The editorial, “Proving the EPA Can Be Relied Upon,” doesn’t prove what it says it does. It begins:
With some local residents expressing concern about the ethane cracker plant that may be built in Belmont County, it is important that government regulatory agencies ensure there is reason to have faith they will enforce environmental rules.
A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announcement last week may help in that regard.
EPA officials said they are investigating whether a chemical manufacturer, the Chemours Co., broke laws in two West Virginia communities and one in North Carolina.
The EPA’s recent reaction to the law-breaking in North Carolina has gotten considerable media coverage and most are not praising the decision. Nationally, for example, from Politico:
The Environmental Protection Agency released a plan on Thursday to deal with a class of toxic chemicals found in 98 percent of Americans’ blood, but offered no guarantee the agency will enact enforceable drinking water regulations for the two best-studied compounds.
The reaction from North Carolina, where damage to the water supply has been significant, was swift. Here is the headline from Raleigh, North Carolina’s WRAL.com on the EPA plan:
Environmentalists, Cooper pan new EPA plan on GenX-style chemicals
Environmental groups roundly criticized a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plan on toxic chemicals like GenX on Thursday, saying it doesn't go nearly far or fast enough to address threats to health and water.
Gov. Roy Cooper complained about the plan as well, saying the U.S. government's ballyhooed action plan lacked important detail and a commitment to setting standards on chemicals made in North Carolina and found in drinking water along the Cape Fear River.
The EPA's plan, Cooper said in a statement, "seems to ignore the urgency of the problem."
Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, the Southern Environmental Law Center and Food & Water Watch, agreed. The Environmental Working Group said the plan would allow more pollution, not less, and called President Donald Trump "the nation's first pro-cancer president."
(See also a similar explanation from NC Policy Watch: “Critics pounce on the lack of urgency in EPA’s “Action Plan” on PFAS".)
And unlike the News-Register’s editorial, yesterday’s response from the Fayetteville Observer shows little faith in the EPA:
There is little to praise in the EPA’s actions last week, except its recognition of the threat posed by PFAS chemicals. But there is only the promise of research and cleanup guidelines to come. It appears that there will be no actual initiatives until at least next year.
Meanwhile, downstream water utilities are spending hundreds of millions on new filtration systems to remove PFAS and other dangerous chemicals in Cape Fear River water, and more utilities upstream — including our own Public Works Commission, whose water is contaminated with carcinogenic 1,4 dioxane — should be doing the same. Will we get any federal assistance? Will the EPA act to get these contaminants our of our water? Will corporations be required to clean up the pollution they have spread?
Stay tuned. The EPA may have an answer later this year. Or maybe not. We’re having a hard time feeling good faith there.
(If you want to learn what Fayetteville has gone through, google Fayetteville North Carolina chemical disaster.
An EPA run by a former lobbyist for Murray Energy. Why would anyone doubt that it might not be looking out for our best interests?
Update on previous post
Reader “Apollo” responded in "comments" to my asking for more information on a Mike Myer assertion about an Obama executive order. He provides an excellent explanation. Thanks.