Tricia Braid

Sep 14, 2015  |  Today's News

As we’re sitting on a decent corn crop nationwide, some of you are certainly in a less than desirable position here in Illinois. The resulting yield reductions partnered with lower prices makes for a tough year. It’s a times like this when the USEPA really needs a wake up call on what their actions mean out in the countryside. Between the WOTUS rules and their plans to kill 1.5 billion bushels of corn demand by altering the Renewable Fuel Standard, corn farmers are really feeling the pinch.

Even worse? Their rules are counter-productive to their own mission to protect the environment. Just take these examples.

FILE UNDER: EPA’s Wake-Up Call. As if Big Oil and Gas weren’t making a big enough mess (14,000 annual oil spills reported, or “rare incidents” if you ask API President Jack Gerard), the industry is also habitually dumping tens of millions of gallons of wastewater pollution that is killing trees and crops and contaminating drinking water. This alarming report ought to be a watershed moment for the EPA to reconsider its proposal to tap the brakes on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Only 10 years old, the RFS has successfully displaced nearly 1.9 billion barrels of foreign oil with cleaner renewable fuels like ethanol, and slashed carbon pollution by nearly 590 metric tons. By any measure, the RFS is working to benefit of our environment, health, national security and economy. But if the EPA decides to slow down the progress towards a clean energy future, Big Oil will only be encouraged to drill and spill more. That’s hardly a solution to water pollution.

KEY POINT: An Associated Press analysis of data from leading oil- and gas-producing states found more than 175 million gallons of wastewater spilled from 2009 to 2014 in incidents involving ruptured pipes, overflowing storage tanks and other mishaps or even deliberate dumping. There were some 21,651 individual spills. And these numbers are incomplete because many releases go unreported. Though oil spills tend to get more attention, wastewater spills can be more damaging. And in seven of the 11 states the AP examined, the amount of wastewater released was at least twice that of oil discharged.