EPA must limit builders water pollution

Perspective for your consideration …What does it look like when it’s fixed…?

EPA must limit builders’ water pollution …U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a California suit by the Natural Resources Defense Council…By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer …September 19, 2008 …excerpted…The Environmental Protection Agency is obliged by the Clean Water Act to protect the nation’s waterways, beaches and drinking water from pollution caused by real estate development and should set standards for limiting construction runoff by the end of next year, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

A further appeal is possible, but environmentalists applauded the decision, saying it was likely to spur the EPA to take steps to ensure that development of shopping malls, housing subdivisions and other construction doesn’t lead to beach closures, waterborne diseases, flooding, fish deaths or contaminated drinking water.

The EPA began work nine years ago on setting limits for building-site runoff after conceding that it can carry high levels of nutrients and metals into rivers and streams. But the agency then reversed course, eliminating construction from the list of activities it regulates to protect surface waters for consumption, navigation and recreation.
In 2004, the Natural Resources Defense Council sued the EPA for failing to set effluent limits for builders. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled in favor of the environmental group in 2006 and ordered the EPA to establish standards for the construction industry by December 2009.

In upholding the district court ruling, the appeals court noted that there is nothing in the Clean Water Act allowing the EPA to remove a category of polluter from the federal law’s application.

How EPA writes regulation affecting water pollution caused by real estate development will have a significant impact in Arizona. In Arizona aspects surrounding real estate development are acclaimed by all level of politicians as the foundational lynchpins of our economy.

The Great Seal of the State of Arizona depicts the 5 – C’s – those legacy aspects comprising the foundation of our state … copper, cotton, cattle, citrus, climate … today they have all been supplanted by real estate development which enjoys unprecedented power and influence with all levels of city, county and state government.

What I envision is an EPA document portending to take proactive positions on controlling and/or eliminating the pollution of our water sources by real estate development in the preface and in the first pages. When one reads the entire document, we will find weasel language afforded to every governmental oversight agency to permit real estate development to continue as usual, with an occasion fine or headline here and there. But for the most part it will be business as usual.

To except a different document entails that “we” make those writing these regulations aware of our thoughts. Interestingly “we” have no idea who these folks are, where they meet, or if their actions are even subject to “public” input and oversight…? When the proposed regulations are published for comment, they will be in “governmentese” language designed to confuse, confound, obfuscate, conceal and so disguise the real intent so as to make it highly improbable that “we” are able to ask meaningful questions. Writing regulations in clear, concise and understandable language is dangerous as it permits “us” to discern the truth, the one thing these rule writers most desperately want us never to see.

IT – is fixed when all government rules, laws, regulations are transparent and clear, concise and understandable.

And let me be even a bit bolder, I am most willing to present and discuss any water issue before any audience in Arizona where open full disclosure and two way dialog is permitted.

… People should never be afraid of their government, government should always be afraid of the people …