Sep
23rd

EPA won’t limit rocket fuel in US drinking water

EPA won’t limit rocket fuel in US drinking water

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Environmental Protection Agency has decided there’s no need to rid drinking water of a toxic rocket fuel ingredient that has fouled public water supplies around the country.
EPA reached the conclusion in a draft regulatory document not yet made public but reviewed Monday by The Associated Press.

The ingredient, perchlorate, has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states at levels high enough to interfere with thyroid function and pose developmental health risks, particularly for babies and fetuses, according to some scientists.

The EPA document says that mandating a clean-up level for perchlorate would not result in a “meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public-water systems.”

The conclusion, which caps years of dispute over the issue, was denounced by Democrats and environmentalists who accused EPA of caving to pressure from the Pentagon.

(for more info check out this story and for active links: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/environment/2008-09-22-EPA-fuel_N.htm?csp=23&RM_Exclude=aol)

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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Filed under Uncategorized

Sep
13th

WATER-GORED: MIKE BOOTS CRITIC OF RATES

New York Post

WATER-GORED: MIKE BOOTS CRITIC OF RATES

By DAVID SEIFMAN City Hall Bureau Chief

September 13, 2008 –

A respected environmentalist who publicly criticized City Hall’s soaking of water ratepayers was forced out by Mayor Bloomberg yesterday as chairman of the Water Board.

Jim Tripp, general counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund and a 16-year member of the Water Board, unexpectedly announced his resignation at a routine meeting of the panel in lower Manhattan.

In a brief interview later, Tripp said he felt it was time to step down because “there’s kind of a threshold the board had reached and I had reached as chair.”

But sources said Tripp decided to depart after learning Bloomberg intended to replace him as chairman with another board member, Alan Moss, a former Parks Department official.

Tripp, a former federal prosecutor and a prominent environmental advocate, held the chairman’s post for the past four years.

“They wanted someone more pliable as chairman,” said one insider, referring to the mayor’s office.

“Jim is too independent, he’s a person of principle. This sends a very clear signal: ‘We don’t want the Water Board to do anything but say yes.’ ”

Councilman James Gennaro (D-Queens), chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee, said Tripp was toppled because he “stood up for what was right.”

“The mayor wants to continue to divert over $100 million a year in water and sewer revenues and has shown by his action today that he will vanquish anyone who stands in his way,” said Gennaro.

Tripp wasn’t one to pull his punches, even if that meant taking on City Hall on behalf of ratepayers.

Last May, he announced that he had contemplated quitting to protest the continuing “rental payments” the city imposed on water users under an outmoded deal struck two decades ago.

Tripp’s comments came as the board reluctantly approved a 14.5 percent rate hike, the highest in 16 years.

A study is now under way of the water system’s entire rate structure.

Moss told The Post he agreed with Tripp that “we don’t want the city budget to be balanced on [water] rates.”

But he parted ways on tactics.

Moss, whose government service dates back five decades to the Wagner era, was the only board member who wouldn’t sign a letter to City Hall questioning the rental agreement.

“You don’t do that until you’ve exhausted everything else,” Moss said.

“My experience and take on the matter is you fight this out first with various agencies of the city internally.”

Mayoral aides declined to say if Tripp was pushed out, saying only that “he resigned today for the reasons he gave at the meeting, and the mayor appreciates his exemplary service.”

david.seifman@nypost.com

http://www.nypost.com/seven/09132008/news/regionalnews/water_gored__mike_boots_critic_of_rates_128877.htm

Filed under Drinking Water, NYC Water

Sep
12th

Judge’s decision: DEP stated no blasting & issued a reasonable study

decisionbceqvdep090908

Check out articles on the web at: BCEQ and FIPNA

Sep
6th

Grass Roots Assure Environmental Promises are Kept

On September 3, we returned to court to argue that 76 days ago on June 19, 2008 – the DEP announced for the first time, that it was going to make a substantial change to the 2004 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) for the work proposed at the Jerome Park Reservoir related to the now almost $3 Billion Croton Water Treatment Plant (CWTP).

