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16 November 2014

American Farm Bureau Federation vs. EPA: Oral Arguments Scheduled for Tuesday

American Farm Bureau Federation, et al. v. EPA, Case 13-4079 oral arguments are scheduled for Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. The American Farm Bureau Federation (Farm Bureau) is suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its authority to regulate farm runoff. The issue has gained attention following this summer’s “do not drink” advisory affecting over 500,000 residents in the Toledo, Ohio …


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31 July 2013

The Ins and Outs of Fracking and Underground Waste Injection Wells

When the Akron Beacon-Journal Online publishes its updated interactive map of active, permitted, and producing oil and gas wells in Ohio, it places another map right below it. The second map shows underground waste injection wells. These two maps belong together because underground injection wells are used to dispose of the polluted flowback water from high volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations. When thinking about potential for groundwater contamination, hydrofractured oil/gas …


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21 March 2013

EPA to Enbridge: Dredge More Submerged Oil from the Kalamazoo River

On July 25 2010, the 30-inch diameter Enbridge 6B pipeline ruptured near Marshall, Michigan. Roughly 1 million gallons of diluted bitumen (DilBit) from Canadian oil sands spilled into Talmadge Creek, a tributary to the Kalamazoo River. Nearly three years later, the cleanup continues. Last week, the U.S. EPA issued a final Administrative Order requiring Enbridge, the owner of the pipeline, to conduct additional dredging to remove submerged oil from three portions of …


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14 November 2010

Kingston Coal Sludge Cleanup: The Road Show Returns

Following the December 22, 2008 breach of a containment dike surrounding an 84-acre coal ash disposal pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County, TN, the immediate response focused on limiting and containing impacts to the Emory and Clinch Rivers, which were hit hard by the spill. The next step was to collect and haul the sludge away to disposal sites. As reported, this expensive …


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8 November 2010

The Persistent Trouble with Coal Ash

504-acre ash disposal ponds in Lake Erie, near Bay View Power Plant, Toledo. While a graduate student at the University of New Hampshire over twenty years ago, I attended an evening lecture by a hydrologist visiting from what was then still the Soviet Union. Early in his talk about groundwater, he said there was an old saying that “to make something clean, you have to make something else dirty.”  Thinking …


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29 August 2010

Land Requirements of Coal Ash Ponds

The ash ponds inventoried so far take up 31,643 acres of area, or about 51 square miles. During 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent out information requests to utilites in an effort to build a descriptive database of coal ash impoundments and similar facilities. The EPA will use the data to conduct a quality review. As of August 2010, responses have been received from 228 coal power generating facilities …


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4 April 2009

Regulatory Fallout from Kingston Coal Sludge Incident?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be reviewing hundreds of wetland and watercourse permits formerly handled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), according to this LA Times article. The EPA has had the authority to intervene for years, but rarely did under the Bush Administration. Looks like things are different now. The EPA appears to have a new mandate from President Obama and its decision to flex some …


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