Friday, April 30, 2010

Citizens ask for more storm water drains

Dark clouds covered the sky Saturday, April 24, as U.S. Census Bureau employee Marcia Baxley returned home from a long morning of work. As she entered her apartment and looked at the gloomy sky through the living room windows, her facial expressions were concerning.

“When it rains around here, the waters can get pretty high,” Baxley said. “I don’t want to be liable for any water damages that could happen.”

The predicted weather forecast for that day was heavy thundershowers. Baxley said she would take precautions and line the front of her apartment door with towels. Fortunately she did, because a few hours later, the streets were overflowing with water.

On several occasions, Baxley’s apartment has fallen victim to minimal flooding, due to storm water runoff. Baxley resides close to the UWF campus, where runoff is common.

“On some rainy days I’ll be driving home and see water flowing through the streets, picking up trash sometimes,” she said.

It is not only Baxley that worries about water runoff. Storm water has always been a critical environmental issue in Pensacola, especially since it discharges into the bay.

Located in a watershed—an area of land that gathers precipitation easily—Pensacola has always been threatened by storm water runoff. According to the Pensacola City Web site, approximately $26 million are being spent on necessary storm water improvements, including sewer reconstruction and more storm water drains.

The Pensacola City Web site also states that the $26 million worth of renovations will be going on over the course of the next 30 years, which may be too long of a wait for some.

Charlie Morgan, manager of field services in Pensacola, said there have been several cases of erosion in Pensacola due to storm water.

“We’ve had some frequent cases of erosion due to storm water, especially in the Bayview area,” Morgan said.

After Saturday’s heavy rainfall, Pensacola citizens are concerned there might be a lack of storm water drains in the area, particularly at UWF.

Jasmine Jorge, secretary at the Fountains Apartments, said there is a lack of storm water drains on campus.

“More drains should be placed on campus near the parking lot by the Psychology building,” she said.

Jorge also said frequent runoff is noticeable in low-level areas, especially when it rains hard, just like Saturday.

The majority of storm water drains in the city empty into Bayou Chico and Bayou Texar. Toxic materials from storm water runoff such as garbage and oils from cars are deposited into the bayou, harming aquatic wildlife and creating health hazards.

Several health alerts concerning Bayou Chico and Bayou Texar have been addressed in the past.

According to Pensacola’s storm water utility fee, changes to the city’s sewage and storm water drains will be occurring over the next few years.

While future changes are falling into place, Pensacola residents can reduce risk of water contamination by doing simple things such as disposing of motor oil properly and cleaning up after pets so storm water will not pick up and carry bacteria and contaminants.

“It seems that the harder it rains, the worse the runoff gets,” Baxley said, glancing out the window.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Heather Reed on Deadman's Island Restoration Project

Heather Reed, owner of Ecological Consulting Services Inc., gave a briefing about the Deadman’s Island Restoration Project in Gulf Breeze on April 7.

As project manager of the restoration project, Reed stressed the importance of restoring the area, due to its historic sources and natural surroundings.

“You can go there and just touch history,” Reed said. “You never know what’s going to pop up.”

Deadman’s Island has a vast history, a place once used by the Spanish and British in the 18th Century. The old peninsulas later became a quarantine station for ships in 1891.

Because of the constant use of Deadman’s Island in the past, evidence of erosion can be seen.

“The Shoreline has eroded significantly, almost two football field lengths,” Reed said. “There is almost 20 ft. of erosion in one year.”

Reed’s resolution to this rapid erosion is a five phase project meant to stop erosion and expand the shoreline. Phase one consists of an oyster breakwater system that will create a reef.

Reed said that 155 breakwater systems were created. She also said that this type of breakwater system is the first to be used in Florida.

While the breakwater systems are proving to be effective, Reed said she was wary of storm surges moving the systems.

“It’s not the hurricanes we have to worry about, it’s the storm surges,” she said.

While the restoration project was in effect during Hurricane Dennis, coffins from the 1800s were unearthed at Deadman’s Island.

Phase two of the restoration project consists of ecodiscs, which demonstrate rapid oyster growth and are not affected by tides.

Permitting for the restoration project was allowed due to extreme public interest. Forty-two letters of support were written and a petition with approximately 200 signatures.

“Community involvement has been amazing in this project,” Reed said. “Everybody wants to save Deadman’s Island.”

