Listen to the archived show: Investigative journalist Carey Gillam, author of “Whitewash,” on glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup) that is found in the air, water, soil and our bodies

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Join us for Wild Horse Wednesdays®, for a special show on Friday morning, Nov. 17, 2017

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

Our guest is Carey Gillam, an investigative journalist, a former senior correspondent for Reuters’ international news service, a Research Director for U.S. Right to Know (a consumer group whose mission is: “Pursuing Truth and Transparency in America’s Food System”), a Board Member of Justice Pesticides and a contributor to Huffington Post.

In Whitewash, Carey Gillam uncovers one of the most controversial stories in the history of food and agriculture, exposing new evidence of corporate influence. Gillam introduces readers to farm families devastated by cancers which they believe are caused by the chemical, and to scientists whose reputations have been smeared for publishing research that contradicted business interests. Readers learn about the arm-twisting of regulators who signed off on the chemical, echoing company assurances of safety even as they permitted higher residues of the pesticide in food and skipped compliance tests. Gillam reveals secret industry communications that pull back the curtain on corporate efforts to manipulate public perception.

Whitewash is more than an exposé about the hazards of one chemical or even the influence of one company. It’s a story of power, politics, and the deadly consequences of putting corporate interests ahead of public safety.

Carey Gillam’s website is careygillam.com

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey (V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs) of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE.

To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit www.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org

Donate Here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/donate/

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Groups move to ban cyanide traps that kill predator animals

SOURCE:  The Washington Post

FILE – This March 16, 2017 photo released by the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office shows a cyanide device in Pocatello, Idaho, Environmental groups have started a legal process to ban predator-killing cyanide traps used mostly in the U.S. West after one of the traps sickened a boy in Idaho and killed his dog. The Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, Aug.10, 2017 to outlaw the spring-activated devices called M-44s. (Bannock County Sheriff’s Office via AP,File) (Associated Press)


BOISE, Idaho — Predator-killing cyanide traps such as one that sickened a boy in Idaho and killed his dog should be banned, environmental groups told the federal government Thursday.The Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to outlaw the spring-activated devices called M-44s.

The traps look like water sprinkler heads embedded in the ground and spray cyanide when triggered by animals attracted by bait.

The groups said the federal agency should ban the traps that pose a threat to people and pets on public lands and kill non-targeted wildlife.

“This is a good time for the agency to take a serious look because people are really outraged about this,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist at the center.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Erin Brockovich accuses feds of lying about mine waste spill

Wild horse & burro advocates continually see that the BLM allows mines to expand, but round up wild horses and burros to the point of extinction while claiming that the wild horses and burros cause “degradation to the range.”  Advocates must continue to publicly point out the BLM’s hypocricy and favoritism of “uses” that make more money on public lands (which is violation of FLPMA – the Federal Land Policy and Management Act).  BLM mismanagement/catering to special interests continues to put our environment in great peril, including the environmental risks from mining and abandoned mines.  It’s important to bring up public lands issues in relation to our fight to save the last of our wild horses and burros.   We must also fight to keep clean water for future generations.  –  Debbie

Source:  yahoo news/Associated Press

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich visits San Juan River on Navajo Nation downstream from the Gold King Mine spill on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, near Shiprock, N.M. Brockovich accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of lying about how much toxic wastewater spilled from the Colorado mine and fouled rivers in three Western states. (Michael Chow/The Arizona Republic via AP) MARICOPA COUNTY OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich visits San Juan River on Navajo Nation downstream from the Gold King Mine spill on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, near Shiprock, N.M. Brockovich accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of lying about how much toxic wastewater spilled from the Colorado mine and fouled rivers in three Western states. (Michael Chow/The Arizona Republic via AP)

SHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) — Environmental activist Erin Brockovich, made famous from the Oscar-winning movie bearing her name, on Tuesday accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of lying about how much toxic wastewater spilled from a Colorado mine and fouled rivers in three Western states.

Her allegation came during a visit to the nation’s largest American Indian reservation, where she saw the damage and met with Navajo Nation leaders and farmers affected by last month’s spill, which was triggered by an EPA crew during excavation work.

