Saturday, June 19, 2010

EPA Watch

Hugh Kaufman has been at EPA since the Agency was created in the early 1970s, as an engineer, investigator and policy analyst. Prior to joining the EPA in the beginning of 1971, he was a Captain in the US Air Force. He helped write all the Federal laws regulating the treatment, storage, disposal, and remediation of solid and hazardous waste. He has been the Chief Investigator on numerous contamination cases, including Love Canal and Times Beach.

In 1976, when he was Chief Investigator on Hazardous Sites, he came up with the idea for a major Government Clean-up Program called Superfund, that was enacted in 1980. Beginning in 1997, he served as Chief Investigator for EPA's National Ombudsman. In that role, he investigated and conducted several public hearings around the country on EPA's clean-up and remediation at hazardous sites. In this role, he led the investigation that uncovered EPA and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cover-up of the environmental effects of the collapse of the World Trade Center after al Qaeda's terrorist acts in September 11, 2001.

He has testified numerous times before Congress. Mr. Kaufman is currently the Senior Policy Analyst at EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, and has held this position since the Bush Administration abolished the EPA Ombudsman Office in 2002.

EPA Decides Not to Remove Rocket Fuel from Drinking Water
by Stephanie Rogers

There's a toxic rocket fuel ingredient in drinking water across the country, and the Environmental Protection Agency doesn't care. Though the EPA is officially in charge of protecting the public from dangers such as this, they reached the conclusion that the ingredient, perchlorate, would not result in a “meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public-water systems.” So, despite the fact that perchlorate“ which has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states at dangerously high levels“ interferes with thyroid function and could pose developmental health risks, especially for babies and fetuses, the EPA doesn't think it's too important.

From The Huffington Post:

The Defense Department used perchlorate for decades in testing missiles and rockets, and most perchlorate contamination is the result of defense and aerospace activities, congressional investigators said last year.

The Pentagon could face liability if EPA set a national drinking water standard that forced water agencies around the country to undertake costly clean-up efforts. Defense officials have spent years questioning EPA’s conclusions about the risks posed by perchlorate.

The Pentagon objected strongly Monday to the suggestion that it sought to influence EPA’s decision.

Of course they denied pressuring the EPA there'd be public outrage if they admitted it. That's the Bush administration's way they make the decisions that are advantageous to themselves, and lie to everyone about their methods and motivations. The EPA's decision basically amounts to announcing that they don't care about public health. It's pretty sick, but not surprising given what the Bush presidency has put this country through for the last 8 years.