Jan 152015
 

Much of our drinking water comes from rivers and lakes that have wastewater treatment plants located on them. Besides stormwater sweeping contaminants into these waterways, there is concern that our sewage plants are also allowing dangerous contaminants to be passed into them. Our wastewater treatment plants treat the water that is drained and flushed from nearly all American communities. Traditional treatment facilities kill pathogenic microorganisms but there are many other contaminants they cannot remove. Wastewater also contains many chemicals, pharmaceuticals and hormones, many of which remain biologically active after being discarded. These ‘emerging contaminants’ include ibuprofen, caffeine, estrogen, testosterone and drugs that lower cholesterol and inhibit seizures. Hormones such as estrogen appear to alter aquatic organisms. Some of these chemicals can disrupt human endocrine systems, causing health problems such as infertility and cancer. Health advocates are also concerned about the effects on people of ingesting mixtures of these substances. Our EPA claims the levels of these substances that they have detected in our drinking water are not high enough to harm us. However, critics say the effects of long term, low level exposure to these contaminants are not known, especially in regard to fetal exposure and other sensitive populations. Studies have shown technology exists to remove many of these emerging contaminants with the use of microfilters and reverse osmosis procedures.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current emerging contaminant policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to require wastewater treatment facilities to also treat or remove emerging contaminants including chemicals, pharmaceuticals and hormones, among others

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The Great Lakes contain 20% of our planet’s fresh water and at least 40 million Americans depend on these impressive bodies of water for their water supply. The Great Lakes also support many fragile ecosystems and sustain large shipping, fishing and tourism industries that greatly affect the economy and people of its eight surrounding states. These industries are now threatened by invasive species, pollution and low water levels resulting from diversion and increased evaporation. As with many American lakes, our Great Lakes are experiencing increased algae and weed growth. Sometimes excessive algae growth can be caused by too many nutrients polluting a lake. Invasive species can cause devastating declines in the diversity of native species. Discharges from the ballasts of ships entering the Great Lakes contain invasive species such as zebra muscles, spiny water fleas and round gobies. These invaders have damaged the lake’s fishing industry and helped algae flourish. Environmentalists are threatening to sue the EPA for the fourth time since the 90’s to tighten its restrictions on these discharges. They say several technologies exist to treat ballast water including filtration systems and ultraviolet light. The Asian carp is another invasive species that threatens the Great lakes. In 1990, these fish escaped from aquaculture farms into the Mississippi River and worked their way northward, wreaking havoc with the sport fishing industry. Environmentalists warn Asian carp populations have the potential to expand rapidly and change the composition of our Great Lakes ecosystem.

Pending Legislations:

H.R.600: Great Lakes Nutrient Removal Assistance Act

H.R.985: Asian Carp Prevention Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current Great lakes pollution policy and wish to defeat H.R.600 and H.R.985

I support providing grants to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and municipalities in such states to upgrade eligible municipal wastewater treatment plants with nutrient removal technologies, with priority given to plants at which nutrient removal technology upgrades would produce the greatest nutrient load reductions at points of discharge, result in the greatest environmental benefits to the Great Lakes System, and help meet the objectives related to nutrients outlined in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and wish to pass H.R.600

I support carrying out projects to prevent the spread of Asian carp in the Great Lakes and its tributaries including installing electric, acoustic, air bubble, and other barriers; applying pesticides, improving locks, and taking actions at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam; implementing measures recommended in the dispersal barrier efficacy study to prevent aquatic nuisance species from bypassing the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Dispersal Barrier Project and dispersing into the Great Lakes, and wish to pass H.R.985

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Nonpoint source pollution (NPS) refers to the presence of untraceable sources of contaminants in a polluted water supply. This pollution is often caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. This runoff picks up natural and human-made pollutants as it moves and deposits them into rivers, lakes, wetlands and coastal waters. Nonpoint source pollutants include runoff from farm fertilizers and pesticides, waste from animal feedlots and aquafarms, acid mine drainage, and oils and salts entering our city’s storm drains. Also, sediment and nutrient runoff from soil erosion due to land development and timber operations contribute to NPS. As the sources of NPS are widely varied, so are its solutions. Urban solutions include the use of porous pavement and buffer strips of grass or dirt barriers placed between paved surfaces and the closest body of water. These measures allow the soil to absorb some contaminants before entering a waterway. Retention ponds can also be built in drainage areas to catch stormwater runoff, allowing contaminates to settle out and become trapped in the ponds. Farmers can utilize erosion controls to reduce runoff and retain soil on their fields. Common techniques include contour plowing, crop mulching, crop rotation and planting perennial crops. Farmers can better manage their use of fertilizers to reduce excess application of these nutrients. They can also employ integrated pest management techniques, including biological pest control, to reduce their use of chemical pesticides.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1647 – Great Lakes Assurance Program Verification Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current nonpoint source pollution policy and wish to defeat H.R.1647

I support establishing a Great Lakes basin initiative for agricultural non-point source pollution prevention, gives funding priority to producers that participate in a state verification program, and wish to pass H.R.1647

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill requiring the EPA to fund local nonpoint source pollution reduction programs

 Posted by at 12:00 am