What About Pollution

What are YOU going to Do!

U.S. Law and Policy’

Clean Water Delayed is Clean Water Denied: After a Decades-Long Dodge, EPA Must Update Polluted Runoff Rules

Larry Levine, Senior Attorney, New York A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… No, make that Washington, DC, in the year 1987.  (Perhaps that is another galaxy.  But that’s a topic for another blog.) Way back then—more than a quarter-century ago—Congress passed a law directing the Environmental Protection Agency to create a new program to protect our nation’s waters from stormwater pollution.  Stormwater is the dirty runoff that washes off of developed land, after rainstorms and snowmelt, carrying toxic metals, pesticides, excess nutrients and sediment, and even harmful bacteria into waters nationwide.  Unlike pollution from factories, EPA had failed to develop pollution control standards for this ubiquitous form of water pollution. When Congress acted, stormwater represented—and… Read More

The Clean Water Act — 42 Birthday Candles and Half a Million Americans Who Support It

Jon Devine, Senior Attorney, Washington, D.C. Forty-two years ago this past Saturday, Congress passed the law known today as the Clean Water Act.  I salute their forethought and bipartisan leadership, not just because I make my living implementing that law, but because it has helped to restore waters that are special to me. I grew up in Massachusetts, where the water pollution was so bad in Boston Harbor and the Charles River that the Standells’ “Dirty Water” became the city’s unofficial anthem.  I remember going into Boston on a boat for Fourth of July fireworks and my mom telling me not to touch the Charles.  My family also spent a lot of weekends by the Pemigewasset River in New… Read More

A landmark plan for conservation and renewable energy

Helen O’Shea, Director, Western Renewable Energy Project, San Francisco Today, when the Department of Interior and the California Department of Natural Resources released a draft of the long-awaited Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), the agencies set the stage for a first-of-its-kind project … in more ways than one. Not only does the DRECP have the potential to serve as a blueprint for conservation and clean energy development in the California desert, it could become a model for how federal, state, and local agencies can work together … and how those collaborations are better overall for everyone involved. ‘Smart from the Start’ Planning The DRECP is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between the Bureau of Land Management, the… Read More

Report finds illegal use of diesel in fracking fluid, highlights problems with FracFocus

Matthew McFeeley, Attorney, Washington, D.C. Last week, the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) released a report which found that companies had disclosed using diesel fuel in fracking in 12 states.  The use of diesel fuel as a component of fracking fluid is illegal without a permit under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and none of the companies had permits for its use. EIP also found that many of the reported incidents of diesel use had later been scrubbed from submissions which companies made to FracFocus, a website where fracking chemicals are disclosed to the public. At least 33 different companies reported using diesel fuel in fracking at least 351 wells, according to EIP.  The use of diesel is a serious concern. … Read More

Is Your State Government Trying to Expose Your Family to More Arsenic, Lead & Mercury Pollution?

John Walke, Clean Air Director/ Senior Attorney, Washington, D.C. Twenty-one states have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to terminate health safeguards that protect Americans from toxic air pollution spewed by electric power plants burning coal and oil. Attorneys general from these conservative states want to overturn a lower court decision that upheld clean air standards projected to save up to 11,000 lives, and avoid 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks every year. The lower court found these health standards fully complied with the Clean Air Act, by requiring deep reductions in over seven dozen hazardous air pollutants emitted by dirty power plants. These pollutants include the brain poisons mercury and lead, cancer-causing arsenic and dioxins, heavy metals like nickel, and acid… Read More

The Human Being as Unwitting Research Object for Industrial Chemistry

Jennifer Sass, Senior Scientist, Washington, D.C. There are a few excellent movies that are well-worth viewing if you are interested in the connection between environmental pollution and human health. I’ve written a blog about Unacceptable Levels highlighting its excellent use of scientific experts and knowledgeable professionals to document the overwhelming amount of toxic and untested industrial chemicals in our air, water, and consumer products. I hope you get a chance to see it! Another movie – The Human Experiment – tells a similar story, emphasizing the power of community citizens groups and health impacted communities to identify critical links between pollution and health, and bring them to the public and political consciousness. I found it to be a very… Read More

Science Trumps Denialism: International Cancer Research Body Declares Soot Pollution to Be Known Human Carcinogen

John Walke, Clean Air Director/ Senior Attorney, Washington, D.C. A new report from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer research agency announced the classification of outdoor air pollution and particulate matter as known human carcinogens. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) independently reviewed over 1,000 of the latest scientific studies on air pollution across five continents to conclude there is sufficient evidence to show that with increased levels of air pollution and particulate matter (commonly known as soot pollution), cancer risks increase too. As my colleague Dr. Jennifer Sass noted, “[t]he link is strongest for lung cancer, but bladder cancer was also flagged as a risk.” This places particulate matter and outdoor air pollution in the company of… Read More