April 22, 2004 |
With the arrival of Earth Day, there will be the usual flurry of feel-good stories. While they should not be ignored, Earth Day at this juncture in our history should be more of a reminder than celebration. That is clear from a set of statistics derived from government sources by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmental public interest group. According to Environmental Protection Agency documentation, the nation's water pollution levels are increasing for the first time since passage of the 1970 Clean Water Act. Our estuaries have deteriorated, with more than half "impaired" - up from 37 percent in 1994.
April 6, 2004 |
In the early 1970s, a set of visionary politicians came together to draft one of our nation's cornerstone environmental and public health laws - the Clean Water Act. While the act has made strides in cleaning up America's waterways, we are far from realizing its original vision. About 39 percent of our rivers and 46 percent of our lakes are still too polluted for fishing and swimming. A central reason is that industrial and municipal facilities are discharging pollution in violation of their Clean Water Act permits.
March 31, 2004 |
A Valley Forge chemical company has agreed to resolve charges that it violated the federal Clean Water Act at plants in Chester, Baltimore and St. Louis. Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia and Baltimore filed felony environmental charges Monday against PQ Corp. It is accused of knowingly discharging improperly treated wastewater on several occasions in the 1990s. A grand jury in St. Louis returned an indictment last week concerning a plant in that city. Michael Imbriani, PQ's executive vice president, said "the company looks forward to appearing before the court with the government" to resolve the issues.
July 17, 2003
Despite the gloomy tone that environmentalists sometimes adopt, the sky is not falling. In fact, the air is 25 percent cleaner than it was 30 years ago. The glass is not half empty. For 94 percent of Americans, it's full of water that's finally safe to drink. These positive statistics underscore the success of the best example of government-led social progress in our age: modern environmental protection. Without the landmark legislation of the 1970s and 1980s - the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Superfund Act - the environment would not be where it is today, much cleaner now than it was then.
March 20, 2003 |
"This is Susan Rickens," began the public service announcement on radio stations around the state, "with another Pennsylvania Earth Minute. "Do you know Pennsylvania has more miles of rivers and streams than any state except Alaska?"
October 31, 2002 |
DISTRACTED BY the Ira Einhorn trial and the Beltway sniper drama around Washington, most Philadelphians were unaware that Oct. 18 marked the 30th anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act. This landmark piece of environmental and public-health legislation is arguably the cornerstone of our nation's environmental policy. Although we have made important strides in water quality since the advent of the Clean Water Act in 1972, we have fallen far short of its goals. Approximately 39 percent of our rivers and 46 percent of our lakes are still too polluted for safe fishing or swimming.
October 26, 2002
8th & Market needs more density, not less The call for a public green space to fill the "Disney hole" ("A verdant idea for Eighth and Market," Pennsylvania Commentary Page, Oct. 16) is misguided. Even lushly attired with trees and grassy pathways, this approximately two-acre site would still appear huge and yawning - and empty, as soon as all of the area's office workers headed home. (Just look at nearby Washington Square which, ever-lovely and newly restored, sits forlorn much of the time even though it is surrounded by high-rise apartment buildings and nearby office populations.
October 18, 2002
In 1969, the Cuyahoga River, oozing through Cleveland, caught fire, evoking a Biblical plague. That's when Americans realized they had to do something to clean up waterways. The Delaware River back then wasn't in much better shape. Off and on through history, Philadelphia's port had been so polluted that fish couldn't migrate and paint peeled off boats. The stench was unbearable. Now, however, developers here are building luxury riverfront condos; shad festivals abound, and water recreation is resurging.
September 24, 2002 |
New Jersey officials pledged yesterday to establish tough pollution standards on 159 sections of rivers and lakes by next summer, setting limits on such pollutants as fecal coliform bacteria and phosphorus. Among South Jersey waterways likely to be affected are stretches of the Cooper and Delaware Rivers and the Rancocas Creek. The head of one environmental group said she was pleased with the announcement, but said New Jersey had a long way to go, noting that Pennsylvania already had set standards for hundreds of rivers and streams.
January 11, 2002
TALK ABOUT about unintended consequences: Chlorine was introduced into drinking water at the beginning of the 20th century to kill bacteria and make it safe to drink from the faucet. But now some of the byproducts of chemicals containing chlorine are found to cause cancer and birth defects, which is why the Environmental Protection Agency recently mandated tougher standards on chlorine in drinking water. A new study by environmental groups suggests that those standards aren't tough enough: Chlorine-related chemicals in area drinking water may be hazardous to pregnant women.