HI THERE, GREENIES: Y’all come in and sit a spell around the cracker barrel and tell Uncle Jesse your troubles. Now, I can’t help you—can’t even solve my own problems—but I’ll sure as hell listen, especially if you bring a half-rack of PBR long necks. I’ll even tell you about them federal Greenies at the Environmental Protection Agency. They’ve been busy lately protecting our water supply from human feces. Yee-hah!
MOMMY, I WANT A CHROMIUM-6 SMOOTHIE: The EPA has issued new guidance regarding how public water systems can enhance their monitoring and sampling programs for hexavalent chromium, according to an agency news release. The recommendations are in response to scientific evidence that chromium-6 could pose health concerns if consumed over long periods of time. For more information regarding the health effects of tasty, nutritious chromium, visit www.water.epa.gov/drink/info/chromium.
HEY, WHAT’S WRONG WITH FECAL MATTER? The EPA office in Atlanta, Ga., issued administrative orders (AOs) against seven entities in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina during the last quarter of 2010 for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA), according to an EPA news release. For example, the City of Oak Ridge, Tenn., was cited for unauthorized discharges of sewage from its wastewater collection and transmission system. Sanitary sewer overflows, according to the release, contain raw sewage and have high concentrations of bacteria from fecal contamination, as well as disease-causing pathogens and viruses (Yummy!). Three entities, including the Shelby County Schools in Arlington, Tenn., were cited for alleged storm-water-related violations of the CWA. Polluted storm-water runoff is often discharged, untreated, directly into local water supplies. The AOs issued by the EPA typically require violators to conduct a variety of remediation activities, including better self-inspections. Congress enacted the CWA in 1972 to protect the nation’s waterways and wetland. Water pollution, the release says, can deplete needed oxygen and result in the destruction of aquatic habitats and the fish and wildlife that depend on them. Water pollution can also contaminate food and drinking water.
BLOWBACK: The Florida League of Cities and the Florida Stormwater Association have filed a federal lawsuit against the EPA over new numeric nutrient criteria regulations for Florida’s waters, according to a news release from the groups. According to Rebecca O’Hara of the Florida League of Cities, “We all want clean water; however, the EPA’s mandates seem like they will do more to harm Florida’s local government taxpayers than provide real results.” The two groups complain that the EPA’s new mandates, among other things, are not based on valid scientific methods and contain criteria that are generally impossible for storm-water and wastewater systems to achieve given current technologies. The groups claim that city and county wastewater and storm water treatment systems in the state could see increases in costs of $1 billion to $3 billion per year if the EPA regulations go into effect.
CSI ALBANY: In last week’s Green Briefs, we told you about three rare whooping cranes that were found dead near Albany, Ga., on Dec. 30, 2010, and an ensuing investigation by authorities, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR). Those agencies have announced that the cranes suffered gunshot wounds, according to wildlife scientists at the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore. FWS special agents and GDNR conservation rangers are leading a joint investigation into the killings. In addition to the federal Endangered Species Act, whooping cranes are protected by state laws and the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. A reward of up to $12,500 will be provided to anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest and successful prosecution of the perp or perps. Numerous organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, are contributing funds to the reward. This senseless killing of the cranes is particularly sad, because it was the three birds’ first fall migration as part of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership effort to reintroduce the birds into the eastern United States. They were banded and equipped with transmitters. There are about 570 whooping cranes left in the world, with 400 in the wild. Any information concerning the deaths of these cranes should be provided to FWS Special Agent Terry Hasting at (404) 763-7959 or the GDNR 24-hour hotline at (800) 241-4113. For more about the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, visit www.bringbackthecranes.org.
HAPPY TRAIL: The Chief Ladiga Trail in east Alabama drew a record 4,142 visitors last year, according to a report by Laura Camper of The Anniston Star. The Ladiga merges with Georgia’s Silver Comet Trail to create a 95-mile paved biking trail that is the longest in America. Jack Holder, director of the Eubanks Welcome Center in Piedmont, tells Camper that the Ladiga attracts visitors from across the country and even foreign nations. These visitors bring much-needed tourist dollars, according to Janis Burns of Jacksonville’s Park and Recreation Department. “I truly believe that the impact within Jacksonville is really big because of the trail,” Burns tells Camper. The city is working on a greenway, a spur off the trail leading to downtown Jacksonville, which would make it easier for riders to access the city’s restaurants, according to Camper. Eventually the trail will have campgrounds and recreational vehicle hookups, according to the article. “It was completed in 2007, the Alabama side, and the Georgia side was completed in 2008,” Holder says. “It’s still a young trail as far as visitors are concerned.” The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs in the fall nominated the trail to become a National Recreation Trail, which would make it eligible for additional federal grant funding. Read more at www.annistonstar.com.
Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy: You guys remember that charmingly twisted animated TV program in the early 1990s called The Ren & Stimpy Show? You know, the one on Nickelodeon with the dumb-ass cat named Stimpy and the psychotic Chihuahua named Ren who sounded like Peter Lorre? Well, if you don’t remember, I can only weep for you, YOU STUPID, BLOATED IDIOT, and I don’t want to weep right now, because I’m thinking happy thoughts. I just Googled the lyrics to Ren and Stimpy’s “Happy Happy Happy Joy Joy” song. And I’m reading a news release from the tree-huggers at the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC) in Berkeley, Calif. They’re pimpin’ a new one-hour documentary film called The Economics of Happiness.
According to the release, the film explores what the ISEC calls the rapidly growing localization movement, which supposedly offers a solution to some of our global economic, social and environmental problems. The Economics of Happiness, we’re told, also discusses the policy changes needed to enable local economies and communities to survive and prosper. The film draws inspiration from urban gardens in Detroit, Mich., community development in Japan and cultural preservation in Peru, among other examples. Film producer Helena Norberg-Hodge is the founder of the ISEC. For details regarding screenings of the film, go to www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org.