Saturday 21 October 2017

Fair Farms Campaign (7)

Dominion Energy’s Coal Ash Pond Pollution In Virginia, both the James and Potomac Rivers are being severely impacted by coal ash pollution. Earlier this summer, the James River Association (JRA) objected to Dominion Energy’s draft permit to dewater coal ash ponds at Dominion’s Chesterfield Power Station on the Lower James River. Lower James Riverkeeper Jamie Brunkow points out in public comments that the permit fails to protect the river and its ecosystems, while threatening public health. More recently, JRA, along with Southern Environmental Law Center took samples at four locations near the Chesterfield Station. The results revealed high levels of coal ash contaminants, like zinc, nickel, copper, lead and arsenic in the water. This month, a Virginia state board will vote on the draft permit governing the dewatering of the Chesterfield coal ash ponds. In addition, Potomac Riverkeeper Network’s challenge of the wastewater permit for Dominion’s Possum Point plant, on Quantico Creek near the Potomac River, goes to court later this month. Tests show coal ash contaminants in drinking water wells near Possum Point. READ MORE… Sewage Overflows in Baltimore City Back in 2002, Baltimore City entered into a binding agreement (a consent decree) with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fix its failing sewage system by January 2016. The agreement required Baltimore City to repair essential infrastructure in the City’s sewage system to prevent raw sewage from entering waterways and neighborhoods – bringing Baltimore City into compliance with the Clean Water Act. Although Baltimore City made some progress in the intervening 14…

Do You Know Where Your Fruit’s Been?

By Betsy Nicholas, July 22, 2016, The Baltimore Sun A plump, juicy peach; an ear of crisp sweet corn; a ruby red tomato just picked from the vine — summer produce abounds on Maryland dining room tables this time of year. Fresh fruits and vegetables are important parts of our diets and an important part of our Maryland heritage. But do you know where your produce comes from?
By Dr. Sara Via and Betsy Nicholas, July 13, 2016, The Frederick News Post The recent discovery in an American patient of a “superbug” resistant to colistin, an antibiotic of last resort, is currently rocking the medical profession. This resistance gene has now been found in several U.S. communities just a few weeks after its discovery at the end of May at Walter Reed Army Medical Research Center. The rapid movement of this gene into new populations illustrates just how easily bacteria can share genes that are advantageous to them. Did you know that 70 percent of all medically important antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals that are not even sick? For decades, it has been common practice to administer low doses of the same antibiotics used in human medicine to livestock for growth promotion. Giving low doses to the entire herd on a regular basis is known to be the fastest way to produce bacterial populations that can resist antibiotics. This is why the European Union banned the prophylactic use of antibiotics in 2011. Despite the importance of this problem, a bill introduced in Maryland’s General Assembly this year to limit the use of medically important human antibiotics in farm animals did not even get a vote in either the House or the Senate. Sponsored by Sen. Paul Pinsky (D-Prince George’s) and Delegate Shane Robinson (D-Montgomery), this bill would have been a meaningful step in halting a practice that is known to endanger human…