Sunday 22 April 2018

Fossil Fuels (71)

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…
Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Potomac Riverkeeper Network and other partners submitted comments on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Environmental Assessment (EA) of TransCanada’s proposed fracked gas pipeline under the Potomac River. Our comments call out the agency for a variety of failures of analysis, including outdated methodologies, reliance on inaccurate or unsupported facts, and unwarranted conclusions. For over a year, we have joined our No Potomac Pipeline coalition partners in voicing our concerns to State and Federal authorities over the serious threats this pipeline has on the Potomac River, the drinking water for 6 million people. There has been a pattern of reluctance from those authorities to hear our concerns and to fully assess this pipeline project in its entirety. Comments filed are extensive and detailed, but some of the highlights are: FERC failed to properly evaluate the serious risk and potential impacts on public health and safety posed by horizontal directional drilling under the Potomac River and C & O Canal The EA, by using methodologies which are outdated or based on inaccurate facts, fail to adequately consider impacts on climate change The EA does not adequately discuss all reasonable alternatives, including an option that would attach the pipeline to a bridge over the Potomac instead of drilling underneath the river. It is unfortunate that FERC continues to disregard the threats to our environment from pipeline companies like TransCanada, rather than assess the true costs and recognize the impacts to our citizens and neighbors. Our comments show that FERC has failed its…
Needs to Consider Risk of Spill to Drinking Water for Six Million In comments filed, Waterkeepers Chesapeake joined several groups in calling on the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) to deny a state Nontidal Wetlands Permit for the controversial Potomac pipeline, after learning that MDE purposely exempted environmental review of impacts to the Potomac and Little Tonoloway Creek from this permit process. MDE has misled the public and allowed this project to avoid critical state permit requirements, in spite of potential risks to the Potomac as the source of drinking water for six million people downstream. At a closed-door meeting in 2016, before the Application for the Potomac Pipeline was filed by Columbia Gas (now TransCanada), MDE and TransCanada agreed the underground crossing of the Potomac River using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) did not require a permit or analysis. As a result, the Nontidal Permit application focused only on a single wetland and six small streams and failed to consider the risks or impacts of drilling under the river. For months, members of our coalition have been attending public hearings hosted by the MDE to express our concerns about the impact of the Potomac Pipeline and never once did the representatives of MDE tell us that they weren’t considering the impact of drilling under the Potomac. MDE’s baseless and absurd assumption that there will be no impacts from the use of HDD drilling, ignores the reality of HDD drilling accidents over the past several years have fouled streams, destroyed wetlands…