Brockovich said she was shocked by the agency’s actions leading up to the release of waste tainted with heavy metals and its response afterward.

“They did not tell the truth about the amount. There were millions and millions of gallons,” she said while speaking to a crowd of high school students in Shiprock, New Mexico.

The EPA did not immediately respond to email and telephone requests for comment Tuesday. The agency initially pegged the spill at 1 million gallons but later said it was likely three times that amount given the readings of stream gauges that recorded a spike in river flows.

The revision only added to the suspicion of local officials that were criticizing the agency for failing to notify them sooner that the contaminated plume was headed downstream.

Uncertainty lingers over the long-term dangers to public health and the environment from the spill, which contaminated rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. EPA says the threat has eased, allowing treatment plants to start drawing water from the rivers again and ending warnings against recreational activities. But Navajo leadership is skeptical.

Water flows down Cement Creek just below the site of the blowout at the Gold King mine which triggered a major spill of toxic wastewater, outside Silverton, Colo., Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. It will take years, if not decades, and many millions of dollars to clean up and manage the toxic wastewater from a this Colorado mine that unleashed a 100-mile-long torrent of heavy metals, affecting the livelihoods of residents in three states, according to some experts. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Water flows down Cement Creek just below the site of the blowout at the Gold King mine which triggered a major spill of toxic wastewater, outside Silverton, Colo., Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. It will take years, if not decades, and many millions of dollars to clean up and manage the toxic wastewater from a this Colorado mine that unleashed a 100-mile-long torrent of heavy metals, affecting the livelihoods of residents in three states, according to some experts. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

A series of congressional hearings investigating the spill will begin Wednesday. Republican committee leaders in the House and Senate say that EPA officials have withheld documents that could explain what went wrong.

Navajo President Russell Begaye also questions the number of gallons released. He recounted for Brockovich what he saw during an unannounced visit to the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado, days after the spill. He said he saw a wide gully that was several feet deep and water continuing to pour out of the mine.

Some Navajo irrigation systems remain shuttered until the tribe receives results from its own water and sediment testing. As a result, Begaye has said thousands of acres of crops have gone dry.

Begaye and Brockovich met with farmers to discuss the effects of the spill on irrigation as well as the legacy of contamination left behind by decades of uranium mining.

During the stop in Shiprock, they told the students that it will be up to the next generation to hold government and private industry accountable.

“It’s a terrible disaster, and unfortunately it’s a situation we see playing itself out not only on the Navajo Nation, but across the United States of America,” Brockovich said, referring to pollution and lax enforcement.

“You are the future and you will be the answers,” she told the students.

Brockovich was portrayed in the 2000 movie, “Erin Brockovich,” which earned actress Julia Roberts an acting Oscar. The environmental advocate helped investigate a major case of groundwater contamination in California in the early 1990s that inspired the film.

As for the Gold King spill, Brockovich said the federal government needs to clean up the mess.

Navajo officials say the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the EPA have declined the tribe’s requests for continued help, including the appointment of a federal recovery coordinator.

A FEMA spokeswoman said the EPA was the lead agency and would be responsible for coordinating with the tribe and other local governments.

Mine spill stirs concerns about New Mexico’s old mines

Instead of the BLM wasting money to round up wild horses and burros, they should spend this money cleaning up abandoned mines.  Which “use” has the greater potential to harm a “thriving ecological balance?”   Which “use” could contaminate huge amounts of water, which present and future generations need to survive?  Take a look at the BLM’s Abandoned Mine Lands Inventory HERE.  The wild horses and burros are only “the canary in the coal mine.”  –  Debbie

20150807__animas-river-pollution-colorado~p1

Polluted water flows down the Animas River on August 7, 2015. (photo: Brent Lewis, The Denver Post)

“And so the question is, ‘Who’s going to pay for that in the future?’” Dronkers said. “It’s basically like we haven’t learned anything from Gold King, and we’re going to continue to build mines that have that same fundamental problem. But we’re going to build them thousands of times larger.”

SOURCEAlbuquerque Journal

SANTA FE — The ongoing fallout in New Mexico from last month’s Colorado mine spill is a stark reminder that the “Land of Enchantment” has its own dangerous mines.

