This is the latest of a series of topical columns titled The Right Stuff to promote thought and ensure accuracy within political campaigns and issues. Our objective is to promote interest among voters to separate fact from opinion or fiction. It is time for voters to demand representatives who promote the founding principles of our country at every level of government.
In the second column in the series, we examined the unresponsiveness of our legislative representatives in general terms. This report presents specific facts related to environmental rulings to illustrate how costly that attitude can be. The numbers are hard to believe, but I will meet with anyone to document the accuracy with public law and policy.
The Solano County Taxpayers Association spent three years identifying five findings that create this extreme waste. Dixon, Woodland and Davis are under assault from application of these rules. Do not dismiss this if you live elsewhere. All cities are under this threat.
Finding 1: The Clean Water Act prohibits consideration of economic cost when determining treatment.
Comment. A law requiring automobile design to ensure no deaths in accidents could be written, but no manufacturer would build it because few could afford the price. Politicians approved the Clean Water Act because the cost is paid by tax dollars.
Finding 2. The standard for determining health hazard is unrealistic. Carcinogen development from long-term exposure of 1:1 million is arbitrary policy without scientific justification.
Comment. This standard is that only one person in a city of 100,000 will develop cancer effects from allowable pollutants in 700 years. Current cancer rates indicate 112,000 people will die of cancer of all types in that period. Vacaville is forced to spend $150 million to reduce the city death loss from cancer in the next 70 years from 11,200 to 11,119. The Clean Water Act permits use of 1:100,000, but the water board refused to permit that option even though a member admitted it would have required no upgrade.
Finding 3. California water boards do not adhere to the existing Environmental Protection Agency methodology which states, “conclusions drawn from the science are identified separately from policy judgments and risk management decisions, and that the use of default values or methods, as well as the use of assumptions in risk assessments, are clearly articulated.”
Comment. Every environmental official (regional, state and federal) whom we have asked has denied having the research data to support their decisions.
Finding 4. The water treatment mandates are made by unelected officials who have no legislative oversight and whose decisions are not subject to appeal.
Comment. Unacceptable delegation of authority by state legislation.
Finding 5. The EPA assumes a linear progression vice an expanding progression for determining toxicity effect of pollutants.
Comment. Studies normally indicate expanding toxicity progression, e.g., doubling the pollutant level would quadruple or more the deleterious effect.
Costs of unnecessary wastewater upgrades mandated by water quality control boards could not be determined. A California Revolving Loan Fund for local governments had an outstanding loan balance of $16.55 billion on Aug. 29, 2009, but the water board could not identify what portions were for essential expansion and repairs versus mandated upgrades for questionable science.
Did you vote for the incumbent representatives at the past election? Does their record prove they are due for replacement? Rep. John Garamendi, California Sen. Lois Wolk and Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada were briefed on the above findings and did nothing. Findings 1, 2 and 5 require congressional action; findings 3 and 4 require state action.
For a comprehensive review of their voting, check:
Earl Heal is a Vacaville resident and member of The Right Stuff Committee, a committee of the Solano County Republican Party. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.