2013 IWLA National Conservation Policy Resolutions

Every year at our national convention, Izaak Walton League members adopt conservation policies though a unique resolutions process. Resolutions are vetted by delegates representing the League’s diverse membership. The policies that make it through this process not only guide League efforts, they provide a template for the broader conservation community. The resolutions adopted by League delegates at the 2013 national convention are listed below a summary of each issue (resolution text in bold).

Emerging Contaminants of Concerns in Our Waterways
Numerous studies have documented the presence of active pharmaceutical ingredients in our rivers, including antibiotics, nonprescription drugs, other prescription drugs, and reproductive hormones (as from birth control pills). These contaminants are not necessarily removed through current drinking water treatment technology nor is there routine testing for this broad range of contaminants.

Due to health and environmental concerns, public health officials have changed recommendations for disposal of pharmaceuticals that are out-of-date or will not be used and now recommend against flushing any medication down the toilet. For unwanted and unused prescription medications, the preferred disposal method is through “Take-Back” programs at local pharmacies, or collection days typically sponsored by law enforcement agencies to prevent abuse of these drugs by unintended users and also keep them from being discharged from wastewater.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Izaak Walton League of America, assembled in convention in Fredericksburg, Virginia, July 26, 2013, supports locally-based take back programs to allow for the safe disposal of unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and federal and state legislation establishing and regulating such programs. Wherever possible, these programs should be supported through a combination of private sector (participating pharmacies) and public sector (local law enforcement) engagement as needed to assure that all residents have a low-cost or no-cost way to return unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs for proper disposal.

Sustainable Clean Energy Resolution
Multiple League chapters and members submitted resolutions and evidence in support of renewable energy, including research concluding that 100 percent of the world’s energy needs can be met by renewable energy sources using existing technologies by 2030-2050. These researchers claim that shifting to a new energy infrastructure that relies solely on alternative energies is economically feasible, cheaper than our current energy mix, and would create millions of jobs. Further, fossil fuels, which currently provide over 80 percent of the world’s energy supply, have important functions which they are needed for besides energy production, including as lubricants and in chemical industry applications. League delegates opted to support a transition to 100 percent renewable energy sources but not propose any deadlines for that transition.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Izaak Walton League of America, assembled in convention in Fredericksburg, Virginia on July 26, 2013, supports a goal of 100% energy production from renewable sources.

Safe Disposal of Coal Ash
Power plants and industrial boilers generate waste products collectively known as “coal ash”. Coal ash contains harmful levels of more than 20 trace heavy metals, elevated radioactivity, harmful pH levels and high concentrations of dangerous salts. Lax regulation and the dumping of coal ash has contaminated water supplies with toxic metals, harmful salts and pH levels, and harmed wildlife, and threatens human health. Coal ash is the second largest industrial waste stream in America and is less regulated than household garbage. More than half of the 1400 known coal ash dump sites around the United States are unlined and unmonitored by state and federal agencies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing rules under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act setting minimum requirements for states that will phase out the wet storage of coal ash, regulate its placement above groundwater supplies, and require leachate collection, treatment, monitoring, and covers at disposal sites, and proper closure and cleanup of contaminated sites. In order to address this problem, and counteract industry opposition to these reasonable regulations, delegates adopted the following resolution:

Therefore, be it resolved that the Izaak Walton League of America, assembled in convention in Fredericksburg, Virginia, July 26th 2013, calls upon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to finalize, without further delay:

  1. Regulations governing the disposal of coal ash under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; and 
  2. The most protective Power Plant Effluent Limitation Guidelines requiring, where applicable, zero discharge of heavy metals in coal ash to waters of the United States.

Oil and Natural Gas Drilling
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking or simply fracking, is an increasingly popular method of extracting natural gas from the earth. As part of this process, gas companies inject a blend of chemicals, water, sand, and other ingredients into the earth in order to free up natural gas from the soil in order to extract it. This process, and the associated chemicals and water, are currently exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act, posing unknown risks to our water supply, and to human and environmental health.

League delegates voted to amend existing League policy on oil and natural gas drilling to explicitly ask Congress to repeal current exemptions from the Safe Drinking Water Act for hydraulic fracturing, exemptions that were created in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The full resolution reads as follows:

Therefore, be it resolved that the Izaak Walton League of America, assembled in convention in Fredericksburg, Virginia, July 26, 2013, amends its Oil and Natural Gas Drilling policy (Chapter VII Energy, Section H) Oil and Natural Gas Drilling and Extraction, part 1) a)) to read:

  1. a) Congress should repeal sections 402(l)(2) and 502(24) of the Clean Water Act, which exempt oil and natural gas drilling from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements, and section 322 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which exempts hydraulic fracturing operations from the drinking water protections required for other forms of underground injection through the Safe Drinking Water Act.

b) Following repeal of sections 402(1)(2) and 502(24) of the Clean Water Act, and Section 322 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the EPA shall develop and adopt regulations:

i. applying the NPDES permit process to discharges of storm water runoff from oil and natural gas operations. Regulations must require monitoring and reporting of storm water discharges and can utilize general permits, provided such permits require individual site registration and address factors specific to each geographic area and geologic production zone; and

ii. under the Safe Drinking Water Act that reflect repeal of Section 322 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

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