Buehring said she was forced to shutter the business because noxious fumes from the dozens of oil-and-gas facilities that surround her rural home and office became so overpowering she could no longer work. Read More.
Cleaning up hazardous waste sites protects human health, raises property value, and facilitates the economic restoration of communities
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adding two hazardous waste sites that pose risks to human health and the environment to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites, reducing health impacts, including protecting infant health, and encouraging economic revitalization of a formerly toxic site. In addition, the agency is proposing to add sixadditional sites to the list.
“By updating the NPL, we continue to fulfill our mission to protect public health and the environment by cleaning up contaminated land and returning formerly toxic sites to communities for productive use,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Superfund cleanups help advance the economic well-being of communities by turning contaminated properties into productive community resources that can enhance property values, create jobs and broaden tax bases.”
Recent academic research contributes more evidence that Superfund cleanups help protect public health. An academic study,Superfund Cleanups and Infant Health, demonstrated that investment in Superfund cleanups reduces the incidence of congenital abnormalities for those living within 5,000 meters (or 5,468 yards) of a site.
Today, more than 800 Superfund sites across the nation support some type of continued use, active reuse or planned reuse activities. EPA found at 450 of the 800 sites, at the end of fiscal year 2014, there were ongoing operations of approximately 3,400 businesses, generating annual sales of more than $65 billion and employing more than 89,000 people. Another study conducted by researchers at Duke and Pittsburgh Universities, concluded that making a site final on the NPL may increase housing prices by signaling that a site will be cleaned up. Furthermore, the study found that once a site has all cleanup remedies in place, nearby properties have a significant increase in property values as compared to pre-NPL proposal values. The following two sites have been added to the NPL:
- Indiana – Kokomo Contaminated Ground Water Plume (ground water plume) in Kokomo, Ind.
- Michigan – DSC McLouth Steel Gibraltar Plant (steel finishing operation) in Gibraltar, Mich.
The following six sites have been proposed for addition to the NPL:
- Illinois – Estech General Chemical Company (pesticide manufacturer) in Calumet City, Ill.
- Louisiana – Colonial Creosote (wood treatment plant) in Bogalusa, La.
- Massachusetts – BJAT LLC (various industrial operations) in Franklin, Mass.
- Montana – Anaconda Aluminum Company Columbia Falls Reduction Plant (aluminum smelter) in Columbia Falls, Mont.
- Texas – Main Street Ground Water Plume (ground water plume) in Burnet, Tex.
- Washington – Grain Handling Facility at Freeman (grain handling facility) in Freeman, Wash.
The Superfund program, a federal program established by Congress in 1980, investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country and converts them into productive community resources by eliminating or reducing public health risks and environmental contamination associated with hazardous waste sites.
The sites announced today have characteristics and conditions that vary in terms of size, complexity and contamination. As with all NPL sites, EPA first works to identify the parties responsible for the contamination at a site, and requires them to conduct or pay for the cleanup. For the newly added sites without viable potentially responsible parties, EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting substantial cleanup at the site.
Past and current uses of the sites announced today include pesticide manufacturing, aluminum smelting, grain handling, wood treatment and steel finishing operations. Improper hazardous waste management associated with these activities, led to the release of numerous site contaminants into the environment, including lead, mercury, zinc and other metals; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and chlorinated solvents, such as vinyl chloride. Contamination affects surface water, ground water, soil and wetlands.
The Kokomo Contaminated Ground Water Plume is in an area with facilities that handle chlorinated solvents, however no source has been identified. The plume is approximately 294 acres and encompasses several municipal wells in the city. Approximately 55,000 Kokomo residents rely on drinking water from the affected well field.
The DSC McLouth Steel Gibraltar Plant Area site is a former steel processing facility which ceased operations in the mid- 1990’s where mismanaged leachate control systems have resulted in contamination to adjacent creeks and drains leading to the Detroit River.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the enactment of the Comprehensive Environmental, Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program. Superfund’s passage was a giant step forward in cleaning up industrial waste sites to help ensure human health and environmental protection. The Superfund law gives EPA the authority to clean up releases of hazardous substances and directs EPA to update the NPL at least annually. The NPL contains the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites. The list serves as the basis for prioritizing both enforcement actions and long-term EPA Superfund cleanup funding; only sites on the NPL are eligible for such funding.
Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm
Information about how a site is listed on the NPL: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/npl_hrs.htm
Superfund sites in local communities: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/index.htm
More information about the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program, can be found at: http://epa.gov/superfund/policy/cercla.htm
We thank you Seneca Lake protestors!