The general public is invited to help build coir logs and commence planting at Deadman’s Island on April 17. For more information on the Deadman’s Island Restoration Project, visit the Web site at

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Restoration of Fossil Creek

After watching the documentary concerning the restoration of Fossil Creek in Arizona, I learned a few new things.

First off, opposing organizations are capable of putting aside their differences and working together for similar causes. This surprised me at first because while watching the documentary, I had serious doubts that the Arizona Public Service would cooperate in restoring Fossil Creek to its original state. It gives me hope that other organizations will do the same.

And next, I had minimal knowledge about dams and what it is they do to the environment. My whole life, I always just looked at them as a man-made structure that just kind of…sits there. After watching this documentary, I am aware that dams can affect wildlife in the area and harm other species.

Fossil Creek seems to look like a majestic place to visit. I am satisfied with the ending outcome, and am glad that the APS was willing to cooperate. I am in high hopes that other dams across the U.S. will be destroyed in the future, since, according to the documentary, many of them serve no purpose anymore.

Why keep something that will do nothing but harm wildlife?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Green Senses

It’s spring in the university woods along the Ball Nature Trail and I am completely at ease. Surrounded in green, I sit down on the wooden path, leaning against tree bark. The bark feels unusually smooth in texture.

I am in total silence. I feel as if I have entered a dream-like state. Nothing in my waking life matters and the stress just seems to disappear.

I look up and see the wind gently swaying the trees. The branches seem to be trying to leave the earth and touch the heavens. The tips of the trees are sprouting fresh, green leaves. The birth of spring.

Behind a mess of twigs and leaves are vibrantly green leaf pads floating in the shallows of the lake, concealed in a way that casual passerby wouldn’t notice. A secret little haven. The tips of the pads are a bright yellow.

I look up into the clear blue sky and back down into the shallows of the lake. I can faintly see the blue from above. There is not a cloud in sight today. Looking up, I feel as if I am staring into a bright, blue void. The sun is hiding behind two taller trees, as if it were scared of its exposure up in the sky, with no clouds to hide it.

Two people are loudly and recklessly walking down the trail. They stop for a moment to talk. I wish they would go away. I feel violated that they would dare intrude my quiet space. I wait for them to exit the vicinity.

I look beyond the shaded shallows of the lake and see a fallen tree, blocking the deeper expanse of the lake. The collapsed tree has formed a boundary between the main lake and the beautiful green pads. If the tree were gone, would the leaf pads float away? There are so many of them crowded together, waiting for the tree to move so they can unleash their beauty and float away.

At this instant I hear the chirping of birds to my left. I jump in surprise but soon return to my quiet zone. The sound of the bird made me realize how disconnected I was from the busy world these past few minutes.

I have been putting all my attention towards the green leaf pads that I failed to notice the bright, crimson tree to my right. It is a beautiful red tree, concealed amongst green lush.

I inhale the smells of spring. Fresh air.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Edward Abbey and Leslie Marmon Silko

Edward Abbey’s “The First Morning” describes Abbey’s experiences with nature while watching the sunrise. Abbey has a deep connection with nature, more so than with humans at times. (“I’d sooner exchange ideas with the birds on earth than learn to carry on intergalactic communications with some obscure race of humanoids…”)

Abbey’s use of imagery and personification in describing the scene around him connected me to his writing. At times it seems as if Abbey is the only human on earth. (“I put on a coat and step outside. In the center of the world, God’s navel, Abbey’s country, the red wasteland.”) This sense of seclusion is almost peaceful. I believe that Abbey prefers the quiet life over the hustle and bustle most of us are used to.

In Leslie Marmon Silko’s “Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination,” a spiritual viewpoint is expressed. Silko portrays nature and life as fragile. Silko believes that all forms of life should be treated with care, and that all forms of life are connected since they are all derived from the Earth.

Silko said that when an animal or plant dies their body decomposes and is born to become something else.

Personally, I felt more of a connection to Abbey’s writing. He seems to have a great sense of appreciation for the land around him. The way he writes makes it seem like it is only him and nature, and it seems almost peaceful, not having to deal with the “obscure race of humanoids.”

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunshine Week: Public Records Audit

According to the Florida Sunshine Law, the general public is permitted to view governmental documents if they request it. In many past cases, some members of the public were not allowed access to some of these documents.

