failures of the EEPA Essay

Submitted By emmytickles
Words: 1225
Pages: 5

April 23, 2012

Ogeechee: A slice of Heaven Spoiled “We’re also going to have to look at how it is that we shredded so many regulations. We did not set up a 21st Century regulatory framework to deal with these [economic] problems. And that, in part has to do with and economic philosophy that says that regulation is always bad.” (Obama 08’) Government regulation is designed to monitor and guide private economic industry but also regulate conditions and minimize product hazards and risks to consumers. (Milakovich, Gordon) My papers focus is about the Ogeechee River shed and the massive fish kill that occurred there. I will focus on the EPA’s regulatory practices and inefficiencies in dealing with the Ogeechee River. The Ogeechee River has become part of new social regulatory initiatives such as The Clean Water Act: defining and dealing with problems in narrower terms to increase efficiency and reduce hazards in our free market society. In May of 2011 38,000 fish bloated and belly up were washed up along the shores of Screven County, in the lower Ogeechee River basin. In June of 2011 the fish kills continued and the mystery ensued, as the EPA had no conclusive answers as to why this was going on. The EPA’s hypothesis was that unseasonably warm temperatures in combination with a mixture of chemicals may have been a reason the fish were weakened and susceptible to disease. (SavannahNow 11’) The EPA and Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources finally concluded that the fish died of a bacterial disease called columnaris. The sample analysis also revealed that ammonia, formaldehyde, and hydrogen peroxide were also present in the river at high levels which was very unusual. (EPA 11’)

The Ogeechee River is over 300 miles long but only 70 miles of the river had been polluted. More species of animals that were not susceptible to columnaris, also showed up dead. Citizens who used the Ogeechee River recreationally began complaining of health conditions which were side effects of the chemicals in the river. According to the Ogeechee Riverkeeper's website, the river basin provides drinking water to hundreds of thousands of Georgians, supports a diversity of wildlife, and offers many opportunities for recreation. The fish kill had originated just below Dover, GA which was the sight of a King America Finishing, a textile plant. The chemicals in the river and the location of the fish kill prompted The Georgia Department of Natural Resources to rule that pollutants from the plant were to blame for the problems .(GA Conservancy 11’)
"The current discharge is not causing a violation of federal or state in-stream water quality standards, and routine testing confirms that the discharge is not a stressor to fish in the Ogeechee River. EPD (Environmental Protection Division of Georgia) worked with the company to ensure the discharge would be improved and not to make it worse."(EPD ’12) EPD didn't discover until the fish kill that King America had been discharging pollutants from a fire retardant fabric line into the Ogeechee for five years without a permit. Inspectors visited the plant several times during that period and in 2006 issued the company an air permit for the line. The plant never applied for water permits to pipe their discharged waste into the Ogeechee River. (AJC 12’)
The EPA and EPD were not regulating the King America Plant to prevent hazard as the social regulatory initiatives had proposed. As of January of 2011 King America Finishing had violated EPA guidelines 18 different times. (Greenlaw 12’) When the EPD tried to contact KAP after the fish kill had occurred the company responded weeks later. The EPD also required that the company do their own water quality testing which was highly inefficient considering their past violations. As a result of so many violated regulations The EPA should have imposed much stricter conditions and restrictions on KAP. The King America Plant failed to perform the statutory mandate that…