Dominican Republic town blames U.S. firm for birth defects (Miami Herald)
A small Dominican Republic town plagued by birth defects wants to know if a U.S. power company is to blame.
A civil lawsuit filed Wednesday in Delaware charges that toxic levels of waste dumped at the Arroyo Barril port has made people nearby sick. After years of repeated miscarriages, women whose blood levels show abnormal levels of arsenic are giving birth to babies with cranial deformities, with organs outside their bodies or missing limbs.
The case highlights the debate over coal ash, an unregulated byproduct of coal energy, which when processed and recycled is used in everything from cement to the foundation for golf courses. Popular Mechanics magazine this month calls a concrete made from coal ash one of the “10 Most Brilliant Products of 2009.”
Much more in the several page article and a heartbreaking video.
OK, so to quote a WVEC.com article entitled, “ODEC response to CBF Report“:
Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC ) categorically refutes the assertion that the Clean Water Act can be used to govern air emissions. This is what Congress and the previous administrations intended the Clean Air Act to do. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) novel and specious argument that ODEC is somehow doing an illegal activity is patently false and untrue. ODEC has and will continue to meet our legally mandated obligation to provide environmentally-responsible and cost-efficient electricity to the consumer-members of the not-for-profit electric distribution cooperatives that ODEC serves.
The article goes on to say:
Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) strongly rejects the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) allegation that the emissions from the proposed Cypress Creek Power Station would be “illegal.” The application for this proposed facility is subject to the most rigorous review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and numerous other state and federal regulatory agencies. The proposed Cypress Creek Power Station will be permitted and licensed under all applicable regulations, including the Clear Air Act and the Clean Water Act.
That is a half truth. There is no mention of the current ongoing investigation by the EPA.
EPA to Issue Strict Rules for U.S. Power Plant Air Toxics (EarthJustice.org – October 23, 2009):
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to adopt rules reducing toxic air pollution from the nation’s coal- and oil-burning power plants, by November 2011, according to a settlement agreement reached in a federal lawsuit brought against the agency by a coalition of public health and environmental groups.
The settlement has been lodged in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Attorneys at Earthjustice, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Clean Air Task Force, Natural Resources Defense Council, Southern Environmental Law Center, and Waterkeeper Alliance filed the lawsuit last December on behalf of their organizations and the American Nurses Association, Conservation Law Foundation, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, Izaak Walton League of America, Natural Resources Council of Maine, The Ohio Environmental Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Sierra Club.
The lawsuit was based on EPA’s failure to meet the Clean Air Act’s deadline for issuing regulations controlling toxic air pollution from power plants.
“Power plants are the largest unregulated industrial source of air toxics. It is unconscionable that 19 years after the Clean Air Act of 1990, we still do not have air toxics controls on these large existing sources of pollution,” said James Pew of Earthjustice. “After years of litigating this issue, our groups look forward to a productive working relationship with the agency as it finally develops these rules.”
Children and women of childbearing age are at risk when power plants emit the levels of mercury they are emitting today – all 50 states, and one US territory, have declared fish advisories warning about mercury contamination.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of this case, and look forward to working with the EPA to develop emissions standards for this industry that mandate the deep cuts in this pollution that the law requires,” said Ann Weeks, legal director at the Clean Air Task Force, one of the lead attorneys for the groups.
Much more in the article.
And now that there has been yet another Fly Ash/Coal Ash breach in Mass. (near the end of their special meeting announcement:
In other money matters for the warrant, selectmen agreed to submit an item asking the town to appropriate an as-yet undecided amount of money for the continued care of the town’s former landfill.
Located on Brayton Point Road, south of Route 6, the landfill is owned in part by electric company National Grid and the Velozo family. The landfill was capped in the early 1980s.
In March of 2008, the town became aware that the landfill was breached due to unauthorized use of the site by dirt bike racers. The dirt bikes’ tires scarred the landfill and rain washed out the scars, creating an erosion problem. Fly ash from the Brayton Point Power Station, placed over the landfill’s liner, washed out into nearby wetlands and, where the fly ash was washed out, the landfill’s liner tore. An estimated 2,500 pounds of fly ash washed out of the landfill.
Luttrell said the problems at the landfill have since been fixed, but money is needed to continue upkeep.
“The money, if approved, would go to maintenance,” Luttrell said. “We’re required to cut grass and trees and conduct water testing in the area of the landfill.”
It is not a matter of IF a coal ash landfill will leak or be breached, but a matter of WHEN.
Yet another reason to put off installing a 1500 MW baseload coal fired power plant in the middle of a small rural community of 300 plus people in Surry County (the Town of Dendron).
And while I am on the subject of the ‘proposed’ coal plant, I, for one, am appalled at the accusation, on a local WVEC.com news station video, by Dendron Mayor and by others in the local newspapers and TV news, not just implying but coming out and accusing those who oppose the plant of being responsible for the Halloween church cemetery and ODEC sign vandalism.
To say that those of us who are against the coal plant being built in Dendron would have anything to do with vandalizing a church cemetery or vandalizing the huge Cypress Creek signs all over the county supporting the 1500 MW coal fired power plant being built in Dendron, VA is ludicrous. We love our Town and its historic roots too much to be associated with such things. As a matter of fact, here is the letter from some of us in Surry County about this very subject that was read by Betsy Shepard to the Dendron Town Council at their Town Council meeting this past Monday night:
Dear Mayor Pierce and Members of the Town Council,
We were deeply disturbed to hear about the recent destruction and theft of property in Dendron. Although we are opponents of the proposed coal plant, we unite with those who support the project to condemn these cowardly and thuggish acts.
One of the wonderful things we can take away from this coal plant proposal is the awareness that so many of us care very deeply about the quality of life in Surry County. The small, but very important, difference between us has made it clear that, while we may differ as to the method of achieving it, all of us want the best county we can live in. And while we may disagree about what is best for the county, we are certain that we ALL agree that criminal activity and division are bad for the county.
To that end, we would like to offer a reward of $500 for any information that leads to the capture and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the recent damage in Dendron. It is our most sincere hope that this issue will not create further division in our community and that those who wish to express their opinions may do so freely and without interference.
Jim & Lisa Craig
Mike & Helen Eggleston
Bob & Kathryn Oliver
Joe & Wendy Robers
Kim & Mark Sperry
I wonder who is fostering this division? Hmmmm. I wonder who would profit from fostering division within our county? Hmmmm. I wonder.