As part of Sunshine Week, we as normal people--not reporters--were sent out on a mission to various locales in Pensacola to see if we were granted access to specific documents that should be available to the public. We were unable to give out identification unless absolutely necessary.

I was told to travel to Pensacola’s City Hall and gain access to e-mails between the city manager and city commission for the past week. Before rushing off to Pensacola’s City Hall, I decided to do some research. I visited Pensacola’s official Web site to see if the e-mails I was looking for were available on the website. I found a search engine on the site that enables the person to search for council files, minutes, ordinances and resolutions.

I did not find what I was looking for so I looked up the directions for City Hall and made plans to head over there. The website said I would possibly be directed to the city clerk on the seventh floor, so I was hoping I was right in my prediction.

Being the procrastinator that I am, I managed to find a ride on Monday morning—four hours before the due date. As I was sitting in the car I was wondering how long this experiment would take and what would happen if I managed to screw up. One of my biggest worries of the morning (apart from not having eaten breakfast) was being interrogated because of what I was asking for.

In all honesty, I would be a bit creeped out if somebody walked up to me and asked for other people’s e-mails. But that’s not the point.

I arrived at City Hall at 9:22 a.m. and asked the bored, sleepy woman at the front desk where I needed to go to get access to general documents. Without asking me what for, she told me I could find what I needed on the seventh floor (I knew it).

I took the elevator up to the seventh floor and took a left, where a woman was sitting behind a desk (I praise myself for not getting lost for the first time ever).

The woman asked me if there was anything I needed and I said that I would like to view the e-mails sent between the city manager and city commission. Surprisingly, she did not look at me weirdly or ask me why I needed this information. She skipped that part and asked me what time frame I was looking for in the e-mails and I said this past week if possible.

I asked her if it was possible to have the e-mails printed out now, but she said she had to look up the e-mails first—something that takes a while I guess.

She asked me for my name and I asked her if it was necessary. She said she needed contact information from me so she could send me what I needed. I gave her my first name only, as well as an e-mail to reach me at. She jotted this down on a post-it note and stuck it near her computer.

The woman told me she would notify me as soon as possible and would send it to me. She included that if the e-mails were too big, I would have to come back and retrieve them in person.

I thanked her for her time and went back down to the lobby. The bored, sleepy woman was staring into space so I made her snap out of it by yelling good-bye to her from the opposite end of the building. Whoops.

Upon leaving the building, I realized that this wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The two people I talked to at City Hall were very nice and friendly, and didn’t think to question me at all. They didn’t ask me why I was here, why I needed this information, etc.

It also didn’t take up too much of my time either. I got home before 10:00 a.m. 

So does Pensacola’s City Hall comply with the Florida Sunshine Law? Yes, it seems like it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shelley Alexander on the loss of Sea Grass

Shelley Alexander, Manager of the Northwest Florida Aquatic Preserve Office, spoke to the University of West Florida’s Environmental Reporting class on March 17 about the decline of sea grass in Pensacola.

Alexander said that sea grass was not only just underwater décor, but an important habitat for fish and aquatic sealife.

“Sea grass grow in non-secluded, wave-free areas,” she said.

The Aquatic Preserve is responsible for managing the 40,000 acres of submerged land in the Ft. Pickens area. They also manage the Yellow River Preserve (a class 3 preserve strictly meant for fishing and recreation), the Rocky Bayou Preserve and the St. Andrews Preserve in Panama City.

Alexander said that large industrial point sources made in the 50s and 60s were a detrimental cause to sea grass declination. Chemicals such as NH4 and PCB were being released into the water.

The result of overfishing is also a large cause, which can be sited in the smaller catch rates that can be seen in trophy fish over the years.

When overfishing occurs, large predators are gone, leaving small predators. The loss of mesograzers in the area lead to an increase in algal epiphytes, a fungi that destroy sea grass.

Hypoxia, the result of the oyster removals done in the past, is also another cause to the decline in sea grass.

“We still have hypoxia in deeper portions of the bay today,” said Alexander. Hypoxia and fish kills in the late 70s lead to plans of action.

Alexander also said that the freshwater sea grass of Pensacola disappeared, having moved to the southern shore of the Gulf Breeze Peninsula, as demonstrated on a map.

“Gulf Breeze needs to keep sea grass at its restoration state,” she said.

As of 1992, the sea grass that is still present does not exceed two feet.

