February 21, 2006
It's become so common, Americans sometimes seem blase when they hear about development plans that might threaten the environment. But court arguments to be made today that could impact every swamp, bog and canal in the nation deserve close attention. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear two Michigan cases involving attempts to fill in wetlands to build a shopping center and condominiums. The stakes of the cases are enormous. The justices will clarify the 1972 Clean Water Act. Historically, the United States has undervalued the ability of wetlands to filter pollutants, absorb floodwater, cleanse drinking water, shelter birds and wildlife, and provide recreation.
September 30, 2005
It made sense to bypass some environmental rules immediately after Hurricane Katrina. The first priority was to protect people, then begin the cleanup. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ignored clean-water rules to pump floodwaters into Lake Pontchartrain, loosened clean-air regulations to burn debris, and lifted fuel-blending requirements to help ease gas prices. Those were the right decisions, made temporarily, on a case-by-case basis. In an emergency, EPA can and does bend rules.
September 10, 2004
Needle exchanges are in public's best interest As a public-health educator, I support the facts and statistics that Assembly Majority Leader Joseph J. Roberts Jr. (D., Camden) adduced in his commentary ("It is time to relax syringe law," Aug. 25). They clearly show that there is cause for changing the laws that impact hypodermic-needle access. The efforts of Camden and Trenton in addressing HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C could benefit from such change. Research has indicated benefits of adopting public-health-friendly laws at the state level.
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.