Radium contamination in water most widespread in Texas, environmental group says

More than half of Americans could be drinking tap water tainted with a radioactive element.
A new report from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) finds more than 170 million people are exposed to radium in their drinking water.
When Dennis Taylor moved with his wife and two kids back to her hometown of Brady, Texas, he quickly found out many there don’t drink the city water, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.
So exposure to radium… even low levels, may increase the risk of cancer development," said Alexis Temkin, toxicologist with the EWG.
Radium was found in all 50 states – and the group found 158 public water systems in 27 states "reported radium in amounts that exceeded the federal legal limit."
The state with the most widespread contamination, according to EWG, is Texas, where "more than 3,500 utilities serving more than 22 million people – about 80 percent of the state’s population" reported finding radium.
EWG alleges Kathleen Hartnett White "deliberately falsified data" on public water system radiation levels as head of the Texas commission on environmental quality in the mid-2000s.
You bet we do," Carper responded.
Back in Brady, Dennis Taylor said he and his family won’t be drinking the water for now.
We also asked the EPA about the EWG’s criticisms of its work, but the agency has not gotten back to us with its response.

Suit over PG&E’s alleged bay pollution is reinstated

A federal appeals court reinstated an environmental group’s lawsuit Thursday that accuses Pacific Gas and Electric Co. of contaminating San Francisco and Humboldt bays with potentially dangerous chemicals in a wood preservative used on utility poles.
The suit said oil and wood waste from poles stored at the yards washed into the bays, damaging the environment and endangering wildlife and human health.
The environmental group wants a court to order PG&E to halt or clean up the discharges.
The Environmental Protection Agency decided many years ago not to require permits under that law for storm-water discharges.
But because the agency could have ordered permits, Seeborg said, the discharges were subject to the Clean Water Act and could not be challenged under the Resource Conservation law.
The Ninth U.S.
“The Clean Water Act does not require PG&E to get a permit for these discharges,” Judge Marsha Berzon said in the 3-0 ruling.
The EPA filed arguments supporting reinstatement of the suit under President Barack Obama, and argued on the side of the environmental group at the court’s hearing in February after President Trump took office.
Berzon said the group’s members had adequately asserted “their reduced ability to enjoy eating local seafood in Bay Area restaurants, observing birds and other wildlife from the air or from the wetlands around Oakland Airport, or sailing and swimming safely in San Francisco Bay, among other harms.” Jason Flanders, a lawyer for the Ecological Rights Foundation, said the ruling closed “what could have been a major loophole in pollution law.” Asked for comment, PG&E spokesman Matt Nauman said, “The health and safety of our customers and the public is our top priority.
We are aware of the court’s decision.

New City conservationist Martus Granirer dies at 84

New City conservationist Martus Granirer dies at 84.
Martus Granirer, who devoted much of his life to protecting the land, waterways, wildlife and culture of New City’s South​ Mountain Road area, died Thursday.
In April of 2016, Granirer was presented with the 19th annual County Executive’s Outstanding Volunteer Environmental Award for preserving more than 1,000 acres of parkland throughout Rockland County.
“Protecting land and water doesn’t mean opposing change,” he said.
Everything I’ve done in Rockland has involved change.” Granirer was an attorney and member of the nonprofit environmental group West Branch Conservation Association.
"Thanks to him, the headwaters of the Hackensack River were protected because he was able to get land set aside as open space, both through municipal and state land designations and by convincing his neighbors to donate property or set up conservation easements.
"He truly has been an outstanding citizen of our county, fighting to conserve precious land and preserve a way of life."
Granirer attended Harvard and Columbia universities and later became a pho​tographer, according to Terri Thal, with whom he spent his last 19 years.
His photographs are in museums, including the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
Thal said that two days before he died, Granirer spoke at a hearing protesting the construction of an electrical substation on South Mountain Road.

Exploring The Last Green Valley: Earth Day continues to grow, change

Exploring The Last Green Valley: Earth Day continues to grow, change.
His goal was to infuse the emerging public awareness about air and water pollution into a national movement with the idea of a nationwide “teach-in” on the environment.
The stage had been set for Earth Day during the 1960s as the public gradually awakened to environmental issues, including the 1962 publication of Rachael Carson’s bestseller “Silent Spring.” For many people, that book represented a watershed moment and clarion call for living organisms and the links between public health and pollution.
It is estimated that on April 22, 1970, up to 20 million participated in some way during the first Earth Day.
Twenty years later Earth Day went global, mobilizing upwards of 200 million people in hundreds of countries and elevating environmental issues throughout the world.
Ten years later, at the start of a new millennium, a new campaign took shape with a focus on climate change, global warming and clean energy.
Earth Day 2017 brings yet another set of challenges to the fight for a clean and healthy environment.
Next Saturday will find me miles away from my home in The Last Green Valley.
I will be visiting my daughter and grandchildren at their home in Maine.
But we hope to stop in Portland for a March for Science rally and program.

Environmental group files lawsuit against California recycling business

Environmental group files lawsuit against California recycling business.
SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) — An environmental group is suing a recycling business, alleging violation of federal water pollution laws.
Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation filed a complaint March 30 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California against American Recycling International Inc., doing business as LKQ Pick Your Part Chula Vista, alleging the defendant unlawfully discharges pollutants from its operations into U.S. waters, violating the Clean Water Act.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff was damaged from having pollutants being illegally dumped into U.S. waters.
The plaintiff alleges the defendant failed to comply with the 60-day notice sent by the plaintiff regarding LKQ Pick Your Part’s environmental violations.
Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation seeks to declare the defendant violated the Clean Water Act from its unlawful discharge of pollutants from its facility, enjoin the defendant, civil monetary penalties of $37,500 per day per violation, and $51,570 per violation, order the defendant to take appropriate actions to restore the quality of waters, costs of suit, attorney fees and consultant fees, and all other appropriate relief.
It is represented by attorneys Marco A. Gonzalez and Livia B. Beaudin of Coast Law Group LLP in Encinitas, California.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California Case number 3:17-cv-00656-WQH-BLM

‘I Love Long Island’ Campaign Tackles Harmful Lawn Fertilizers

A local environmental group is taking the fight against water pollution straight to Long Islanders’ lawns through a new “I Love Long Island” campaign meant to curb the use of potentially harmful high-nitrogen fertilizers.
The ambitious project, spearheaded by the nonprofit Grassroots Environmental Education, coincides with Earth Day, which is on April 22.
The site provides educational material about certain lawn products and encourages people to sign a pledge to refrain from using fertilizers containing 10 percent nitrogen or more on their property.
Part of the problem is people are constantly seeking “that perfect lawn…but they don’t realize there’s a payment for this,” he said, adding that stormwater runoff can lead to contaminated drinking water, algae blooms and fish kills.
Wood sees an opportunity in changing people’s habits toward how they treat their lawns.
Along with launching the new website, GEE is creating 500 “I Love Long Island” lawn signs that will be ready for distribution on Earth Day, and he commissioned a short video explaining the potential dangers associated with high-nitrogen products.
While nitrogen produced by wastewater has been blamed for threatening protective marshlands, experts also point to other pollutants and fertilizer as possible factors of environmental degradation.
Wood acknowledges that many homeowners are simply unaware about the effects of high-nitrogen products, and he’s sympathetic to landscapers who understand potential consequences but are “kind of forced by the market to use these chemicals.” He also understands that the higher price tag associated with organic fertilizers can be a deterrent.
“I’m not trying to take business away from anybody…I’d like to see everyone do well,” he said.
In the past, Wood’s organization has trained more than 1,000 landscapers in the science of lawn care, and was hired by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to train school facility directors on the topic.