Watkins Glen, NY – In three speedy hearings on Wednesday night in the Town of Reading court, Judge Raymond Berry granted a motion to dismiss all charges “in the interests of justice” brought by 42 Seneca Lake protesters. All had been arrested as part of a sustained civil disobedience campaign at the gates of Crestwood Midstream.
The campaign, We Are Seneca Lake, opposes the expansion of gas storage in abandoned lakeside salt caverns owned by Crestwood.
Further, attorneys for the defendants announced that an agreement had been reached with the Schuyler County district attorney’s office to accept identical dismissal motions from the roughly 100 other civil disobedients also charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct relating to protests at Seneca Lake and whose cases are still pending. At least 20 cases have been transferred to other area courts in Schuyler County.
Ithaca attorney Ray Schlather, member of the legal defense team advising the protesters, negotiated the mass dismissal agreement.
Individually and in groups, the defendants who appeared before Judge Berry on Wednesday night submitted an oral motion asking for dismissal of their charges. They read from a statement that said,
We only have this planet. We must safeguard it for those who follow. Would that it not be necessary, but sometimes citizens of good conscience must engage in non-violent acts of civil disobedience to protect that sacred trust. As long as Crestwood Midstream Partners, or any other corporate or public or private entity, continues to threaten our way of life by the proven dangerous storage of highly compressed gas in the crumbling caverns at the Salt Point facility, I reserve the right to act as my conscience dictates in order to protect Seneca Lake, its citizens, and the surrounding environment. I reserve all rights to protest further at the Crestwood facility, although it is not my intent at this time to break the law in doing so.
After each recitation, assistant district attorney John Tunney expressed his willingness to accept a motion to dismiss. In each case, Judge Berry granted the motion and dismissed the charges “with prejudice.”
The proceedings were remarkable for the commendation offered to the protesters by Judge Berry, who has not always been fulsome in his praise for their actions during the five-month-long campaign that has seen maximum fines and jail sentences.
To one group of defendants, Berry said, “I’m very proud of you. You had a cause and you fought for it to the best of your ability. Congratulations.”
To another, he said, “I’ve grown to admire you people.”
Defense attorney, Sujata Gibson, who has worked closely with protesters since December, said, “This is a big moment in history to have this many cases dismissed in the interests of justice. It affirms the importance of this cause and the ethical motivations of the protesters. I’m sure the court and district attorney’s office were in a very difficult position, and they should be applauded for the thought they put into looking for outcomes that promote justice.”
Gibson continued, “We’ve seen a sea change in the way the court and the prosecutors have reacted to our cases—from maximum sentences for jail terms for trespassing violations to large-scale offers to support dismissals in the interests of justice. This is a testament to the sincerity and passion of the protesters. They are single mothers, wine makers, business owners and teachers. Their stories are deeply affecting. I’ve watched Judge Berry and the D.A. become very moved by the willingness of these human beings to make enormous sacrifices. I myself have been deeply moved.”
Protester Michael Dineen, who had previously been sentenced to jail by Berry for a protest-related act of trespassing and had a similar charge dismissed on Wednesday, said, “I am extremely proud to be part of a community that is willing to be arrested in such numbers to prevent Crestwood’s plan to industrialize our region and threaten our lake. And I’m thankful that the Schuyler County DA’s office has recognized that ‘we all have an obligation to protect our environment,’ and that justice is therefore best served by dismissing all charges.”
