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Man Killed In Newtown Township Crash on the Bypass

Man Killed In Newtown Township Crash on the Bypass | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

A 30-year-old Lower Makefield man was killed in a car crash Wednesday morning in Newtown Township, police said.

The crash happened around 8:45 a.m. on Richboro Road between the Newtown Bypass and Mill Pond Road. Police said a car going westbound on Richboro Road hit a box truck head-on.

The driver of the car, a 30-year-old man from Lower Makefield, was pronounced dead at the scene. The identity of the man was not yet released, as his family is being notified, police said.

The cause of the crash, which closed the road for four hours, remains under investigation.

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Public Health & Safety
These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. They focus on public health issues such as opioid addiction, water and air quality, environmental issues, emergency services, traffic, crime, etc. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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WARNING: Counterfeit Money Being Passed in the Area. Watch an Informative Video on How to Identify Bad Bills!

WARNING: Counterfeit Money Being Passed in the Area. Watch an Informative Video on How to Identify Bad Bills! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

In recent weeks there have been reports in Newtown Township and surrounding areas of counterfeit money being circulated.  Please take a few moments to educate yourself in order to protect yourself and your business.  Review the included educational information and contact your police department if you do collect any counterfeit money.

Watch the video on CRIMEWATCH®: https://bucks.crimewatchpa.com/newtowntwppd/34824/post/warning-counterfeit-money-being-passed-area

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40,382 Safe2say Tips Received  in First Year. Mental Health #1 Issue. AG Calls for More Funding to Put a Mental Health Counselor in Every School Building

40,382 Safe2say Tips Received  in First Year. Mental Health #1 Issue. AG Calls for More Funding to Put a Mental Health Counselor in Every School Building | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Just one year after the state’s Safe2Say Something anonymous tip line went live across all schools in Pennsylvania, the attorney general is calling on state officials to fund at least one mental health counselor in every school building in the commonwealth.

 

On Tuesday, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that most of the more than 40,000 tips that came in during that first year have been about mental health, not school violence “as many had originally expected.”

 

“We need additional funding to ensure there is at least one mental health counselor in every school building in Pa.,” Shapiro said. “We must expand mental health services in our schools.”

 

Since its launch a year ago, the reporting system for schools, students and community members, Safe2Say Something PA received 40,382 tips, including 6,847 that we categorized as “life-safety,” meaning a life was somehow in danger.

 

n a fall update, the Bucks County’s Intermediate Unit reported a total 1,403 tips, with bullying being among the top reported tips at 202 instances, according to the data. The program reported 33 threats against schools in Bucks County.

 

Students and community members can submit tips via PA’s website, www.Safe2Saypa.org; through the Safe2Say Something PA app; or at 844-Safe2Say (844-723-2729).

 

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related Story:

  • "Senate Passes Bill to Fund Safe2Say School Safety Anonymous Tip Program. Will It Help Stop the Carnage?"; http://sco.lt/5L4bkP
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Man Killed In Newtown Township Crash on the Bypass

Man Killed In Newtown Township Crash on the Bypass | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

A 30-year-old Lower Makefield man was killed in a car crash Wednesday morning in Newtown Township, police said.

The crash happened around 8:45 a.m. on Richboro Road between the Newtown Bypass and Mill Pond Road. Police said a car going westbound on Richboro Road hit a box truck head-on.

The driver of the car, a 30-year-old man from Lower Makefield, was pronounced dead at the scene. The identity of the man was not yet released, as his family is being notified, police said.

The cause of the crash, which closed the road for four hours, remains under investigation.

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Doylestown Township Prepares an Ordinance Requiring Testing Well Water for #PFAS Prior to Property Sales

Doylestown Township Prepares an Ordinance Requiring Testing Well Water for #PFAS Prior to Property Sales | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Doylestown Township supervisors are weighing their options on a potential rule requiring homeowners to test private wells for contamination.

Supervisors approved a motion Tuesday directing Township Solicitor Jeffrey P. Garton to prepare an ordinance that would require well testing prior to property sales, but also discussed options to the “unpalatable” local mandate.

A regular private well-testing schedule does not appear to be under consideration at this time, but officials seemed split between enacting an ordinance or launching an information campaign that they say might have the same effect.

“I hate the idea of being ‘Big Brother.’ ... I hate that,” Supervisor Chairwoman Barbara Lyons said.

The discussion came a day after Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection officials gave an update on its investigation of the source of per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances found in the township in 2016.

The chemicals were found in a public drinking water well near the intersections of state routes 313 and 611 over a federal health advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion set that same year.

Eight homes near the area the DEP has dubbed the Easton Road PFC site have tested over that limit, but many of the estimated 300 homes in the area have shown detectable levels of the chemicals linked by some studies to a variety of health effects.

Although the PFAS contamination is an immediate concern for area officials, Doylestown Township Municipal Authority Executive Director Keith Hass said other past problems spurred testing discussions at a prior meeting.

“The idea came with proliferation of environmental contaminants that we’ve had in the groundwater supply in the township, probably in the last 10 to 15 years; exasperated by PFAS,” Hass told supervisors.

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PA House Bill 1410 for PFAS Filtration Funding Passes Senate, Heads To Governor

PA House Bill 1410 for PFAS Filtration Funding Passes Senate, Heads To Governor | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

A bill that would redirect state money toward paying for the removal of PFAS from drinking water has passed both chambers of the state legislature and is headed to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk for his signature.

 

In doing so, it would give water customers in the area a break on the local surcharges they currently pay for the cleanup.

 

House Bill 1410 was sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens, of Horsham. It would eliminate the surcharges being used to remove the toxic chemicals from local water and, instead, pay for it with money generated by sites associated with creating the chemicals.

