Radanovich and Allen Introduce Bills to Keep Sludge Out of the Potomac, Bring Endangered Species Act Enforcement to East Coast, by Tom Randall

BACKGROUND: Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA) and Senator George Allen (R-VA) have introduced legislation to require the Environmental Protection Agency to restrict the Army Corps of Engineers from dumping millions of gallons of toxic sludge into the Potomac River, home to the endangered short-nose sturgeon. The sludge, a thick tar-like substance containing hazardous chemicals and having the odor of human waste, is pumped into the river from the Washington Aqueduct by the Army Corps of Engineers in amounts exceeding 200,000 pounds annually. The bills, H.R. 5554 and S. 3049, would require the EPA to restrict Corps from dumping the sludge, which the EPA has refused to do.

The alternative to dumping the sludge in the river would be to truck it to a treatment facility through Washington’s upscale Georgetown and Palisades neighborhoods, home to numerous influential Washingtonians and lawmakers.

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: If the Endangered Species Act is important enough to be enforced in the West, it is important enough to be enforced in the East.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: In rural America, particularly in the West, the Endangered Species Act has been abused by overzealous regulators, agents and environmentalists to shut down business, curtail ranching and farming and other activities, often costing hard-working citizens their livelihoods. However, enforcement is not universally applied, and this inequity undermines support for needed reforms. What’s good for the West should be good for the East. It is time the Endangered Species Act was amended to curtail abuses and it is time for it to be applied equally to all.

DISCUSSION: Americans are routinely victimized by misuse of the Endangered Species Act and others that generate uncontrolled regulation and enforcement. You can read many of their stories online in our 1998 and 2000 editions of our National Directory of Environmental and Regulatory Victims at: http://www.nationalcenter.org/VictimDirectory98.html and http://www.nationalcenter.org/VictimDirectory00.html. The 2002 edition will be available soon.

The National Wilderness Institute has done extensive investigation of the Army Corps’ sludge dumping, including very graphic videotape footage. They have also filed a lawsuit to stop the dumping. You can visit their web site athttp://www.nwi.org.

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