Full article in the Mercury News, linked by the Daily Grist.
:: 2.05.2004 ::
Industrial Protectionist Agency
Whistleblower says EPA used unreliable data for sludge decision
WASHINGTON - A former government scientist accused the Environmental Protection Agency of knowingly using unreliable data when it denied a petition to halt the use of sewage sludge for fertilizer.
The microbiologist, David Lewis, testified at a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday that the EPA used data about sludge quality at two Georgia dairy farms that had already been rejected by Georgia state officials as "completely unreliable, possibly even fraudulent."
The EPA in December denied a petition from 73 labor, environment and farm groups for an immediate moratorium on land-based uses for sewage sludge. Such a moratorium would affect more than 3 million tons of sludge used each year as fertilizer.
In its decision, the EPA cited data showing levels of heavy metals in sludge at the dairy farms were within allowed limits.
In fact, Lewis said, studies by Georgia state agencies found the sludge was so corrosive that it dissolved fences and emitted toxic fumes that could sicken cows. Lewis said the faulty data was produced by local officials in Augusta, Ga., several years ago and knowingly used by the EPA in December, in spite of an audit by Georgia officials that found it unreliable.
"Mr. Lewis is entitled to his opinion. We stand by our December 2003 decision," said EPA spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman, noting the agency is in the process of revising its approach to sludge. [emphasis added]
:: Deb 8:42 PM :: permalink ::
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