Alexander said she is currently at work trying to restore sea grass in nearby areas by method of transplanting units where prop scars (spaces with no sea grass) are present. Thallasia is the plant being used to restore sea grass. She said its slow growth rate of about 20 years will take a while to observe.

In the mean time, other forms of awareness are being thought of to prevent sea grass destruction.

One such form of awareness are the “No combustible engines” signs placed in sea grass territory.

“This has been proven to help protect the sea grass,” Alexander said.

$1000 dollar fines are also being issued to those who refuse to obey these signs.

For more information on the Northwest Florida Aquatic Preserve, visit the main Web site at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Seagrass discussion questions and summary of 1999 report

According to a report of the Special Grand Jury on air and waer quality (1999), Escambia's water quality was deemed, "degraded" by the grand jury.

The probable causes for Escambia's degraded water are industry discharges, sewage treatment plants and stormwater runoff.  These are the same causes for bad water quality in the area today, so it can already be seen that not much has changed in about 10 years.

The report said that the water would continue to deteriorate as growth continued to occur in the region.

The Department of Enivornmental Protection and the local government are at fault for not enforcing environmental laws and spreading awareness of the issue.

Many kinds of garbage (animal carcasses and garbage from households) have been affecting the bodies of water in this region, affecting the seagrass.

Today, guest speaker Shelley Alexander, of the Northwest Florida Aquatic Preserve Office, will be holding a discussion about the Seagreass decline in the Pensacola Bay. Below are my questions for the discussion:

1.  After 10 years, do you think there has been any improvement in Escambia's waters?
2.  Is the decline in seagrass an important environmental issue?
3.  What are you doing to preserve Pensacola Bay's seagrass?
4.  Has there been recent public awareness concerning this issue?
5.  Why has the DEP not been doing its job of enforcing environmental laws? Could the decline in seagrass have been avoided if environmental laws were enforced?
6.  What do you do at the Aquatic Preserve Office?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Linda Young Speaks to League of Women Voters

Guest speaker Linda Young spoke to The Pensacola Bay Area League of Women Voters at Tryon Library on Saturday, Feb. 20 to discuss the Clean Water Network and the purity of Florida’s waters.

“The EPA is proposing new set criteria, with loopholes,” Linda Young, director of the Clean Water Network, said.

Young presented information to an eager crowd of elderly citizens about the Clean Water Network, a coalition of over 300 groups working to implement and enforce safeguards for water resources.

Young has been working to protect Florida’s environment since 1994. She has challenged actions against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Environmental Protection Agency and large polluters such as the Monsanto Chemical Company.

The group of league members listened carefully to what Young had to say about Florida’s waters, asking enticing questions and speaking of personal experiences they have had with the water.

Young said that the major contenders for the control of Florida’s waters were developers, industry, water suppliers, golf courses and residential areas. She said the water quality front has major problems; two of these being the EPA regulated Numeric Nutrient Criteria and Sight Specific Alternative Criteria.

In terms of the Numeric Nutrient Criteria, Young said that the EPA is attempting to reform the criteria, creating loopholes. For example, Young said that the concept of mixing zones—permits for pipes—do not meet water quality standards.

“For the most part, Florida has been avoiding the clean water act for the past 10 years,” she said.

Young gave evidence of Florida’s polluted waters as proof of taking action.

“People die from swimming in the St. John’s,” she said. “There’s been a case in Destin where a fisherman scratched his leg and died.”

What was most disappointing to Young and the other league members was the fact that state legislatures were considering lifting the ban on offshore drilling soon after Florida’s “Hands Across the Sand” event was held the previous week.

“It is up to us people who care about our water to speak out on whatever level you can,” said Young.

An anonymous question and answer session was held shortly after Young’s presentation. Audience members wrote their questions down on note cards for Young to answer.

The majority of the questions were directed towards the Sight Specific Alternative Criteria and how it can be opposed and challenged.

Young said that an administrative hearing could be used to challenge them, but did not recommend that as the most effective plan. She said these administrative hearings were similar to a “hamster wheel,” going nowhere.

“I give credit to our local governments supporting us,” said Young. “That matters.”

Deborah Nelson, president of the Pensacola LWV, said the quality of our water is an important issue to tackle.

“It’s huge since we use water every day in our lives,” she said. “Getting a hold of our elected officials is one of the best ways of addressing the issue.”