While public officials continue to measure the damage wrought by the Gold King Mine spill, some say it’s a wake-up call to the staggering number of abandoned mines in New Mexico. The Bureau of Land Management so far has identified more than 13,000 abandoned mines in or around public land in the state, according to bureau records. Nearly 9,000 of them need to be analyzed, federal officials said.

Bill Auby, the head of the abandoned mines program for the BLM in New Mexico, said it will take a great deal of time to track these sites.

“It’s going to be a long process to get to all the mining districts and wander the hills and find these things and identify them,” Auby said.

He acknowledged that mines that have yet to be analyzed represent potential threats. The mines could have pits and standing water that have contamination from heavy metals.

Todd Brown, who operates a mining museum in Cerrillos, said he sees waste rock piles that have been piling up for decades. Abandoned mine sites are “a major problem in the West,” according to Brown. And few people knew what restoring a mine site entailed.

“In the old days . they didn’t even know what reclamation meant,” Brown said. “And people die, and people move and people sell. That’s why nothing ever got cleaned up.”

An analysis of BLM data by the Santa Fe New Mexican (http://bit.ly/1EKuIVl ) found that 90 percent of the mines identified in New Mexico — or 11,750 — have not been remediated. According to the agency’s reports, BLM officials found waste rock and tailings in 260 mines, including 20 in the Cerrillos Hills Mining District. The highest concentrated number of mines was found in the Hillsboro Mining District.

Some officials, however, say the state’s arid environment lessens the possibility of pressurized water pushing out old mining waste like it did in the Colorado spill Aug. 5. The EPA accidentally unleased 3 million gallons of contaminated wastewater while inspecting the idled Gold King Mine. As a result, toxic sludge made its way into the San Juan and Animas rivers.

Gov. Susana Martinez has promised at least $750,000 toward addressing the impact of the mine spill. Meanwhile, experts say there is not enough money to address the issue of the abandoned mines that New Mexico has.

Pete Dronkers, of the environmental nonprofit Earthworks, has been following hard-rock mining issues in the Southwest states. He said new mines that are vastly larger than the Gold King Mine are being built despite the risk of water-treatment liabilities and acidic runoff for years to come.

“And so the question is, ‘Who’s going to pay for that in the future?’” Dronkers said. “It’s basically like we haven’t learned anything from Gold King, and we’re going to continue to build mines that have that same fundamental problem. But we’re going to build them thousands of times larger.”

 

New Federal Fracking Rules Rely on FracFocus Even as EPA Research Highlights Site’s Flaws

EPA researchers ran up against a major stumbling block in crunching numbers based on FracFocus’ data, an issue that some warn may continue to cause problems even as the Bureau of Land Management adopts FracFocus as the mechanism for tracking fracking chemicals used on federal public lands.”

Source: desmogblog.com

by Sharon Kelly

chemicals  Photo credit:”Bulk fluid shipping containers on pallets ready for shipment,” via Shutterstock.

It’s a classic case of the government’s left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Days after the Bureau of Land Management issued new federal rules for fracking on federal land, relying heavily on an industry-run site called FracFocus, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a study mainly noteworthy for the shortcomings of the site that it revealed.

More than 70 percent of the chemical disclosure statements that drillers posted on FracFocus between January 2011 and February 2013 were missing key information because drillers labeled that data “confidential business information,” the EPA reported.

On average, drillers reported using a mix of 14 different chemicals at each well site. At sites where information was withheld, an average of five chemicals were not named.

In fact, FracFocus allowed drillers to conceal the identity of more than one out of every ten chemicals whose use was “disclosed” on the site, EPAresearchers found.

This made it impossible for EPA‘s researchers, who received over 39,000 disclosure statements from FracFocus in March 2013 and published their study two years later, to definitively say what chemicals drillers used most often, how much of each chemical was injected underground, or even to simply create a list of all the chemicals used at the wells.

“The project database is an incomplete picture of all hydraulic fracturing due to … the omission of information on CBI [confidential business information] ingredients from disclosures, and invalid or erroneous information created during the development of the database or found in the original disclosures,”EPA noted in a fact sheet about the research.

