Tag Archives: EPA

Huge win for Waterkeepers: Court stops FDEP assumption of water permitting, and countersuit 2024-02-15

In a rare huge win for conservationists, on February 15, 2024, St. Johns Riverkeeper, Miami Waterkeeper, and co-plaintiffs won their case to stop the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) from assuming wetlands permitting.

[Florida panther, Waterkeepers Florida]
Florida panther, Waterkeepers Florida

FDEP assumption was always a bad idea. “The toxic algae blooms that now plague Florida are a direct result of the state’s decades-long failure to protect our waterways from wildlife-choking pollution,” Jason Totoiu, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “Now the state wants to make it even easier to dredge and fill wetlands that help filter these pollutants.”

Here’s the original lawsuit.

Jim Saunders, WUSF & News Service of Florida, February 19, 2024, A judge sides with environmentalists in wetlands permitting shift,

In a win for environmental groups, a U.S. district judge Thursday ruled that federal officials did not follow required steps in 2020 before shifting permitting authority to Florida for projects that affect wetlands.

Washington, D.C.-based Judge Randolph Moss, in a 97-page decision, found that actions by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency violated the Endangered Species Act. Moss vacated the approval of the shift to the state.

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Mercury through the air into rivers has greatly decreased in recent years 2023-06-05

Good news: “Atmospheric [mercury] deposition from domestic power plants decreased by 91% across the contiguous U.S. from 6.4 Mg in 2010 to 0.55 Mg in 2020.”

Bad news: “Despite large deposition declines, an end-member scenario for remaining exposures from the largest active power plants for individuals consuming self-caught fish suggests they could still exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reference dose for methylmercury.”

[Better with room for further improvement]
Better with room for further improvement

We know mercury is a problem in the Alapaha River, coming through the air from coal Plant Scherer, north of Macon, Georgia. So by this paper the problem is lessened, but still is a problem.

It’s also a problem on land, for example near the Okefenokee Swamp, where the proposed strip mine may stir up mercury, as mentioned in the Clinch County resolution against that mine and for the Swamp.

You can still help stop that mine.

Sociodemographic Disparities in Mercury Exposure from United States Coal-Fired Power Plants, Continue reading

EPA Proposed PFAS NPDWR Public Hearing 2023-05-04

Register by May 2nd for this online Public Hearing on Thursday, May 4, 2023, from 11 AM to 7 PM EDT.

[PFAS testing, Withlacoochee River, 2022-06-30]
PFAS testing, Withlacoochee River, 2022-06-30

Public hearing to present information and receive public comment on the proposed PFAS NPDWR:

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting a public hearing to present information and receive public comment on the proposed per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The hearing will be held virtually on May 4, 2023, from 11am until 7pm eastern time. The number of online connections available for the hearing is limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Persons wishing to attend this public hearing are requested to register in advance no later than May 2, 2023.

During the virtual hearing, there will be Continue reading

No phosphate mine waste into recreational lakes, and more transparency –WWALS to Hamilton County BOCC 2023-04-17

You can send your own comments to the addresses in the WWALS letter. If you prefer to telephone, see https://hamiltoncountyfl.com/board-of-county-commissioners/.

The Public Hearing is tomorrow, Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at 6 PM, at 207 NE First Street Jasper, Florida 32052.

WWALS letter to Hamilton BOCC 2023-04-17

See also PDF.

[Letter and mine]
Letter and mine

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More materials: Hamilton County Planning Commission on Nutrien phosphate mine permit renewal 2023-03-28

Update 2023-04-17: No phosphate mine waste into recreational lakes, and more transparency –WWALS to Hamilton County BOCC 2023-04-17.

See also, from five years ago: Pictures: PCS Phosphate mine permit Public Hearings, Jasper, FL 2018-01-23.

Here are 78 more documents related to the Public Hearing at 6 PM this Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at the Hamilton County Commission in Jasper, Florida, about Nutrien’s phosphate mining permit renewal.

[Mining location, reclamation, flow, and areas]
Mining location, reclamation, flow, and areas

These documents, from a USB stick I picked up from Hamilton County today, are in addition to the documents I posted yesterday.

Ordinarily I would read everything first and post some analysis, but in the interests of time, here are the documents. Continue reading

Hamilton County Planning Commission wants conditions on Nutrien phosphate mine permit renewal 2023-03-28

Update 2023-04-13: More materials: Hamilton County Planning Commission on Nutrien phosphate mine permit renewal 2023-03-28.

Update 2023-04-12: The County Commission meeting will be April 18th.

