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EPA 189 articles

BP rejects EPA’s demand for less toxic chemical oil dispersant

Tensions continue to mount between BP and the federal government, first  over the oil giant’s failure to stop its oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico (the next attempt to contain the spill has been delayed until Wednesday) and now its insistence on using chemical oil dispersants in quantities that trouble regulators. BP has been spraying the oil slick with massive quantities of a dispersant called Corexit, which aids in breaking the oil down into small particles that can be ingested by microbes. The company is also injecting the plume of oil near the source with additional dispersant. The problem ... Read More

Level of oil dispersant chemicals used in Gulf raises concerns

The Environmental Protection Agency gave BP on Wednesday 24 hours to find an oil dispersant less toxic than the ones it has been spraying in massive quantities above the Gulf of Mexico and under the surface. The EPA requested that BP provide it with a list of available dispersants and begin using the new dispersants within 72 hours. The request indicates that federal regulators are concerned that the chemical dispersants being used in unprecedented quantities could pose a threat of their own to the Gulf’s marine life and coastal ecosystems. BP has been using two Nalco-brand dispersants, Corexit 9500A and ... Read More

Feds assess BP's record, company could lose its U.S. contracts

Environmental Protection Agency officials are reviewing BP’s troubled record of drilling for oil on U.S. soil and federal waters to determine whether the company should be barred from receiving government contracts. Such a move, if it comes to pass, could cost the company billions of dollars in revenue. Throughout the last decade, BP has paid several million dollars in fines to U.S. regulatory agencies and has been implicated in four instances of criminal misconduct. However, the oil industry’s “cozy relationship,” with the Minerals Management Service, as President Obama put it, may have shielded BP from actions harsher than token fines. ... Read More

Gulf oil fumes sicken workers, BP not concerned

Louisiana fisherman hired by BP to deploy boom and skim the growing oil mass in the Gulf of Mexico are getting sick. In the swamps and marshes in and around Batataria Bay, the fishermen-turned-BP employees working to contain the oil slick are reporting severe headaches, burning eyes, persistent coughs, sore throats, sinus congestion, dizziness and nausea. BP is reportedly assuring these fishermen that they don’t need respirators and other protective gear when working the oil spill, which emits powerful hydrocarbon vapors, or the chemical oil dispersants that are being sprayed across the Gulf. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, has ... Read More

Activist documents coal ash dangers in letter to EPA

“Are the people of Perry County, Ala., less valuable than the people in Kingston, Tenn.?” asks Hurricane Creekkeeper John Wathen. The activist sent a complaint letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Lisa Jackson this week in an effort to stop shipments of coal ash recovered from the east Tennessee spill site to a poor, black community in Alabama. Residents near the Uniontown, Ala., landfill say the coal ash is stinking up their town. And they, too, worry that the same toxic sludge that poured down on the community of Kingston causing serious damage and threatening human health, may create ... Read More

Illinois lawmakers ask White House not to classify coal ash as hazardous

A group of Illinois lawmakers are asking the White House not to classify coal ash as a hazardous material because doing so would cripple their state’s economy. In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, the bipartisan group of congressmen expressed concerns that reclassifying the byproduct from coal-firing plants would raise the cost of energy for Illinois consumers. It would also hamper local utilities’ ability to recycle the coal ash in products like cement, concrete and other building materials, a process that the group says generates thousands of jobs in Illinois. Coal ash storage is currently under review ... Read More

Coal ash classification could affect TVA customers’ bills

If the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules that coal ash waste from utility plants should be classified as a hazardous material, the ripple effect could hit Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) customers right in the wallet. TVA has already said that the billion-dollar cleanup is being footed by customers through their utility bills. That hike is hidden by a recent drop in fuel costs that has helped keep customers’ bills somewhat steady. If and when fuel prices creep back up, customers will see the change. But if coal ash, which contains arsenic and carcinogenic heavy metals, is reclassified as hazardous, it ... Read More

Why is toxic coal ash used to fertilize crops we eat?

We’ve all been told that eating fruits and vegetables can make us healthier. But some crops could make us sick. It’s the fertilizer that’s to blame. Farmers are being encouraged by the U.S. government to dust their fields with waste from coal-firing facilities. It’s a win-win situation, says the government. Coal ash helps loosen and fertilize soil for the farmers, and it helps reduce a waste disposal issue for the coal-firing plants. That coal ash is a synthetic form of the mineral gypsum, produced by power plant “scrubbers” that remove sulfur dioxide from the smoke stack emissions. The chalky substance ... Read More

EPA’s recommendations on coal ash the focus of dispute

As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ponders how waste from coal-firing plants should be classified, the debate on how best to regulate the toxic material heats up. Here is one more view on The Coal Ash Case, from The New York Times. Editorial: The Coal Ash Case Published January 19, 2010, The New York Times Just more than a year ago, one billion tons of toxic coal sludge broke loose from a containment pond belonging to the Tennessee Valley Authority, burying hundreds of acres of Roane County in eastern Tennessee and threatening local water supplies and air quality. The Environmental ... Read More

EPA says coal ash regulations will not come in 2009

Environmental groups and coal-firing operations will have to wait even longer for federal regulations to ensure the protection of public health and the environment regarding the storage of coal ash, according to a statement from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The agency was saddled with the hefty task of setting guidelines on the storage of coal ash impoundment ponds months ago and had promised a decision on regulating those plants by the end of the year. But as the days ticked by, having a proposal before 2010 rang in was looking less and less likely. The EPA confirmed that hunch ... Read More