Press Room

River Watch Guest Editorials

March 28, 2002

Eureka Times Standard
PO Box 3580
Eureka, CA 95502

Dear Editor:

In response to your recent false accusations about River Watch we would like to suggest the following: Reporters covering important issues and who are dealing with the reputation of an organization call our office, talk to people on our board, or check our web site. It is irresponsible reporting to not present both sides of an issue. Furthermore, our actions speak much louder than the general hysteria surrounding inaccurate reporting.

For the record, River Watch is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the waters of Northern California through education, pollution prevention, enforcement, and preservation. One of the major sources of harm to our water resources and to public health are substandard sewage treatment facilities. In many communities, violations of the Clean Water Act stem from antiquated collection systems, undersized facilities, old equipment, and inconsistent maintenance schedules. Many violators do nothing about solving their pollution problems until someone steps in.

Generally, it is a public citizen who steps in and contacts River Watch. Many of these individuals are the victims of contamination who express health concerns for themselves and for their families. After a complaint is filed, those responsible for preserving water quality receive a notice letter and are given six months or more to address their pollution problems. River Watch makes every attempt to help those involved reach a mutual agreement. If no agreement is reached it is a judge decides the severity of the violations, as well as decides if the violations are, or already have been, addressed. The judge also determines the financial realities of any given lawsuit. Frivolous lawsuits remain just that-city attorneys have little difficulty in having them dismissed.

All monies that River Watch receives go back into the communities from which they come. Legal actions have funded a variety of environmental groups and projects in areas where contamination has occurred.

In the interest of public health and safety, River Watch is a just organization that seeks to right industries and municipalities who are lax in their desire to comply with the Clean Water Act. River Watch believes citizens and their communities have the right to healthy, clean water and they are not waiting around for a 10 million-dollar public works, miracle to fix the wrongs of heedless development. Please check our web site: www.northerncaliforniariverwatch.org.

Thank you,
Margaret Bacigalupi, Michelle Conte, Lisa Mador, Richard Heinberg, Ralph Metzner
River Watch Board
PO Box 1360
Occidental, CA 95465