The Nutrien Phosphate Mine in Hamilton County, Florida, is up for renewal by the Hamilton Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, April 28 18, 2023, at 6 PM. There will be a Public Hearing. Since time to speak will be limited, best to send written comments in advance.

The renewal request has already been reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Board (PNZ), on March 28, 2023. PNZ recommends renewal with some conditions.

Private landowners, a number of whose property is inside the mine boundary, object that some of Nutrien’s plans for disposal of waste such as clay will adversely affect those landowners’ businesses as well as wildlife and waters.

Dennis J. Price, P.G., of Hamilton County filed a page of questions.

Bienville Outdoors filed a a request to find other options for settling areas.

Maybe you would like to comment on effects of this mine on the Suwannee River, Swift Creek, the Floridan Aquifer, or public health.

[Private landowners, Clay flows, aerial: Nutrien Phosphate Mine, Hamilton County, FL]
Private landowners, Clay flows, aerial: Nutrien Phosphate Mine, Hamilton County, FL

On the WWALS website are Continue reading

Help oppose foolish Florida water lawsuit 2023-02-23

You can help stop a foolish Florida water lawsuit.

[FL Atty Genl, WWALS at Alapaha River Rise]
FL Atty Genl, WWALS at Alapaha River Rise

Craig Pittman, Florida Phoenix, February 23, 2023, Florida attorney general tries to make it easier to pave over wetlands: We all should object to Ashley Moody joining this anti-environment lawsuit

I’ve excerpted a few high points from his fine rant:

There’s a case going on right now involving Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody that is more outrageous than entertaining.

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PFAS forever chemicals are in everything –WUFT 2023-02-14

“This stuff is in everything,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman.

In the Withlacoochee River, in fish in the Alapaha River, maybe in your house. Georgia, Florida, and U.S. EPA should do something about it.

For what you can do, see:
https://wwals.net/issues/pfas/

[Sullivan Launch PFAS sample, US 41, Knights Ferry, State Line, Sullivan Launch, Withlacoochee River 2022-06-30]
Sullivan Launch PFAS sample, US 41, Knights Ferry, State Line, Sullivan Launch, Withlacoochee River 2022-06-30

Fernando Figueroa, WUFT, February 14, 2023, Community members speak up about new “forever chemicals” study

A new study by the Environmental Working Group, an activist group focused on research, revealed that eating a single freshwater fish is equal to drinking water with high PFAS levels for a month.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS or “forever chemicals,” are Continue reading

PFAS in fish in Alapaha River 2023-01-17

Largemouth bass caught in the Alapaha River at Statenville Boat Ramp had high concentrations of PFAS forever chemicals.

EWG summarizes the risk:

Eating just one PFAS-contaminated freshwater fish per month could be the equivalent of drinking a glass of water with very high levels of PFOS or other forever chemicals.

[Map and data: PFAS in fish in Alapaha River --EWG 2023-01-17]
Map and data: PFAS in fish in Alapaha River –EWG 2023-01-17 Sample taken: 2014. Source: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO), PFAS National Datasets, Ambient Environmental Sampling for PFAS. Available here.

EWG, January 17, 2023, ‘Forever chemicals’ in freshwater fish: Mapping a growing environmental justice problem EPA data reveal high levels of PFAS in fish and human exposure risks,

What does this map show?

From coast to coast, and in almost every state in the U.S., high levels of the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS contaminate freshwater fish. The potential harm is not limited to fish, but the pollution poses health risks to communities that catch and eat the fish.

This map, based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency, confirms the detection of PFAS at alarming levels Continue reading

Forever chemical residue can even be in your house lot 2022-11-27

That house you bought may come with forever chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which can harm human (and wildlife) health in many ways.

Florida permits shipping sewage sludge from south Florida to north Florida for agricultural fertilizer. It’s not clear how prevalent the same practice is in Georgia. But from fields it can wash into waterways, and subdivisions may be built on fields that had sludge applied.

[Human health, house PFAS sources]
Human health, house PFAS sources

Marina Schauffler, The Main Monitor, November 27, 2022, Forever exposure, forever anxiety: Coping with the inescapable toxicity of PFAS: Found in water, air, soil, food, consumer products and work settings, “forever chemicals” pose risks to both physical health and mental well-being.

At the end of Joy Road in Fairfield, a steep dead-end road climbs a hillside to a scattering of homes with distant mountain views and some of the higher concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) the state has found to date in groundwater. The neighbors here live under what one resident, Nathan Saunders, called the “cloud of an unknown future,” fearing how PFAS exposure may erode their health.

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