Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Letter to editor "ADEM fails to meet community’s needs"

ADEM fails to meet community’s needs

Dear Editor:
The Tuscaloosa News’ Lydia Seabol Avant recently did a fine job in the article “EPA Investigates Landfill,” (The Tuscaloosa News, Aug. 14, Page 1A) which described the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation of the discriminatory impact on Uniontown’s citizens caused by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s decision to permit Arrowhead Landfill to receive waste from 33 states.
I am one of those who say the landfill was expanded without proper protections for public health and the environment. Prior to its expansion, the landfill received over
4 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash that came from the 2008 Kingston, Tenn., coal ash spill.
As one of those complainants, I can tell you the impacts and experiences are as horrifying as described in the article. Frustrated residents living near this area suffer from a wide range of medical problems linked to coal ash dust and coal ash wastewater run-off. Concerned families no longer grow vegetable gardens and the smells around the landfill can make one’s stomach turn. Their quality of life has declined as have property values.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management bears significant responsibility for allowing this to happen.
Are ADEM officials violating our civil rights when they fail to properly review and then strengthen permits that result in little or no protection? Are they discriminating against our poor and minority communities when they fail to adequately enforce environmental laws?
Hopefully, the EPA will find out the answer to these questions.
Adam Johnston
Alliance Coordinator, Alabama Rivers Alliance


Thursday, September 4, 2014

BREAKING NEWS! BP found "Grossly Negligent"

Judge: BP Has Been Found Grossly Negligent

Posted: Sep 04, 2014 9:53 AM CDT Updated: Sep 04, 2014 10:35 AM CDT
BATON ROUGE, La. - A federal judge has ruled that BP's reckless conduct resulted in the nation's worst offshore oil spill, leaving the company open to billions of dollars in penalties.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's ruling Thursday could nearly quadruple the amount of civil penalties for polluting the Gulf of Mexico with oil from BP's Macondo well in 2010.

Barbier presided over a trial in 2013 to apportion blame for the spill that spewed oil from April 20 to mid-July 2010. Eleven men died when the well blew wild; BP already has agreed to billions of dollars in criminal fines.

Barbier says BP bears 67 percent of the blame for the spill. He says drilling rig owner Transocean Ltd. takes 30 percent of the blame, and cement contractor Halliburton Energy Service takes 3 percent.

It's about damn time. The Gulf residents found BP "Grossly Negligent" May 20, 2010.
My first view...

Monday, June 23, 2014

1,000-pound tar mat is being cleaned up on Fort Pickens beach.

Nearly four years to the day when BP oil began soiling our beaches, a 1,000-pound tar mat is being cleaned up on Fort Pickens beach. (Pensacola News Journal)

A U.S. Coast Guard pollution investigation team is leading another day of cleanup of a tar mat discovered Friday on the beach at Fort Pickens.
So far, the team has removed about 960 pounds of the mat, which is about 8 to 10 feet off the shoreline in the Gulf of Mexico, just east of Langdon Beach, Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Murphy said
Mats are made of weathered oil, sand, water and shells.
Monday marks the fourth anniversary of when the oil from the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster finally arrived on waves slicking our beaches. Tar balls and a frothy brownish-orange petroleum product called mousse, however, arrived earlier that month.
The mat was discovered on Friday by a Florida Department of Environmental Protection monitor who surveys area beaches routinely looking for lingering BP oil.
"The weather plays such a big factor in this," said Murphy. "Friday we got the cleanup crew out there and could see it (tar mat) visibly and attacked it. Then the thunderstorms came in, and they had to stop."
By the time the crew returned Saturday, the mat was reburied under 6 inches of sand, and it took the crew a while to relocate it using GPS coordinates taken Friday, she said.
With the mat located in the surf zone, it's harder to clean up.
"It's always a battle with Mother Nature," Murphy said.
The team returned today and plans to return Monday and for as many days as it takes to excavate the entire mat with shovels, although Murphy said it appears by the smaller amount excavated today they may be getting close to collecting all of it.
But the team will survey about 100 yards east and west of the mat to make sure none is still buried in the sand.
This mat is located about half a mile east of where a mat containing 1,400 pounds of weathered oil was cleaned up in March.
Cleanup is being conducted by a joint effort between BP, the Coast Guard, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and National Park Service.
It will take about a week for test results to confirm whether the oil is from the Macondo well that exploded April 20, 2004.
More than 200 million gallons of crude oil spewed into Gulf in 2010 for a total of 87 days before the Macondo well head could capped, making it the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.
Ironically, the discovery of the near-shore mat comes at a time when the National Park Service has stepped up efforts to search out suspected tar mats farther offshore.
Mats are believed to be submerged in the Gulf of Mexico waters off the seashore's Fort Pickens and Johnson beach areas.
Since April, a specialized team of underwater archaeologists has been scanning the waters looking for areas that might have trapped oil when it began washing up on our beaches four years ago on Monday.
Friday's discovery is not related to the dive team's hunt for oil, although the Coast Guard is testing several samples the team discovered to see if it is oil and, if so, whether it's from the ­Macondo well, she said.
Murphy urges the public to report any tar mat, tar ball or anything they suspected BP oil to the National Response Center hotline.
Report tar balls
Report tar ball, tar mats or anything that looks like oil pollution to the National Response Center hotline 800-424-8802.