When government environmental agencies go bad
The greater concern for the Department of Environmental Protection, however, as protector of the state’s water resources, is the unintended consequences of the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent actions that have the potential to significantly limit all types of mining.
Asked why the results of the weekly tests had not been published, the EPA's Bradbury said "no data is withheld from the public." Bradbury said the information has been posted on the agency's electronic public docket. In fact, the weekly test results are one of the only items on the docket that are not posted on the site. Instead they are listed as available only through the Freedom of Information Act. In an on-camera interview with the Investigative Fund in June, Bradbury also said that the weekly monitoring had found no spikes in any watershed over 3 ppb. "It's these spikes that we're focusing on," he said. "There have been no exceedances." In fact, the EPA's data recorded more than 130 spikes over 3 ppb during 2008 alone -- not only in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Kansas, but also in Missouri, Louisiana and Texas. Bradbury declined to elaborate on the apparent contradiction.The EPA does not consider one-time spikes of atrazine to be dangerous, but several peer-reviewed scientific studies suggest that the chemical may be harmful, particularly to developing fetuses, in doses as low as 0.1 ppb. One study, published this year in the medical journal Acta Paediatrica, found that birth defect rates in the United States were highest for women who conceived during months when atrazine levels were spiking.
It's a bizarre, if not Bizarro, world that we live in.
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