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Drugs and Hormones In Your Water?

Researchers found at least one hormone or pharmaceutical in 7 percent of the 844 aquifers at depths used for public water supply and 14 percent of 247 sites at aquifers used for domestic supply. Emerging contaminant threats in the United States water supply — things like pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, and hormones — are garnering attention from public health experts and the federal government. Read more.

Backyard Talk

State Stops Plan to Burn PFAS Waste

The state of Vermont changed its mind about sending about 2,500 gallons of the hazardous fire depressant known as PFOA and PFOS to a hazardous waste incinerator, when it discovered that the operator of the plant had been cited for numerous clean air violations. The Heritage Thermal Services incinerator in East Liverpool, OH has consistently and repeatedly been in violation of federal and state environmental laws and has been a Significant and Habitual Non-Complier of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and High Priority Violator of the Clean Air Act continuously for years. For the past three years running, for the 12 consecutive quarters from October 2014 to today, Heritage Thermal Services has been and continues to be a High Priority Violator of the Clean Air Act due to the release of excessive amounts of hazardous air pollutants and hydrocarbons. That’s 100% of the time. This is an increase over the three (3) year period from 2010 to 2012 when Heritage Thermal Services was a High Priority Violator 67% of the time.
What’s odd about the decision to burn this waste is that the very reason this family of chemicals are used by fire fighters is that it suppresses flames and is difficult to burn. It’s very likely that the much of the PFAS waste that would be burned in an incinerator would end up going out the smokestack creating air pollution problems.
The state changed its mind once it learned about Heritage’s track record. There was also public pressure from local citizens groups in Vermont who raised significant concerns about burning foam at a hazardous waste incinerator.  Alonzo Spencer of the local groups Save Our County in East Liverpool credited the Conservation Law Foundation which has an office in Vermont with stopping the delivery of the waste. “I would like to personally thank Jen Duggen [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Vermont director of CLF]. Heritage was on the verge of accepting waste from Vermont that Heritage couldn’t handle correctly. It was Duggan’s Foundation that opposed that. That waste would have been on its way now if she hadn’t intervened,” Spencer told a local paper.
The ingredients of these fire-fighting foams have been found to be toxic. PFOS and PFOA belong to a class of compounds called PFAS chemicals that have been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, developmental problems in children and immune system problems. They were banned for use by fire departments in the early 2000s and have become an emerging drinking water contaminant across the country. An estimated 110 million Americans have PFAS in their water according to a report by the Environmental Working Group. There are 32 military sites and 17 private sites contaminated with PFAS that are on the federal Superfund list. For more, <read here>.
Alonzo Spencer told his local paper, “The city has been spared a ‘disaster.’”[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]


BREDL Calls for Investigation of VA Governor Around Environmental Justice

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League called upon Virginia Inspector General Michael Westfall to investigate the firing of two State Air Pollution Control Board members by Governor Ralph Northam.   The request also cites threats by the state attorney general to disband the Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice.  The request centers on a proposed natural gas pipeline compressor station air permit.

Sharon Ponton, BREDL’s Stop the Pipelines Campaign Coordinator, stated, “Governor Northam’s actions to replace Rebecca Rubin and Sam Bleicher are unethical and corrupt.”    The letter of request written by Ponton to the IG details events she observed during the last few weeks.  She concluded, “We believe that when the Governor sees a decision being made he doesn’t like, he puts his thumb on the scale to ensure Dominion Energy gets its way.”
Lou Zeller, BREDL’s Executive Director stated, “Governor Northam, throughout the pipeline permitting process in Virginia, has tried to straddle the fence, but his true position has been made clear in the last few weeks.  He is disregarding the environmental racism being perpetrated on the freedmen community of Union Hill.”  BREDL has a case on the compressor station now before the Virginia Supreme Court, with arguments set for December 4.
Ponton’s request to the IG also pointed to recent actions by Northam to dismiss the findings of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice.  She said, “We have asked the Inspector General to complete a thorough investigation into the Governor’s actions.  We believe the Governor abused his power, corrupted the permitting process, and broke with the public trust,” Ponton concluded.
The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League is a Virginia corporation with members and projects throughout the state.  Its chapter in Union Hill, Virginia, Concern for the New Generations, was founded in 2016 to oppose the natural gas pipeline and compressor station proposed by Dominion Energy.