After the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, Americans saw a dramatic decline in the pollution of our waterways. But that progress has been eroded. Policies adopted following Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 undermined the Clean Water Act by creating uncertainty about which waterways were covered. Since then, the EPA has failed to prosecute hundreds of polluters who benefit from the confusion, and countless streams, ponds and wetlands are currently threatened, potentially affecting the drinking water of more than 117 million Americans.
Environmental activists in Appalachia have long suspected that water samples from mountaintop removal mines are sometimes tampered with, but now someone has been caught at it. IMO, this kind of thing is a natural consequence of letting the extractive industry buy politicians…or lab techs or anybody else.
I hope this case strengthens the campaign in Tennessee and other states to keep regulatory authority for coal mining (primacy) with the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and not the states.
“A Raleigh County man pleaded guilty Thursday to repeatedly faking compliant water quality standards for coal companies, in a case that raises questions about the self-reporting system state and federal regulators use as a central tool to judge if the mining industry is following pollution limits.”
We expect our leaders to have a clear picture of our world and the conditions necessary for human life and well-being. If they don’t, how can they make informed decisions? So let me outline some simple, scientifically validated truths about us and the world we live in — truths that should guide our political decisions.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to take a serious look at the health and environmental risks of atrazine — a dangerous pesticide, commonly found in drinking water, that’s now detected in about 95 percent of our waterways.
Atrazine is a potent endocrine disrupter that causes complete sex reversal in male frogs at concentrations 120 times lower than what the EPA currently allows in our water supply. The toxic chemical also causes an increased risk of birth defects and cancers in humans.
Atrazine’s dangerous risks to wildlife and human health are unacceptable. It’s time for the EPA to ban this chemical.
Please take action now to tell the agency to ban the toxic pesticide atrazine and protect our health and environment.
I’m now curating articles on gas well drilling, shale gas, hydrofracking and fossil foolishness at Scoop.it — see them at Frackinformant.
I first heard about this via Sierra Club’s press release today applauding Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s decision. According to the Sierra Club press release,
In an internal DEP e-mail message from DEP Executive Deputy Secretary John Hines, dated March 23, DEP inspectors were told that any Notices of Violations (NOVs) would need to be cleared by DEP Secretary Michael Krancer. The new enforcement policy would prevent inspectors from taking enforcement actions by issuing an NOV directly to a drilling company violating environmental laws or regulations. The directive, never intended to be made public, was sent to a reporter at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, who broke the story.
After hearing about the memo, the Sierra Club and other groups had quickly launched a campaign to get members to contact Governor Corbett to protest his decision.
Here’s an excerpt from a story on the reversal that appeared in today’s Post-Gazette:
The state Department of Environmental Protection has completely rolled back a controversial, 5-week-old procedural change that required all field enforcement actions involving Marcellus Shale gas drilling operations be pre-approved by political appointees in Harrisburg.
Katy Gresh, DEP spokeswoman, said the department’s oil and gas field inspectors are again allowed to write violation notices as they did prior to a March 23 internal department memo that directed them to take no action on violations until they received “final clearance” from DEP Secretary Michael Krancer and a handful of other administrators.
“The notice of violation process is just as it was. The inspectors don’t need pre-approval and that has been communicated to them,” said Ms. Gresh, who added that department administrators will continue to review the violations after they are written to ensure regulations are enforced consistently.
Interesting blog post from Lisa Evans at Earthjustice on possible further delay of coal ash regulations:
EPA has blamed the projected delay on the thousands of public comments it received on its proposed rule. It is untenable, however, that public comments alone could cause the target date to slip by years. Ironically, thousands of citizens in 2010 asked EPA for timely and decisive action. Now, the very existence of their pleas has created a screen behind which EPA can hide.
Read the whole post via Tr-Ash Talk: Deliberate and Dangerous Delay | Earthjustice.