Tag Archive for 'clean water act'

$6.6-million settlement reached on Malibu beach water pollution

“Malibu has reached a $6.6-million legal settlement with environmental groups that both sides say will protect beachgoers by reducing the amount of polluted storm runoff that reaches the ocean.

“The settlement of a 2008 federal Clean Water Act lawsuit against the city by Santa Monica Baykeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council was approved Friday by a unanimous vote of the Malibu City Council during a special closed-session meeting.

“The agreement requires Malibu to build rain-water harvesting, infiltration or treatment devices to catch storm water before it is released from 17 storm drains throughout the city. In all, the work will cost about $5.6 million, said City Atty. Christi Hogin, who noted that Malibu is already undertaking 11 of those projects.

“The city also agreed to pay the environmental groups $750,000 in legal fees and set aside $250,000 to fund an ocean health assessment of Santa Monica Bay in collaboration with scientists at Cal State Northridge.”

Read more: The L.A. Times

Power Plants Face EPA Cooling-Water Rules to Protect Fish

Entergy said last month that it was worried the EPA rule would force it to to spend $1.2 billion building two cooling towers at its Indina Point plant. Photographer: Mike Di Paola/Bloomberg

“Utilities such as Entergy Corp. (ETR) face U.S. rules aimed at preventing fish from being sucked into cooling-water systems and costing industry $384 million a year, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

“The Obama administration’s proposal introduced yesterday will affect more than 1,200 facilities and save billions of aquatic organisms, including 615 million fish and shellfish a year, the agency said in an e-mailed statement.

“The EPA rule, part of a court settlement with environmental groups, will cover power plants and factories that pull water from rivers or lakes to cool machines. Existing facilities will work with states to determine how to meet the requirements while new units will have to use closed-cycle cooling, a system that draws less water and ensnares fewer fish.

““The EPA’s approach is likely to minimize the industry’s cost of compliance,” Hugh Wynne, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein & Co. in New York, wrote today in a report to clients.

“The EPA’s pending proposal under the Clean Water Act had been singled out by energy companies, industry groups and Republican lawmakers as a regulation that may burden electric utilities and cause some coal-fired power plants to shut down.

“Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, in December said the rule might cost utilities as much as $300 million per site for coal-fired plants and as much as $1 billion for nuclear generators, exceeding the EPA’s projections.

Exelon Corp. (EXC), owner of the most U.S. nuclear plants, said today the EPA’s proposed standard doesn’t require existing plants to build costly cooling towers.”

Read more: Bloomberg

Big Coal’s Watergate? Nation Watches as Clean Water Act Scandal Rocks Kentucky Court Today

“Extraordinary investigative work turned up over 20,000 incidences of Clean Water Act violations by three coal companies. Now will they finally be held accountable?

“Clean water advocates and concerned citizens across the nation will be monitoring a blockbuster Kentucky court case today, which will ultimately determine whether citizens can intervene in a state’s gross mishandling of indisputable acts of contempt and egregious Clean Water Act violations by two coal companies.

“According to many observers, the sheer number of fraudulent acts and mind-boggling oversights could turn this case into Big Coal’s Watergate–or Clean Watergate.

“Thanks to the extraordinary investigative work of clean water advocates, Kentucky subsidiaries of International Coal Group and Frasure Creek Mining were singled out in an intent to sue notice last October of “over 20,000 incidences of these three companies either exceeding permit pollution limits, failing to submit reports, or falsifying the required monitoring data. These violations could result in fines that may exceed 740 million dollars.””

Read more: AlterNet

EPA declares L.A. River navigable waters

The concrete lined Los Angeles River. Retrieved from: LA Times

“U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Wednesday declared the entire concrete-lined Los Angeles River channel “traditional navigable waters,” a designation crucial to applying Clean Water Act protections throughout its 834-square-mile urban watershed.

“We’re moving away from the concrete,” Jackson told more than 200 residents and government officials on the banks of one of the river’s heavily polluted tributaries, Compton Creek.

“This is a watershed as important as any other,” she said. “So we are going to build a federal partnership to empower communities like yours .… We want the L.A. River to demonstrate how urban waterways across the country can serve as assets in building stronger neighborhoods, attracting new businesses and creating new jobs.”

“The decision may seem odd to people who know the L.A. River as a flood-control channel of treated water a few inches deep flowing between massive, graffiti-marred concrete banks strewn with rotting garbage and broken glass, and occasionally polluted with chemicals illegally dumped in storm drains and gutters that empty into it.

“Jackson said the EPA considered factors beyond whether the river’s flow and depth can support navigation from its origins at the confluence of the Arroyo Calabasas and Bell Creek in the San Fernando Valley all the way to San Pedro Bay, a distance of about 51 miles.”

read more: LA Times

Restore the Clean Water Act

Retrieved from: Treehugger.com

“The Clean Water Act was first implemented nearly 40 years ago. It is arguably one of the most successful environmental laws ever passed and a generation of Americans has enjoyed safer, fishable, and swimmable waters because of it. However, in the past decade, misguided court decisions and Bush Administration directives have broken the Clean Water Act, opening the door for corporate polluters to contaminate previously protected waters — putting the drinking supply of over 117 million Americans at risk.