Protesters whose charges were dismissed last night were:
Judy Abrams, 66, Trumansburg, Tompkins County
Edgar Brown, 60, Naples, Ontario County
Carolyn Byrne, 38, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Deborah Cippola-Dennis, 49, Dryden, Tompkins County
Joanne Cippola-Dennis, 53, Dryden, Tompkins County
Lyndsay Clark, 53, Springwater, Livingston County
James Connor, 83, Mecklenburg, Schuyler County
Doug Couchon, 64, Elmira, Chemung County
Kim Cunningham, 58, Naples, Ontario County
John Dennis, 63, Lansing, Tompkins County
Michael Dineen, 65, Ovid, Seneca County
Peter Drobney, 56, Corning, Steuben County
Martha Ferger, 90, Dryden, Tompkins County
Richard Figiel, 68, Hector, Schuyler County
Carrie Fischer, 38 Fayette, Seneca County
Kenneth Fogarty, 75, Guilford, Chenango County
Lynn Gerry, 58, Watkins Glen, Schuyler County
Heather Hallagan, 41, Meckenburg, Schuyler County
Carey Harben, 47, Hector, Schuyler County
Nancy Kasper, 56, North Rose, Wayne County
Sharon Kahkonen, 65, Mecklenburg, Schuyler County
Crow Marley, 55, Hector, Schuyler County
Faith Meckley, 20, Geneva, Ontario County
Kelly Morris, 55, Danby, Tompkins County
Paul Passavant, 48, Geneva, Ontario County
Kirsten Pierce, 44, Burdett, Schuyler County
Mariah Plumlee, 35, Covert, Seneca County
Leslie Potter, 70, Big Flats, Chemung County
Dan Rapaport, 54, Newfield, Tompkins County
Stephanie Redmond, 38, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Rick Rogers, 66, Spencer, Tioga County
Cat Rossiter, 62, Sayre, Bradford County, PA
Laura Salamendra, 30, Geneva, Ontario County
Coby Schultz, 54, Springwater, Livingston County
Elan Shapiro, 67, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Brion Seime, 42, Newfield, Tompkins County
Stefan Senders, 55, Hector, Schuyler County
Audrey Southern, 31, Burdett, Schuyler County
Chris Tate, 52, Hector, Schuyler County
John Wertis, 51, Wertis, Trumansburg, Tompkins County
Dwain Wilder, 75, Rochester, Monroe County
Ruth Young, 77, Horseheads, Chemung County
By CASEY JUNKINS Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
WHEELING – Even with all the frackers, pipeliners, truckers, abstractors and others working in the Marcellus and Utica shale boom region, at least two researchers believe the industry’s impact on employment is virtually nil in the states involved.
That’s right. The American Chemistry Council, the leading trade organization and lobbying arm of the chemical industry, has left its fingerprints all over the very legislation that is supposed to regulate it.
It would almost be laughable if there were not so much at stake – but this could not be more serious, Friend. This bill would fail to ensure that chemicals are safe, fail to set meaningful deadlines for safety reviews, fail to provide the Environmental Protection Agency with adequate resources and deny states the ability to enforce their own laws to protect public health and the environment.
Earlier this week I testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and presented the facts in opposition to this reprehensible bill. Now it’s your turn to speak up, too.
If we don’t act quick, the first major, comprehensive environmental protection bill to emerge from Congress in almost a generation will be one that originated in the chemical industry – the very industry the bill purports to regulate.
We need to do everything we can to make sure that Congress enacts real chemical safety reform – not a bill blatantly written to protect the profits of the chemical industry. It’s time to shut down the bill written by the chemical industry and to protect the health of the American people!
In a surprising move for a polarized Ohio legislature controlled by far-right Republicans cozy with fossil fuel interests, its House Energy and Natural Resources committee voted 12-0 Tuesday to ban fracking in state parks. The full bill, which aims to speed up the drilling permitting process, was then passed unanimously on the House floor Wednesday. It now heads to the Senate. Read more.
Chemical Industry Gets Free Pass in Vitter-Udall Bill: NYU Study Links Toxic Chemicals to Billions in Health Care Costs
(New York, NY) A new bill that claims to update how chemicals are regulated in the United States, introduced today by Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Tom Udall (D-NM), is a sweet deal for the chemical industry that would keep exposing Americans to harmful chemicals while exposing the nation to billions in health care costs, a coalition of community, environmental and health groups said today.
The groups pointed to a new study by New York University that documents over $100 billion a year in health care costs in the European Union for diseases associated with endocrine disrupting chemicals, including IQ loss, ADHD, infertility, diabetes and other disorders that have been rising in the U.S.
The Vitter-Udall bill, introduced on Tuesday, March 10th, purports to update the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, which was meant to protect the public from harmful chemicals but which has allowed tens of thousands of chemicals – including chemicals that cause cancer and other problems noted above – into the marketplace with little or no health and safety testing.
“New research links toxic chemicals with a range of illnesses and billions of dollars in health care costs, yet Senators Udall and Vitter are proposing a bill that doesn’t address major problems with current policies and would give the chemical industry a free pass to keep exposing Americans to harmful chemicals for decades to come,” said Katie Huffling, RN, CNM, Director of Programs for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, a network of nurses across the U.S. who have been working to reform TSCA.
