EJToday: Top Headlines
EJToday is SEJ's selection of new and outstanding stories on environmental topics in print and on the air, updated every weekday. SEJ also offers a free e-mailed digest of the day's EJToday postings, called SEJ-beat. SEJ members are subscribed automatically, but may opt out here. Non-members may subscribe here. EJToday is also available via RSS feed. Please see Editorial Guidelines for EJToday content.
"Millions of barrels of salty, toxic wastewater from natural-gas wells in Pennsylvania are coming into Ohio despite efforts to keep it at bay."
"The plastic bag industry, increasingly on the defensive as municipal bag bans proliferate, has gone on the attack against ChicoBag, a competitor that bills itself as an eco-friendly alternative. A federal lawsuit in South Carolina accuses ChicoBag of illegal trash-talking about plastic bag waste."
The nation's largest advanced sewage treatement plant, Blue Plains in Washington, DC, is spending $400 million to upgrade its sludge-processing to produce "Class A" fertilizer. Critics say the cooked sludge may be free of pathogens, but the real issue may be nutrients like nitrogen or phosphorus, heavy metals like cadmium or lead, and toxic chemicals like PCBs and perfluorochemicals.
"If you didn’t know, there are about 70,000 gallons of oil and industrial waste pooling beneath the city of Pittston. That’s about 10 of the petroleum tankers you’ve seen at your local gas station."
"With more trash coming into Keystone Sanitary Landfill in Dunmore, dangerous air emissions are on the rise, a Sunday Times analysis of state records found. The review also found the state Department of Environmental Protection relies upon the landfills to monitor air quality and report problems."
"They’re our dirty little forgotten secret: the city’s 161 closed garbage dumps. Forty one of them are still active, spewing gases and discharging a toxic slurry into sewers and waterways. City staff say we shouldn’t be worried, even while reserve funds to maintain the sites have been emptied in Rob Ford’s budget juggling. Truth is, our track record isn’t very good when it comes to putting these oozing mounds to bed."
After a December 2008 spill of toxic coal ash at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston plant, EPA vowed to bring the ubiquitous waste under regulation. First, industry got to the Obama White House to sandbag the effort. Now, GOP lawmakers heavily funded by electric utilities have slipped a rider into the House stopgap spending bill to quash EPA's effort to protect the public altogether.
"Sewage-filled tanker trucks have dumped 153 million gallons of human waste and restaurant grease at a Pelion disposal site that lies in one of the most vulnerable areas for groundwater pollution in South Carolina."
"Two southwestern Pennsylvania fly ash disposal sites are among 28 such sites in 17 states that have contaminated groundwater by leaking toxic, cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, according to a new report by Earthjustice and two other environmental groups."
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday a new study by the largest toxic waste dump in the West showed its level of cancer-causing chemicals was too low to harm the health of a nearby community where an unusually high number of babies have been born with serious birth defects."
"State environmental officials approved new coal-ash landfill in southeast Baltimore Tuesday, saying "state-of-the-art" pollution controls there should allay nearby residents' fears that the power plant waste will blow into their neighborhoods and leak into the Patapsco River."
Heavy metal-laden coal ash currently can escape EPA regulation if it goes to some "beneficial use." But residents of LaBelle, Pa., are finding that what may be beneficial for utility and mining companies may be harmful to the townspeople's health and environment.