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This week the EPA finalized a Clean Water Rule that will better protect our nation's waterways, but polluting industries are looking to Congress to block this rule.

Growing up in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, the streams and rivers were not only our source of clean drinking water, they were our playgrounds. As a kid, I roamed the forests and spent a lot of time in the creeks, especially where I could slide down slick rocks into cold pools.

Drought conditions are threatening Emigrant Lake in Ashland, Oregon.

Thirsty Thursdays is a biweekly blog series exploring the historic drought in the western United States. In the ongoing series, we’ll share expert opinions, breaking news, compelling articles and the work Earthjustice is doing to protect water resources in a time of extreme water scarcity. Today, we’ll take a look at recent news and some of our favorite articles and videos from around the web.  

Crescent Lake, Maine

In the coming month, many kids around the country will excitedly prepare to spend their summers at camps that rest on the shores of scenic lakes and ponds. I used to be one of those lucky kids when I spent my coming of age summers at a camp on Crescent Lake.  

Sure, I have never been a particularly strong swimmer and I did spend most of my childhood afraid of water, but I could not help but appreciate the beauty and enjoyment of Crescent Lake. I swam, fished and paddled kayaks and rowboats in that lake.

Today the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finalized a Clean Water Rule that will better protect local streams that feed lakes, rivers and oceans.

The only problem with a pastime like fishing in the middle of the Arizona desert was the absence of a real lake, but that didn’t stop my grandpa Jimmy.

A WWII paratrooper from South Carolina, Jimmy had settled down in Tucson, Arizona after the war. By the time I met him, he had long retired his wild side for quieter hobbies like watching Jeopardy, writing poetry and fishing.

A coal fired power plant in Nevada

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., recently joined with other longtime climate deniers to introduce a bill that would derail the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. The plan when finalized this summer would set the first-ever federal limits on the biggest source of carbon pollution: existing power plants.

Kayaktivists rally against Shell Oil and Arctic drilling in the Port of Seattle.

Last week brought bad news for the Arctic Ocean. On Monday, the Department of the Interior conditionally approved Shell Oil’s multi-year plan to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea. While Shell still needs to clear some hurdles before it can drill, Monday’s approval essentially gives it the green light to sink its wells in search of the next big oil field in one of the worst places on Earth to search for oil—the pristine and fragile Arctic ocean ecosystem. 

The drilling could start as early as July of this year.

Fiona helps prepare a sign that reads "I am 3 years old and I have asthma. Protect my lungs."

Three years ago, Gretchen Dahlkemper had to rush to the emergency room with her 11-month-old daughter, Fiona, who was struggling to breathe. “Her lips turned blue and she was making a funny noise—at first I thought it was a child’s toy I was hearing.”

It turns out asthma was the cause of Fiona’s breathing problems.

“You can’t imagine the terror you feel when you have a tiny baby who can’t catch her breath,” Dahlkemper said, adding, “You rush to the hospital and hope you can get there in time.”

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About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.