WASHINGTON, D.C. — Journalist Andrew Schenkel interviewed Elisa Young of Meigs County, Ohio, Tim Tanksley of Bokoshe, Oklahoma, and John Wathen of Uniontown, Alabama., in Washington, D.C. on April 12, just after they met with staff of U.S. EPA regulatory czar Cass Sunstein to urge him to release regulations clamping down on the spreading of toxic coal ash in their communities.
MAPLE HEIGHTS — “After an MRI the doctor told me I had pulmonary fibrosis and he showed it to me on the X-ray. I have only half (50% ) the lung capacity as normal. I blame all our sickness on the bad air and dust from your company. It has never belonged that close to people living in the neighborhood. I have to take meds so I can breathe and keep the coughing at bay.”
MIDDLETOWN — “AK Steel Corp. will finally begin remediation of Dicks Creek, including removal of floodplain soil and sediment…
Soil with contamination levels over 50 parts per million will go to a landfill approved for hazardous waste. Lower level contaminated soil will go to Rumpke’s landfill in Colerain Twp., according to the Sierra Club.
While she is glad to see the project finally moving forward, Marilyn Wall of the Sierra Club said she is concerned about the waste being trucked to the Rumpke landfill due to an ongoing ‘thermal reaction,’ classified as a fire by the Ohio EPA, which broke out underground in August 2009.
‘The Ohio EPA can’t figure out how to put it out and we don’t want to go from one bad situation to another,’ Wall said.
NEW YORK, NY — “The Natural Resources Defense Council says Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is withholding information on a proposed $6 billion, massively polluting coal-to-diesel facility in Ohio. The project will consume 9.3 million tons of coal and emit 26 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, according to the federal complaint.
In its FOIA complaint, the NRDC says Baard Energy’s ‘Ohio River Clean Fuels’ project will use new technology to transform coal to diesel fuel. The process uses electricity and naphtha, a highly volatile substance, the NRDC says.
The Department of Defense would buy the diesel fuel, which Baard describes as ‘alternative’ fuel.
The NRDC says the Air Force base and the Department of the Air Force are holding back critical documents from a FOIA request the group submitted in October last year.”
CINCINNATI — On Monday the Cincinnati City Council Finance Committee voted to issue $3.8 million in bonds to finance the purchase of new, larger recycling carts. The 96 gallon “roll off” carts were approved in the 2010 city budget after 83 people sent emails to city council and 60 people attended a budget hearing, specifically to advocate for enhanced curbside recycling. Several councilmembers reported getting more emails on this issue than any other related to the 2010 budget. Councilmembers Cole, Qualls, Quinlivan, Thomas and Winburn voted for enhanced recycling; Berding, Bortz, Ghiz and Monzel voted against. The issue is expected to come before the entire council on Wednesday, April 28.
The site of the Rumpke Sanitary Landfill in Colerain Township has gone from a gentle, rural valley to Hamilton county’s highest point in just 65 years. Known to its neighbors as “Mount Rumpke”, the site measures 509 acres and 1,064 feet above sea level and is the largest and tallest in the region. The landfill was expanded by 95 acres in 2004 and can accommodate waste at current generation rates until 2025. (source: Hamilton County Solid Waste Management Plan)
Rumpke has had serious environmental violations at this site. A 30 acre trash-slide later led to an ammonia leak into Banklick Creek measuring 830 times greater than normal levels. Rumpke was also fined for illegally accepting hazardous waste in 2005 and a subsurface fire of unknown origin has been burning since August 2009.
Now Rumpke wants another expansion – 350 acres –hoping to double the dump’s present footprint and extend its lifespan until 2055. Here are 3 good reasons not to expand the dump:
It is not necessary. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimates 70% of waste currently going to the landfill can be recycled or composted and recycling rates are going up in Hamilton county. Why should we assume the expansion is needed when we could very well see waste generation rates decline?
Neighbors’ increased exposure to odors, dust and air pollution. Rumpke is currently permitted to release 94 million lbs. of air pollution annually from the landfill and gas plants alone, including particulate, carbon monoxide and other harmful gases. The fire has also increased odor incidents in the community, resulting in 47 formal complaints in one day.
Rumpke has other options. It has recently invested $6 million in their St. Bernard recycling facility and $2.5 million in their Dayton glass recycling plant. They are uniquely positioned to benefit from increased recycling in our region.
What about the township’s right to decide for itself?
Colerain Township denied Rumpke’s zoning request for this expansion in 2006. Rumpke sued, stating that the denial was a violation of their constitutional rights and furthermore, they were a public utility and exempt from local zoning laws. In 2009 a Hamilton County district court judge ruled in their favor and the township is appealing the decision.
OLD WESTBURY, NY – “Monday is the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident. It comes as the nuclear industry and pro-nuclear government officials in the U.S. and other nations try to ‘revive’ nuclear power. It also follows the just-released publication of a book, the most comprehensive study ever made, on the impacts of the Chernobyl disaster… It concludes that based on records now available, some 985,000 people died of cancer caused by the Chernobyl accident. That’s between when the accident occurred in 1986 and 2004. More deaths, it projects, will follow.
