Republican attack on the environment

UNC Wilmington solves mystery of GenX in rainfall

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Add a little water and presto, you get a toxic downpour:

UNCW also tested rainwater samples to determine if GenX showed up there. When it did, they alerted the state and then tried to figure out where it was coming from. Ultimately, they determined that while GenX itself isn’t being spread through the air, a chemical that rapidly turns into GenX when mixed with water likely is coming from Chemours’ stacks.

Pam Seaton, the chair of UNCW’s department of chemistry and biochemistry, said, “The precusor to GenX at Chemours is what’s called an acid fluoride, and when it touches water it turns into GenX. What they emit, apparently, through the stacks at Chemours is the acid fluoride. ... We could actually see within minutes the precursor being converted to GenX, which then is wherever the rain takes it.”

I'd be willing to bet my last dollar that Chemours' chemists were well aware something like this would happen to those emissions, and I would also bet that installing some form of scrubbers could greatly reduce that effect. But that costs money, and you know what that means. Unless they are forced to install it, it ain't happening. GenX is also embedding itself into river bottom sediment, which means it will be seeping into the water for a long time even after all discharges have stopped:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke Energy's self-regulating "research" is flawed

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Extracted from the 2017 4th quarter Executive Summary of the Allen Steam Station:

An update to the 2016 human health and ecological risk assessment was conducted. There is no evidence of unacceptable risk to humans and wildlife at Allen attributed to CCR constituent migration in groundwater from the ash basins. The only evidence of potential unacceptable human related risks estimated in the 2016 risk assessment was under the hypothetical subsistence fisherman scenario due to concentrations of cobalt in fish tissue. This risk assessment update supports that the fisher risks were overestimated based on conservative exposure (it is unlikely subsistence fishermen exist in the area) and modeled fish tissue uptake assumptions (modeled concentrations likely exceed actual fish tissue concentrations if measured), supporting a risk classification of “Low” based upon groundwater related considerations.

This is not research, it's rhetoric, carefully crafted to leave the reader confident there's nothing to worry about. The "cobalt in fish" thing is simply a red herring, if you'll pardon my use of a salt water species to drive home a point. If they reported they'd found nothing at all, people wouldn't believe them. So we get cobalt in fish, that nobody's going to eat anyway. Just an aside: Cobalt concentrations detected in at least three common species have been proven to reduce appetite, subsequently stunting growth in the fish affected. The truth is, there are several other toxins even worse than cobalt leaking from the Allen plant:

Thinly veiled threats from Duke Energy over discovery of radioactive elements in groundwater

The unmitigated arrogance is breathtaking:

Duke Energgy spokeswoman Erin Culbert took issue with a recent press release from the Waterkeeper Alliance pointing out the high radium levels. She accused the “critic groups” of “drawing conclusions at this early stage to simply use this milestone to advance their agenda.”

“They seek to sign up North Carolinians for the most extreme, most disruptive and most expensive way to close basins, Culbert continued. “That’s not prudent for the environment, communities or families’ energy bills.”

Bolding mine. In a nutshell, she's trying to shift the blame for future higher energy bills from the party responsible for contaminating the water (Duke Energy) onto the shoulders of those who are working diligently to keep people safe from such irresponsible behavior. It doesn't get much more sleazy than that. It's like blaming the person who called 911 about a neighbor's house being on fire. And make no mistake, this particular house fire is out of control:

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