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Unclean Water (2017)

I decided to continue searching and tracking reports of unclean water for 2017 like I did for 2016. The list is by no means exhaustive. I’m sure I missed multiple stories. (Feel free to contact me if there are any that should be added.)

The United States has an infrastructure problem. It is going to get worse and stories like this will continue to come out. The swift gutting of environmental regulations coupled with the expansion of destructive and extractive industries will only expedite the process.

Deeper investigations into systemic infrastructure failures should be conducted and answers as to why they continue to happen in the richest country in the world should be given.

The tragedy of Flint, Michigan seems unmatched in these stories, but it’s difficult to know their extent. How much neglect is involved? Did elected officials turn a blind eye? How much harm is done to the public’s health? What will be done to correct these problems and prevent them?

  1. Sumter, South Carolina
  2. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  3. Oscoda, Michigan
  4. Englewood Hospital, New Jersey
  5. Atoka, Oklahoma
  6. Medway, Massachusetts
  7. Chapel Hill-Carrboro, North Carolina
  8. Austin, Indiana
  9. Montgomery, New York
  10. Fairview, West Virginia
  11. Oberlin, Ohio
  12. Lincoln County, Idaho
  13. Monroe, Indiana
  14. Longford, Kansas
  15. Marion County, Georgia
  16. Pascoag, Rhode Island
  17. Tampa, Florida
  18. Hoboken, New Jersey
  19. Columbus High, Georgia
  20. Central High, Tennessee
  21. Brownsville, Texas
  22. Erie County, New York
  23. Leadwood, Missouri
  24. Duquesne, Pennsylvania
  25. Airway Heights, Washington
  26. San Carlos neighborhood, California
  27. Terlton, Oklahoma
  28. Lindsay, Oklahoma
  29. Arverne, New York
  30. Asheville, North Carolina
  31. Falmouth, Massachusetts
  32. Keystone, Iowa
  33. Charlestown, Indiana
  34. Lubbock, Texas
  35. Rayne, Louisiana
  36. Vinton, Virginia
  37. Hillsboro, Illinois
  38. Jeanerette, Louisiana
  39. Spencer, Tennessee
  40. Wilmington, North Carolina
  41. Mechanicville, New York
  42. Enterprise, Louisiana
  43. Prague, Oklahoma
  44. Claremore, Oklahoma
  45. Wellington, Colorado
  46. English Mountain, Tennessee
  47. Raleigh, North Carolina
  48. Canton, Ohio
  49. Trenton, New Jersey
  50. Fleming-Neon, Kentucky
  51. River Oaks, Texas
  52. Nebo, Illinois
  53. Belmont, Michigan
  54. Laurel, Maryland
  55. Smithville, Missouri
  56. Norton, Massachusetts
  57. Mannford, Oklahoma
  58. Baltimore, Ohio
  59. Mahomet, Illinois
  60. Signal Mountain, Tennessee
  61. Alpena Training Center, Michigan
  62. Park View, Iowa
  63. Teviston, California
  64. Waverly, Virginia
  65. Ionia Township, Michigan
  66. Tacoma, Washington
  67. Birmingham, Alabama
  68. Pearland, Texas
  69. Haysville, Kansas

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We cannot afford to ignore climate change

I originally wrote this article for UNC Asheville’s student newspaper, The Blue Banner. It was published February 28, 2017. Digital scan of the issue unavailable.


By Cody Jones, Opinion Staff Writer

Climate change needs to be addressed immediately in a meaningful and substantial way before we reach the tipping point.

Reports of the symptoms of a warming Earth seem to be steadily increasing. A new study published last week in Nature found oxygen levels in oceans worldwide dropped an average of 2 percent in the last 50 years — in some areas there was a decrease of more than 4 percent. If the trend continues, this has catastrophic implications for marine life and ultimately the entire food chain.

At our current pace, the World Health Organization projects climate change will result in 250,000 additional deaths per year attributable to more heat waves, malnutrition from increased famines and the spread of diseases like malaria. Some scientists think that projection may be an underestimation.

A 2014 report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned, “Throughout the 21st century, climate change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty more difficult, further erode food security and prolong existing and create new poverty traps.”

Last week, the World Meteorological Organization found sea ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic at record lows. Occurrences of floods and droughts will increase, and that is just the beginning.

The effects of climate change will lead to political instability. With rampant, international political instability, it is unlikely any concrete steps would be made since the focus cannot be on climate change at that point. It will be too late. The focus would then be on scrambling to relieve angry, impoverished and dying populations.