 

Specifically, the bill calls for a portion of state tax money generated from the use of the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station and land surrounding it to be funneled through a newly created municipal authority.

 

That group would use the funds to eliminate the local surcharges and clean up water contamination caused by the military installation.

 

PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are believed to have leached into the soil at the air station from a firefighting foam that was used there.

 

Stephens' bill, which had already passed in the House, was approved in the Senate on Tuesday. Stephens said he has worked with Wolf on its language and is optimistic it will be signed into law.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Further Reading:

  • “Gov. Wolf Says PA is NOT Going Too Slow to Set Safe Limits for PFAS in Drinking Water as He Announces $3.8M to Help PFAS-contaminated Communities”; http://sco.lt/7JCbGy
  • “PA Incinerator & Landfills Won't Accept PFAS Waste from Filters That the State is Helping to Fund!”; http://sco.lt/4jSppA
  • “PA Senator Maria Collett Introduces Two PFAS Bills - Classifying PFAS as Hazardous Substances & Lowering 'Safe' Limits in Drinking Water to 10 ppt vs EPA's 70 ppt’"; http://sco.lt/78eJrk
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Residents Report “Suspicious” Persons to Newtown Police

Residents Report “Suspicious” Persons to Newtown Police | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

According to the Newtown Police Incident Blotter for the week of November 8 through 14, 2019, at least 4 “suspicious” person sightings were reported to the police out of a total of 11 incidents for that week.

 

November 10, 2019

Shortly before 7:30 pm police were dispatched to the area of Diamond Drive for the report of a suspicious person. According to the complainant, a male wearing a grey hoodie was seen walking around in the area while smoking a cigarette. The complainant observed the same male walking around that morning as well. Police checked the area and did not locate the male.

 

November 12, 2019

At 5:05 pm police responded to the area of High Street for the report of a suspicious male in his 20’s that was walking around the neighborhood possibly taking pictures of homes. When approached by the complainant, the male claimed to be a solicitor for a window company, but he was not knocking on any doors. Police searched the area with negative contact.

 

November 14, 2019

Around 1:30 am police responded to a Walton Court residence for the report of suspicious people outside. Upon arrival, police checked the area with no contact. Police spoke with the complainant who stated that everything was okay and that police were no longer needed.

 

At approximately 7:00 pm police responded to the area of South Drive and Thistle Lane for the report of a suspicious person. According to the complainant, a teen dressed in all black with a backpack was riding his bike through the area. Patrol searched the area with negative results.

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October 2019 Newtown Township Police Report: Peak Season for "Struck Deer" & Domestic Abusers Must Surrender Guns!

October 2019 Newtown Township Police Report: Peak Season for "Struck Deer" & Domestic Abusers Must Surrender Guns! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Newtown Township Police Chief John Hearn presented the Calls Report for October 2019 at the November 13, 2019, Board of Supervisors meeting. The following is a summary. Note: Not all calls are listed.

 

In October, the Newtown Police Department responded to 1,803 total calls, 372 (21%) of which were in Wrightstown Township (Newtown Police provides services to both Newtown and Wrightstown Townships).

 

Act 29 Non-Compliance

 

ACT 79 Non-Compliance is a new category added to the “disturbances” section of the Police Report. This act went into effect on April 10, 2019 and deals primarily with increased safety provisions related to firearms in both Protection from Abuse and misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence to help prevent domestic violence homicides.

 

Gov. Wolf said: “The incidents of domestic violence where guns are involved in our commonwealth prove that this commonsense law is an important step to protect victims of domestic abuse, save lives, and hold abusers accountable for their actions.”

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Top Toxicologist Banned From Saying #PFAS Causes Disease. She Says the Data is "Pretty Clear" in Relation to Immune Response, Kidney Cancer, and Cholesterol in Humans

Top Toxicologist Banned From Saying #PFAS Causes Disease. She Says the Data is "Pretty Clear" in Relation to Immune Response, Kidney Cancer, and Cholesterol in Humans | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

THE WIDESPREAD ENVIRONMENTAL contaminants known as PFAS cause multiple health problems in people, according to Linda Birnbaum, who retired as director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program earlier this month.

 

The statement may come as little surprise to those following the medical literature on the industrial chemicals that have been used to make nonstick coatings, firefighting foam, and host of other products. Thousands of scholarly articles have linked the chemicals to at least 800 health effects. Some of the health problems found in humans — including elevated cholesterol levels, liver dysfunction, weight gain, reproductive problems and kidney cancer — have been shown to increase along with the levels of the chemicals in blood. Extensive research also shows that children with higher levels of PFAS have weakened immune responses.

 

Yet while she was leading the NIEHS, a division of the National Institutes of Health, whose mission is “to discover how the environment affects people, in order to promote healthier lives,” Birnbaum was not allowed to use the word “cause” when referring to the health effects from PFAS or other chemicals.

 

“I was banned from doing it,” said Birnbaum. “I had to use ‘association’ all the time. If I was talking about human data or impacts on people, I had to always say there was an association with a laundry list of effects.” Birnbaum said this restriction “was coming from the office of the deputy director. His job hinged on controlling me.” Birnbaum also said that the Trump administration has recently begun coordinating its messaging on PFAS.

 

Association, the coincidence of a chemical exposure and disease, and causation, in which a health problem happens as the result of the exposure, are different. Because many factors, including chance and genetics and exposures to other substances, can influence the development of disease, the term “cause” is used rarely and cautiously in the field of environmental health.

 

But Birnbaum, who has studied PFAS compounds for decades, believes the global contaminants have cleared that high bar. “In my mind, PFAS cause health effects because you have the same kind of effects reported in multiple studies in multiple populations,” she said in a phone interview. Birnbaum pointed in particular to longitudinal studies, which follow populations’ exposures and health over time. “You have longitudinal studies showing the same effects in multiple populations done by multiple investigators and you have animal models showing the same impact,” said Birnbaum. In addition, she pointed to studies that show the mechanism through which PFAS chemicals cause harm in people.

