As Children’s Health Month continues, the Environmental Protection Agency has released a memorandum stating its improved action towards eliminating lead contamination in school and childcare water systems. In support of the Lead Action Plan, the EPA’s MOU lists ways partnering agencies, water utilities, and community health specialists can work together to train, identify, and remove lead from children’s drinking water. Read More.
On September 20th more than 4 million people around the world took to the streets to join the global climate strike movement. People of all ages from across the globe came together to share a message: The planet is in a climate emergency, and we will not sit by and do nothing. A recap of many of these strikes was put together by the Earth Day Network: “Change is coming, whether they like it or not:” Youth climate strikes break records worldwide
On Saturday September 21st, the United Nations hosted its first-ever Youth Climate Summit in New York City bringing together hundreds of youth climate leaders from around the world to discuss climate solutions for the future. The Earth Day Network prepared a summary of this event and included several notable quotes. “Change rarely happens from the top down,” climate activist Bruno Rodriguez said at the summit. “It happens when millions of people demand change.” Youth student climate leader Greta Thunberg from Sweden said, “Together and united, we are unstoppable. This is what people power looks like. We will rise to the challenge.”
The Summit was part of a weekend of events leading up to the U.N. Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit on Monday September 23rd. The summit was a call to action in the face of the worsening climate crisis. On its website, the UN defined climate change as the “defining issue of our time and now is the defining moment to do something about it.”
Leaders from 65 counties attended the summit and more than 100 business leaders were there. The UN prepared a summary of the commitments and actions taken by the attendees. In closing the meeting, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said “You have delivered a boost in momentum, cooperation and ambition. But we have a long way to go.”
Youth leaders urged action not more promises.
Perhaps the most powerful statement at the summit was delivered by youth activist Greta Thunberg.
“The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now, is where we draw the line.”
Listen to Greta’s full statement here.
New Jersey officials announced Monday, September 23, that EPA approved faucet filters have effectively made water in Newark, NJ safe to drink from lead contamination. The state is now waiting for the Trump administration to pass the Clean Water State Revolving Fund that will allow states to reallocate funds to address public health problems. New Jersey has been able to replace more than 900 of the 6,500 homes in Newark that have requested lead service line replacements. The passage of the bill will allow the city to be able to further replace the 18,000 privately owned service lines throughout Newark. Read More.
The state of Michigan has approved a $1.4 million budget for the collection of PFAS containing substances in fire departments and airports across the state. A survey conducted in 2018 found that 326 out of 762 fire departments in the state use PFAS Class B AFFF (aqueous film forming form). The PFAS liquid will be collected and solidified for safe storage in a hazardous waste landfill in Belleville, MI. Read More.
North Carolina was among 22 states that got an “F” grade for not getting rid of lead from school drinking water, according to Environment America Research & Policy Center and U.S. PIRG Education Fund. This week, Environment North Carolina released a back-to-school toolkit that gives the public information on how to get the lead out of schools. Read more.
The Portland City Council approved an ordinance on Wednesday, September 11 to appropriate $2 million towards a cleanup plan for the Willamette Cove Superfund Site. Established as a Superfund site in 2000, the contaminated river has experienced slow cleanup, despite having a total of 150 known potentially responsible parties. City officials have predicted that the plan will take three to four years to complete and a total of $8.1 million that will be divided evenly among at least four of the responsible parties. The city hopes this plan will create greater collaboration with the EPA and encourage other responsible parties to get involved in the cleanup. Read More.
The Water Infrastructure Funding Transfer Act would give states facing public health crises from lead in drinking water the flexibility to make a one-time transfer, up to $100 million, of the federal funds in their Clean Water State Revolving Fund to their Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for projects that will remove lead from drinking water. Read More.
A number of houses surrounding the Consumer Energy J.H. Campbell Coal Plant in West Olive, Michigan found high levels of radium, arsenic, and lead in the local water supply. It is currently unclear if the contamination is a result of groundwater leakage from the plant’s coal ash pond. Further testing is needed to determine the exact source of contamination and how it entered into the groundwater supply. Read More.
Four environmental groups today announced an historic agreement to reduce toxic pollutants leaking from a power plant’s coal ash dumps into groundwater and the Susquehanna River, the largest Chesapeake Bay tributary.
“This enforcement action is one of historic proportions, since it’s the largest penalty ever assessed at a coal ash pollution site in Pennsylvania history,” said David Masur, Executive Director of PennEnvironment. “We are glad to see DEP working with citizen groups to reach this important settlement for the good of the Commonwealth.” Read more.
Residents in Flint, MI said over and over that the filters were not reliable to keep lead out of their tap water. EPA the state and some scientists said that activists were just creating a crisis that didn’t exist. Well, now we see the same thing in NJ. Read about the problem.