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EPA Hasn’t Found Contamination From Chromium Spill in Lake Michigan, Yet…


Last Tuesday a U.S. Steel facility in Portage, Indiana released hexavalent chromium into the Burns Waterway. This waterway is within 100 years of of Lake Michigan, and has resulted in a number of beach closings, though the EPA hasn’t confirmed any contamination on public beaches.

Although local groups have claimed to have found traces of hexavalent chromium on the beaches, we are left to wonder if there would be an official action if the EPA finds contamination.

In a string of recent public appearances the new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has dedicated himself to “refocusing” the agency around a business friendly philosophy.

“The coal industry was nearly devastated by years of regulatory overreach, but with new direction from President Trump, we are helping to turn things around for these miners and for many other hardworking Americans,” Pruitt exclaimed recently at a coal mine.

Some of his more revolutionary ideas include removing regulations that protect clean water, and no longer acknowledging climate change as a reality that deserves policy considerations.

“Back to basics means returning EPA to its core mission: protecting the environment by engaging with state, local, and tribal partners to create sensible regulations that enhance economic growth.” Scott Pruitt said, defining his vision for the EPA in solid terms.

Whether Mr. Pruitt understands that this was never the core mission of the EPA or not isn’t known, but it is very clear that this new direction is wildly abusive towards the environment’s human sustaining abilities.

In the case of the recent spill of hexavalent chromium in Portage, we can be thankful for the quick actions of local authorities that understand that there is a lot more to a healthy life than ephemeral profits.

On a larger scale, the new direction that the federal government in the United States has taken is alarming. The damage that will be done over the next years will be substantial. It is tragic to see the EPA to go in the Orwellian direction that so many other federal agencies have taken.

[via southbendtribune]

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  1. I doubt this will get read by many…but it is cathartic for me to record it. I will leave names out of this. My company built a world-class facility in California that included metal forming, welding and chrome plating. The plating facility was built to the latest standards and included a huge “swimming pool” as an ultimate catch basin should there be a spill. There was a spectacular water treatment facility, and the water leaving the facility was cleaner than the water going in.
    The county EPA acknowledged that the facility met all of the requirements…but they added that they did not want the company to do chrome plating in their county, because it was dangerous. When our company executives said that we had a right to operate, the EPA officials implied that while that was true, but they threatened that could find problems elsewhere in the factory.
    So…all of the brand new equipment was uprooted and shipped in 48 containers to an Asian country. The water leaving the facility was MUCH cleaner than the water that came in.
    All of the US fabrication, welding, plating and support jobs were lost. The logistics and cost of the move were horrific. Our company failed. There were other negatives, but this EPA action was a major driver. So…when a more business friendly environment is promised, it gets my vote.


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