Study after study continues to show that our nation’s water resources are being destroyed at an alarming rate as a result of contamination. We rely on water to quench our thirst, feed our families and provide much needed recreation to our busy lives. Unfortunately, big corporations and special interest groups are sacrificing our nation’s well-being and continue to dump thousands of gallons of waste and toxic substances into our streams, rivers and oceans. Making matters worse, most state and some federal regulators are highly sympathetic to big business, and as a result, are not enforcing those few regulations that do exist.
Water pollution is affecting folks from every corner of our country. Off the coast of Washington state, a mysterious algae mixed with sea foam has killed more than 8,000 seabirds. Researchers remain puzzled over what is causing the algae to grow. A thousand miles off the coast of California, researchers have discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a swirling vortex roughly twice the size of Texas filled with tiny bits of plastic and other debris. Every summer a dead zone of oxygen-depleted water the size of Massachusetts forms in the Gulf of Mexico. Other dead zones have been discovered off the coast of Oregon as well as in the Chesapeake Bay, Lake Erie and the Baltic and Black Seas.
Neither do the reports stop at our nation’s borders that touch oceans. A new environmental report suggests that half of America’s rivers and lakes are too polluted to safely swim in. Environment America, the founder of a recent report on the nation’s waterways, concluded that the damage caused to our lakes and rivers is due in part to industrial facilities that use our waterways as a dumping ground for nearly 232 million pounds of toxic chemicals. In total, the report found toxic chemicals were dumped into 1,900 waterways across the nation’s 50 states. The report, which used releases reported in the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory for 2007, concluded that most of the toxic chemicals found in the report were persistent toxins. Persistent toxins refer to toxins that don’t just break down and go away – they keep polluting the water and continue to remain for long periods of time. Major findings from Environment America’s report include:
It is appalling that a select few can sacrifice the health of our children instead of being held accountable for their actions. Our leaders, both in Alabama and nationally, need to get their act together and enforce environmental standards against big corporations. Otherwise, our children will be the ones that suffer at yet another means of corporate greed.
Our firm is currently on the front line in trying to hold big companies responsible for the destruction their waste causes as a result of greed. In the past our environmental section achieved a monumental settlement in the Tolbert PCB case in Anniston, as well as a $20 million jury verdict for citizens of Columbus, Ga. affected by carbon black contamination. Currently, we are litigating leaking underground storage tank cases throughout the State of Alabama, obtained class certification in a very important PFC drinking water contamination case in New Jersey, and are continuing to seek justice on behalf of citizens of Kingston, Tenn. for substantial property damages caused by the Kingston coal ash spill.
Sources: McClatchy Newspapers, All Headline News, and Environment America
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