions from an industrial animal waste-to-energy plant in Anson County. She sits on the NC CAFO roundtable and is working with groups to develop Environmental Justice policies requiring permitting authorities to consider EJ and cumulative impacts of a proposed facilities. Clean Water for NC joins in celebration with all the groups and community members who have worked effortlessly to STOP the MVP Southgate extension from cutting through North Carolina. In early December, it was announced that the VA Air Board denied a key permit for the Southgate project – a massive victory for our land, air, water, and communities! As with all our work, these actions and successes could not have been possible without the support of our dedicated membership. Consider making a gift today to promote our work towards Environmental Justice for all NC communities. Happy Holidays! We hope for a peaceful, prosperous and joyous season for you as we head into 2022.   Our offices will be closed December 22nd – December 31st. If you have any questions or concerns and would like to contact a member of staff, please email our Executive Director, Veronica Oakler: veronica@cwfnc.org


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  • NEW REPORT: A Pandemic’s Impact: Utility Disconnections, Evictions & Houselessness

    Clean Water for NC has been involved in advocating for low-income North Carolinians against utility rate increases for years, and we saw new concerns emerge with COVID’s significant financial hardship for many families nationally and in North Carolina. Staff, along with volunteer Lee Barnes, explored the nuances and impacts of the pandemic on utility insecurity, eviction insecurity, and houselessness in the U.S., and specifically North Carolina, during COVID-19.  Read the Report: "A Pandemic's Impact" The Utility and eviction moratoria are discussed in the context of race and class, especially considering access to utilities and reasonably priced rent before the pandemic as compared to during. The nature of utility shut-offs and why utility access is so important during a pandemic is covered in some detail, and there is discussion of private vs. public water utilities. We examine types of evictions and the legal nature of these evictions, along with the geographic patterns of evictions in the United States. The emotional, financial, and medical impacts of houselessness on Americans, especially during the pandemic, and especially during the climate crisis, are explored, as well as their racial context. We also include resources and highlight organizations providing assistance.  Clean Water for NC aims to demonstrate our commitment to holistically considering the issues facing underserved communities. We hope state policies better protect BIPOC communities facing water disconnections, higher rates of eviction, and unhoused status. Read the Report: "A Pandemic's Impact"


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  • Safe Drinking Water for ALL this Giving Tuesday!

    Hi friends! We work directly with low income, rural, and BIPOC communities to help address drinking water concerns, provide resources for water testing, and educate individuals on their drinking water rights, among MANY other education, outreach, and advocacy services. We are a small team with a HUGE vision: Safe, affordable drinking water for ALL North Carolinians!  Just this past year, we helped draft policy recommendations that we hope will strengthen protections for private well users across the state, including increasing funding for low-income households to test their drinking water. This Giving Tuesday, consider joining our membership and supporting our work to help more rural, low-income households have access to clean drinking water. We couldn’t do this work without supporters like you – any amount can make a huge difference! Yours for Water Justice, Clean Water for NC Staff


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  • Celebrating EJ Victories! New ‘Clean Currents’ Newsletter!

    “Clean Currents” is our organization’s quarterly newsletter featuring our current campaign work, drinking water news and opportunities to get involved!


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  • MVP Southgate & Continued Resistance

    This article is by CWFNC volunteer James Lopez Residents throughout the Appalachian states of Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina have united in protest against Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and the proposed MVP Southgate extension. MVP is a proposed natural gas pipeline that, if constructed, will be built through West Virginia and Virginia, with the Southgate extension cutting through southern Virginia and Rockingham and Alamance counties in North Carolina. The MVP pipeline was first announced in 2014, with construction expected to be complete by 2019. The coronavirus pandemic, loss of required…


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  • NC Legislature Finalizing Redistricting Maps – Be A Voice For YOUR Community!

    Our General Assembly is preparing to finalize the redistricting maps that could shape the state’s politics for a decade. Why Redistricting Matters! This is how funding is determined for communities,This determines how many House of Representatives each district receives, andRedlining can determine how votes are combined to favor one political party over another. The Republican-led legislature is aiming to have the maps for congressional districts and the General Assembly completed by Nov. 5. The state’s redistricting committees just announced public hearings…


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  • Acknowledging the Sacred Indigenous Lands of North Carolina

    “Our country was conceived on a promise of equality and opportunity for all people — a promise that, despite the extraordinary progress we have made through the years, we have never fully lived up to.  That is especially true when it comes to upholding the rights and dignity of the Indigenous people who were here long before colonization of the Americas began. For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures.  Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect…


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