All told, the EPA was able to identify 692 different chemicals — including hydrochloric acid, methanol and diesel fuel — that were used during fracking. But that number is almost certainly incomplete, EPA researchers said, in part because over 129,000 individual ingredient records were labeled secret.

The gaps immediately drew the ire of environmental groups.

The fracking industry is hiding a lot of information about the chemicals they are using in our communities,” Kate Kiely, a spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, told Bloomberg. “Even without that information, it is clear that there is widespread use of dangerous chemicals.”

Just seven days before EPA‘s results were released, the Bureau of Land Management announced new rules intended to manage fracking on over 247 million acres of public land managed by the federal government and the 700 million acres for which the government owned mineral rights as of 2013.

The BLM‘s newly-minted chemical disclosure rules are built around FracFocus, allowing drillers to make required reports through the industry-backed website.

Data, data, everywhere…

EPA researchers ran up against a major stumbling block in crunching numbers based on FracFocus’ data, an issue that some warn may continue to cause problems even as the Bureau of Land Management adopts FracFocus as the mechanism for tracking fracking chemicals used on federal public lands.

FracFocus stored the information drillers provided in separate .pdf files for each disclosure, and every .pdf form can be different if drillers decide to edit the formatting. This meant that EPA researchers needed to spend enormous amounts of time simply transferring each bit of information into a spreadsheet, and then going back and making sure that each bit of information was in the proper place.

Some open-government advocates say that the BLM‘s reliance on FracFocus runs contrary to an executive order issued by President Obama that pledged to make data from the government “easy to find, accessible, and usable” by requiring it to be “machine-readable” — essentially in a format that lets researchers access it.

“Besides the fact that this decision flouts the President’s own Executive Order #13642 on Open Data, why are we so concerned about how the government manages fracking data?” David Manthos, Communications Director of the environmental organization SkyTruth wrote in a blog posting about the BLMrules. “The reason is because this decision will deprive property and homeowners, scientists, decision-makers, emergency responders, healthcare professionals, and the general public of effective access to information that is vital to investigating the environmental, social, and public health impacts of modern oil and gas drilling.”

FracFocus has promised to upgrade its site, having already done so once since it provided EPA researchers with the raw materials for their study. But SkyTruth’s Manthos remains skeptical.

“I’m concerned that BLM is basing their decision on vague promises, and will have no leverage or authority to control the timetable, implementation, or functionality of these improvements,” he said.

For a while, Mr. Manthos’ organization tackled the tedious task of scraping data from the FracFocus site and importing it into spreadsheets so researchers could use it. But in 2013, their work came to an abrupt halt when FracFocus froze SkyTruth’s access to the site.

There was a little error message that was coming out saying, ‘Hey, you’re sending too many requests. You’re being blocked for 24 hours,’” SkyTruth’s Paul Woods explained to StateImpact last year. “Then, they block you for 48 hours and then they block you forever.”

SkyTruth is not the only organization to find fault with FracFocus. In 2013, astudy published by Harvard University’s Environmental Law Program gave the site a failing grade, noting that it “has limited quality assurance procedures” because “FracFocus staff does not review submissions” uploaded by drillers.

The BLM‘s new rules also allow drillers, not regulators, to decide when a chemical should be considered secret as they upload their disclosures to FracFocus.

“These trade secret provisions are much weaker than many states and ignore the advice of a Department of Energy advisory panel which unanimously recommended that ‘any trade secret exemptions permitted by BLM in its regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands include a rigorous process of claiming trade secret exemptions and robust trade secret verification and challenge mechanisms,’” the NRDC‘s Amy Mall wrote in response to the new rules.

The relative laxity of the BLM‘s new rules has done little to deter protest from the oil and gas industry, who see the rules as chipping away at state-level oversight of the shale drilling rush.

“Under the strong environmental stewardship of state regulators, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have opened up a new era of energy security, job growth, and economic strength,” API Director Erik Milito said in a statement. “A duplicative layer of new federal regulation is unnecessary, and we urge the BLM to work carefully with the states to minimize costs and delays created by the new rule to ensure that public lands can still be a source of job creation and economic growth.”

Already, battles over the BLM‘s new rules are headed into the courthouse.

