Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SPECIAL REPORT: When Will Our Water Be Clean? (Uranium Mining ruins water)

Comment:  The NAS Study looks like a study on how to mine uranium mining, not on how to protect the people of our community and our water.  Will the rivers around uranium mines be flowing like Hungary!  Just wait for our hurricanes to hit uranium mines on the East Coast, VA Beach watch out, your water will be ruin along with all of rivers will be glowing in the dark in VA lifts the ban on uranium mining if the leaders of VA listens to the NAS studies full of pro nuclear and uranium members!  No to uranium mining and milling!  The above article is the agenda of the NAS uranium studies!

by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium blogger

Last week, rivers in Hungary ran red with toxic sludge, creating the perhaps most powerful image of water contamination possible. Imagine, for a second, if every chemical leaching into waterways in this country had such a brilliant hue. What color would our water be?

Less than crystal clear, certainly. We still don’t know, for instance, what chemicals the government and BP poured into the Gulf Coast after the Deepwater Horizon spill, as Mother Jones‘ Kate Sheppard reports.

Beyond one time dumps, American industries and consumers are steadily polluting our water system. Energy companies contaminate waterways. So do massive, industrial farms. Sewer systems overflow, and landfills leach waste.
Flouting the Clean Water Act

After the Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969, politicians finally took note of the country’s polluted and within a few years had passed the Clean Water Act.

In theory, the Clean Water Act should limit contamination, but as The New York Times reported last year, violations have been increasing.

Just this month, in Kentucky, environmental advocates brought a case against two coal companies that allegedly violated the Clean Water Act more than 20,000 times, as Public News Service’s Renee Shaw reports.

The violations “include doctoring water pollution reports, failing to conduct tests, and exceeding permit pollution limits,” Shaw reports.


These types of problems continue in part because governments are unable or unwilling to crack down on polluters. In the Kentucky mining case, for instance, Mother Jones’ Kate Sheppard reports that the environmental advocates filed the suit in part because they felt the Kentucky office that oversees the Clean Water Act “had not enforced the law.” Sheppard writes:

Donna Lisenby, who works for the environmental group Appalachian Voices, described literally blowing the dust off stacks of reports from the companies that did not appear to have been actually reviewed by anyone in the state office. Or at least, they were not reviewed thoroughly; she also described reports that appeared to have the same data copied and pasted from previous months, and reports that were dated before the testing was actually conducted.

Even when the government does hold companies accountable, however, that doesn’t guarantee a good, quick result. Take General Electric’s clean up of the Hudson River.

The company began dumping chemicals there in the 1940s but is still trying to delay its clean-up efforts, writes’s Jess Leber.

Joining forces

Ultimately, though, water contamination is not just about the environment.

The lack of clean water extracts a real human cost. As writes, “Access to clean water is not just a human rights issue.

It’s an environmental issue. An animal welfare issue. A sustainability issue. Water is a global issue, and it affects all of us.” What that means, however, is that environmental advocates concerned about water pollution can find allies in other social action movements.

In Detroit, for example, environmental and health advocates joined together to address water issues, as Making Contact reports. The “People’s Water Board” works on water pollution and on water access, and so far has pushed city officials overseeing water issues towards greater transparency.

In all of these cases, whether the culprit is the energy industry, agribusiness, or climate change, the work of environmental advocates is calling attention to and pushing to resolve the problem. With these sorts of efforts, perhaps it won’t take a flaming river to push leaders across the country to work to make our water clean.

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