Detroit’s Toxic Legacy – Bankrupt City Faces Environmental Challenges

Packard Plant (Library of Congress)

Sitting silent and decaying in its own polluted waste, The Packard Plant awaits a new future in post-bankruptcy Detroit. It is little more than a home for the homeless, a canvas for graffiti artists and vandals alike.

The Packard Plant  was not always so dirty and dystopic. Once it turned out millions of sedans, coupes, war weapons and paychecks. Founded in 1903, it began manufacturing its high-status cars just as Henry Ford started building mass-market cars in a nearby one-story factory.

The Packard grew to a 35-acre industrial powerhouse, revolutionizing the American economy along with Ford and other auto titans.

But as it did, so it left a legacy of lead, chrome, nickel, PCBs and other pollutants deposited only a few yards from residential neighborhoods. Tastes and economics changed, and in the 1950s The Packard’s auto assembly lines stopped, and the property slowly slid into decay. Continue reading Detroit’s Toxic Legacy – Bankrupt City Faces Environmental Challenges

New York Imports Pennsylvania’s Radioactive Fracking Waste Despite Falsified Water Tests

Hyland Landfill i

ANGELICA, N.Y. — Questions about the integrity of official water tests are stirring the latest controversy over New York State’s embattled policy of allowing imports of radioactive waste from natural gas drilling operations in Pennsylvania.

The issue arose last month in Casella Waste Systems’ bid to speed up by 49 percent deliveries to its Hyland Landfill in Angelica, about 80 miles south of Rochester. Neighbors of the landfill and the Sierra Club are asking the state to conduct a full environmental review of the case or at least to hold a public hearing on it. So far, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has not responded to those requests. “We are currently reviewing the comments received on the Casella solid waste application, and no decisions have been made,” said Lisa King, a DEC public information officer. Continue reading New York Imports Pennsylvania’s Radioactive Fracking Waste Despite Falsified Water Tests

The Toxic Tycoon

Harold Simmons (Photo credit Dallas Morning News)

Andrews County, TX—Tucked away on the Texas/New Mexico border is a 15,000-acre low-level nuclear waste disposal site run by Waste Control Specialists (WCS), a subsidiary of Valhi, Inc. Only five miles away from the nearest city of Eunice, this site is to be a permanent disposal site for level A, B, and C radioactive waste. WCS sought two licenses that allowed them to accept a total of 60 million cubic feet of low-level radioactive waste from federal and state sources, including nuclear reactors, weapons programs, and hospitals, roughly enough to fill half of Cowboy’s Stadium. The citizens of Andrews County are thrilled to have the disposal site, which provides jobs and revenue to the small town. The town receives 5 percent of WCS’s gross receipts and received their first payment in August, about $620,000. Continue reading The Toxic Tycoon

EPA’s Victory Moves Clean Water Act Fight Back to District Court

Merits of Case Must Now Be Decided

Mingo Logan

A federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to rescind a dumping permit three years after it was granted by the Army Corps of Engineers drew cheers from environmentalists.

The decision reverses a lower court’s ruling that would have allowed Mingo Logan Coal Co. to proceed with plans for one of the nation’s largest mountaintop mines in southern West Virginia. Mingo Logan is a subsidiary of Arch Coal, the second largest producer of fossil fuel in the country.

But the case is far from over. The decision, written by Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, returns the case to District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson. When Jackson sided with Arch Coal last year, she ruled on the company’s argument that the EPA lacked authority to rescind the permit but she must now rule on its contention that the agency was “arbitrary and capricious” in its arguments. Continue reading EPA’s Victory Moves Clean Water Act Fight Back to District Court