Some studies, such as “Quantifying global soil carbon losses in response to warming” published in Nature, suggest we are already beyond the prospect of reversing climate change, but its effects, at least, can be mitigated.

The longer we wait to take action, the more extreme the bare minimum solutions become. The more extreme the solutions become, the more politically unappealing they will be. The more politically unappealing those solutions are, the less likely they are to become a reality.

We can focus on it now before it is too late, but those who have the power to enact and enforce change do not seem to be concerned about the threat — they would much rather bow to pressure from lobbyists and make a quick buck.

The evidence is abundant and readily accessible. Our current administration and the majority of Congress, however, seem resolute in their decision to roll back environmental regulations and ignore the evidence.

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Unclean Water

This list was somewhat of an experiment for myself, I decided to search for and track reports of unclean water throughout the United States for the year 2016. I suspect there are many locations that I missed, but this is the best I could do.

I wanted to do this after the reports from Flint began to gain national attention. These reports are not centered around lead contamination, but overall, I think, point to a massive failure in our infrastructure. Some of these reports say that the brown water may be safe to drink, but brown water shouldn’t be our new standard of normal. We’ve got an infrastructure problem, and I think this list shows just how ubiquitous it is. Concerned people in Flint were lied to: they were initially told their water was safe to drink. Maybe they’re not the only ones.

  1. Flint, Michigan
  2. Kingwood, Texas
  3. Springdale, Pennsylvania
  4. St. Joseph, Louisiana [December update]
  5. Crystal City, Texas
  6. Jackson, Mississippi
  7. Manor, Texas
  8. Elwood, Indiana
  9. Raleigh, North Carolina
  10. Sebring, Ohio
  11. Newark, New Jersey
  12. Watts, L.A., California
  13. Newburgh, New York
  14. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  15. St. Clair Shores, Michigan
  16. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
  17. Fairmont, Minnesota
  18. Horsham, Pennsylvania
  19. Lomita, California
  20. Patton, Pennsylvania
  21. Clarkston, Georgia
  22. Corpus Christi, Texas
  23. Spokane, Washington
  24. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  25. Portland, Oregon
  26. Lahaina, Hawaii
  27. Manhattan, Montana
  28. Bedford, New Hampshire
  29. Lawrence County and Morgan County, Alabama
  30. Hanson, Massachusetts
  31. Compton, California
  32. Canton, North Carolina
  33. Medford, Oregon
  34. Fresno, California
  35. Kewaunee County, Wisconsin
  36. Uxbridge, Massachusetts
  37. Lindsay, Oklahoma
  38. Salina, Kansas
  39. Litchfield Park, Arizona
  40. Malverne, New York
  41. Norton, Massachusetts
  42. Dearborn Heights, Michigan
  43. Washington, D.C.
  44. Mon-E-Bak, Franklin County, Ohio
  45. Harris County, Texas
  46. Lawton, Oklahoma
  47. Meridian, Mississippi
  48. Okmulgee, Oklahoma
  49. Abilene, Texas
  50. Goleta, California
  51. Fonda, New York
  52. Jeffersonville, Indiana
  53. Richmond County, North Carolina
  54. Hominy, Oklahoma
  55. Berwick, Maine
  56. Endicott, New York
  57. Maple Shade Township, New Jersey
  58. Guthrie, Oklahoma
  59. Johnson County and Pope County, Illinois
  60. Bridge City, Texas
  61. Rowan University, New Jersey
  62. Ponchatoula, Louisiana
  63. Cheverly, Maryland
  64. Cattaraugus, New York
  65. Butler County, Pennsylvania
  66. Cohoes, New York
  67. Lockwood, Nevada
  68. Parkhaven, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  69. Niles, Ohio
  70. East Chicago, Indiana
  71. Gary, West Virginia
  72. Downtown Pensacola, Florida
  73. Columbia, South Carolina
  74. South Pierce County, Washington
  75. Charleston Park, Lee County, Florida

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Sorry, Tim Peck, but fracking is risky business

Tim Peck, self-proclaimed objectivist, sent out a tweet today with a hefty accusation: 2015-05-27_1316

The article in question is titled “Asheville film screening warns about fracking threats,” by Asheville Citizen-Times writer Karen Chávez. To claim that an article is filled with lies is quite the assertion, in my opinion. After reading the article, I noticed a single comment had been posted. Turns out, Tim Peck decided to weigh in: Continue reading