We need strong environmental regulation

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Regarding Tony Norman’s column “W.Va. Water Crisis Serves as Lesson Elsewhere” (Jan. 14): The chemical spill in West Virginia that left 300,000 people without tap water for a week should teach us that the coal/​chemical industry needs tighter regulation of chemical storage and that more studies of chemical toxicity are needed.

The North Dakota crude oil train that caught fire in Quebec last year, killing 47 people, should teach us that tighter train handling regulations are needed, and that a gold rush mentality can cost human lives.

The BP oil spill of 2010 that claimed 11 lives and cost $40 billion and counting should teach us that the use of dispersants might have made the spill more toxic, and deep-water oil drllling needs tighter regulation.

In all three cases we should conclude that market forces were not sufficient; tighter government regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies is needed to ensure that our water, air and land are safe.

Meanwhile, closer to Pittsburgh, there was a recent Associated Press story that “Pennsylvania has confirmed at least 106 water-well contamination cases [due to gas and oil drilling] since 2005” (“Fracking Pollution Records Uneven,” Jan. 6). Yet the gas industry claims it is over-regulated.

Are we learning from our mistakes?


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