Why We All Need To Channel Our Inner Erin Brockovich And Make The EPA Care About Water Pollution

Why We All Need To Channel Our Inner Erin Brockovich And Make The EPA Care About Water Pollution
Politics
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

This week in the Supreme Court, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ceded just 3 percent of its regulatory control of the US carbon emissions that come from stationary sources.

This is a big deal because the EPA fought and mostly won (nay for the 3 percent and a verbal lashing about “overstretching its powers”), despite a disapproving Congress about carbon pollution control.

The Obama administration has been tough on greenhouse gases from power plants and other industrial sources, per The Clean Air Act. What is interesting, though, is that these same entities don’t give a crap about water pollution. Is this just, dare I say, political?

When Gina McCarthy was appointed head of the EPA by Obama 15 months ago, one of her first orders of business was to double the allowable limit of glyphosate (commercial name you’ll surely recognize: RoundUp) despite the EPA’s documents the suggest levels above 20 ppb are hazardous to human health.

Herbicides and pesticides typically show up in the water supply due to runoff into lakes and streams after crops have been treated. Groundwater pollution is unfortunately not covered under the Clean Water Act, so the problem goes unsolved.

The EPA’s move to allow 40 ppb of glyphosate into the atmosphere — surely under pressure from agri-giant Monsanto — shows a clear lack of concern or lack of power (or both) on the part of the EPA when it comes to water pollution.

Atrazine, another agricultural chemical that has been banned in the European Union since 2004, is also rampant in US water supplies. Just how bad are the consequences of herbicides and pesticides in our water?

Independent panels have shown atrazine has carcinogenic potentialEPA documents also suggest RoundUp can cause reproductive problems and kidney disease. With all of this poison the EPA allows to swim in our water, it’s certainly interesting that they are fighting tooth-and-nail for control over the air.

I never thought I’d be in the position to defend US power plants, but isn’t it a bit odd that carbon pollution in the air is such a priority for the EPA, yet water pollution that affects human health so directly is swept under the rug? I’m beginning to wonder if this is more about economics and less about public health.

The EPA said greenhouse gas restrictions under the PSD and Title V programs would apply to a variety of typically unregulated pollution sources, including schools, churches, apartment buildings and shopping centers — aka, the little guys.

What about the big guys and all of their pollution? The EPA did propose a solution to these issues with a “tailoring rule” that would exempt all but the largest pollution sources.

I’m excited for the day when the EPA seeks to reduce herbicides and pesticides in water — or at least, reduce the amount of sludge-dumping rights a company can buy. I guess that’s a pipe dream, though.

BP was allowed to buy its way into more ammonia in Lake Michigan and I didn’t hear a peep from national regulators.

Maybe we just need louder grassroots voices to demand better water. After all, our government is supposed to listen to us, not the other way around. I’m not taking water pollution lying down.

We need to revisit the Clean Water Act and amend it to include groundwater contamination to guarantee it addresses atrazine, glyphosate and the other hazards that are making their way into our bodies.

Hey, Gina McCarthy, kick the abundance of chemicals out of all of our community resources. Our water is just as important as our air. This shouldn’t be about politics, favoring one industry over another or Mom-and-Pop businesses vs. corporate giants.

The EPA should have one mission: protect American health.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Share Tweet
React
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

Jenna Karvunidis

Jenna has appeared on HuffPost Live and WGN Politics Tonight and her ChicagoNow blog High Gloss and Sauce has been featured on the Chicago Tribune page and CBS Chicago. She is raising three feminist lady babies with her husband. Also, she likes to snack.

More In Politics

Politics Sean Levinson

The Secret Service Let An Ex-Con With A Gun Ride An Elevator With Obama

The Secret Service allowed an armed ex-convict to ride in an elevator with President Obama earlier this month. The extreme violation of Secret Service protocol took place when the president visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on September 16 to develop a response to the Ebola outbreak. The security contractor’s criminal […]

Politics Emily Siegel

US Attorney General Eric Holder Resigned: Here’s Everything You Need To Know

United States Attorney General Eric Holder resigned yesterday, September 24, 2014. President Barack Obama made a formal, televised announcement from the White House, assuring citizens that Holder would not step down until his replacement has been named. The news came amongst airstrikes and threats of terror in the Middle East, which ensured that this story would not […]

Also On Elite

Life

19 Things Every Penn State Student Will Remember Forever

College is a whirlwind of amazing experiences and what you do with your time as a student will drastically affect your outlook on your school while you’re there — and after you’ve graduated. Penn State is undeniably an amazing school with an incredible student culture. This is probably the only explanation as to why, despite […]

Life

What Being An Unemployed Post-Grad Taught Me About Life And Success

It feels like just yesterday I moved my tassel and thought, “Now what?” Graduation is a beautiful experience full of appreciation, gratitude and nostalgia, but it’s also a very anxious time, replete with worrisome anticipation. I had no idea what I would do, but I packed my bags and headed back to my life pre-college […]

Humor

Remember, iPhone 4 Users Are People Too

This week, you probably came across at least two people who were holding their phones at an incredibly inconvenient angle three feet away from their faces in the hope that you’d ask them why they were holding their phones in such an unconventional manner. If you were unfortunate enough to fall for their trap and […]