The book explodes the claim of the International Atomic Energy Agency – still on its website – that the expected death toll from the Chernobyl accident will be 4,000.”
— Professor Karl Grossman,State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, Counterpunch
LISBON — “The Baard Energy project survived a major legal challenge when a federal judge recently dismissed a lawsuit filed by two environmental activists groups challenging a permit issued for the project.
Judge Donald Nugent of the U.S. District Court in Cleveland ruled on March 30 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had properly followed procedures and the law in issuing a permit for Ohio River Clean Fuels (ORCF), which is owned by Baard Energy…
The Corps issued the permit in 2008 after determining filling in the stream and wetlands would not’ have a significant effect on human health or the environment’ and its issuance ‘would not be contrary to the public interest.’
This prompted a lawsuit from the Sierra Club and National Resources Defense Council, which oppose the project for environmental reasons. The lawsuit accused the Corps of failing to conduct a proper review before issuing the permit.”
COLERAIN TOWNSHIP — According to an analysis of data from state environmental agencies, Waste & Recycling News ranked the Rumpke Sanitary Landfill in Colerain Township near Cincinnati 6th largest in the nation. The rankings were based on tonnage of waste accepted in the year 2008. The difference between Rumpke and the top ranked landfill in the list is just over a million tons.
CLEVELAND — At Cleveland’s biggest Earth Day event this past Sunday, Earthfest at the Zoo, eighty-seven Cleveland area neighbors signed a letter to Shelly Asphalt and Kokosing Asphalt encouraging them to work on solutions to their pollution problems.
One hundred and fifty children, teenagers, and adults decorated orange construction cone hats and wore these hats around the event to show their support of these asphalt plants cleaning up. In addition, Ohio Citizen Action handed out 225 free wildflower seed packets made by Ohio Citizen Action phone canvasser Jane Sandlin.
Many thanks to all the volunteers that stood at the table to talk with Northeast Ohio neighbors about the pollution problems and the current campaign aimed to work with Shelly and Kokosing on making changes.
Sandy Bihn of the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association
OREGON — “The power plant official called the bespectacled grandmother of two a liar when she said his company had already admitted responsibility for 10 percent of the young fish killed in the Maumee River.
So Sandy Bihn started digging through the documents she brought with her to the public meeting a year ago with First Energy. Before the meeting ended, she pulled the company’s report citing the figure.
She asked for an apology and didn’t get it. But the incident swelled support for her and other activists in a room full of fisherman who until then had been skeptical whether there was even a problem.
Bihn is a master community organizer, says Sandy Buchanan, executive director of Ohio Citizen Action. Buchanan has known her since 1983 when Bihn volunteered with the League of Women Voters.
‘She’s just very creative in thinking about allies, and she has tremendous personal integrity,’ Buchanan says.”
OREGON — “A recent analysis by consulting firm Tetra Tech Inc. performed for the Ohio EPA estimates the plant in the Toledo suburb of Oregon kills 46 million fish per year that are caught in the plant’s cooling-water screens. That includes tens of thousands of walleye and perch.
In addition, an estimated 14 million juvenile fish and more than 2 billion larval fish are killed annually by passing through intake screens and going through equipment in the power plant, according to the analysis.
That means that the Bay Shore plant kills 126,000 fish per day on screens and 6 million fish per day that pass through screens, the eco-groups said in a teleconference that repeats charges made by the groups a year earlier.
The fish kill total is the worst in Ohio and one of the biggest around the country, said activist Sandy Bihn of the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association.”
FirstEnergy's Bay Shore Power Plant, Oregon, Ohio.
OREGON — “The state regulatory agency has conceded the plant, in hindsight, never should have been built at the confluence of where the Maumee River meets Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay, one of the Great Lakes region’s most important fish nurseries.
FirstEnergy’s self-reported numbers, generated by paid consultants, speak for themselves: Bay Shore’s powerful water intake is believed to be responsible for the deaths of as many as 60 million fish a year, 46 million adults and 14 million juveniles. Those are the estimates reported to the Ohio EPA of what gets impinged against intake screens in any given year.
‘There’s assumed to be 100 percent mortality, although there’s some debate about that,’ Mike McCullough, an Ohio EPA environmental specialist, said at the start of last night’s meeting at Clay High School, attended by about 75 people.
Records submitted by the utility also show an estimated 209 million fish eggs and 2.2 trillion microscopic fish in their larval form being pulled through screens and killed inside the plant each year, too.”
LISBON — “The project has been on hold for the past two years because the company has been unable to line up the private financing, due the economy and the uncertain role coal is to play in the nation’s energy policy, according to Steve Dopuch, ORCF vice president, in a letter to the OAQDA dated Feb. 12.”
Letters to Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman
6,615 members have sent handwritten letters and petitions to Senator Brown urging him to support US EPA rules that will protect our health from polluting coal plants as of January 24, 2012.
3,751 members have petitioned Senator Portman urging him to support US EPA rules that will protect our health from polluting coal plants as of January 24, 2012.
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