By Patricia Zick @PCZick
spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico
I celebrated Earth Day this year by promoting y my environmentally themed book, Trails in the Sand, and guest posting on other blogs essays about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Some reviewers thanked me for reminding them about the oil spill, but one reviewer wrote that she lived through it and didn’t need to read about it.
I lived through it, too, but I’m of the opinion, we do need to remember, and we do need to hold responsible the parties who break the rules to gain more profit. In Trails, I wrote about two major disasters from April 2010 – the oil spill that killed nine men and did untold damage to wildlife and the habitat and the mine explosion in West Virginia that killed twenty-nine men. In both cases, the companies were found to be negligent for causing the death of the men and harming the environment.
And so it was with a sense of nightmarish déjà vu that I read an article in my local paper, The Beaver County Times this past weekend.
“What Lies Beneath – Officials Worry Company in Ohio Buried Drill Waste,” made me mad and then rather frightened me to realize that we might not have protection from irresponsible companies despite each state having an environmental department and having the national Department of Environmental Protection. I’m beginning to believe the moniker is a misnomer because there are far too many cases where no protection for the environment exists. And far too many of those cases are far too close to my home.
Soil Remediation, Inc., owned by David Gennaro, has been on the radar of Ohio’s DEP for years. Yet that hasn’t fazed the company as they allegedly collected and disposed petroleum-contaminated waste on its property close to the Mahoning River, a waterway that flows into the Beaver River which flows into the Ohio River in southwestern Pennsylvania. A few weeks ago, I wrote about another company in eastern Ohio that had been dumping toxic waste into the same Mahoning River.
Not only is Soil Remediation disposing of the waste illegally according to the article, but it’s also been collecting those waste products without a permit. Several Pennsylvania-based companies have been shipping their waste over to Ohio where Soil Remediation has taken the products illegally. This isn’t the first instance of this company’s flagrant disregard of environmental regulations. Records show they’ve been charged with violating many other regulations over the years. Why is this company still operating?
I’m not in favor of shutting down companies in our country. However, as much as we want to keep those companies open, it’s not in our best interest to allow them to disregard the regulations that are already in place. Those regulations exist for a reason, and that’s to protect our environment from harm. A company that can’t follow safety regulations needs to be shut down until they comply.
We don’t need to lose anymore hardworking men and women just because companies want to show a profit. Their money won’t amount to much of anything if our rivers, lakes, groundwater, and aquifers are destroyed.
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.
John Keats (La Belle Dame Sans Merci, 1819)