Waterkeeper News: BP oil spill, protecting rivers, and Clean Water Act
Editor’s note: Art Norris is the Quad Cities Waterkeeper. He looks after 150 miles of the Mississippi River and about 100 miles of the lower Rock River. For more information, visit quadcitieswaterkeeperuppermississippi.org.
Please make the calls and e-mails he requests. The effort just takes an instant in a lifetime, and Mother Nature needs you.
By Art Norris
Quad Cities Waterkeeper (QCW)
For years, environmentalists have been discussing the importance of having an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) done on facilities that wish to open business on top of fragile environmental areas in Illinois, across the nation, and in our coastal waters. An EIS is an in-depth study of consequences if something were to go wrong.
Looking at the Gulf spill disaster, the link below from Bloomberg Business Week explains that BP never had an EIS, or even the very superficial Environmental Impact Assessment done. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-05-11/oil-spill-agency-fetches-13-billion-amid-cozy-ties-update4-.html
The site says the federal government’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) gave BP a “categorical exclusion” from the National Environmental Policy Act in 2009, which released the company from preparing a detailed environmental assessment for the well. BP’s exploration plan called the prospect of an oil spill “unlikely.”
Which brings us to this site below being constructed in Illinois on top of karsts strata, a porous rock, and with no EIS or even an EIA done on this site, either. More information is available at http://www.stopthemegadairy.org/ and http://picasaweb.google.com/quadcitieswaterkeeper/20100604BossPitNoEIS#.
Here’s another potential disaster with only an EIA; the proposed facility is to be located in a sensitive wetland area on the banks of the Rock River in East Moline. If able to secure funding, the plant could resemble the Triumph Foods facility in Missouri with the capacity to process 1,000 hogs per hour, more than 4 million hogs per year. Also, see http://picasaweb.google.com/quadcitieswaterkeeper/AirealPhotosBarstowRdProposedTriumphFoodsSite#
We don’t need another BP in Illinois. Someone should tell U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Triumph Foods proposed site demands that an EIS be done before he even thinks about giving Triumph Foods’ a guaranteed loan.
I ask Mr. Vilsack to call QCW and please answer these questions. My number is (309) 721-1800. These are important environmental questions that We The People have a right to know. Mr. Vilsack can also be reached at: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&-contentid=bios_vilsack.xml,
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.,
Washington, D.C., 20250, (202) 720-2791.
I received a letter from U.S. Congressman Phil Hare touting his environmental record and saying he will consider this bill, H.R. 5088. Strongly urge him to vote in favor of it. Rep. Hare needs to hear from those of us who care about this issue.
The Clean Water Act, H.R. 5088, would greatly aid in protecting the areas like those discussed above from being developed, especially without an EIS being done.
I just want to thank anyone who is for protecting Illinois and our environment. In light of BP, I think we all need to pull together to save our environment.
U.S. Rep. Phil Hare is one of just five Illinois congressmen who will soon decide the fate of the Clean Water Restoration Act.
Show your support for clean water and call Congressman Hare today!
Tell him: My name is ____ and I live/work in _____. I’m calling because I believe clean water is crucial for our economy and quality of life.
Rollbacks to the Clean Water Act are allowing polluters to dump in the small streams and wetland that feed and clean Illinois’ lakes and rivers—even the aquifers that provide our drinking water.
The Clean Water Restoration Act will restore pollution protections that were in place for 30 years until 2001. I urge you to support it in committee.
To reach Congressman Hare’s office, call (202) 225 5905. If no one answers, just leave a message. Thank you! Together, we can win!
On another good note, we are organizing the Rock River Sweep. We are looking for volunteers around Rock Island County. Sign up at http://rockriversweep.org.
Drop QCW an e-mail or feel free to call if you could help out. I will never forget the Rock River fish kill off the Kishwaukee River ethanol spill last year. It’s a “must” that we show we care about our Rock River, and our tributaries. Your help for the day of the Rock River Sweep would be greatly appreciated. Together, we can make a difference.
Join the QCW program and give our rivers your voice, so it will be heard loud and clear.
Contact Art Norris, Quad Cities Waterkeeper, at 309-721-1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the June 16-22, 2010 issue