Sunday, April 23, 2017

Guest Column: Dismantling of Environmental Protection in the US



Please see below a letter and links from Micheal Lee, a senior policy analyst, Council on Intelligent Energy & Conservation Policy (CIECP):

Dismantlement of environmental protection in the US has begun in earnest.

Pasted below is the notice that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is commencing implementation of Trump’s Executive Order 13777 – aimed at reducing the “burden” of regulatory protection.

The Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) is among the very first agency offices targeted. Pruitt, E. Scott, Memo re Executive Order 13777: Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda, Mar 24, 2017. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-04/documents/regulatory_reform_agenda.pdf.

(Others on the early hit list include the EPA offices of Land and Emergency Management; Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention; Water; and Environmental Information.)

By the way, the existing Office of Air and Radiation regulatory burden is about as light as a feather.

OAR delegated nuclear plant effluent monitoring to the NRC years ago. The NRC, of course, leaves it up to the operators to do their own monitoring.

To my knowledge, there has never been either an EPA or NRC audit of radioactive effluent monitoring of the US fleet, much less any long-term evaluation of the monitoring at any specific plant.

According to OAR participants on a conference call a few years ago, neither the EPA nor the NRC creates reports which tally or verify the actual emissions from any specific plant, much less the full national complex. Leaks into groundwater get a little more attention, usually in the wake of embarrassing publicity, but the last NRC report on groundwater leaks was in 2010. https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1016/ML101680435.pdf.

Because of multiple unplanned leaks at Indian Point – and media attention – the site added extra monitoring wells. Thanks to these wells, leaks have been discovered as recently as 2016. See, e.g., http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roger-witherspoon/indian-point-contaminates_b_9224302.html.

A couple of years ago I spent a tedious day combing through a grouping of Indian Point monitoring well reports and found an abundance of missing data as well as a number of intense radioactivity level spikes.

Michel

Michel Lee, Esq.
Senior Policy Analyst
Promoting Health and Sustainable Energy (PHASE)

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