Jan 152015
 

Aquatic ecosystems are bodies of water that support communities of marine or freshwater organisms dependent upon each other and their environment. Human development, encroachment and pollution have damaged more than 70% of our nation’s rivers and streams -some of them severely. Nearly 40% of our nation’s rivers and streams do not meet standards for swimming safety or fishing sustainability. Non-point source pollution such as soil erosion from logging, oil runoff from urban streets, acid mine drainage and nutrients from farm fertilizers are blamed for some of the destruction to our streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries, islands, wetlands, beaches and vernal pools. Healthy aquatic ecosystems greatly benefit us by filtering pollutants from our water supply and reducing the strength of storms, hurricanes and flooding. They also provide countless recreational opportunities for millions of Americans. Advocates say that in order for these degraded ecosystems to regain their functionality they must be returned to their original condition -or as close to it as possible.

Pending Legislation: none

I oppose reforming current aquatic habitat policy

I support establishing a National Clean and Safe Water Fund for the EPA to carry out water quality projects including: wetland protection and restoration projects; contaminated sediment projects; drinking water source protection projects; land acquisition projects for water quality protection, and wish to identify a legislator who will reintroduce S.1539 – National Clean and Safe Water Fund Act of 2003 (108th Congress 2003-2004)

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Arsenic is a chemical element that occurs in many minerals such as sulfur and metals. As such, groundwater contains much higher concentrations of arsenic than surface water. Unfortunately, as groundwater depth increases, so does the amount of arsenic. It is known that arsenic from drinking water can cause hypertension, diabetes and skin, lung, kidney and bladder cancers. The developing nervous systems of small children are particularly vulnerable to arsenic. About 80% of our public water systems serve less than 4,000 people. Since many of these small communities depend on wells for drinking water, this natural contaminant is harming these Americans most. Until relatively recently, the amount of arsenic we allowed in our drinking water was 50 parts per billion (ppb). After studies revealed this 1942 standard would cause bladder and lung cancers, the Clinton and Bush administrations reduced arsenic limits to 10ppb, as recommended by the World Health Organization. However, the maximum safe contaminant level for arsenic continues to be debated. Health advocates say that an even stricter standard of 5ppb is needed. They say a 10ppb arsenic standard will still cause 30 deaths per 10,000 people, well above the EPA’s acceptable death rate of 1 in 1 million. In 2004, New Jersey adopted this 5ppb standard. Opponents claim implementing a stricter arsenic standard will do more harm than good. They claim the financial burden of forcing this standard on 20,000 small American communities will keep them from funding other important services.

Due to being grown in soil and water, scientists have long known that rice is good at absorbing inorganic arsenic, mercury, tungsten and other metals. And if water is reduced during growth, rice absorbs toxic cadmium instead of these metals. Advocates say that even low levels of arsenic can affect health. Rice is somewhat unique among plants in that it stores metals in its grain rather than its leaf. Brown rice has the highest levels of this contaminant because arsenic accumulates in its bran and husk, which are removed during the processing of white rice. Arsenic studies have raised concerns we may be getting too much of this known carcinogen in everyday foods such as cereal, baby food, noodles and even some juices and beer. Scientists are now researching ways to block rice’s metal-absorbing properties, some attempting to genetically engineer rice to filter out these metals. Advocates are particularly concerned about the amount of rice that is typically consumed by infants. They are calling on the FDA to set federal standards for arsenic in rice and other foods containing rice.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current arsenic policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to mandate a 5ppb arsenic standard for all drinking water supplies

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Our nation’s water treatment plants treat sewage and wastewater for safe release, and treat drinking water to ensure it is safe for consumption. In some places these two water treatment facilities are located in proximity to one another, their efficiency plainly interdependent. In 2004, there were 21,604 publicly-owned wastewater treatment plants in operation. Advocates claim many of these industrial-scale facilities are operating at capacity or past their expected lifespan. They say most of these plants were constructed when technology was relatively primitive, water was abundant, and people and pollution were not. It is estimated we need to spend about $1 trillion on rebuilding our water purification and wastewater treatment plants over the next 25 years in order to keep up with our needs. Advocates warn that failure to do so will likely have dire effects on the safety of our water supply, saying this critical infrastructure has been neglected far too long.

Pending legislation:

S.335 – Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current water treatment policy and wish to defeat S.335

I support authorizing the EPA to make direct loans to an entity that owns or operates a water treatment works that serves the general public, including a municipal, tribal, or regional separate storm sewer system management agencies; authorizing entities to carry out activities for an eligible project that includes: a capital project to construct, replace, or rehabilitate a treatment works or community water system, to reduce energy consumption needs of a treatment works or a community water system, to increase water efficiency, reduce the demand for water, or reduce the demand for treatment works or community water system capacity, to manage or control storm water, to re-use municipal wastewater, or to increase drinking water source protection; and an associated non-capital project that promotes the use of environmentally sustainable projects, including utility-backed storm water and water efficiency retrofit programs, and wish to pass s.335

 Posted by at 12:00 am