 

“That is pretty good evidence that PFAS or certain PFAS can cause health effects in people. It is not as strong for every effect, but there are quite a number of effects where they’re strong enough to say ‘caused,’” Birnbaum said. She pointed in particular to the relationship between the chemicals and immune response, kidney cancer, and cholesterol in humans, saying, “That data is very clear.”

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Further Reading:

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Opioid Distributors Reach $260M Deal to Settle Ohio Lawsuit: It's a Shameful Deal - a Pittance Paid & No Admission of Guilt!

Opioid Distributors Reach $260M Deal to Settle Ohio Lawsuit: It's a Shameful Deal - a Pittance Paid & No Admission of Guilt! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The nation’s three biggest drug distributors and a major drugmaker reached a $260 million settlement with two Ohio counties Monday over the deadly havoc wreaked by opioids, striking a deal just hours before they were about to face a jury at the start of the first federal trial over the crisis.

The settlement means the closely watched trial is off for now.

The trial involved only two counties — Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County and Akron’s Summit County — but was seen as an important test case that could gauge the strength of the opposing sides’ arguments and prod them toward a nationwide settlement.

Across the country, the drug industry is facing more than 2,600 lawsuits brought by state and local governments seeking to hold it accountable for the crisis that has been linked to more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. over the past two decades. A federal judge in Ohio has been pushing the parties toward a settlement of all the lawsuits for nearly two years.

The agreement announced Monday calls for the distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson to pay a combined $215 million, said Hunter Shkolnik, a lawyer for Cuyahoga County.

Israeli-based drugmaker Teva would contribute $20 million in cash and $25 million worth of Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction.

“People can’t lose sight of the fact that the counties got a very good deal for themselves, but we also set an important national benchmark for the others,” Shkolnik said.

The deal contains no admission of wrongdoing by the defendants, said Joe Rice, a lead plaintiffs’ lawyer.

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Odds Of Hitting A Deer In PA Go Up: October, November, December Worst Months

Odds Of Hitting A Deer In PA Go Up: October, November, December Worst Months | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

[Chart is derived from data reported by Newtown Township Police Calls for Service reports.]

 

If you've driven in Pennsylvania, you don't need us to tell you that there are deer everywhere.

 

The odds of hitting a deer in Pennsylvania are high and only getting higher. The Keystone State is the third most-likely place in America where you'll hit a deer while driving, according to State Farm's annual deer-vehicle collision study.

 

That's right: Pennsylvania drivers have a one in 52 chance of hitting a deer. Overall, American drivers were less likely — one in 116 — to experience a crash involving a deer, elk, moose or caribou.

 

But in Pennsylvania, the numbers are not declining. In fact, they're going up. In previous studies, Pennsylvania drivers had a one in 63 chance of hitting a deer.

 

October, November, and December are the months where most animal-involved crashes occur, particularly around dawn and dusk.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Yes, Oct through Dec are the worst months, but what happened in March 2019? Looks like an anomaly to me.

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Decriminalizing Marijuana in PA Has "Nearly Unanimous" Support Says Lt. Gov. John Fetterman

Decriminalizing Marijuana in PA Has "Nearly Unanimous" Support Says Lt. Gov. John Fetterman | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Decriminalizing or legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults has “nearly unanimous” approval from residents, according to Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

 

Fetterman held a listening tour in every county across the state over 90 days earlier this year to take public comments on whether the state should follow examples of several other states and reform its marijuana use laws.

 

“We’ve heard you, and this announcement today is our earnest effort to bring about the changes you’ve told us you want,” Fetterman said.

 

Gov. Tom Wolf joined Fetterman in a news conference Wednesday where the two said they would now urge the General Assembly to draft bills reforming the state’s criminal punishments for cannabis outside the medical marijuana program.

 

Those possible legislative actions include a bill to decriminalize non-violent and small cannabis-related offenses and expungement for similar past convictions. They will also ask lawmakers to “seriously debate and consider the legalization of adult-use, recreational marijuana,” a news release from Wolf’s office states.

 

Fetterman also urged those with non-violent marijuana-related convictions to apply for a pardon through Wolf’s office until an expungement law is passed.

 

The statewide listening tour saw thousands of a responses from residents and local officials, and included a stop in Bucks County in May.

 

About 150 people came to the Zlock Performing Arts Center at Bucks County Community College in Newton Township, with most comments supporting either legalization or decriminalization of cannabis. [Read “Fetterman's Listening Tour in Newtown: Attendees Overwhelmingly Support Legalization of Recreational Marijuana”]

 

It was a similar experience for most of the other stops on Fetterman’s tour as he described Wednesday the “near unanimous” approval he heard as he traveled the commonwealth.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Not only can legalized marijuana raise much needed tax revenue, it can also help combat the opioid epidemic, save lives, and save EMS expenses as well as freeing up law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes. Read “Is There a Role for Medical Cannabis in Combating the Opioid Epidemic?

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Public is "Doubly Harmed" When Purdue Pharma and Other Guilty Opioid Manufacturers Deduct Opioid Settlements From Taxes. 

Public is "Doubly Harmed" When Purdue Pharma and Other Guilty Opioid Manufacturers Deduct Opioid Settlements From Taxes.  | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

When Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced in March that Purdue Pharma would pay the state $270 million to settle a lawsuit linked to the opioid epidemic, he declared the agreement "begins a new chapter for those struggling with addiction."

 

The deal also appears to be part of the latest chapter in a saga where U.S. corporations trim their tax bills by writing lawsuit settlements off on their taxes.

