Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Houston, Texas Shuts Down 2 Water Wells Due to Alpha Radiation--Previous Alabama Tests Were Positive For Alpha Particles

KHOU-TV Investigative reporter Mark Greenblatt's continuing series

Read more here

There's a parallel of this story to Alabama's water problems and ALPHA particles in Shelby County water systems.

The following linked data from the Environmental Working Group database which was the scientific basis of the NY Times nationwide special report "Toxic Waters"  includes a report on Harpersville, Alabama (Shelby County) showing ALPHA particles above the health limit in the system. 

Where they were coming from is the $64,000 question. Attempts to ascertain more information were stonewalled, but we intend to stay after this.

Another EPA violation for this water system was a failure to monitor for fecal Coliform bacteria 2004.

Alabaster, Pelham and Columbiana water systems also tested positive for ALPHA radiation particles above the health limits.

Helena exceeded health guidelines for lead and disinfecting chemicals.

In Walker County, Alabama only 2 out of 12 water systems provided any data for the report, Jasper (EPA violations of disinfectants) and Eldridge. With so much coal mining in the county, we're suspicious of the exclusion of data.

Jasper, Alabama had a recent bout with "foul tasting" water in late November that was blamed on a "naturally occurring event of river inversion." They added an "algae bloom" to the incident as a contributing factor, but no reporter was smart enough to find out that algae blooms are almost always indicative of bad water quality.

Alabama did not provide any reports past 2005. They also chose to not participate in the recent Chromium-6 testing conducted by the EWG. Why?

The prevailing attitude is that if it is not over "legal" guidelines then there is no problem. The EPA informs us that there are many chemicals that are not on the lists for water systems which are not safe, and if they are not on the list, there is no testing for them. EPA realizes there is a huge loophole in this process and is attempting to rewrite the SDWA guidelines.

Water is not our only issue in Alabama, our air is also under constant assault from some of the same corporations that are killing our waterways: the coal fiends.

Their lawyers have started chanting "state's right's" with gusto, claiming that trumps federal law. We expect as much because the state agency, ADEM, is aware of the pervasive pollution in Alabama's waterways, and seems to adopt the posture of since we are already polluted it won't make much more difference. They continue to hand out permits to toxic industries like candy to misbehaving children.

It is a huge revenue source for them: permitting fees, discharge fees and the *$33-37.00 per ton emission fee they receive just from Alabama Power amounts to millions of dollars in revenue each year. There is no incentive to enforce and strictly regulate if it results in decreased profits now is there? *(linked ADEM AP file)

Multiplying 169,388.420 (tons) by $33.00 (using the lower figure) equals:

Pay to pollute.

And that is just ONE plant (strictly smokestack emission fees), EC Gaston in Wilsonville, Alabama.

Where do all of these millions go and what does it "buy" AP?????

One thing for certain it buys AP is a lot of statewide political clout hence their high positions in Governor Bentley's incoming administration

The PR masters attempting to put a feel good on the subject of toxic emissions in Alabama failed miserably with this weak attempt:
Alabama industries re­ported releasing less toxic materials into the environ­ment in 2009, according to the latest Toxic Release Inventory, just published by the U.S. Environmental Pro­tection Agency.
In 2009, Alabama indus­tries reported generating 92 million pounds of toxic materials. By comparison, in 2000, industries reported releasing 169 million pounds of toxic materials into the air, land and water. The 2009 results show a steady decline in toxic emis­sions from sources such as industrial plants and power plants.
EPA noted that, across the Southeast, the 2009 TRI shows a 9.4 percent de­crease in releases from 2008. It notes, however, that fewer facilities are filing reports with the agency.
According to the agency, some of the decline can be attributed to the economic downturn, but the agency also plans to follow up with facilities that have reported in the past but did not file current reports.
In Alabama, the number of facilities reporting de­clined from 544 in 2008 to 493 in 2009.
We would call what ADEM does a tremendous conflict of interest at the very least and the buyout of Alabama corruption at its worst.

KHOU-TV is fortunate to have Mr. Greenblatt on their investigative team.
We could use someone like him in Alabama to uncover the secrets that are a threat to public health in our state.

But here's what we really want to know: Where are all the tens of millions in revenues to ADEM going?
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  1. The key word being 'report.' Those not reporting are getting a free ride from ADEM (except for the pay to pollute part) and the reports filed are missing critical data. The excuses range from releasing less, which is translated as EPA reduced the norms - to under-funding, and we just don't have the steel mills we once had so therefore we have less emissions.
    Not to worry. Run along now, we are in control, we are the government and we are here to help. Yeah. Right. This is criminal. No less.
    Good job Max.

  2. Hard to argue with facts.
    You've raised some very interesting questions that deserve deeper probing. Who is going to do it?

  3. Aren't they always complaining they are broke? They had enough money to spend 2 million on a plane didn't they?

  4. And the state does have CAFR funds from what I can tell that are well hidden. If not for all those hidden funds and assets, how could they ask for more taxes? The more they mess up, the more we pay. But, no one says, I am running for office as your state representative and I want your vote so I can rubber stamp all the same corrupt nasty business we like to do in Montgomery. Yuck yuck yuck!!! I do want the job of raising your taxes - vote for me - you won't be disappointed and I will lie to you - tell you we will clean up the state and you might even like it. They are not broke. Not financially anyway. They are broke in the heads. Bad mind disease I suppose. Looks like it is contagious among politicians. They do make me sick.

  5. Seems to me a flurry of FOIAs are in order.

  6. Remember the line from Bette Midler in the First Wives Club?
    "Wake up Sunshine and smell the audit."
    I bet that would yield some very interesting results on where (and to whom) state and federal money has been going.

  7. ROXY & BAR-T--

    We love the way you two are thinking.


  8. I am not buying the river inversion hype.

  9. ADEM has been an agency embroiled in controversy from its inception. EMC is no better. Both agencies are nothing more than figureheads and serve no valid purpose than to inflate state coffers.
    Now, the radiation in the drinking water (Alabama) is a very serious matter and should not remain uninvestigated.
    Please stay after this.


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