This change was not a minor deviation from a prior approved plan but rather a literal bombshell dropped by DEP when it proposed to blast a shaft through soil and rock along “Education Mile” adjacent to the Jerome Park Reservoir. Had DEP stayed this ill-advised course, this substantial change would have resulted in numerous significant adverse environmental impacts as outlined in Plaintiff’s brief.

The subject matter of this dispute involves an important project to ensure that NYC continues to enjoy plentiful and safe drinking water and the impacts of this project were reviewed for many years culminating in a then and now (even more so) seemingly wrong-headed decision to locate the plant on parkland in Van Cortlandt Park at the Mosholu Golf Course and not in Mount Pleasant at the Eastview site where we now know it would have been much less expensive to build.

Be that as it may, the many years of environmental review under CEQR, SEQRA & ULURP also resulted in a decision not to undertake major construction of the plant at the Jerome Park Reservoir or to blast there in large part because of the significant potential for adverse impacts. Final agency action and exhaustion of the then available administrative remedies occurred on July 16, 2004 with DEP’s issuance of a Statement of Findings.

Yet, knowing the concerns of the Bronx community for this site and its sensitive nature with many residential and institutional receptors of adverse impacts, DEP nonetheless proposed this past June to undertake blasting – an ultra hazardous activity – without a supplemental environmental impact statement. It proposed to do this even after the FSEIS stated that there would be “no blasting or surface drilling” at the Jerome Park Reservoir. Nothing could have been clearer – no blasting meant no blasting. This agency action motivated the Bronx Borough President to write DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd on July 11th to express his dismay that DEP did not bring this decision to blast to the public sooner. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz echoed the Borough President’s dismay in a late July letter.

We are delighted that this litigation caused DEP to re-think this arbitrary and capricious decision and now concurs with DEP – if indeed blasting at the JPR as it pertains to work related to the CWTP project is off the table and is no longer being considered as an available alternative – that this issue is now moot.

We reminded the Court that DEP has flip-flopped on the issue of blasting. In the 2004 FSEIS, it said “no blasting,” yet on June 19, 2008 DEP was extolling the “Benefits of Controlled Blasting” in its PowerPoint presentation “Upcoming Construction at the Jerome Park Reservoir.” In the late August 2008 just released Technical Memorandum (prepared solely in response to this litigation) DEP announced “updated design and construction changes” and mentions “mechanical excavation” but does not mention either blasting (or hoe-ramming or surface drilling for that matter). It is only by looking at litigation documents for this case – the August 28th affidavit of Gary Heath of the DEP that the community learned that DEP decided to proceed with mechanical excavation (i.e. hoe ramming) instead of blasting.

Because of DEP’s flip-flopping and its continuing attempts at purposeful vagueness and, while we believe Mr. Heath, we were prepared to ask the Court to conform the pleadings to this new evidence available only for the last 2 business days by amending our request for relief to now become either: a) an extension of the preliminary injunction and TRO issued by this Court on July 29th up to the date and time that DEP reviews this proposed “updated design and construction change” not to blast with the Croton Facilities Monitoring Committee (FMC) as required by City Council Resolution # 933 or b) to ensure the sincerity of DEP and to ensure that DEP ratifies its Director’s assertion that no blasting will take place, the Court issue a permanent injunction barring DEP and its contractors from any and all blasting at the Jerome Park Reservoir site as it relates to the CWTP.

The community won a big fight as there will be no blasting at the reservoir.

While the Court denied our request for a permanent injunction, it was because the Judge believed DEP when it stated that the “blasting” issue was Moot.

Justice Betty Owen Stinson will make her final decision on remaining issues concerning the FMC and surface drilling by the end of the month.

The DEP intends on beginning “hoe ramming” by the end of the month.

On July 29, 2008, the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality joined by other community organizations and leaders brought an Order to Show Cause to stop the City from blasting at the Jerome Park Reservoir. This first successful temporary restraining order (TRO) brought against the City on the Croton Water Treatment Plant (CWTP) project, was prepared by a group of community pro-bono attorneys. Aimed with the premise of we are not going to be pushed around, this grass root effort demonstrated how Bronx community people working together could assure that promises made in environmental impact statements by agencies and developers are kept. We hope this message is clear and has been heard!

/Karen and Walter