Poisoning the wells

As I’ve pointed out several times, the Obama administration left the Bush political appointees in place at the EPA, to the point where the people who were trying to do their jobs were calling the agency “Bush 3.” I’d hate to think he actually chose officials who do something this stupid, but who knows?

Many of us believe the wars to come won’t be fought over oil, they’ll be fought over water. From ProPublica:

Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation’s drinking water.

In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.

EPA records show that portions of at least 100 drinking water aquifers have been written off because exemptions have allowed them to be used as dumping grounds.

“You are sacrificing these aquifers,” said Mark Williams, a hydrologist at the University of Colorado and a member of a National Science Foundation team studying the effects of energy development on the environment. “By definition, you are putting pollution into them. … If you are looking 50 to 100 years down the road, this is not a good way to go.”

As part of an investigation into the threat to water supplies from underground injection of waste, ProPublica set out to identify which aquifers have been polluted.

We found the EPA has not even kept track of exactly how many exemptions it has issued, where they are, or whom they might affect.

What records the agency was able to supply under the Freedom of Information Act show that exemptions are often issued in apparent conflict with the EPA’s mandate to protect waters that may be used for drinking.

Though hundreds of exemptions are for lower-quality water of questionable use, many allow grantees to contaminate water so pure it would barely need filtration, or that is treatable using modern technology.

The EPA is only supposed to issue exemptions if aquifers are too remote, too dirty, or too deep to supply affordable drinking water. Applicants must persuade the government that the water is not being used as drinking water and that it never will be.

4 Responses to Poisoning the wells

  1. Tom December 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Susie, at this point we’re so f@<&*! that we're looking at near term human extinction (among many or most if not all life on the planet).
    Seriously, the IPCC has consistently UNDER reported the seriousness of the trouble we're in (so as not to panic the public) and all the climate talks amount to stalling and doing nothing.
    Here, listen to this talk:


  2. um December 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Plain English: The PTB are trying to turn us into Bangladesh.

  3. um December 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    While they get away on their yachts. Awesome plan.

  4. jawbone December 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Uh, this is what happens when a Republican runs as a Democrat and is elected. Now, reelected.

    Good grief, they govern as, well, what they are: Republicans.

    This is Hurry Up and Die applied unto the 7th generation, way beyond the third or fourth generations. And these are not even sins of the fathers, but sins of the leaders which will be visited up us and our progeny.

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