Muriel Wagner of the Environmental Regulation Commission said that over the years, she has been very involved in making an attempt to keeping Florida’s waters clean. In one incident, several proposals were made to stop pollution from a paper mill, but the proposals were ignored.

“We had one issue dealing with a paper mill in Perry, Fl.,” she said. “A lot of us ended up protesting and were broken up by police escorts.”

Young said she wanted to stress the importance of cleaning Escambia’s polluted waters and to not place blame on the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority.

“It’s not that the ECUA is bad, it’s that the water is polluted,” she said. “The ECUA has a tough job.”

Young is also familiar with the works of the Environmental Working Group.

“I have worked for the EWG and they are very credible and trustworthy,” she said.

Mary Gutierrez, co-chair for the natural resource committee of the LWV, said she thought the meeting was very informative to the general audience and said she also hopes Pensacola’s water problem will find a resolution soon. She also had recent connections with the EWG.

“I had a teleconference with the EWG about Escambia’s water quality and also got my information from California,” she said. “There will be a panel discussion about our water next month on the 20th for any who are interested.”

The Women’s League of Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that strives to participate in governmental issues. Monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Toxic Town

Upon reading Tara Hulen’s “Dispatch from Toxic Town,” I can’t help but relate the PCB toxins found in this town to Pensacola’s water quality. In both cases, the citizens were fine and lived in harmony (mostly), until a foreign contaminant welcomed itself to the area.

What’s funny for both cases is a huge riot occurring AFTER the incident. This just shows how oblivious people can be to the environment.

I did some research to see if Escambia County could be the next “Toxic Town” and what I looked at left me feeling very appalled. Needless to say I will always get shivers down my spine when I walk to campus and see the tall, industrial smokestacks looming behind the University of West Florida.

The two top pollutants in Escambia are Solutia Inc., releasing 25,500,247 lbs. of pollution. Next in line is none other than Gulf Power, with 10,276,006 lbs. of pollution.

 Oh and our air is pretty bad too. We’re ranked the worst for carbon monoxide emissions, nitrogen oxide emissions, sulfur dioxide emissions and volatile organic compound emissions.

Just enough proof to show that we need help.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

John Daley: “Why the Decline and Rebirth of Environmental Journalism Matters”

In Chasidy Hobbs conference to the University of West Florida’s environmental reporting class, she said that environmental reporters were scarce in the journalism community. According to John Daley’s article, “Why the Decline and Rebirth of Environmental Journalism Matters,” this statement is also made true.

In short, the article explains how environmental journalism has declined as well as the return it may take in the near future because of media convergence.

In the article, Camille Feanny, former CNN producer, expressed how the public needs science and environmental news to make informed and intelligent decisions.

The article also said that journalism is becoming another dead zone. “Almost 50,000 journalism jobs across the U.S. have been lost in the past two years.” Journalists may be losing jobs at almost three times the rate of other workers.

Feanny also said she blames recent wars on the decline of environmental journalism. Politicians and news corporations have prioritized war over the environment. In the current times we live in, issues pertaining to the war and economy seem to topple over environmental issues.

Daley’s article also claims that human interest stories such as the Tiger Woods scandal and the “Balloon Boy” incident are more appealing to the public than stories about climate change or pollution.

In a December 2009 Washington Post-ABC News poll, it is revealed that the public is turned off from what scientists and politicians have to say about the environment.

Without environmental journalists, the general public lacks specific gatekeepers that will inform them of environmental trends and issues.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Society of Environmental Journalists

The Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Website is a useful tool for budding journalists who are interested in pursuing a career in environmental reporting.

The SEJ homepage has the format of an online newspaper. The page contains such things as environmental headlines and publications from the SEJ.

The most helpful link on the Website is probably the Tip Sheet, located under the SEJ Publications tab. The purpose of the Tip Sheet is to provide biweekly news used to notify journalists. This is ideal for a reporter searching for a specific environmental beat. Issues are posted here one day before publication.

Reporters may want to also have a look at the library tab, where blogs and websites pertaining to environmental issues can be found. Reporters can choose to read SEJ Member’s blogs as well as non-member blogs.

Amateur reporters can also find the Reporting Tools link under the library tab. Though still a work in progress, this link provides helpful resources for specific issues such as wildfires, hurricanes and climate change.

