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Entries in EPA (33)

Thursday
Sep042014

TRCP Responds to Green Decoys Accusations

On Aug. 14, I posted accusations that Green Decoys is making against the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP). They relate mostly to TRCP’s assertion that it represents sportsmen, as it takes funds from environmental groups that often are anti-fishing and anti-hunting, as well as supportive of tighter gun controls.

In response, TRCP says this:

“The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership stands on its record of success fighting for sportsmen by fighting for conservation and access. Since its inception, the organization has been attacked by anti-conservation forces, usually working through industry front groups, for one simple reason: if sportsmen unite, sportsmen win.

“Before giving any credence to these attacks, we encourage people to research who is making the attacks and who is funding the attacks. In the meantime, the TRCP will keep working to guarantee all Americans quality places to hunt and fish.”

It adds that the organization “operates financially with a very high degree of transparency . . . We are funded at numerous levels, from foundation grants all the way down to yearly $35 members. Our annual report and Form 990 are published openly on our website for all to see.”

Finally, it provides links regarding the origin of Green Decoys, and, I’ll acknowledge that it does not seem as transparent as TRCP regarding its origin and funding.  Green Decoys describes itself as “a project of the Environmental Policy Alliance.”

And the Environmental Policy Alliance is “a project of the Center for Organizational Research & Education” which was formerly the Center for Consumer Freedom.  The latter originated with Richard Berman, a public relations specialist, who campaigns against environmental groups and labor unions, among others.

But I must say that I am in sympathy with Berman regarding his opposition to the “nanny culture” in general and some of the “targets” listed on the Berman Exposed website. They include ACORN, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, teachers unions, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Here’s a reminder about  EPA: A couple of years ago, a bureaucrat there compared his agency’s enforcement strategy to Roman crucifixion of Christians. When his comments went public, he was forced to resign.

But you can bet he’s not the only one in the EPA and other federal agencies who thinks that way. Remember Lois Lerner at the IRS?

Bottom line for me: Environmental funding groups push agendas in favor of bigger and more intrusive government and that inevitably leads to loss of freedom and abuse of power by unelected bureaucrats like that EPA official and Lois Lerner. Yes, TRCP does some great things on behalf of sportsmen, but, as it does so, it takes money from those groups, which also support anti-fishing and anti-hunting organizations and policies.  What does that cozy relationship mean for the future of fishing and hunting?

Monday
Aug252014

Sharks, Dead Zones, Oil Spills, and Other Realities

Remember the mayor in the movie “Jaws”? He didn’t care about the reality. He cared about the perception, even though people were dying.

Some in the fishing community are that way too, I think, based on my experience writing about issues that they don’t want to deal with.

Recently, I posted a piece about “dead zones” degrading our waters and how, unlike climate change, we can do something about the problem.  And, not surprisingly, someone complained, saying that the Gulf of Mexico “ain’t dead by a long shot, calling it so is a misrepresentation of the facts or just piss poor reporting on science.”

The only problem with that assessment is that I did NOT say the Gulf of Mexico is dead. I simply pointed out that a dead zone occurs there annually because of nutrient overload flowing down the Mississippi River.

Additionally, the “dead” area is not oxygen depleted from top to bottom, and I did not say that it is. The problem exists mostly in subsurface waters.

In 2013, I wrote a piece about how dolphins, turtles, and some species of fish are likely casualties of the Deep Horizon oil spill. I added, “No one is suggesting that the coastal states aren't open for tourism business or that the fishing isn't good, but some species still are being harmed.

Nevertheless, I received comments from angry anglers who disputed the science and accused me of harming the sport fishing economy of Louisiana by writing about such things. (By the way, check out this article, which details how aquatic life in the Gulf is thriving because of the oil industry.)

Years ago, I also was criticized by communities and chambers of commerce for reporting on Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV) outbreaks at major impoundments.

For me, the bottom line is the welfare of resource, and, if there’s a problem, I want it solved or at least dealt with in a way that minimizes the damage done. I don’t know the motivation of those who don’t want to deal with the reality, but I have my suspicions.

Like the mayor of Amity, communities dependent on recreational fishing for economic prosperity don’t want to acknowledge events that might discourage tourism--- and don’t want anyone else to either.

