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Why is the EPA Allowing Fossil Fuel Companies Pollute Precious Aquifers?

1 min. read

How is this in any way acceptable?

Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water.

In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.

EPA records show that portions of at least 100 drinking water aquifers have been written off because exemptions have allowed them to be used as dumping grounds.

"You are sacrificing these aquifers," said Mark Williams, a hydrologist at the University of Colorado and a member of a National Science Foundation team studying the effects of energy development on the environment. "By definition, you are putting pollution into them. ... If you are looking 50 to 100 years down the road, this is not a good way to go."

Once again, it appears that powerful, well-connected fossil fuel companies are getting away with harming and/or endangering public health and well being.  It's also worth noting that this is yet another example of how fossil fuel prices are kept artificially low, by not requiring that they fully "internalize" all the costs of their industry into the price of their product.  If they had to do that, it would be fascinating to see how well they'd be able to compete with clean energy, which doesn't threaten water supplies at all.