 

Congress blocked many of those tactics in a major tax-cut law passed in 2017. However, a few initial settlements among the thousands of opioid lawsuits show the regulatory cat-and-mouse game continues.

 

In a settlement with Purdue Pharma, the payments will go to a new foundation and a center researching pain and addiction. An agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals USA specified the firm's payment would be restitution, not a penalty. And a settlement with McKesson declared the transaction wasn't a fine, penalty, punitive damages, or forfeiture – all terms that might carry weight when companies file their taxes.

 

Corporate write-offs of government settlements exact a financial toll on millions of average Americans, according to reports by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, a government watchdog organization.

 

"When corporations deduct settlements for wrongdoing, the public is doubly harmed," the organization warned in a 2015 report.

 

Settlements aren’t seen as a deterrent if companies can write them off on their tax returns, it said. And other taxpayers "must shoulder the burden of the lost revenue in the form of higher taxes for other ordinary taxpayers, cuts to public programs, or more national debt," the report said.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related Stories:

  •  “To Avoid Bankruptcy, Purdue Pharma Said to Plead Guilty to Illegally Marketing Opioids”; http://sco.lt/9CyCmW 
  • Newtown Township Supervisors Vote to File Civil Lawsuit Against Drug Manufacturers Over Opioid Crisis”; http://sco.lt/7Wibjd 
  • “OxyContin Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Reportedly Exploring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”; http://sco.lt/8OuLIG 
  • “Purdue #Pharma Doesn't Want Court to Unseal Oxycontin Marketing Documents. What's It Hiding?”; http://sco.lt/6wb24f 
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Dupont & 3M Face Members of Congress, Deny That Science Says PFAS Are Dangerous

Dupont & 3M Face Members of Congress, Deny That Science Says PFAS Are Dangerous | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

As negotiations continue in Congress over a defense spending bill that could provide for some federal cleanup and regulation of PFAS, executives from the companies that manufactured and used the chemicals faced tough questions from a congressional committee Tuesday.

 

At the core of the hearing was the question of how and whether Congress should act to hold polluters accountable and ensure faster cleanup of sites across the country, including in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, where PFAS have seeped into drinking-water supplies from military bases or former manufacturing sites. That question is also part of negotiations over the defense spending bill.

 

Court documents and other records have indicated that 3M and DuPont were aware of the potential health risks of the substances they used for decades. Scientific research has linked PFAS to health problems, though researchers have said they are still studying causation.

 

“These companies here with us today have screwed up, and we need to hold them accountable for doing so,” Rep. Harley Rouda (D., Calif.) said as the hearing began before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

 

Politicians and activists have demanded that the federal government regulate the substances and that the military and manufacturers clean up contamination.

 

‘Plenty of science’

 

“You want to get credit for the decision to no longer produce these dangerous chemicals voluntarily, but in the same breath want us to believe that there’s no science that says that these chemicals are dangerous at all,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D., Mich.), addressing 3M. “There’s plenty of science out there that demonstrates that these are harmful chemicals and dangerous for human consumption. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have taken them off the market in the first place.”

 

[The Union of Concerned Scientists agree. Read "What Congress Should Ask When Industry Tries to Spread PFAS Disinformation"]

 

The White House threatened in July to veto the House version of the defense spending bill and listed PFAS-related items among dozens of concerns. The House and Senate versions passed during the summer each contained provisions that, among other things, would phase out military use of PFAS in firefighting foam and food packaging; require water quality monitoring for PFAS; designate the chemicals as hazardous substances under federal law; and provide funding for more studies and cleanup.

 

One provision would require the EPA to set a safe drinking-water standard, which the EPA says is in progress, but will take years longer than activists say is acceptable.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related Stories:

  • “PFAS From Tainted Water on Military Bases My Be Spreading to Other Towns in Bucks, Montco”; http://sco.lt/7Lill
  • “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”; http://sco.lt/70ujU9
  • “Why Isn't the Military Cleaning up Firefighting Chemicals That Continue to Contaminate Local Drinking Water Sources?”; http://sco.lt/8JEvvk
  • “Senators From BOTH Parties Press EPA to Develop Enforceable Standards Limiting PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/8NQUwz
  • “U.S. House Launches Bipartisan PFAS Task Force That Promises to Set Formal Drinking Water Standard for PFAS”; http://sco.lt/6JjI4P
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Finally, Opioid Pharma Executives Go to Jail! But NOT Anyone from Purdue. Their Execs Get Off Easy!

Finally, Opioid Pharma Executives Go to Jail! But NOT Anyone from Purdue. Their Execs Get Off Easy! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

On Thursday [January 23, 2020], US District Judge Allison Burroughs sentenced Kapoor to five-and-a-half years in prison — less than the 15 years requested by prosecutors but more than the one year requested by his defense. The other executives previously received sentences between one and three years.

 

The executives were previously found guilty of criminal racketeering — the kind of charge under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act that’s typically used to shut down the mob and drug trafficking organizations.

 

Throughout the trial, prosecutors detailed Insys’s far-reaching efforts to sell as much of its potent opioid painkiller, Subsys, as possible, beyond its approved use for cancer pain. According to the New York Times, prosecutors accused the company of paying off doctors for, say, fake educational talks, so they’d prescribe the drug widely. It also misled and lied to insurance companies so they would pay for the medication. The company even hired a stripper, Sunrise Lee, as a sales executive, and a former employee said she saw Lee give a doctor a lap dance to get him to prescribe more of the opioid.

 

At one point, Insys also produced a rap video for Subsys. (One of the lines in the song is that they’re “always compliant like we supposed to be.” Apparently not.) An executive who dressed up as a bottle of the addictive painkiller in the video, Alec Burlakoff, was among the sentenced. [See the video here.]