Understanding what’s going on with anglers who criticize exposure of fisheries-related problems is a little more mysterious. But I suspect that it relates to the intense political divide in this country between the Left and the Right. Yes, I realize that not all anglers are conservative, but the majority are. And they bristle at the idea of anything “environmental,” which conjures up visions of Big Government intrusions by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and on behalf of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

That division is one of the main reasons that such controversy exists regarding new proposals for the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).

Yes, we needed EPA, ESA, and CWA for better stewardship of our wildlife, land, air, and waters. But over time, they’ve all been abused by environmentalists and bureaucrats to further political agendas and infringe on personal freedoms and property rights.

As an angler who prefers less intrusive government, I understand that. But as an ardent conservationist who knows the importance of science-based management of our natural resources, I’m not going to reject everything “environmental” because I don’t like what the word connotes.  

Monday
Aug042014

Scientists Find More Mutated Intersex Fish in Nation's Waters

All scientists have to do is search new waters, it seems, and the mystery of mutated intersex fish grows more disturbing.

Most recently, they’ve found male smallmouth bass carrying eggs in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna, Delaware, and Ohio river basins, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey. Male fish at every site sampled had immature eggs in their testes, with the highest percentage in the Susquehanna. Previously in the Chesapeake Bay drainage, research revealed evidence of the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the Potomac.

Vicki Blazer, lead author of the study, said that the pollutants affecting bass, as well as white suckers, “are most likely complex mixtures form both agriculture sources, such as animal wastes, pesticides and herbicides, and human sources from wastewater treatment plan effluent and other sewage discharges.”

"The prevalence and severity of the immature eggs in smallmouth bass corresponded with the percent of agricultural land use in the watershed above the collection sites," the scientist said. "Chemical compounds associated with estrogenic endocrine disruption, in particular estrone, a natural estrogen, were also associated with the extent and severity of these effects in bass."

Meanwhile, a toxicologist with the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency office in Denver reported that her research on fathead minnows is suggesting that “a very potent synthetic female hormone . . . can wipe out fish populations over several generations, and it’s the male fish that are most affected.”

Previously, Kristen Keteles added, studies had shown that male fish below wastewater treatment plants can lose masculine characteristics and become indistinguishable from females when exposed to estrogen and other endocrine disruptors.

“Our new study found that a potent form of female hormone estrogen used in prescription drugs not only causes the males to look female; it also appears to be toxic to male fish and these effects may impact future generations of fish.”

Fish A is a normal male fathead minnow. Fish C is a normal female. B is a male that was exposed to female hormones in prescription drugs and looks more like a female. Photo by Adam Schwindt

These disturbing discoveries regarding fish, which could portend similar problems for other species, began to emerge in the late 1970s, with anglers fishing wastewater lagoons in Great Britain, according to Whitney Jacobs, a former Conservation Associate at B.A.S.S. who researched the effects of environmental estrogens on male fish while doing graduate work in fisheries at the University of Georgia.

But the first reports of intersex was not documented in scientific literature until 1994 and the first major national assessment of the problem was not published until 2009,  she added.

“Widespread occurrence of intersex in black basses (Micropterus spp.) from U.S. rivers, 1995-2004” revealed intersex in 3 percent of fish collected and in 4 of 16 species--- largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, common carp, and channel catfish.

“However, it was most prevalent in largemouth and smallmouth bass,” Jacobs said. “The study also found the greatest incidence of the condition in the southeastern U.S.”

More recently, a 2014 report from scientists at the University of Georgia revealed these mutations aren’t confined to rivers. In “Survey of Intersex Largemouth Bass from Impoundments in Georgia USA,” they said that 48 percent of male largemouth bass collected from 11 reservoirs without direct municipal or agricultural wastewater inputs were intersex. Additionally, they found the condition in nine of the fisheries.

“The high incidence of intersex males in small impoundments demonstrates the condition is not confined to rivers and suggests that factors other than those previously associated with intersex (i.e., municipal wastewater) may be involved,” the researchers concluded.

Scientists hope that future research will reveal those additional factors. Meanwhile, they believe that fish that live downstream of wastewater treatment plants are most at risk, because of chemicals that can’t be filtered out of discharges.

“Humans excrete hormones and medications, which often end up in our rivers and streams from sewage,” said Keteles, adding that flushing medications also contributes to the problem.

“The water is treated, but many hormones and pharmaceuticals are not completely removed by wastewater treatment plants,” she said.

