EPA

Native Americans protest Westlands Water District water grab

 By Lloyd G. Carter

               Around 100 Yurok and Hoopa Indians living near the Trinity River in Northern California protested Wednesday (Aug. 21) outside a federal courtroom in Fresno where federal judge Lawrence O'Neill must decide whether to risk a repeat of a massive 2002 fish kill on the Klamath River.

               Following a complaint filed by the gigantic Westlands Water District, O'Neill  issued a temporary restraining order blocking a Department of Interior plan to use Trinity River water stored behind dams to help salmon reach their spawning grounds without being infected by a fatal parasite called Ich, which wiped out at least 34,000 salmon on the Klamath River.  The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (both Interior Department agencies) announced Aug. 5  they would use up to 109,000 acre-feet of stored water to reduce the risk of an Ich outbreak similar to that which happened in September of 2011.  Releases of cold water were set to begin Aug. 13

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Dirty Water, Dirty Tricks

By Patrick Porgans & Lloyd G. Carter

 

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
   (a) Every citizen of California has the right to pure and safe drinking water.
   (b) Feasible and affordable technologies are available and shall be used to remove toxic contaminants from public water supplies.
Health and Safety Code section 116270, subdivisions (a) and (b).
 
  In the heart of California's farm country, San Joaquin Valley growers get better quality river water for irrigation while farmworkers, farm families and rural communities often get polluted groundwater unfit to drink.
   Making matters worse, California officials have known for decades that groundwater used for drinking and home use is polluted by pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, industrial wastes and "treated" city waste water, but have done little to take advantage of nearly half a billion dollars in federal low interest loans available to address  the problem.

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EPA Survey Finds More Than Half of the Nation’s River and Stream Miles in Poor Condition



WASHINGTON — Today (March 26), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the results of the first comprehensive survey looking at the health of thousands of stream and river miles across the country, finding that more than half – 55 percent – are in poor condition for aquatic life.

“The health of our Nation’s rivers, lakes, bays and coastal waters depends on the vast network of streams where they begin, and this new science shows that America’s streams and rivers are under significant pressure,” said Office of Water Acting Assistant Administrator Nancy Stoner. “We must continue to invest in protecting and restoring our nation’s streams and rivers as they are vital sources of our drinking water, provide many recreational opportunities, and play a critical role in the economy.” 
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Feds permitting pollution of nation's wells and aquifers

For a depressing look at how we are mistreating the nation's endangered aquifers, take a look at this article from Pro Publica, journalism in the public interest:

http://www.propublica.org/article/poisoning-the-well-how-the-feds-let-industry-pollute-the-nations-undergroun

EPA Honors Calif., Nev., Ariz. Universities for Pledge to Significantly Reduce Food Waste and conserve water

 

SAN FRANCISCO – In celebration today (November 15, 2012) of America Recycles Day 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announces the participation of 18 California, Nevada, and Arizona universities in EPA’s national Food Recovery Challenge.  An event is being hosted by the University of California, Berkeley, one of the first participants to join the Food Recovery Challenge.  

 

The Food Recovery Challenge is a voluntary program that aims to limit the 34 million tons of food wasted nationwide annually by reducing unnecessary consumption and increasing donations to charity and composting.  By participating, these schools, with a combined 460,000 student enrollment, pledge to reduce food waste by five percent in one year.

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EPA releases San Francisco Bay Delta Action Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an Action Plan today (Aug. 27, 2012) that proposes seven measures for improving water quality, restoring aquatic habitat, and improving the management of the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary. The release of the Action Plan follows the agency’s analysis concluding that existing federal and state water quality programs are not adequately safeguarding the ecosystem. “California’s economic security depends on a healthy Bay Delta,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “By upholding the goals of the Clean Water Act, we can ensure that our water is fit for drinking, farming, recreation, and for fish and wildlife.”

 

The Action Plan responds to findings and recommendations made following EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2011 that sought public input on the effectiveness of existing federal and state water quality protection programs. The Action Plan prioritizes the following seven actions to be pursued in partnership with the State Water Resources Control Board, the Regional Water Boards for the Central Valley and San Francisco Bay, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and numerous other state and federal agencies:

• — By 2013, propose a standard to curb selenium discharges from cities, farms, and oil refineries;  READ MORE »

Two-faced Fish in a Barrel

By Lloyd G. Carter
      "They are putting the heat on me. I was dumpin' in the river for years and years and I got by in good shape but now I've spent millions cleanin' the water up. I did it in Washington. I had to do it in Oregon. It's the law of the land now. Mighta killed a few fish and suckers but never hurt anything. They're blowin' holes around the feedlot in Washington to see if I'm pollutin' the goddamn water. Maybe we won't be able to feed cattle anywhere any more, I don't know. The problem is there's too many goddamn regulations.  Now, if you build a manger you got to go to town and ask 'em for permission to do it."
     Idaho potato, livestock and fertilizer kingpin J.R. Simplot talking about pollution at his feedlots in a 1998 interview with Range Magazine ["The Cowboy Spirit on America's Outback"]. Simplot died in 2008 at the age of 99, with a worth estimated at $3.8 billion.  READ MORE »

Two-headed fish segment airs on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show

On Thursday night Jon Stewart's The Daily Show on the Comedy Channel aired a segment about the selenium-poisoning  of Idaho rivers by the J.R. Simplot mining and agribusiness goliath.  The EPA was blistered for endorsing a report by the Simplot company which wants to increase selenium limits in creeks and streams that receive mining wastes, even though it's already causing two-headed trout and other fish deformities.  Unmentioned in the Daily Show segment was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which released a scathing review of the flawed Simplot report, mentioned favorably in a New York Times story, but refused to let its top selenium scientist speak to the Daily Show.  You can watch the Daily Show segment here: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-june-14-2012/a-simple-plot  READ MORE »

California's polluted waters list grows longer

EPA Finalizes California’s List of Polluted Waters

 

Trends Include 170% Increase In Toxicity Listings Since 2006

 

       SAN FRANCISCO— More of California’s waterways are impaired than previously known, according to a list of polluted waterways submitted by the state to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and finalized by the agency today. Increased water monitoring data shows the number of rivers, streams and lakes in California exhibiting overall toxicity have increased 170 percent from 2006 to 2010. California has some of the most magnificent rivers, lakes and coastal waters in the country. However, of its 3.0 million acres of lakes, bays, wetlands and estuaries, 1.6 million acres are not meeting water quality goals, and 1.4 million acres still need a pollution clean-up plan, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).  READ MORE »

EPA adds Northern and Central California abandoned mines to list of nation's worst Toxic Sites

          

 

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is adding two new sites to the Superfund National Priorities List in California.  The abandoned mine sites are located in San Benito and Siskiyou Counties.

 

Earlier this year, EPA proposed to add Northern California’s Blue Ledge mine site and Central California’s New Idria mercury mine site to the Superfund National Priorities List because of the toxic pollutants discharged by both to California’s waterways.  With today’s action, these two sites are now finalized on the Superfund NPL.  Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country. 

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