Tag: Water Pollution

To Salt or not to Salt? There’s Legal Liability Either Way.

Road salt, seemingly innocuous, is a silent destroyer of aquatic ecosystems, wildlife, groundwater resources, and transportation infrastructure.[1] It takes just one teaspoon of road salt, which is made of sodium chloride, to pollute five gallons of water.[2]

Road salt is applied to roads, parking lots, and sidewalks to aid in dissolving snow and melting ice for transportation convenience and safety. When snow melts, road salt washes away with it—into storm drains, through stormwater collection system, and ultimately into our waterbodies.[3]

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Recent Bankruptcy Ruling Signals Potential for Widespread Shifting of Mine Cleanup Obligations onto Taxpayers

Confirming the fears of environmental groups, on March 19 U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin A. Kahn approved the abandonment of cleanup obligations in thirty-three Kentucky coal mines previously owned by coal company Blackjewel LLC.[1] Approximately 170 other Blackjewel facilities in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia will fall into a legal gray area as the company attempts to sell the mines to other coal companies.[2] Cleanup obligations for any permits not sold or transferred within six months will be abandoned.[3]

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How the Northeast’s Push for Hydroelectric Power Demonstrates the Challenges and Future Considerations for Renewable Energy

The United States’ continued build out of renewable energy, is giving rise to tensions between competing environmental interests.[1] One such conflict is between constructing more renewable energy infrastructure and the ecological damage that comes with it.[2]

Renewable energy is needed more now than ever as the U.S. continues to rely heavily on fossil fuels.[3] Most domestic greenhouse gas emissions are still caused by burning coal, natural gas, and hydrocarbons.[4] Despite a seven percent drop in global carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 due primarily to the COVID-19 pandemic limiting transportation emissions, these numbers figure to rise again as pandemic restrictions are lifted and travel resumes.[5] Switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy will mitigate water and air pollution, excessive water and land use, ecological loss, public health concerns, and climate change.[6]

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U.S. EPA, Some States Moving Forward With PFAS regulation

After years of collecting data that indicate the dangers of per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), the U.S. EPA and several of its state counterparts are beginning the regulatory process for these previously unregulated substances. Some state agencies have proposed PFAS legislation that seeks to regulate the substances’ concentration in everyday products and necessities through mechanisms such as drinking water limits, prohibitions on firefighting foam, and the development of groundwater and surface water quality standards.[1] U.S. EPA is still in the research and development phase of providing national recommendations.

PFAS are a group of synthetic chemicals used in manufactured goods such as Teflon, waterproof materials, and firefighting foams.[2] PFAS are ubiquitous, persist in the environment, and bioaccumulate. Studies have found that ninety-seven percent of people have PFAS in their blood stream.[3] Research indicates PFAS exposure negatively impacts human health, from immunological effects to cancer.[4]

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