PEERMail: Huge Victory by PEER

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Why would the Commonwealth of Massachusetts spend millions to control and remove toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS from its waters, while at the same time let the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approve the discharge of massive amounts of PFAS into the Merrimack River, which supplies drinking water for 500,000 people?

PEER worked to expose this epic dissimulation of EPA and state regulators – and their failure to develop meaningful health-based standards for PFAS pollution. Under pressure from local groups, PEER, and elected leaders, local officials quickly suspended their decision to allow PFAS to be discharged into the Merrimack River.

PFAS pollution is an unfolding crisis like few we have faced before. Yet, federal PFAS policy is about evasions, delays, and vague promises of future calls to action. That is why we are aggressively taking legal action, exposing dangers, and partnering with local organizations. We hope you’ll join us in this effort.

PEER Sues for records on “Sagebrush Rebellion” appointment

PEER is suing the Department seeking records reflecting who appointed William Pendley, a self-described “Sagebrush Rebellion” lawyer, as BLM’s Deputy Director for Policy and Programs, why he was appointed, and what if any conditions were imposed. Barely two weeks after this appointment, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt delegated Pendley to “exercise the authority” of the BLM Director. Appointees at Interior like Pendley lack the “advice and consent” of the Senate that is required to fully serve in their positions under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution and under Federal statutes. These illegal control vast expanses of the public lands and hold the keys to unlocking billions of dollars’ worth of Federal oil, gas, geothermal, wind, coal, timber, grazing lands and other Federal resources tied to those lands.

Horrid Time Inside Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior has seen far better days. Confused reorganizations, increased centralization of decision-making, a continuing carousel of short-term “acting” directors, and a sharp drop off in the number of employees have left a hollowed-out Department with abysmally low morale. A recent PEER survey of current Senior Executive Service members at Interior gave distressingly low marks on the direction of the agency, competence of political appointees, and lack of consultation. With much of Washington, D.C. in meltdown mode, hats off to the dedicated public servants committed to their work

EPA Claims Ignorance on Deadly Chemical

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency refused to consider a legal petition filed by PEER seeking to ban a refinery chemical with the potential to cause catastrophic loss of life in American cities. The petition was filed following a massive explosion at a Philadelphia refinery that could have caused a Bhopal-scale public safety disaster.

At issue is the chemical hydrogen fluoride (HF), the most hazardous substance used in that industry. HF is still used at more than a third of the 148 operating refineries. Exposure to merely 170 parts per million of HF in the air for ten minutes can result in death or serious injury, while an HF plume can linger for hours. After initially saying no HF was release, officials no report that more than 5,000 pounds of HF was released into the air.

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