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.
January 6, 2002 |
Four of the Philadelphia region's 12 watersheds are among the most unhealthful in the country, according to a federal analysis of pollutants, wildlife and geology. The four are ranked six on a scale of one to six, with six being the worst - a dubious honor shared with just 28 other watersheds out of more than 2,200 in the United States. Don't rush to the store for bottled water just yet, however. The ratings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reflect the water in rivers, lakes and streams, not the treated water coming out of the tap. Moreover, two of the region's biggest watersheds, those containing the Schuylkill and lower Delaware River, scored slightly better, with fours.
November 7, 2001
The belief of Marlene Z. Asselta, president of the Southern New Jersey Development Council (Nov. 1, "Opposition to cement plant could impede renewal in New Jersey"), collides with reality. What she fails to take into account, as did the state Department of Environmental Protection, is the total maximum daily loading of combined pollutants in Camden. The TMDL factor is applied by scientists to the Clean Water Act, but rarely factored into the equation are the total amounts of pollutants that are airborne.
October 30, 2001 |
This is the second in a series of issue debates among New Jersey gubernatorial candidates Bret Schundler, Jim McGreevey and Bill Schluter. The issue today is pollution in New Jersey. These responses are culled from the Townhall E-Debates being hosted on the nonprofit Web site www.e-thepeople.org and co-sponsored by The Inquirer's Citizen Voices project. The questions to which the candidates are responding were generated by a monthlong online discussion among New Jersey voters. To see the full scope of the E-Debates materials, and to post your own responses to the candidates' positions, go to: http://edebates.