Two industry groups, the Independent Petroleum Association for America and the Western Energy Alliance, have filed lawsuits claiming that the BLM‘s rules overreach federal authority, as has the state of Wyoming. Environmental organizations have suggested that the rules could also be vulnerable to a challenge under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The bottom line is,” the NRDC‘s Amy Mall told The Dallas Morning News, “these rules fail to protect the nation’s public lands — home to our last wild places, and sources of drinking water for millions of people.”

National Park Service also managing horses for extinction

From the article below, it seems that the National Park Service (an agency under the U.S. Dept. of the Interior), is touting the use of the EXPERIMENTAL, RESTRICTED-USE PESTICIDE (aka fertility control drug) GonaCon on the “feral” horses in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

On the website for the National Park Service’s “feral” horses for Theodore Roosevelt National Park, it states there is “now a herd of 70-110 animals.”  (THIS IS ALREADY A NON-VIABLE HERD.)

More disturbing is that Blake McCann, the park’s wildlife biologist, gives a different number of horses to the media: “plans to conduct a corral trap this year to start learning how and to manage the 142 wild horses currently in the park, a number well above the 40 to 90 population considered ideal.”  

142 horses instead of 70-110?  Did stallions give birth?

More importantly, a National Park Service wildlife biologist states that a population of 40-90  (a non-viable herd) is considered ideal.  From the article below, he seems to be more worried about a “viable tool” than about a viable herd.

GonaCon didn’t work the first time the National Park Service tried it in 2009, so they re-vaccinated the same 28 mares with it again last year. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted regulatory approval of the experimental RESTRICTED-USE PESTICIDE GonaCon for use on wild and feral horses and burros in Feb. 2013.  So the National Park Service was testing a pesticide on “feral” horses 4 years before there was even EPA regulatory approval.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has also used GonaCon on wild horses.

They got a permit, BUT Department of the Interior agencies are EXPERIMENTING ON FERAL and WILD HORSES AND BURROS, with little regard for variability or viability.  Plain and simple.

And how were the “volunteers” able to determine that stool samples from those 28 mares weren’t from other horses?

And, the debate about the designation of horses and burros as “feral” versus “wild” also continues.  –  Debbie Coffey

SOURCE:  farmandranchguide.com

Park’s wild horses an experiment in birth control

By Lauren Donovan Bismarck Tribune

548b0207ee9fd.image (photo by Lauren Donovan, Bismark Tribune)

One of the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, along with a few others back in the juniper trees, found refuge and forage in the public campground, which is quiet this time of year.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT NATIONAL PARK – Dan Baker is not like an expectant dad waiting to find out if it’s a boy or a girl. He’s the opposite, hoping to hear that all the pregnancy tests come back negative.

Baker, a research biologist at Colorado State University’s animal reproduction and biotechnology laboratory, is the man in charge of an experimental contraception program in the wild horse herd at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

There is hope that Baker’s work is productive — not reproductive.

Waiting for results

Within a month, he’ll know if he’s onto something that will have implications far beyond this singular herd in this one park — or if he’s back to square one.

The samples are in, and tests will be run soon. He hesitates to even guess at the results.

“It’s totally unknown. It could be anything between no effects all the way to permanent sterilization. This question has never been answered,” Baker said.

If his experiment works, it could be a new way to control the park’s constantly expanding wild horse herd and possibly the thousands of wild horses on Bureau of Land Management land. The method also could have uses in the control of unmanaged wild dog populations in Third World countries, or simply to suppress fertility in domestic horses, dogs and cats.

Badlands lab

Baker’s work in what he calls a perfect — not to mention beautiful — outdoors laboratory dates back to 2009.

“It’s such a great natural lab out there. The area the horses are confined in is large, but not too large. It’s great landscape, and we can find them most of the time,” he said.

In 2009, during the park’s scheduled wild horse roundup and herd reduction, Baker vaccinated 28 wild horses with GonaCon, a vaccine that has been used to suppress pregnancy in captive animals, not free-roaming wild ones such as those in the park.

The results were poor. Half the vaccinated mares became pregnant and, within three years, they all did.

What they’ve since learned is that, even though the park’s wild horses are in excellent physical condition, with good forage, they carry a big parasite load, which may have prevented the kind of antibody response needed to suppress pregnancy.

