ENS: INTERPOL, U.S. EPA and 20 Countries Target Illegal E-Waste Trade

A recent meeting of the INTERPOL Global E-Waste Crime Group focused on identifying and implementing a worldwide strategy to combat the illegal traffic in electronic waste.

Talks focused on developing a multi-national enforcement strategy to tackle the growing international problem of e-waste. The discarded electronic equipment exported to these countries contains hazardous materials, including lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and other toxic metals. The waste poses environmental and health risks, particularly in developing countries in Africa and Asia.

The three-day meeting co-hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Criminal Enforcement provided a forum for more than 100 representatives and experts from 21 countries and 12 nongovernmental organizations.

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ENS: Animal Waste on Factory Farms Comes Under Closer EPA Scrutiny

Photo: Nigel Monckton
Photo: Nigel Monckton
The Environmental Protection Agency, in a legal settlement that could affect the entire U.S. meat industry, has agreed to identify and investigate thousands of factory farms that have been avoiding government regulation for water pollution with animal waste.

Factory farms, also known as concentrated animal feeding operations, CAFO’s, confine animals on an industrial scale and produce massive amounts of manure and other waste. They apply liquid animal waste on land, which runs off into waterways, killing fish, spreading disease, and contaminating drinking water.

More than 30 years ago, Congress identified factory farms as water pollution sources to be regulated under the Clean Water Act’s permit program. But a Bush administration regulation allowed large facilities to bypass government regulation by claiming, without verification, that they do not discharge into waterways.

The settlement, which challenged the Bush administration loophole, requires the EPA to propose a rule on greater information gathering on CAFO’s within the next 12 months.

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Monitoring factory farms

The E.P.A. reached a settlement this week with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Waterkeeper Alliance that would be a step towards closer monitoring of concentrated animal feeding operations, also known as factory farms.

There are thousands of CAFOs, but they have “historically many have been able to avoid pollution control requirements,” said John Devine, an attorney for the National Resources Defense Council.

The settlement requires the E.P.A. to propose a rule that will require CAFOs to report specific information on the amount of manure generated from the facilities and how this waste is handled.

The massive amount of animal waste that is produced from CAFOs can leach into the groundwater and into streams and rivers.

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Public News Service: Clock Ticking on Public Comment for Smith Plant Coal Ash

The East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) is seeking a permit for its proposed Smith coal burning plant that would be built in Clark County near the Kentucky River.

The permit would allow the company to use the plant’s coal ash waste to fill various areas on the site. The waste can be mixed to harden like concrete.

Director of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation Elizabeth Crowe says that the plant would generate over half a million tons of coal ash and is concerned about the ash being used to fill wetlands. She says there must also be some consideration of public health and for the water supply of central Kentucky.

The June 8th public hearing begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Clark County Extension office in Winchester.

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