PROTECTING ACCESS TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION

RTKnet: Water

State Disclosure Policies, Oversight of Natural Gas Fracking Are Inadequate Protection for Water Supplies, Public Safety, New Report Finds (OMB Watch)

In a new report issued on July 9, OMB Watch finds that state oversight laws requiring disclosure of the chemicals used in natural gas fracking are in need of an overhaul. Disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is spotty and incomplete, and essential safeguards are missing.

(11 Jul 2012)

Getting the Truth about Safe Drinking Water (OMB Watch)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reviewing the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) rule, a policy mandating that public water systems provide annual reports to consumers on the quality of local drinking water. The resulting reports have been criticized for being overly technical, complex, and difficult for the general public to understand or act upon.

(06 Apr 2012)

EPA Releases Searchable Website for Drinking Water Violations (U.S. EPA)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced improvements to the availability and usability of drinking water data in the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) tool. ECHO now allows the public to search to see whether drinking water in their community met the standards required under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which is designed to safeguard the nation’s drinking water and protect people’s health.

(24 May 2011)

Congress Seeks to Reveal Toxic Drilling Chemicals (OMB Watch)

Congressional Democrats have reintroduced legislation that would disclose the hazardous chemicals used in drilling for natural gas. Cases of potential water contamination have been increasing as the nation experiences a boom in gas drilling. Secrecy surrounding the identities of the chemicals, many of which are known to be hazardous, has hampered efforts to protect public and environmental health.

(25 Mar 2011)

Drinking Chrome – New Studies Expose Threats to Tap Water (OMB Watch)

A new health study found drinking water in 31 out of 35 U.S. cities contaminated by hexavalent chromium. Another study found that hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen when inhaled and a suspected carcinogen when ingested, often contaminates water leaching from coal ash impoundments. The revelations expose the need for greater monitoring of public drinking water and stronger protections against contamination.

(23 Feb 2011)

Tell EPA How to Protect Drinking Water (U.S. EPA)

The EPA is launching a web-based discussion forum to gather public input on how the agency can improve protection of drinking water. The information will be used in implementing EPA’s new drinking water strategy announced by Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in March. To join the discussion: http://blog.epa.gov/dwstrat. There will also be a listening session August 19, in Rancho Cucamonga, CA

(17 Aug 2010)

Obama Administration's Scientists Admit Alarm Over Chemicals (The Guardian (UK))

The Obama administration is facing concern from government scientists about the use of dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico. Leading scientists recently wrote a letter to BP and the Obama administration asking them to release all of the scientific data related to the spill. The National Wildlife Federation explained, "Just as the unprecedented use of dispersants has served to sweep millions of gallons of oil under the rug, we're concerned the public may not get to see critical scientific data."

(05 Aug 2010)

Oil Spill Calculations Stir Debate on Damage (The New York Times)

The Obama Administration's latest report on the Deepwater Horizon cleanup efforts, which was based on modeling, was not well received by scientists or Gulf Coast residents. In reference to the report's "very generous assumptions," one University of Georgia marine scientist asserted “If an academic scientist put something like this out there, it would get torpedoed into a billion pieces." The report concluded that 26 percent of the oil, or 53 million gallons, had come ashore or has not yet degraded in the water.

(05 Aug 2010)

EPA Develops Software to Secure Nation's Water Supply (EPA)

The EPA and DOE have developed free water quality software to enhance a water system's ability to detect contaminants, such as pesticides, metals, and pathogens, able to distinguish between natural variation in water quality and hazardous contamination. The EPA's Office of Research and Development stated "This cutting-edge technology helps to protect all Americans...and allows water utilities to quickly advise customers when their water is not safe to drink."

(05 Aug 2010)

Acidification Threatens Sea Life (The Seattle Times)

Scientists suspect that increasing acidity of the nation's waterways, which is associated with fossil fuel emissions, is helping kill Pacific oysters. Researchers are now working to predict the reactions of Northwestern marine life to reduced pH levels. A Marine biogeographer stated in reference to the high acidity, "What I'm most concerned about is the bottom of the food chain...we don't have any idea what the biological impacts are."

(02 Aug 2010)