Wednesday, July 25, 2018

EPA COMMENTS OPEN: Tell them to Prevent Chemical Spills Into Water and Protect Drinking Water Sources

In 2014, hundreds of thousands of people in West Virginia faced a crisis. Due to a leak from a chemical storage tank they couldn't use their water for anything other than toilet flushing or firefighting for more than a week. Families were without drinking water, people couldn't shower, businesses had to close.

Environmental justice and environmental organizations sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force the agency to deal with hazardous spills and leaks from aboveground storage tanks. In late 2016, EPA pledged to develop a program to keep drinking water safe and hold companies that leak or spill chemicals accountable.

Fast forward to June 2018. EPA finally told us what the plan was. And the plan was...nothing. Trump's EPA has decided that it won't protect communities from chemical spills because it wrongly asserts that the risks from spills is low and there are other programs that can handle this issue. Both of those claims are false. 

EPA’s analysis dismisses the impact that chemical spills from storage tanks and other facilities can have on people’s health, on drinking water sources, and on communities’ well-being. Other federal programs do not address this problem comprehensively. Relying on other programs that are not designed to address spills, leaks, and other discharges of hazardous substances from industrial facilities will leave low-income communities and communities of color in jeopardy. These communities are often surrounded by these risky facilities and are already disproportionately impacted by pollution from industrial plants, factories, and power plants.

We need robust plans for prevention of chemical spills, and for containing and cleaning up hazardous substance discharges. Otherwise, there will be gaps in protection for drinking water sources, for people’s health, and for water quality that is safe for swimming, other recreation, fishing, and wildlife.

Take Action (click link to send the message below.) 

In February, 2016 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settled a lawsuit by committing to develop a program to prevent an clean-up chemical spills into our nation’s water bodies.

Now EPA has unveiled the details of this hazardous spill prevention program: No program!

EPA is accepting comments on this idea until August 24. Help us tell EPA that our drinking water sources, rivers, lakes, and streams from leaking storage tanks and other chemical spills that threaten our health, our water, and wildlife.

Subject: Re: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2018-0024

The Letter: (Feel free to personalize it for more impact.)

Prevent Chemical Spills Into Water and Protect Drinking Water Sources  

I urge EPA to reconsider its decision not to develop safeguards to prevent spills of hazardous substances into rivers, lakes, streams, and other water bodies. The Clean Water Act directs EPA to set up this program. Existing laws and regulations do not ensure that drinking water sources and all of our water are protected. 

Facilities handling hazardous substances should develop comprehensive plans to prevent discharges into water. 

More information:

Industrial waste pollutes America’s drinking water

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