Saturday 23 September 2017

Press Statements (57)

Waterkeepers Chesapeake and seven Riverkeeper organizations in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia, have filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and EPA Administrator Regina McCarthy in a legal matter involving the delisting of 53 river segments in 17 Maryland counties and Baltimore City. At issue is whether the Environmental Protection Agency, under provisions of the Clean Water Act, must assess water quality upriver in the 53 delisted river segments.  “Pollution doesn’t just originate in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Elizabeth Nicholas, executive director of Waterkeepers Chesapeake. “We have to look at all of the smaller creeks and streams that are suffering impaired water quality throughout the watershed.” According to the suit, the delisted river segments suffer degraded conditions not limited to: algae blooms, sediment plumes, excess nutrients, low oxygen and fish die-offs. "This case is not just about the EPA trying to shortcut what is required by the Clean Water Act,” said David Flores, Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper. “It is also about the agency subverting the public's right to participate in the cleanup of our neighborhood streams and rivers." This lawsuit challenges a regulatory action by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and EPA that followed the approval of the Bay TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load, a regulatory term under the Clean Water Act). The legal action does not seek to overturn or undermine the Bay TMDL, recently upheld by the Supreme Court. "Our rivers are more polluted…
On behalf of the James River Association, Southern Environmental Law Center has filed a notice with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Dominion Power that it will appeal the permit issued by DEQ to Dominion last month to allow the discharge of over 350 million gallons of coal ash wastewater from the Bremo Power Station into the James River. “The James River Association is committed to ensuring that the James River is fully protected from the harmful effects of coal ash. The James River near Bremo Power Station is a biologically healthy and diverse section of the river with important resources that must be protected,” said Bill Street, CEO at James River Association. “We are deeply disappointed that the permit approved by the State Water Control Board fell short of fully protecting the James River when the technology to meet stronger water quality protections is readily available and affordable. We are filing notice of an appeal to ensure that ‘America's Founding River’ receives the same level of protection as any other waters.” READ MORE JRA’s statement, February 10, 2016 READ MORE SELC’s statement, February 10, 2016
"In June 2015, our partner Potomac Riverkeeper Network took aerial photographs revealing the unexpected draining of coal ash wastewater from “Pond E” at Virginia Dominion Power’s Possum Point Power Plant into Quantico Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River. After receiving the photographs in June, SELC asked David Paylor, director of DEQ, to explain the empty pond at the Dominion’s Possum Point Power Plant. Paylor responded in an email: “We know that water was moved between ponds but our best information is that no water was discharged to state waters.” However, in January, SELC and the Potomac Riverkeeper Network uncovered a consultant report that indicated otherwise. The report referenced, in part: “… surface water stored in Pond E that was discharged into Quantico Creek in May 2015” Since discovering that mention, both SELC and the Potomac Riverkeeper Network have been unable to determine how much coal-ash wastewater was discharged into Quantico Creek, despite direct inquiry to the involved parties. Today, InsideNoVa.com posted a story that revealed the discharge was nearly 34 million gallons, which is nearly two-thirds of the pond’s total volume. That information in the story was attributed to Virginia Dominion Power officials." READ MORE SELC & PRKN statement, February 9, 2016 READ MORE: Conservation groups outraged that Dominion dumped over 30 million gallons of toxic coal ash wastewater into creek near Potomac River, SELC, February 9, 2016