 

In 2007, Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and three of its top executives paid more than $630 million in federal fines for misleading marketing. The three executives were also criminally convicted, each sentenced to three years probation and 400 hours of community service.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related Stories:

  • “Founder of Insys Indicted for Bribing Docs to Illegally Prescribe Fentanyl. Lock Him Up!”; http://sco.lt/69FKj2
  • “Billionaire Insys CEO Kapoor Approved Lap Dances, Rap Videos, Deception - i.e., Racketeering in First Opioid Epidemic Conviction of Its Kind!”; http://sco.lt/99alNI
  • “Attacking the Root of the Opioid Crisis - Pharmaceutical Companies”; http://bit.ly/JMrootcause
  • “Newtown Files Suit Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors”; http://bit.ly/NTvOpioids
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Newtown Township Police 2019 Year-end Report: How Does 2019 Compare to 2018?

Newtown Township Police 2019 Year-end Report: How Does 2019 Compare to 2018? | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Newtown Township Police Chief John Hearn presented the Calls Report for December, 2019, at the January 8, 2020, Board of Supervisors meeting. The following is a summary. Note: Not all calls are listed. See the full (redacted) report embedded at the end of this post here.

In December, the Newtown Police Department responded to 1,398 total calls, 237 (17%) of which were in Wrightstown Township (Newtown Police provides services to both Newtown and Wrightstown Townships).

The year-end report also compares the 2019 totals to the 2018 totals so we can see some trends. For example, there were 19,760 total calls in 2019 vs. 17,228 in 2018 - an increase of 13%. See below for more details on which types of calls were up and which were down in 2019 compared to 2018.

 

More...

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Air Force to Pay $2.8M Toward Willow Grove PFAS Filter 

Air Force to Pay $2.8M Toward Willow Grove PFAS Filter  | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The U.S. Air Force is paying $2.8 million toward a permanent containment and filtration system for PFAS-contaminated surface water at the Horsham Air Guard Station.

 

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4, of Abington, announced the funding Friday, which will allow the station to partner with the Warminster Municipal Authority to install the system in the area contaminated by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

 

Formerly the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, the site is one of three area active and former military bases linked to widespread drinking water contamination that shuttered hundreds of public and private wells in Horsham, Warrington and Warminster since 2016.

 

The news comes weeks after language ensuring safe drinking water for affected communities nationwide and placing cleanup liability squarely on those responsible was dropped from a military policy bill in Congress.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related stories:

  • "Dark Waters": Actor Mark Ruffalo Calls for Federal Action on PFAS as the Chemicals Come to the Big Screen: http://sco.lt/6D9EyO
  • “PFAS Crisis Calls for Nonpartisan Support of Setting Lower Maximum Contamination Levels”; http://sco.lt/4vcjfU
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"Dark Waters": Actor Mark Ruffalo Calls for Federal Action on PFAS as the Chemicals Come to the Big Screen

"Dark Waters": Actor Mark Ruffalo Calls for Federal Action on PFAS as the Chemicals Come to the Big Screen | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Since 2016, advocates and community activists from Pennsylvania and other states have lobbied Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate PFAS, the potentially harmful chemicals that have contaminated drinking water for millions nationwide, including homeowners in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

 

On Tuesday, they got a boost of star power. The actor and producer Mark Ruffalo appeared in Washington with environmental attorney Rob Bilott to urge lawmakers to take action to protect Americans from the chemicals and to promote a new film, Dark Waters, about a landmark legal and health investigation into contamination from the chemicals.

 

The movie, out Friday, may bring mainstream attention to a complex issue that has affected tens of thousands of residents in Horsham, Warrington, and Warminster Townships and surrounding areas for more than three years. The issue has spread across the country, and the debate over who is responsible for the contamination and cleanup of PFAS has landed on Capitol Hill.

 

The movie chronicles Bilott’s fight, beginning in the 1990s, on behalf of a West Virginia cattle farmer who believed contamination linked to the DuPont Co. was killing his cows. That case first revealed how harmful the chemical class may be.

 

As the issue gets the Hollywood treatment, Ruffalo and Bilott announced the launch of a website, fightforeverchemicals.com, that they said would serve as an information source, advocate, and coalition for people affected by the contamination.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related Stories:

  • “Top Toxicologist Banned From Saying #PFAS Causes Disease. She Says the Data is "Pretty Clear" in Relation to Immune Response, Kidney Cancer, and Cholesterol in Humans”; http://sco.lt/6nS0LQ
  • “Dupont & 3M Face Members of Congress, Deny That Science Says PFAS Are Dangerous”; http://sco.lt/8k1yzI
  • “What's in Your Water? "Deeply Troubling" Report Finds PFAS in Local Waterways, But U.S. Military Declines to Investigate”; http://sco.lt/9JiXUe
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​Large Turnout for Gun Violence Awareness Day in Newtown

​Large Turnout for Gun Violence Awareness Day in Newtown | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Members of local faith communities and other organizations joined in a Gun Violence Awareness Day action on Sunday afternoon, November 10th in Newtown. They gathered at the Newtown Friends Meetinghouse and walked along State Street and Sycamore Street to the Macedonia Baptist Church were more than 200 people observed a Memorial to the Lost for those who died of gun violence in Bucks County.

 

The event was sponsored by Heeding God's Call to End Gun Violence and co-sponsored by local organizations, including several churches, Jewish congregations, Quaker meetings, a Muslim foundation, and a Buddhist sangha.