“On April 21st, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN), along with Reps. Vern Ehlers (R-MI) and John Dingell (D-MI), introduced America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act (H.R. 5088), or ACCWA, to address the disrepair of the Clean Water Act and restore its original intent. ACCWA would reinstate protections to the estimated 59% of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands at risk. Last June, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved similar legislation, known as the Clean Water Restoration Act (S. 787).

“We applaud Chairman Oberstar, and leaders in the Senate, for their continued leadership as clean water is one of the most crucial public health, safety and environmental issues we face.”

read more: Huffington Post

EPA concerned about Monsanto pollution control dam

retrieved from: hays.outcrop.org

“BOISE, Idaho — Federal regulators are concerned that a dam built by Monsanto Co. earlier this year to trap phosphate mine runoff may be stopping more than just pollution.

“They say the dam has also halted millions of gallons of water in Sheep Creek that would otherwise help fill the Blackfoot River.

“The Environmental Protection Agency now wants the maker of Roundup herbicide to begin a costly treatment to remove selenium and heavy metals, then discharge clean water downstream, instead of capturing it in a 50-million-gallon lake behind the dam and using it for dust control on its mining roads.

“The situation shows the predicament that companies like St. Louis-based Monsanto and the government face in Idaho’s rich-but-polluted phosphate mining country not far from Yellowtone National Park: They must work to contain naturally occurring poisons unearthed during a century of digging, while protecting water supplies in an agricultural state hit hard by drought over the last decade.

“The aim is to avoid killing streams just to save them.”

read more: Associated Press

They’re Still Blowing Up Our Mountains and There Still Oughta Be a Law

Mountaintop Removal Mine Site above Route 23 in Pike County, Kentucky

“A month ago, before the nation’s attention was drawn to the tragedies at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia and the oil rig off the Louisiana coast, the EPA issued a blockbuster announcement about a strict new guidance for the permitting of mountaintop removalmines in Appalachia. The announcement left many people — reporters, politicians and the general public alike — confused whether or not the EPA had just put an end to mountaintop removal. The announcement generated headlines ranging from a fairly modest “E.P.A. to Limit Water Pollution From Mining” in theNew York Times to “New regulations will put an end to mountaintop mining?” in the Guardian.

“Certainly at the press conference EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used some strong language: ”Coal communities should not have to sacrifice their environment or their health or their economic future to mountaintop mining. They deserve the full protection of our clean water laws.”

“Some insiders have also expressed concern that the EPA’s strict new guidance will take the wind out the sails of the campaign to pass a law, but from the perspective of Appalachian groups that have been working to ban mountaintop removal for decades, that concern is misplaced. The citizens of Appalachia have led this fight from the beginning, and have a much more vested interest in making these protections permanent than any group in Washington, D.C.

“There is a window of opportunity right now to pass a strong law that will rein in mountaintop removal permanently. Also, with coal demand down dramatically due to the recession, now is the time to begin replacing mountaintop removal coal with aggressive energy efficiency and renewable energy policies in states like North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia that are most dependent on this source of coal.”

read more: Huffington Post

A New Shade of Green

EARTH2

“We humans with our big cars and our big factories and our big cities were discharging terrible stuff into the air and water, and it had to be stopped or we would soon make our nest uninhabitable. The public was growing increasingly outraged. Every night on color television, we saw yellow sludge flowing into blue rivers; every day as we drove to work, we saw black smudges against the barely visible blue sky. We knew that our indiscriminate use of pesticides and toxic substances was threatening wildlife and public health.”

“But we didn’t do much about it. Until 1970, most regulation of industry was done by the states, which competed so strongly for plants and jobs that regulating companies to protect public health was beyond them.

“Environmentally, it was a race to the bottom.”

read more: Wall Street Journal

The Nation’s Big Water Repair Bill

toxic water

“While the E.P.A. and state environmental agencies are failing to fully enforce our federal and state clean water laws, it’s also a funding problem. Since 1978, the U.S. share of water infrastructure spending has plunged from about 75 percent to less than 5 percent, leaving cash-strapped state and local governments to shoulder an expense most cannot afford.

“As a result, our water delivery and sewage treatment systems are deteriorating, threatening public health and forcing many Americans to rely increasingly on expensive bottled water, which from an environmental and economic point of view is a disastrous trend.”

read more: New York Times

EPA study of the Portage River Basin indicates several major non-attainments

Mouth of the Portage River in Port Clinton

“According to the Clean Water Act, all rivers and streams should be suitable for recreation and/or aquatic life. It is the job of the EPA to evaluate whether they meet these standards. Between 2006 and 2008, the Ohio EPA tested 80 sites in the Portage River Basin, with nearly half failing to meet Clean Water Act standards. Overall, 27% were in partial attainment, and 19% were in non-attainment.

“Many of the issues of the assessment indicate sewage treatment failures. Water around Fosteria and Port Clinton had high ammonia levels, an indication of failures at their waste water treatment facility. Failing home sewage treatment systems and unsewered areas also contributed to nutrient and organic overload. ”

read more: Examiner