“My team is trying to determine what this means for fish, and ultimately for people, too.”

How to dispose of medicines properly

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)

Tuesday
Jul012014

With Closure of Smelter, Future for Lead Fishing Tackle Uncertain

Late last year, the last primary lead smelter in this country closed, forced out of business by oppressive regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Owned by the Doe Run Company, it had operated in Herculaneum, Mo., since 1892.

In a nutshell, what that means is lead ammunition and lead fishing tackle no longer can be entirely manufactured domestically from raw ore to finished products. That’s because the ore will be shipped to other countries for smelting. As a consequence, prices likely will be higher for many of these items.

That will be the case, that is, unless another company decides to open a new smelter that can meet the more stringent air quality standards imposed by the EPA.

“Whatever the EPA’s motivation when creating the new lead air quality standard, increasingly restrictive regulation of lead is likely to affect the production and cost of traditional ammunition,” said AmmoLand in explaining the consequences.

Cost of sinkers, jig heads, and other lead fishing tackle also will go up if companies must buy lead bullion from foreign smelters. Some companies, including TTI Blakemore Fishing Group, won’t be impacted--- yet.

Since most Road Runners are tied in Haiti, Dominican Republic, and the Philippines, our lead is foreign sourced. We are okay, for now,” said T.J. Stallings, director of marketing for the company.”

“ As more states decide what’s best for the environment based on lies, we may have to offer a lead-free alternative, at nearly double the cost,” he added.

That’s because the regulations that forced Doe Run to close its smelter are  part of an ongoing and coordinated campaign to demonize and ban lead fishing tackle. Never mind that no evidence exists that sinkers, jig heads, and other items pose a significant threat to fish and wildlife.

Lead is a natural substance. It is inert,” Stallings added.

“I’ve poured and tied thousands of jigs. I’ve crimped split shot with my teeth since I was eight. I’m still here.

“Meanwhile the environmentalists are screaming that we are killing birds with our lead fishing tackle. I guess that is the difference between environmentalists and conservationists.

“You only need to do a little fact checking to see what the conservationists at Ducks Unlimited and the National Wild Turkey Federation have done the last 40 years. The results of their work are astounding.”

By contrast, just one “green energy” wind turbine kills more birds annually than lead tackle ever has, he added.

Meanwhile, here’s the Second Amendment angle to the closure of the Doe Run Smelter:

Without ammunition, a gun is just a club,” said New American.

“The government knows this, and in light of the ongoing project of arming federal agencies to the teeth with millions of rounds of ammunition and military-grade weapons and vehicles, the EPA’s closing of the Doe Run plant, although not a direct assault on the right to keep and bear arms, can be seen as another step toward civilian disarmament. 

“While a few other media outlets have reported on the closure, none has connected this dot to a couple of others in the overall plan to leave Americans without weapons and ammunition.”

Go here to read more.

And here’s a more in-depth look at the lead issue from Activist Angler.

Tuesday
Jun242014

Prescription Drugs Harm Fisheries

Nearly half of the population took a prescription drug during the past 30 days, according to Centers for Disease Control statistics from 2007-2010. Additionally, more than 20 percent took three or more prescription drugs during that period. I’d wager that both percentages have gone up since because, as a society, we’re taking more drugs, not fewer.

 If they improve our health, what could be wrong with that? Well, consider this: a potent synthetic female hormone used in many of those drugs could be harming fish and other aquatic life.

“We’re finding in our study that it can wipe out fish populations over several generations, and it’s the male fish that are most affected,” says Kristen Keteles, a toxicologist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Denver.

“Some studies have found that male fish below wastewater treatment plants, and exposed to female hormones, can lose their masculine characteristics and become indistinguishable from females. Our new study found that a potent form of the female hormone estrogen used in prescription drugs not only causes the males to look female, it also appears to be toxic to male fish and these effects may impact future generations of fish.

“Where do these hormones and medications come from? All of us. Humans excrete hormones and medications, which often end up in our rivers and streams from sewage.

“Disposing of medications by flushing can also contribute to pharmaceuticals in the environment.

“A growing human population, combined with effects of climate change like decreasing precipitation, has resulted in many streams containing higher concentrations of waste water. In fact, some streams in the west are 90% waste water. Not a nice thought if you like to kayak and fish, like I do.”

 Read more here. 

And here is how to properly dispose of medications.