 

In addition to the signs people carried on the Witness Walk, they held up framed memorial t-shirts displaying the name, birth date, and date of death of 41 Bucks County residents. The t-shirts had been posted in the church yards of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Nativity, Wrightstown, and the Macedonia Baptist Church in Newtown.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Further Reading:

  • “Newtown Township Passes Gun Safety Resolution After Emotional Student Testimony”; http://sco.lt/5tmtpA
  • “Governor Wolf Responds to Newtown Township's Gun Safety Resolution”; http://sco.lt/6ijkGn
  • “State Rep. Perry Warren's House Bill 1400 Would Strengthen Gun Background Check System”; http://sco.lt/7bEjFB

 

Council Rock High School students commented in favor of a gun safety resolution before the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors at a June 13, 2018, public meeting. View the video.

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Newtown Ambulance Squad honors area first-responders for saving life of cardiac-arrest patient

Newtown Ambulance Squad honors area first-responders for saving life of cardiac-arrest patient | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

At the Nov. 13 board of supervisors’ meeting, the Newtown Ambulance Squad presented citations to eight first responders who saved the life of a cardiac-arrest patient who collapsed at a local business in September.

Evan Resnikoff, chief of operations for the non-profit rescue squad, presented the citations to the members of three area medic teams for responding and successfully resuscitating a person who had a heart attack at Tanner’s Lawn and Snow Equipment rental store on Washington Crossing Road in Newtown Township on Sept. 28.

“This is an example of how emergency services working as a team has a good outcome,” Resnikoff stated, noting that the person survived and was later released from the hospital.

Those honored were: Chief Matthew Gerhard and Battalion Chief Perry LaRosa, along with firefighters Warren Dallas and Thomas Tanner, all members of the Newtown Fire Association.

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PA DEP Names Bergey’s Tires as Source of PFAS Contamination: "We're Dealing with it right in our own backyard," Says Resident.

PA DEP Names Bergey’s Tires as Source of PFAS Contamination: "We're Dealing with it right in our own backyard," Says Resident. | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

After three years of investigating, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has identified Bergey’s Tires as the source of toxic chemicals in private drinking water wells in a Bucks County community.

 

The DEP has been investigating the drinking water in East and West Rockhill Townships since 2016, when regulators detected elevated levels of a toxic class of chemicals known as PFAS in a public well in the nearby Ridge Run community.

 

That led investigators to sample 150 private wells in the surrounding area, and regulators identified 14 with levels of PFOA and PFOS — two of the most common and well-studied PFAS chemicals — above the EPA health advisory of 70 parts per trillion.

 

PFAS have been linked with health conditions, including high cholesterol, thyroid conditions, and certain cancers.

 

The agency did not identify a source, even when neighbors pointed to the nearby tire company where there was a massive tire fire in 1986.

 

Accounts of the fire depict a blaze that raged for 20 hours with 20-foot flames and required 30 fire companies to bring it under control — including those from military air bases in Warminster and Horsham, where PFAS-laced firefighting foam was used. Regulators have known since 2014 that the foam used on the military bases contaminated drinking water in nearby communities in Horsham, Warminster, and Warrington.

 

On Tuesday, the DEP backed up residents’ claims and, after an extensive investigation, pointed to the Bergey’s location as the source of the chemicals and the company as a “potentially responsible entity” under the Pennsylvania Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

From the BCCT: In July 2018, this news organization ran an investigation revealing that during a 1986 tire fire at a Bergey's property nearby, fire crews from the former Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove and Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster arrived and attempted to use foams to douse the large inferno. The foams, which were ineffective for the fire, from that era were known to contain PFAS.

 

The initial reaction Tuesday from resident Angela Goodwin, one of the impacted property owners whose backyard directly abuts the area of the fire at Bergey's, was anger at all parties involved. Goodwin said she was frustrated with the pace of the investigation.

 

"So now we're determining it's coming from Bergey's, but we're not making them do anything," Goodwin said, incredulously. "I'm just done."

 

Goodwin said in addition to her drinking water contamination, the DEP recently sampled soil in her yard and found it too contained PFAS. But she said she was told by the DEP that there are currently no soil standards for PFAS, leaving her in a place where she has knowledge but no course of action.

 

"We're dealing with it right in our own backyard," Goodwin said, adding she was frustrated to the point of considering legal action.

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PA Atty General Shapiro Preparing to Take ‘Legal action’ Against Companies Tied to PFAS in Drinking Water

PA Atty General Shapiro Preparing to Take ‘Legal action’ Against Companies Tied to PFAS in Drinking Water | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said his office is preparing to take “legal action” against companies that have manufactured firefighting foams, which contain chemical ingredients that have contaminated water supplies in Bucks and Montgomery counties.

 

As previously reported, firefighting foams used widely by the military have for decades contained per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Health experts worry that the man-made chemicals worry can cause health effects including high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, immunotoxicity, reproductive harms, and some cancers.

 

The chemicals were discovered in nationally high amounts in the Horsham, Warminster, and Warrington water supplies in 2014, eventually forcing the closure of more than 15 public water wells and hundreds of private water wells.

 

The Department of Defense has taken significant responsibility, admitting it used the firefighting foams as far back as 1970 at the former Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster, and active Horsham Air Guard Station.

 

The military has spent tens of millions of dollars to date investigating PFAS at the bases and providing filters for drinking water contaminated above a safety level recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 

But in addition, the three heavily impacted towns have since implemented “zero tolerance” plans to remove the chemicals below the EPA level, down to non-detectable levels. The military did not agree to those costs, leaving the towns on the hook for millions of dollars in annual costs. Residents are also still left wondering what the health effects may be. [Read “Why Isn't the Military Cleaning up Firefighting Chemicals That Continue to Contaminate Local Drinking Water Sources?”]

 

“We know companies sold and distributed chemicals containing (PFAS) in Pennsylvania that are now impacting our water and our communities,” Shapiro said in an emailed response to questions. “We intend to take appropriate legal action to ensure these companies take responsibility.”

