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 Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Why Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen Wants Millennials To Vote

Across the country, as TV ads blare, signs dot the landscape, and ballots are mailed, the fight for the Millennial vote is heating up. Although it is incontrovertible that Millennials are, indeed, the future, what is often overlooked is that they are also part of our present. The 2014 Midterm Elections will have far-reaching repercussions. […]

Politics Luis Navia

Millennial Politics: If You Are Not At The Table, You Will Be On The Menu

Boring. Broken. Self-interested. These are adjectives that Millennials are currently using to describe Washington DC and, more specifically, Congress. I always wondered why the majority of my peers were so repelled by politics and why they only chose to vote, like the majority of Americans, for the president during the general election. A backstory for […]

Politics John Haltiwanger

Why The War In Afghanistan Is An Even Bigger Defeat Than Vietnam

After 13 years of fighting, the War in Afghanistan is finally winding down. American and British forces just withdrew from Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion and handed over the military complex to Afghan forces. The event marked the end of British combat operations in Afghanistan, and the beginning of the end of US involvement in the country. In September, […]

Also On Elite

World

Ebola Nurse Says Her Quarantined Room Is ‘Inhumane’ (Video)

Kaci Hickox risked her life treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. Now, the nurse is alone in a tent with no access to a lawyer or even a toilet that flushes. Hickox is speaking out against the “inhumane” quarantine conditions in which those returning from Ebola-stricken areas are forced to live. The nurse tested negative […]

World

Science Explains Why Chickens Are So Much Bigger Than They Used To Be

Canadian scientists have discovered why today’s chickens are so much bigger than those of previous decades. In a study led by University of Alberta agricultural science professor Martin Zuidhof, a team raised three different breeds of chicken on the exact same diet. One breed was commonly used in 1957, one in 1978 and the last […]

Women

Sarah Silverman Promotes Crowdfunding The Wage Gap By Becoming A Man (Video)

Comedian Sarah Silverman is willing to trade her vagina for fair pay. That’s how passionately she feels about the issue. Silverman is the celebrity spokeswoman for the Equal Payback project, the National Women’s Law Center’s attempt to raise the money women lose due to the wage gap, or what Silverman calls the “vagina tax.” Women […]

LOL Lists

Not All It’s Carved Up To Be: Pumpkins On Instagram Vs. In Real Life

If this October has taught me anything, it’s that the Internet is filled with pictures of pumpkin carvings that make you question your worth as an individual. Just like people on Instagram only upload pictures of themselves when they look attractive, pumpkin carvers love bragging about just how good the are at Jack-O-Lanterning because people […]

World

Twins Spend $20K On Plastic Surgery To Make Sure They Stay Identical

Twin sisters Sara and Emma Koponen do everything together. They work out together. They eat together. They have even had identical plastic surgeries. The Swedish sisters are 25 years old and have spent over $20,000 on plastic surgery in order to change their bodies while looking exactly the same. They’ve had three boob jobs a […]

World

Scientists In Turkey Think They May Have Discovered Dracula’s Dungeon

Turkish archaeologists have discovered two dungeons where Prince Vlad Tepes III, who inspired character the Count Dracula, was said to be held captive. According to the Hurriyet Daily News, the prison cells were found in Tokat Castle in addition to food cubes, an open terrace and a secret tunnel. The Ottomans were said to have imprisoned […]