Monday 18 June 2018

Fossil Fuels (73)

Can you imagine what our recent torrential thunderstorms are doing to the exposed terrain and rivers and streams along the paths of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP)? (See photo on the right of huge mudslide at a Mountain Valley Pipeline construction site in Franklin County.)This is yet another example of why these fracked gas pipeline projects should not be rushed and why we can't rely on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) to ensure our waterways are protected. It's up to Virginia to step up in this process, and the way to do this is by requiring a stream-by-stream review of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. The Virginia State Water Control Board opened a new 30-day public comment period -- deadline has been extended to June 15 due to DEQ computer problems -- to hear citizens’ input on where the nationwide permit falls short in upholding state water quality standards and where stream-by-stream reviews are needed for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. Tell the State Water Control Board to protect Virginia waters. We should not use a federal “blanket” permit to allow pipeline construction!  The Nationwide Permit 12 is inappropriate for projects of this size, and our state Department of Environmental Quality should be analyzing the likely impacts at each water crossing instead. Remember, YOU are the expert on the water resources that you use in your area. If you are downstream from either pipeline’s path, your use of waters…
In 2015, Waterkeepers Chesapeake joined more than a half-million comments from people supporting the safeguards that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now seeking to remove in its proposed rule. The 2015 coal ash regulations were imposed after lengthy negotiations with utilities, other industries and environmentalists. Relaxing those common sense, science-based rules now – even as utilities are in the process of reporting the extent of coal-ash contamination and devising plans to address it – would mean the lessons learned from the coal ash accidents in Tennessee and North Carolina are being ignored. The proposed rule (‘remand rule’) would once again put our water and public health at risk – with more than 1.5 million children living near coal ash storage sites and seventy percent of all coal ash impoundments disproportionately impacting low-income communities – this is a risk that the EPA should be unwilling to take. Background Coal-fired power plants in the United States burn more than 800 million tons of coal every year, producing more than 110 million tons of solid waste in the form of fly ash, bottom ash, scrubber sludge and boiler slag—commonly known as coal ash. Hazardous chemicals present in coal are concentrated in the ash when coal is burned. Consequently, coal ash contains a toxic brew of carcinogens, neurotoxins, and poisons—including arsenic, boron, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, lithium, mercury, molybdenum, selenium, thallium, and radioactive substances. These toxics raise the risk for cancer, heart disease, and stroke, and can inflict permanent brain damage on children.…
Under the Obama Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency adopted federal protections against the dangers posed by toxic coal ash. That rule requires closure of ash dumps in dangerous locations (including within five feet of groundwater), regular inspection of coal ash ponds, monitoring of groundwater near coal ash sites, closure of leaking ponds, cleanup when contamination is found, safe closure of dumps, and public posting of monitoring and inspection results. Under Administrator Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to weaken or eliminate the federal safeguards and protections against the dangers posed by coal ash. EPA is holding one public hearing on April 24th. These changes put the health and well-being of communities on the Potomac, James, Susquehanna, Patuxent and many other rivers at risk! Join your local Waterkeepers at the public hearing in Arlington on April 24th: CLICK HERE to register to speak. When: Tuesday, April 24 (9AM–12PM; 1–4PM; 5–8PM) Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 300 S Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA 22202 If you cannot attend, submit your written comments by Monday, April 30th -- CLICK HERE  EPA has proposed to: Allow operators of coal ash ponds and landfills to write their own standards Make cleanup of contamination discretionary (i.e., let polluters do nothing) Eliminate the requirement that leaking ponds install liners or close Give polluters extra time to close ponds and landfills located in unsafe areas and eliminate the strict location prohibitions entirely Allow political appointees, instead of professional engineers, to decide if a cleanup is adequate or even required. Every year, more than 110…

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