 

Companies that manufactured firefighting foam have already been widely targeted by private attorneys representing area residents, the three local water authorities, as well as other communities across the country suffering similar contaminations. Typical defendants are The 3M Co., Tyco Fire Products, Angus Fire, Buckeye Fire Protection Co., Chemguard and National Foam.

 

In May, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed his own suit against several of those companies, and also sued DuPont, corporate spinoff Chemours, and Kidde-Fenwal.

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Guest Opinion: PFAS Crisis Calls for Nonpartisan Support of Setting Lower Maximum Contamination Levels

Guest Opinion: PFAS Crisis Calls for Nonpartisan Support of Setting Lower Maximum Contamination Levels | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

By Breana Hashman, a staff scientist and program manager with the Clean Water Action/Fund, an environmental advocacy group that organizes grassroots support for environmentally focused political candidates.

 

Drinking water contamination in Bucks and Montgomery counties reminds us all that environmental pollution represents an intrinsic threat to public health that is receiving attention from Republican and Democratic politicians alike at the state and federal level.

 

As residents in Bucks and Montgomery have found out, not all potentially harmful chemicals are tested, regulated, or remediated before being provided to the public through private wells or public utility authorities. This leaves communities vulnerable to vast numbers of under-studied, potentially toxic chemical compounds that are contaminating our groundwater and waterways. As our society develops and produces new chemicals to keep pace with business innovation, industry can often release massive amounts of contaminants into the environment or marketplace before the scientific community can fully assess potential long-term risks to public health or drinking water sources.

 

It is encouraging that studies on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are starting to receive more funding, like the grant recently approved for researchers from Temple University’s College of Public Health. [Read “Temple Researcher, Local Group Awarded Grant to Support Research Into Health Effects of PFAS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/7YYrkv]

 

Science may not yet be able to predict an individual’s health risks from exposure to PFAS, but in the interim, we have a pretty good idea what communities could potentially face, based on epidemiology studies from around the world. These studies have shown that communities with long-term chronic PFAS exposure from contaminated drinking water tend to have higher than national rates for a number of chronic or life-altering diseases.

 

This is enough evidence to warrant interim measures for these communities, such as temporary lowered maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFAS in drinking water that were enacted by municipal water authorities in Warrington, Warminister and Horsham. When enforced, this temporary standard should help protect the exposed communities in Bucks and Montgomery counties while the DEP goes through the process of developing an MCL for Pennsylvania. However, the plume of groundwater contamination is spreading to new regions in these counties, the MCL used is not inclusive of all potentially toxic PFAS chemicals, and the associated costs of meeting these standards falls on municipal water authorities and their ratepayers — not by the military installations responsible for polluting groundwater with PFAS.

 

Contamination of drinking water with PFAS-laden firefighting foam may have originated as an environmental issue, but the effects on public health are clear — who would make supporting these poisoned communities a partisan issue? Clean drinking water is a basic human right that all constituents should expect and receive, no matter their political beliefs. If legislators reflect the values of their voters, then this is a resource that all politicians should want to protect.

 

Further Reading:

  • “Dupont & 3M Face Members of Congress, Deny That Science Says PFAS Are Dangerous”; http://sco.lt/8k1yzI
  • “Gov. Wolf Says PA is NOT Going Too Slow to Set Safe Limits for PFAS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/7JCbGy
  • “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”; http://sco.lt/70ujU9
  • “Why Isn't the Military Cleaning up Firefighting Chemicals That Continue to Contaminate Local Drinking Water Sources?”; http://sco.lt/8JEvvk
  • “Senators From BOTH Parties Press EPA to Develop Enforceable Standards Limiting PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/8NQUwz
  • “U.S. House Launches Bipartisan PFAS Task Force That Promises to Set Formal Drinking Water Standard for PFAS”; http://sco.lt/6JjI4P
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Could a New Jersey Dirt Microbe Clean Up PFAS Contaminating Local Drinking Water?

Could a New Jersey Dirt Microbe Clean Up PFAS Contaminating Local Drinking Water? | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Researchers at Princeton University have discovered that a bacterium found in New Jersey’s acidic soils has the potential to destroy per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. The toxic, man-made chemicals are the culprits behind an increasing number of drinking water crises across the United States, including widespread contamination in southeast Pennsylvania and at several sites across New Jersey.

 

One of the biggest problems with PFAS is that the chemicals are built on a carbon-fluorine bond, one of the strongest in chemistry. It makes the chemicals nearly indestructible, with no known natural processes that can completely break them down.

 

“They have been viewed typically as non-biodegradable,” said Peter Jaffé, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton.

 

In a series of lab tests, a relatively common soil bacterium has demonstrated its ability to break down the difficult-to-remove class of pollutants called PFAS, researchers at Princeton University said.

 

The bacterium, Acidimicrobium bacterium A6, removed 60% of PFAS - specifically perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) - in lab vials over 100 days of observation, the researchers reported in a Sept. 18 article in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

 

What’s more, his team was able to ascertain that the microbe wasn’t just breaking PFOA down to “smaller” PFAS chemicals that still contained the carbon-fluorine bond, which is a concern for other known treatment methods. A6 was actually breaking the bond and creating free-floating fluoride molecules.

 

They ultimately looked at 20 different kinds of PFAS structures, and found that none escaped A6′s appetite.

 

“We could see that all of them we could defluorinate,” Jaffé said, stifling a smile. “Which is ... novel.”bond, these chemicals are extremely difficult to remove through conventional means.