“Real world horses get injured, or have fence cuts, and their immune systems go toward those things rather than suppressing the hormones that control reproduction,” Baker said.

Last year, the park conducted another wild horse roundup and that’s when Baker’s research took a step further. The same 28 mares were revaccinated to learn whether a second booster of the same drug would achieve a higher antibody response and improve contraception.

Last month, volunteers collected fecal samples dropped on park ground by as many of the 28 vaccinated mares as could be located.

By measuring the feces for estradiol, a hormone excreted by a fetus, Baker’s lab team will soon know if the revaccination was successful.

“As the fetus matures, the concentration of estradiol gets higher and higher. If it’s 10 (nanograms per gram), they’re not pregnant. If it’s 100, they are. In a couple of weeks, after we’ve looked, if everything’s really high, the study’s over,” Baker said.

The proof will be in the lab, but the mares will also be observed in the spring to verify the actual foaling rate.

Park waiting, too

Blake McCann is the park’s wildlife biologist, a man who prizes science and wildlife equally.

McCann’s hopeful the revaccination works, too, but for reasons that have more to do with the horses, than the science itself.

He’d like to see the park bring to an end the longstanding practice of controlling the wild horse population with controversial helicopter-driven roundups and transport to public livestock sales barns. Instead, if the revaccination controls pregnancy by even 50 percent, McCann said becomes more feasible to also lure the wild horses into a makeshift corral in their own environment and remove small select numbers for sale right there.

That practice would be much less traumatic all around for humans and horses, he said. He plans to conduct a corral trap this year to start learning how and to manage the 142 wild horses currently in the park, a number well above the 40 to 90 population considered ideal.

Some doses of the second vaccine were delivered by dart, which was acceptable for the experiment.

“For research, yes, but to use that as a management tool, we would have to go into an environmental impact statement. Darting animals is not part of our management plan,” McCann said.

Whether through contraception or smaller removals from the temporary corrals, McCann said he does not want to see wild horse numbers return to the all-time high of 200 that were there last year when 103 were culled and sold at Wishek Livestock.

“I don’t want to get to 200 again and do another helicopter roundup. With the corral trapping, we can remove a dozen or so every year and get the young mares out before they become reproductively active,” he said.

That said, McCann said he’s hoping Baker’s work is productive, not reproductive, as it were.

“I would like to see the vaccine be a viable tool. We always have to be adaptable as a situation unfolds. I’m hopeful it’s effective,” he said.

 

Waste Water from Oil Fracking Injected into Clean Aquifers

I repeat, wild horses being driven to extinction by the BLM is the canary in the coal mine of what is happening on America’s public lands and to America’s water.  –  Debbie Coffey

SOURCE:  nbcbayarea.com

In a time when California faces an historic drought, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has uncovered that state officials allowed oil and gas companies to pump billions of gallons of waste water into protected aquifers. Investigative Reporter Stephen Stock reports in a story that aired on November 14, 2014.

State officials allowed oil and gas companies to pump nearly three billion gallons of waste water into underground aquifers that could have been used for drinking water or irrigation.

Those aquifers are supposed to be off-limits to that kind of activity, protected by the EPA.

“It’s inexcusable,” said Hollin Kretzmann, at the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco. “At (a) time when California is experiencing one of the worst droughts in history, we’re allowing oil companies to contaminate what could otherwise be very useful ground water resources for irrigation and for drinking. It’s possible these aquifers are now contaminated irreparably.”

California’s Department of Conservation’s Chief Deputy Director, Jason Marshall, told NBC Bay Area, “In multiple different places of the permitting process an error could have been made.”

“There have been past issues where permits were issued to operators that they shouldn’t be injecting into those zones and so we’re fixing that,” Marshall added.

In “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing operations, oil and gas companies use massive amounts of water to force the release of underground fossil fuels. The practice produces large amounts of waste water that must then be disposed of.

Marshall said that often times, oil and gas companies simply re-inject that waste water back deep underground where the oil extraction took place. But other times, Marshall said, the waste water is re-injected into aquifers closer to the surface. Those injections are supposed to go into aquifers that the EPA calls “exempt”—in other words, not clean enough for humans to drink or use.

