A front-page article in the May 21 issue of the Washington Post announced a win for clean water in a battle with the EPA’s effort to relax regulations on storage of toxic coal ash. Coal ash contains concentrated heavy metals such as mercury and lead as by-products of coal burning power plants. It turns out, according to the Post, that the EPA based its attempt to ease containment regulations not on scientific research, but a four-page document from an industry trade group, the Edison Electric Institute. This, and other problems with the technical data, was discovered by environmental activists.
Another attempt to relax regulations, this time on fuel-efficiency rules for cars and certain types of trucks, has been temporarily halted by the Office of Management and Budget due to insufficient scientific research and a lack of information on economic impacts.
The latest attempt of Pruitt and his cronies to keep the public in the dark is the “summit” held by EPA on May 22. This was to discuss limits on the potentially toxic industrial chemicals polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFASs, in drinking water. The summit was forced by Democratic members of Congress disclosing a January meeting between the EPA and the American Chemistry Council to delay publication of a HHS study on the dangers to human health of PFAS levels in drinking water. Several journalists from CNN, the AP, and E&E News were ejected from the meeting. And prior to the summit. many community groups from areas contaminated by PFASs were excluded
Right-wing House Republicans came to the rescue unintentionally by defeating the Farm Bill last week. The chemical industry had quietly inserted provisions in the Bill prohibiting states and localities from enacting any further limitations on pesticides than in federal regulations.
All of the above shows the need for constant vigilance and close scrutiny of Pruitt and his industry apologists for every attempt to roll back regulations protecting our food, water, air, and overall health.
–Jean Stewart, Chair, Earth and Environment Task Force