 

Further Reading:

  • “PA Incinerator & Landfills Won't Accept PFAS Waste from Filters That the State is Helping to Fund!”; http://sco.lt/4jSppA
  • “PFAS From Tainted Water on Military Bases My Be Spreading to Other Towns in Bucks, Montco”; http://sco.lt/7Lill
  • “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”; http://sco.lt/70ujU9
  • “Senators From BOTH Parties Press EPA to Develop Enforceable Standards Limiting PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/8NQUwz
johnmacknewtown's insight:

The way things are going, microbes will be doing the job the U.S. Navy can’t or won’t do. Read “Why Isn't the Military Cleaning up Firefighting Chemicals That Continue to Contaminate Local Drinking Water Sources?”; http://sco.lt/8JEvvk and “Bucks County Courier Times Gives Navy a “Thumbs Down” for Ducking PFAS Contamination Culpability”; http://sco.lt/75pQMC

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Purdue Pharma Has Some Cojones: Wants to Continue to Sell Opioids But Hand Offer Profits to States Fighting Opioid Epidemic While Sackler Family Keeps Billions

Purdue Pharma Has Some Cojones: Wants to Continue to Sell Opioids But Hand Offer Profits to States Fighting Opioid Epidemic While Sackler Family Keeps Billions | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy on Sunday — the first expected step of a tentative agreement that the company reached last week to settle thousands of lawsuits related to its alleged involvement in the opioid epidemic.

 

As part of the settlement, Purdue agreed to file for bankruptcy and effectively dissolve. If all goes as planned, a new company will form and continue selling OxyContin, with the sales revenue going to plaintiffs in the settlement. Purdue will also donate drugs for treating addiction and overdoses.

 

[According to the LATimes: The plan calls for turning Purdue into a “public benefit trust” that would continue selling opioids but hand its profits over to those who have sued the company. The Sackler family would give up ownership of Purdue and contribute at least $3 billion toward the settlement.]

 

The settlement does not involve a statement of wrongdoing. Purdue is accused of aggressively — and misleadingly — marketing its blockbuster opioid painkiller OxyContin, helping fuel an opioid crisis that has contributed to the more than 700,000 drug overdose deaths in the US since 1999.

 

[@PAAttorneyGen Josh Shapiro tweeted: “This bankruptcy filing is another attempt by the Sacklers to run away from responsibility & avoid paying for the #OpioidEpidemic they engineered. This family has moved all of the value out of Purdue Pharma and into their own pockets.”]

johnmacknewtown's insight:

What's interesting to note is that the "deal" offers $4 billion worth of drugs, "some used to save people who have overdosed."

 

It just so happens that Purdue is seeking approval of a new drug to treat overdoses.

 

In March 2019, Purdue announced (read "After pushing addictive OxyContin, Purdue now pursuing overdose antidote") that the US Food and Drug Administration "has granted fast-track status to its investigational drug nalmefene hydrochloride (HCl), an injectable, emergency treatment intended to rescue people suspected of having an opioid overdose. Purdue suggests that nalmefene HCl’s effects last longer than the similar emergency opioid antagonist naloxone. As such, the company hopes nalmefene HCl will out-compete naloxone at reversing overdoses from the most highly potent opioid, namely fentanyl..."

 

So, consider this Purdue's - and the Sacler's - opportunity to again profit from the Opioid Epidemic by getting in the market for drugs to treat the problem it helped cause!

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The EPA is No Longer in the Business of Safeguarding Our Resources and Protecting Us From Pollution

The EPA is No Longer in the Business of Safeguarding Our Resources and Protecting Us From Pollution | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The Trump administration on Thursday announced repeal of an Obama-era regulation that had expanded pollution protections for waterways such as wetlands and shallow streams, but that farmers, miners and manufacturers decried as overreach.

 

The widely anticipated move to repeal the 2015 Waters of the United States rule, known as WOTUS, is part of a broader effort by President Donald Trump to roll back environmental regulations to boost industry. Environmental groups called the move “shameful and dangerous.”

 

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said that the EPA and the U.S. Army would reinstate water rules that were issued in the 1980s, and would begin re-defining which waterways can be regulated, a task to be completed by this winter.

 

President Barack Obama’s Waters of the United States rule had defined which streams and wetlands are protected by the 1972 Clean Water Act from pollutants including pesticides, fertilizers and mine waste. Farmers and industry groups had said the rule went too far, impeding their operations by extending restrictions to small, un-navigable waters.

 

Environmental groups have said the Obama rule was necessary to protect drinking water sources at risk from agri-business and industry.

 

Earthjustice and other environmental groups on Thursday warned that the Trump administration repeal will threaten drinking water and weaken safeguards that help reduce flooding and filter out pollution from streams and wetlands.

 

“President Trump’s administration wants to turn back the clock to the days of poisoned flammable water. This is shameful and dangerous,” said Abigail Dillen, Earthjustice president.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Trump’s plan for the economy: Make Drinking Water Dirty Again

From the Washington Post:

 

"This latest case involved the bodies of water the federal government can protect under the Clean Water Act, which makes it illegal to pollute a “water of the United States” without a permit. An Obama administration rule clarified that “waters of the United States” include streams and wetlands that feed larger waterways, including those used for drinking water.

 

"The government cost-benefit analysis it produced at the time found that this rule produced net economic benefits.

The Trump administration’s cost-benefit analysis, however, came to the opposite conclusion — chiefly because it abruptly decided that the largest category of benefits previously attributed to the rule could no longer be quantified at all. (The Trump administration said the research that had been used to quantify the benefits of protecting wetlands was too old, even though it cited even older research elsewhere in the same report.)

 

"Therefore, these benefits were effectively assigned a value of zero. Voila, the rule must go."

 

I guess this means Newtown Township will not have to implement its Watershed Pollution Reduction Plan to reduce pollution of three “impaired watersheds” that were previously identified by the EPA for pollution reduction:

 

  1. Neshaminy Creek – Nutrients and Sediments
  2. Lake Luxembourg – Nutrients and Sediments
  3. Core Creek - Sediments
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