“The chemical industry should not be allowed to draft the very laws meant to regulate them,” said Richard Moore from Los Jardines Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, also with the Environmental Justice Health Alliance. “We need serious chemical reform that protects the health of all people including those who are living in ‘hot spots’ or ‘sacrifice zones’ – typically communities of color — that are highly impacted by chemical factories.” Moore continued, “It seems that my own Senator, Senator Udall, has forgotten the needs of his constituents in favor of meeting the needs of his industry friends.” The New York Times reported last week that Sen. Udall has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the chemical industry.
Dorothy Felix from Mossville Environmental Action Now (MEAN) in Louisiana, said, “Because of the failure of TSCA, our community is faced with extensive toxic pollution that is causing us to consider relocating. Senator Vitter and other legislators are well aware of these toxic impacts yet they are proposing a bill that would be even worse than current law. Let’s be clear: Senator Vitter’s bill is good for the chemical industry, not for the people who live daily with the consequences of toxic chemical exposures.”
“Chemical industry influence over the Vitter-Udall bill is unacceptable and the authors need to come back to the table and listen to the huge community of environmental and health groups that have been working on TSCA reform for decades,” said Martha Arguello, Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles.
“The regulatory framework for chemicals must protect health, especially the most vulnerable members of our society, and also must allow states to regulate toxic chemicals in order to protect their communities,” said Kathy Curtis, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York. “State actions to protect their own residents are the only thing prompting federal action, and states should not lose that right.”
“We need 21st century, solution-based laws that empower agencies and people to live in a society that safeguards our health and environment. This bill falls short of that goal,” said Jose Bravo, Executive Director of the Just Transition Alliance. “The bill is called the ‘Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act’ but unfortunately it is a horrible reminder of what industry special interests can do to undermine our personal and environmental health.”
The groups are part of the Coming Clean coalition’s Workgroup for Public Policy Reform, which is advocating for TSCA reform to include the six principles outlined in the Louisville Charter for Safer Chemicals:
- · Require safer substitutes and solutions;
- · Phase out persistent, bioaccumulative or highly toxic chemicals;
- · Give the public and workers the full right to know;
- · Act on early warnings;
- · Require comprehensive safety data on all chemicals;
- · Take immediate action to protect communities and workers
The Charter, in effect since 2004, provides a framework for comprehensive chemical policy reform in a manner that protects public health, preserves the environment and supports innovation for safer chemical solutions.
For more information on the Louisville Charter and federal chemical policy reform, including statements from other organizations on the newly-introduced TSCA bill, see www.smartpolicyreform.org.
- See more at: http://smartpolicyreform.org/for-the-media/news-items/chemical-industry-gets-free-pass-in-vitter-udall-bill-nyu-study-links-toxic-chemicals-to-billions-in-health-care-costs?f=87#sthash.P5EFY7Sf.dpuf
The European Commission has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it intends to restrict the phthalates DEHP, BBP, DBP and DiBP under the revised EU Directive on the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS2) in electrical and electronic equipment (CW 7 February 2014).
GRETNA – The family of a former worker at an oil drilling pipe cleaning yard is suing several oil companies claiming his exposure to radioactive materials resulted in his death years later from lung cancer.
Bolton Domangue, Jeannie Domangue Callais and Connoie Domangue Thibodeaux filed suit against ExxonMobil Corporation, ExxonMobil Oil Corporation, Chevron USA Inc., Devon Energy Production Company LP, ConocoPhillips Company, BP Products North America Inc., BP America Production Company, Shell Oil Company, BEPCO LP, Marathon Oil Company, OFS Inc. and Patterson Truck Line Inc. in the 24th Judicial District Court on Jan. 12.
The plaintiffs claim that during the years 1967 to 1973, 1975, 1981 and 1982 Augustine Domangue worked at Shield Coat Inc. during which time he was allegedly exposed to pipes that contained oilfield generated radioactivity (OGR). The survivors of Domangue claim that the OGR materials were pulverized in the process of cleaning the pipes and turned into dust that Domangue inhaled and ingested that later led to his contraction of lung cancer from which he ultimately died.
The defendants are accused of knowing the danger presented by the radioactive materials, failing to warn, failing to properly supervise, failing to test the pipe for radioactivity, failing to label the pipes with warnings of radioactive materials, carelessness, negligence and using defective production equipment.
An unspecified amount in damages is sought for wrongful death, survival damages, pain and suffering, loss of income, loss of companionship, loss of support, loss of wages and funeral expenses.
The plaintiffs are represented by Jeremiah A. Sprague of the Marrero-based Falcon Law Firm.
The case has been assigned to Division E Judge John J. Molaison Jr.
Case no. 745-736.