Read EPA’s letter to state regulators

But in the State’s letter to the EPA, officials admit that in at least nine waste water injection wells, the waste water was injected into “non-exempt” or clean aquifers containing high quality water.

For the EPA, “non-exempt” aquifers are underground bodies of water that are “containing high quality water” that can be used by humans to drink, water animals or irrigate crops.

Are Regulators Ignoring California’s New Fracking Law?

If the waste water re-injection well “went into a non-exempt aquifer. It should not have been permitted,” said Marshall.

The department ended up shutting down 11 wells: the nine that were known to be injecting into non-exempt aquifers, and another two in an abundance of caution.

In its reply letter to the EPA, California’s Water Resources Control Board said its “staff identified 108 water supply wells located within a one-mile radius of seven…injection wells” and that The Central Valley Water Board conducted sampling of “eight water supply wells in the vicinity of some of these… wells.”

“This is something that is going to slowly contaminate everything we know around here,” said fourth- generation Kern County almond grower Tom Frantz, who lives down the road from several of the injection wells in question.

According to state records, as many as 40 water supply wells, including domestic drinking wells, are located within one mile of a single well that’s been injecting into non-exempt aquifers.

That well is located in an area with several homes nearby, right in the middle of a citrus grove southeast of Bakersfield.

This well is one of nine that were known to be injecting waste water into “non-exempt” aquifers. It’s located just east of Bakersfield.

State records show waste water from several sources, including from the oil and gas industry, has gone into the aquifer below where 60 different water supply wells are located within a one mile radius.

READ THE REST OF THIS STORY HERE.

Tetra Tech Spreads it’s Tentacles over the Environment

SOURCE:  PPJ Gazette

by Debbie Coffey                Copyright 2013        All Rights Reserved.

Evil Tentacles...In a 2011 article about Tetra Tech, a company hired by the BLM to prepare BLM Resource Management Plans and Environmental Assessments, it was revealed that Hugh Grant, the Chairman and CEO of Monsanto, is on Tetra Tech’s Board of Directors, and that Tetra Tech also has ties to mining interests.

In September, 2013, Tetra Tech was given a $48 million contract to help the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with it’s Superfund Program.  Tetra Tech also received another contract in July, 2013, worth $50 million for “technical assistance” on Superfund sites.

In the EPA’s Superfund database, as of 2012, Monsanto is associated with 11 “active” Superfund sites and 20 “archived” sites in the United States. Monsanto has been sued, and has settled, multiple times for damaging the health of its employees or residents near its Superfund sites through pollution and poisoning.

Mining companies have also caused Superfund sites.

It seems the polluters are now cleaning up on the cleanup.

An article by Zachs Equity Research stated “Leading technical services provider Tetra Tech, Inc. (TTEK) received a contract to provide technical support to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (:EPA) regional Superfund Program. The five-year contract is valued at $48 million.

Per the EPA Region 5 Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team (:START) contract, Tetra Tech will provide advisory and assistance services across six states — Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.  The company will be in charge of data management, emergency response support, emergency preparedness and prevention activities, removal actions, Superfund and brownfields site assessments and training.”

So, basically, who’s running the show?  A private company.

Note that Tetra Tech is “IN CHARGE OF data management, emergency response support, emergency preparedness and prevention activities, removal actions, Superfund and brownfields site assessments and training.”  

That sounds like Tetra Tech is doing almost everything.  So what’s left for the EPA to do?  Twiddle their thumbs?

Government agencies are paying good salaries to employees in an economy where many Americans are out of work, then outsource agency work to outside companies for millions of dollars.  It’s no wonder the government is going broke.

Also, if you look at some of the contracts Tetra Tech has received from U.S. government agencies in 2013, you might  wonder if special interests could gain undue influence in critical environmental issues.

Sources:

http://www.tetratech.com/investor-relations/press-releases.html

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/another-epa-contract-tetra-tech-214502143.html

http://www.monsanto.com/whoweare/Pages/board-of-directors.aspx

http://www.tetratech.com/corporate-governance/board-committees.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto

http://waterlegacy.org/superfund_sites