DO WE DO WITH WASTE?
July 11, 2010
questions, received in the last two months, offer two wildly different
perspectives on environmental interest. The first question took some time
and thought to answer. The second did not.
Q: Our city
council here in Eddystone, Pa., voted to allow a junk yard to move into
our town. We are a small town with a river and not such great air quality.
We have tried to educate the council on environmental issues and health
risks, but they still allowed the permit to pass. We have involved senators,
state representatives and the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]. What
would you recommend we do next, and what concerns with junk yards should
A: Your question
about a junk yard, by which I assume you mean landfill or recycling center,
has several aspects to consider. First, the council has given permission
with a vote, even with input from other elected officials who are not
on the council. Thus, it sounds like the municipal decision has been made
if the majority vote of the elected officials on the council has legal
standing. Of course, such decisions can be overturned later through the
issue, no matter how a city council might want to vote, is the federal
regulatory guidelines that govern any process or facility that affects
air and water quality. Since you have engaged the EPA, you need to be
persistent and thorough in presenting your concerns to them about how
you think the facility will adversely affect environmental health and
safety. Likewise, it helps to have several people in the community join
you in a complaint or inquiry. If the EPA does find violations, make sure
you find out how they intend to enforce the rules.
where household wastes are deposited can be a health hazard, so consideration
must be given to groundwater and other mechanisms of waste or pollutant
dispersal. If such issues were not addressed when the city did an environmental
impact assessment, then make sure the EPA and your state environmental
health department are made aware of it and take some action.
as is often the case with projects that are thrust on to a community,
exposing them to the light of public scrutiny can reveal flaws in logic,
influence of special interests or downright illegal activities. I have
no idea if any of these problems exist in your town with the junk yard
issue, but whatever the situation, a series of articles by your local
newspaper would be an excellent way to provide public scrutiny.
Q: I have
three questions related to Lizard Man, the creature reported from a South
Carolina swamp in 1988. Do you think the Lizard Man is another race of
humanoid lizard people or a new species? Why do you think all the sightings
have been in South Carolina? Does it eat the animals it kills?
A: I think
that Lizard Man is about as real as Big Foot, the Abominable Snowman or
Godzilla. He is the figment of fantasy, imagination and gullibility, as
well as a source of amusement for many. Lizard Man has been reported from
South Carolina because that is where the fantasy began. Such a tale could
have been made up anywhere and eventually will probably be extended to
surrounding states during periods when national and local news are at
a lull. As far as what a fictitious creature eats, it cannot be disputed
if I say that it would definitely eat any animal it killed. Of course,
the first step is for Lizard Man to actually kill something. So far there
is no evidence that anything has ever fallen victim to it--except perhaps
the credibility of the people who appear to believe it is real and have
given such precise and accurate descriptions of something they never saw.
continue next week: is feeding possums and other wild animals legal; are
red wolves in the Southeast; and what is the name of the parasitic plant
that looks like a tangle of vines?
you have an environmental question or comment, email