In a remarkable example of government incompetence endangering the lives of citizens, it is now being reported that the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been aware since 2005, that the drinking water of some North Carolina residents is extremely contaminated. This summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began calling local families in the North Carolina community of Wake Forest to warn them that their water is contaminated. The EPA told the residents that their water contains the toxin trichloroethylene (TCE) and that their water is not safe to use for drinking, cooking or bathing. The EPS is installing filters for the affected residents and is now looking into the possibility of cleaning up the contaminated wells.
Remember, the EPA is a favorite target of conservative hate. They always cite the EPA as an example of Federal Government overreach. The conservative battle cry has always been the States can do a better job than the meddling Feds! Apparently not. TCE is a known toxin that has been linked to causing various forms of cancer such as leukemia, breast cancer, and lung cancer. Exposure to the toxic can even cause symptoms that mirror Parkinson’s disease. Yes, now is definitely the time to do away with the meddling EPA.
In 2002 a company used TCE to clean circuit boards. The chemical then leached into the ground water supply. The North Carolina DENR investigated the problem and in 2005 determined that the well on the property adjacent to the company that originally used the chemical in 2002, was contaminated. That was the end of the North Carolina DENR’s investigation. No other action was taken to either make the company clean up the contaminated well, nor were any of the community’s residents warned about their water supply. No phone calls to the residents were made, no letters were sent, and most alarmingly, no further testing was done to see if the contamination had spread to other wells in the vicinity of the contaminated well. TCE is heavier than water and sinks. Therefore, it was logical to assume that the contaminant would spread beyond the one identified well.
The head of the NC DENR, has been dancing around the fact that the State agency was aware of the situation and may in fact be complicit in the illnesses of the community’s residents. The excuse offered is that the agency simply does not have enough resources to do everything it wants. Two things are perfectly clear, 1. The State failed to protect their residents, 2. The federal EPA did the job that the State agency should have done 7 years ago. So, the next time you hear some idiot conservative going on about State’s Rights and how the government never does anything right, remember that their ideas of a limited government are not only foolish, those ideas just might kill you.