The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Report Exposes Companies That Dumped 206 Million Pounds of Toxic Chemicals Into U.S. Waterways
Industrial facilities across the U.S. dumped more than 206 million pounds of toxic chemicals into waterways in 2012, according to the “Wasting Our Waterways” report. The figures about the nation, as a whole, are stark, as are figures about individual regions and companies. For instance, Tyson Foods Inc. alone dumped more than 18.5 million pounds—about 9 percent of the nationwide total.
"America’s waterways should be clean—for swimming, drinking and supporting wildlife,” said Ally Fields, clean water advocate for Environment America's Research and Policy Center. “But too often, our waters have become a dumping ground for polluters. The first step to curb this tide of toxic pollution is to restore Clean Water Act protections to all our waterways.”
Hope for such a legislative restoration explains the report's timing. It arrives as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers restoring protections to about 2 million miles of waterways. The public comment period for the proposal ends in October.
“Looking at the data from our report [last week], you can see why polluters might oppose any efforts to better protect our waters,” Fields said. “That’s why we are working with farmers, small businesses and hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans to make sure our voices for clean water are heard in Washington D.C.
"The future of the waterways we love—from the Chesapeake Bay to the Colorado River—hangs in the balance.”
Here are some other findings:
- Watersheds receiving the highest volumes of toxic pollution were the Lower Ohio River-Little Pigeon River (Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky), the Upper New River (Virginia) and the Middle Savannah River (Georgia and South Carolina).
- Of the top 10 parent-companies releasing the largest amount of toxins, four are corporate agribusiness companies: Tyson, Cargill Inc., Perdue Farms Inc. and Pilgrims Pride Corp.
- Industrial facilities released more than 1.4 million pounds of chemicals linked to cancer into 688 local watersheds during 2012, including arsenic, benzene and chromium. The North Fork Humboldt River watershed in Nevada received the largest release of carcinogens among local watersheds, followed by the Lake Maurepas watershed in Louisiana.
The report also provides a state-by-state breakdown of the toxic dumping, along with a ranking of dumping companies around the country.
“It’s high time that we restore protections for the drinking water for 1 in 3 Americans,” said Fields. “That’s why [we released] this report and running an ad in Politico as part of a broad effort to educate the public and engage elected officials to weigh in with the Obama administration in support of its Clean Water Act rulemaking.”
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A unique subpopulation of ancient walrus in Iceland was likely hunted to extinction by Vikings shortly after arrival to the region, according to new research.
By Tara Smith
Fires in the Brazilian Amazon have jumped 84 percent during President Jair Bolsonaro's first year in office and in July 2019 alone, an area of rainforest the size of Manhattan was lost every day. The Amazon fires may seem beyond human control, but they're not beyond human culpability.
By Natalie Hanman
Why are you publishing this book now?
I still feel that the way that we talk about climate change is too compartmentalised, too siloed from the other crises we face. A really strong theme running through the book is the links between it and the crisis of rising white supremacy, the various forms of nationalism and the fact that so many people are being forced from their homelands, and the war that is waged on our attention spans. These are intersecting and interconnecting crises and so the solutions have to be as well.
As the climate crisis takes on more urgency, psychologists around the world are seeing an increase in the number of children sitting in their offices suffering from 'eco-anxiety,' which the American Psychological Association described as a "chronic fear of environmental doom," as EcoWatch reported.
By Ben Jervey
Drivers of electric cars are being unfairly punished by punitive fees in several states, according to a newly published analysis by Consumer Reports. Legislators in 26 states have enacted or proposed special registration fees for electric vehicles (EVs) that the consumer advocacy group found to be more expensive than the gas taxes paid by the driver of an average new gasoline vehicle.