Take Action!

Is the EPA afraid of sludge victims?

September 13, 2008

It is a criminal offense to lie before the Senate or House of Representatives during a hearing. Is that the reason the EPA and sludge industry refused to come to the 9/11/08 EPW Committee hearing? Are they afraid of sludge victims, of the truth? Or could it be that they have absolutely no defense and no scientific proof of the safety of the sewage sludge application program promoted by the US-EPA, USDA, municipalities and the powerful sludge industry? Can't they handle Truth to Power?

Please read the statements below given by Dr. Alan Rubin, one of the EPA's authors of the 1993 scientific invalid and "sounds like science" sewage sludge land application program [40 CFR Part 503]. The statement below was made by Dr. Rubin at the January 21, 2001 Special Meeting on Biosolids before the Solano, California County Board of Supervisors. This is from the meeting minutes and transcript.

"Dr. Rubin noted he would fully expect for the public to see in the April 2, 2003 proposed response to the NRC report, a proposed action plan. It is reasonable for the public, when they see this laid out for comment, to suggest to the EPA that in the interim perhaps the EPA should consider some sort of additional interim requirements. I do not know how the EPA will respond to that, but the public can bring that up and send comments into the EPA. The EPA will have to deal with that public comment. Dr. Rubin suggested getting some activity going as soon as possible for somebody, either EPA, CDC, state health agencies, or local health agencies getting out there and seriously beginning to document what is happening in communities. I believe that the reports we are getting are real, in that people feel sick out there. I read 4-5 reports everyday, and I have a stack that is almost 2 feet tall. The EPA is taking the NRC recommendations very seriously particularly in going back and looking and tracking incidents."

Obviously, Dr. Rubin (now working for the sludge industry), was wrong. The EPA did not take the National Research Council's advice and investigate the health complaints, nor did the CDC step up to the plate to investigate public health hazards. The EPA has not conducted any health risk assessments on exposure to sewage sludge.

If Rubin had a "almost 2 feet tall" stack of health complaints in August, 2001---how many thousand or tens of thousand health complaints are the EPA hiding now? What happened to Rubin's "4-5 reports everyday?" Who else was getting these complaints? Where did they go? I can tell you where our August 21, 2003 formal EPA complaint went---nowhere! Nobody at EPA would talk to us about our health problems either in Atlanta or in Washington. June, 2008, I received a call from EPA Region 4 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Department in Atlanta. The young lady wanted my permission to release our health complaint to an Associated Press reporter who had requested copies of health complaints received in the division. I gave my permission to release the document (which is a public document anyway), and asked her what had been done about the complaint. The answer was nothing. She promised to send our 2003 complaint to the EPA Office of Inspector General in Washington for them to contact us. So far nothing.

The only conclusion a rational person can draw from the actions of our US-EPA is that they are afraid of exposure by sludge victim's testimony and exposure of the egregious lack of protection of human health and the environment. What has happened to all the formal health complaints filed with the EPA and where are they? In the trash? In a file somewhere? The EPA needs to remember that they are public servants and they are paid by our tax dollars to provide environmental protection that includes, humans, animals, water, air, and land--they are not partners with industry--and are not responsible for the corporate bottom line! The next question is who owns and controls the EPA?

Nancy Holt, Mebane NC