Other useful links that can be found in the SEJ are a detailed climate change guide and a calendar with future events, press conferences and workshops.

The SEJ also hosts several programs and contests for environmental journalists. Journalists may also become a member of the SEJ if they wish.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Listening to Earth" Chapter 1

Upon reading Chapter 1 of “Listening to Earth,” one can’t help but admire the selected authors for the deep respect they have for the environment.

In John Muir’s “The American Forests,” the American forests are described as beautiful, ancient structures. Muir makes a statement about the destruction of these forests by the hand of man.

Mary Austin’s work, “My Neighbor’s Field,” captures the essence of nature through vast imagery. Her writing can be described as a combination of the physical and spiritual.

Aldo Leopold’s “The Land Ethic” takes a scientific approach to the environment and the relationship between man and nature.

Margaret L. Knox’s “The World According to Cushman” tells the story of a property rights-lobbyist and his obsession with land ownership.

“Caring for the Woods” by Barry Lopez explains the importance of preserving the land as the world keeps growing.

All authors in this chapter have one thing in common: They believe that the green land we live on is extremely valuable. Nature has a story to tell, it can be seen in the branches of trees, the aging mountains and vast wildlife. By depleting nature we are also erasing its history.

What if the authors of these passages took a trip to Pensacola? Would they admire what they saw or look in disappointment? We have coal factories, contaminated water, new developments, etc.

They would most likely say that Pensacola is lacking in green décor.

I’m not a huge environmental buff myself, but I know when a place is lacking in land beautification. Living in North Yorkshire, England for three years where green is abundant and then moving here, you can easily spot these differences.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere: Response to the Chasidy Hobbs speech

Every morning I wake up and stick my head under the bathroom faucet for some water. Just like every other normal human being, I fail to think about what is actually IN the water.

Now that I am aware of the several pollutants in our water I always have to hold myself back in the mornings.

Both the EWG and the ECUA are both at fault for instilling fear in the citizens of Pensacola.  Now everybody is running around, arms flapping in the air, thinking they will get cancer.

What is most apalling to me that Mrs. Hobbs mentioned are the EPA's outdated chemical regulations. After 30 years I would think it wise to update these regulations since new chemicals are bound to be present. 

She also mentioned the fact that Pensacola won the best tasting water for 3 years. It kind of makes you wonder even more what's in this water of ours...

While Chasidy did a superb job supporting the fact that we are indeed safe, I still can't help but think that we can have better water than the stuff we have now. Less pollutants at least, please.

Chasidy Hobbs on Pensacola's Drinking Water

Emerald Coastkeeper (ECK) Chasidy Hobbs visited the University of West Florida’s Environmental Reporting class on Wednesday, January 13 to speak about recent events concerning Pensacola’s drinking water.

A study presented by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) claims that Pensacola Florida has the lowest-rated water utilities out of a list of 100 cities in the United States. Since the release of these results in December, the Emerald Coast Utility Authority (ECUA) has been questioned for its water quality.

“Let’s forget the EWG ranked us 100 and try and understand the situation,” said Hobbs.

Hobbs is the new head chair of ECK, an organization branched from the Waterkeeper Alliance that works to protect the waters of the area. The Waterkeeper alliance was started by John F. Kennedy Jr. after the Hudson Bay caught fire.

Hobbs said that the reports coming from the EWG were faulty, and various questions should be asked in relation to these results.

One of the concerns Hobbs said she had concerning the EWG are their standards for water. According to the ECUA, Pensacola has won the best tasting water for 3 years and has not been in violation of water regulations from 2004-2008. The EWG based their results on chemicals detected since 2004, which conflict with ECUA results from 2004-2008.

"What are the EWG's standards?"

Hobbs also said that over 60,000 chemicals are used in the USA, while less than 100 are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has not changed their regulations for chemicals since the ‘80s.

The ECUA contains 35 harmful chemicals, all of which are not required to be regulated.

Hobbs also questioned the credibility of the EWG. She said they were a consumer advocacy group stationed in Washington, D.C., and have done small studies relating to cell phones, sunscreen and skincare products. In this current study, the EWG did not do the actual testing of the water themselves.

Hobbs said she has been working to get groups such as the ECUA and EWG together for a meeting concerning this matter.

She said that the next big project she would like to tackle after this matter is the offshore drilling of the panhandle area.

Monday, January 11, 2010

North Yorkshire, UK