Federal Water Tap, July 18: EPA Under Pressure

House Takes On the EPA
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from overturning state decisions on water quality, the Huffington Post reports. Sixteen Democrats voted with the Republican majority.

GAO Rebukes the EPA
The Government Accountability Office says that the Environmental Protection Agency ‘has not effectively implemented’ the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The GAO report criticizes the EPA on two levels. In general the EPA, in deciding which chemicals to regulate, has selected chemicals based on data availability rather than what is the greatest public health concern. Of the 20 candidates for potential regulation in 2003 and 2008, none was chosen for regulation because none was determined to be sufficiently widespread.

The GAO criticizes the EPA specifically for how the agency handled its decision in 2008 not to regulate perchlorate, a jet-fuel ingredient. That decision, which was reversed earlier this year, was confined to high-level administrators and did not include the professional staff, who usually provide expert knowledge.

Deadly Water
A high-volume dose of hydro fracking wastewater sprayed on a research site in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest killed ground vegetation within days and trees within two years, according to a U.S. Forest Service report published in the Journal of Environmental Quality. The Associated Press reports that 75,000 gallons of wastewater were sprayed on a quarter-acre plot of the forest set aside for experiments. Researchers involved with the study suggest that waste disposal regulations should take land area as well as chemical concentration into account.

And Some Good News in Health
The guinea worm enters a person’s body from contaminated drinking water and can grow up to two feet in length. When the worm emerges through the skin, it can cripple a person for months and, in some cases, permanently. Some 3.5 million people were infected in 1986, but last year only 1,797 cases in four sub-Saharan countries were reported. Public health officials hope to eradicate the worm by next year.

The reduction and anticipated eradication is one of the top ten global public health achievements for the first decade of this century, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation also made this list.

Montana Oil Spill, a Crude Awakening
Federal regulators from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration told Reuters that the oil pipeline in Montana that ruptured earlier this month may have carried some tar sands crude, which is more corrosive than other forms of oil. Federal inspectors are trying to determine whether the heavier crude could have damaged the pipeline. Opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have argued that such spills are more likely to happen with oil from the tar sands.

Great Lakes Report and Meeting
The International Joint Commission, a bilateral body governing rivers and lakes shared by the United States and Canada, has released a progress report for its study of water levels in the upper Great Lakes. The commission is reviewing how water is regulated in the lakes and is developing a new management plan. Public comments are being accepted through August 31 and a series of informational meetings will be held in the basin states. Details for both can be found here.

Federal Water Tap is a weekly digest spotting trends in U.S. government water policy. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

2 replies
  1. nyscof says:

    EPA is embroiled in the politics of actually adding a toxic chemical into the drinking water – fluoride. EPA is supposed to regulate fluoride as a contaminant but they kowtow to the American Dental Association when ruling on the fluoride chemicals added to water supplies in a failed effort to reduce tooth decay.

    Fluoride chemicals are allowed to contain trace amount of known cancer-causing toxins such as arsenic. Yet EPA management turns a blind eye to it. EPA scientists and professionals, protected by union membership, want fluoridation stopped. The politics of fluoridation keep it alive. The science of fluoridation shows it’s a total waste of money is endangering our lives and doesn’t reduce tooth decay.

    Organized dentistry, with it pockets full of corporate cash, takes the lead on protecting fluoride every way they can. Then use that money to get laws passed to continue dentistry as the lucrative monopoly that it is.

    for more info http://www.FluorideAction.Net


  2. Miller Plante says:

    To have the best chance at Passing the New 2011 EPA Regulations for Drain Field and Nitrate Level Inspections; which are happening across the Country with as little as a 2 weeks notice; Use the All-Natural http://www.MillerPlante.net Advanced Formula “Septic-Helper 2000” and the Phosphate and Nitrate Free “Enza Washer Balls”. The Septic System Treatment has the natural bacteria and enzymes that liquefy the waste in the tank AND out in the drain field.

    No matter where you live, the New 2011 EPA mandates say that even a slow drain in your leach field or elevated Nitrate levels could require replacement of your entire system for $10,000 to $50,000 or connect to city sewer and fluoridated city water.

    Septic System News – http://www.Twitter.com/MillerPlanteInc

    UN Agenda 21, Ch. 18 – http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/res_agenda21_18.shtml
    US Clean Water Act – http://www.epa.gov/oecaerth/assistance/bystatute/cwa/index.html
    EPA TMDL (Nitrate Limits for Water Supplies) – http://www.epa.gov/chesapeakebaytmdl/
    EPA Mandated Inspections – http://www.marex.uga.edu/advisory/cssmip.html

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