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.
“Water level measurements obtained during this study clearly show that stream levels drive daily trends in groundwater levels. Combined with the detection of pharmaceuticals in groundwater collected several meters away from the stream, these results demonstrate that addition of wastewater to this stream results in unintentional, directed transport of pharmaceuticals into shallow groundwater,” said Paul Bradley, the study’s lead author.
Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can affect the reproductive system and cause the development of characteristics of the opposite sex, such as eggs in the testes of male fish. Wild- caught fish affected by endocrine-disrupting chemicals have been found in locations across the county. Estrogenic endocrine-disrupting chemicals are derived from a variety of sources from natural estrogens to synthetic pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals that enter the waterways.
A U.S. judge has ruled that BP’s recklessness caused 2010’s massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a move that could cost the company billions. Earlier this week Halliburton, the company in charge of sealing the completed Deepwater Horizon well that spewed millions of gallons of oil into the gulf, agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle claims arising from its negligence.
The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are among those calling to allow seismic testing to proceed off their coasts. They appear to have won the support of the Department of Interior, which in February published an environmental analysis that endorses seismic exploration for an area stretching from Delaware to Florida.
But a growing number of coastal cities and town have passed resolutions opposing seismic testing. They are Cape Canaveral, Fla.; Cocoa Beach, Fla.; Carolina Beach, N.C.; Nags Head, N.C.; Bradley Beach, N.J.; and Red Bank, N.J. In addition, the city of St. Augustine Beach, Fla. voted unanimously to oppose seismic testing and wrote a letter to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management expressing its opposition, while Caswell Beach, N.C. approved a resolution expressing concern about seismic testing.
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 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.