Gov’t Report: EPA’s ability to protect human health with RadNet was “potentially impaired” for Fukushima — Officials questioned why they were using “dramatically less strict” standards for radioactive contamination

Published: April 24th, 2012 at 10:52 am ET
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Title: Audit Confirms EPA Radiation Monitors Broken During Fukushima Crisis
Source: Global Security Newswire | NTI
Author: Douglas P. Guarino
Date: Apr 23, 2012
Emphasis Added

An internal audit has confirmed observers’ concerns that many of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s radiation monitors were out of service at the height of the 2011 Fukushima power plant meltdown in Japan [...]

RadNet consists of 124 stations scattered throughout U.S. territories and 40 deployable air monitors that can be sent to take readings anywhere, according to the IG report. [...]

At the time of the Fukushima crisis, “this critical infrastructure asset” was impaired because many monitors were broken, while others had not undergone filter changes in so long that they could not be used to accurately detect real-time radiation levels, the IG report says.

“On March 11, 2011, at the time of the Japan nuclear incident, 25 of the 124 installed RadNet monitors, or 20 percent, were out of service for an average of 130 days,” the report says. “In addition, six of the 12 RadNet monitors we sampled (50 percent) had gone over eight weeks without a filter change, and two of those for over 300 days,” the report adds, noting that EPA policy calls on operators to change the filters twice per week.

Currently, “EPA remains behind schedule for installing” radiation monitors and has not resolved contracting issues identified as causing similar problems with the system in a 2009 audit, the report says. “Until EPA improves contractor oversight, the agency’s ability to use RadNet data to protect human health and the environment, and meet requirements established in the National Response Framework for Radiological Incidents, is potentially impaired.” [...]

EPA uses FDA standards

[I]n Hilo, Hawaii, EPA had detected radioactive iodine in milk at concentrations of 18 picocuries per liter, which is about six times greater than the agency’s maximum contaminant level of 3 picocuries per liter for the contaminant in drinking water. In Little Rock, Ark., the agency detected radioactive iodine in milk at concentrations of 8.9 picocuries per liter – about three times the regulatory level.

At the time, the agency defended its statements that the iodine levels were not a threat by noting that they were below emergency guidelines established by the U.S. Food and Drug administration. Documents the agency released under the Freedom of Information Act showed that some EPA officials, though, had questioned whether the FDA guidelines were appropriate given how dramatically less strict they were than the agency’s own enforceable regulations.

Taking Action

Advocacy groups – including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Committee to Bridge the Gap – raised concerns about broken and out of service monitors in an August 2011 letter to the agency and during an October 2011 presentation to top EPA officials in Washington.

Daniel Hirsch, a nuclear policy lecturer at the University of California (Santa Cruz) and president of Committee to Bridge the Gap

  • The April 19 report by the EPA Inspector General’s Office also casts further doubt on the agency’s already controversial claims that radiation from Fukushima did not pose any public health threat on U.S. soil
  • The report “raises serious questions about bland assurances at the height of the Fukushima disaster that no radiation was reaching the U.S.”
  • “It also raises serious questions about whether EPA will be prepared if a nuclear incident occurs in the United States”
  • Hirsch asked whether the agency “views its job as providing reassurance or providing factual information”

h/t Anonymous tip

Read the report here

Published: April 24th, 2012 at 10:52 am ET
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59 comments

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59 comments to Gov’t Report: EPA’s ability to protect human health with RadNet was “potentially impaired” for Fukushima — Officials questioned why they were using “dramatically less strict” standards for radioactive contamination

  • There is no doubt that the EPA was involved in the cover-up of the scope and severity of the Fukushima disaster. However, they were hardly alone.

    Look at the intervention level of 2000 CPM beta designated by the state of Alaska

    State of Alaska
    http://www.hss.state.ak.us/prepared/assets/fs_radiation.pdf

    This is a very high level and compares with the EPA's standard of intervention of 3X background
    EPA
    http://www.rrt5.org/acp/docs/App6_AirMonitoringGuidelines.pdf

    I had 2 very strange conversations with the EPA about radnet. In the first conversation with the San Francisco EPA, the person I spoke to lied about the beta levels. The second conversation occurred when I was called at home by the Washington DC EPA.

    http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/another-call-from-epa.html

    http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-conversation-with-epa-rep.html

    Clearly, the censorship of this mega-disaster is coming from the very top.

    The EPA has been captured. for instance, it no longer measures tritium emissions from nuclear power plants
    http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/hidden-tritium.html

    It also is now approving dangerous chemicals
    EPA Paves Way for "Agent Orange" GM CornBy Common Dreams Staff 10 April 12
    http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/312-16/10893-epa-paves-way-for-qagent-orangeq-gm-corn

    I believe that the EPA needs to be REFORMED, NOT ELIMINATED.


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    • A 2000 cpm intervention level in Alaska. That's an interesting tidbit.

      Of course having any 'intervention level' doesn't mean a thing if the testing is not done, not done properly or some other 'baloney' excuse is used.

      Sustained levels of 100 cpm or more should be considered an ALERT status. This is not being done. Not even close.

      Currently the EPA is like having a fox guard the chicken house.

      I believe that ALL (except whistle blowers) who work for the EPA/FDA should be tarred and feathered and then put on public display for their incompetence and criminal negligence.


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    • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

      Radium Girls & Radium Dials; Ottowa Illinois, Death City; via A Green Road Blog
      http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/04/radium-girls-radium-dials-ottowa.html

      75% US Nuclear Plants Leaking Toxic Tritium Radiation Into Drinking Water Supply; via A Green Road Blog
      http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/04/75-us-nuclear-plants-leaking-toxic.html

      Total Fukushima Radiation Released Into Ocean, Air, Groundwater, Storage Tanks; via A Green Road Blog http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/02/total-fukushima-radiation-released-into.html


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    • What-About-The-Kids

      Majia and all, reposting this from another thread late last night:
      What-About-The-Kids
      April 24, 2012 at 2:22 am Log in to Reply

      Awesome find, Whoopie! Thank you! Did you give Majia this link? I know she'll be very interested to see this report, as she had contacted the EPA about this very issue, and of course, did not get a satisfactory answer.

      In addition to the faulty air testing, I was frustrated that they pulled the plug on drinking water testing for Seattle after gathering their last sample on March 28 of last year. We all know that the Fuku fallout continued to rainout throughout April, and yet, the EPA stopped testing in March??? Knowing the watershed would take time to accumulate fallout, it was obvious to me why they stopped testing.

      What's more, after several attempts to get their local Region 10 office to reveal when the results of their "regular quarterly testing" would appear (they had claimed they had reverted back to their normal quarterly testing) , they promised mid-August 2011, then when they missed that, September. But they never did post any results for radiation testing in Seattle drinking water. Their excuse for being late was they relied on volunteers to deliver the samples to the labs. I even offered to volunteer to help speed up the process. But it was all a bunch of malarkey. There still are no test results that I can find on their online searchable database.


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      • What-About-The-Kids

        continued:

        …And I don't think they have ANY updating drinking water results for any cities, for that matter…Everyone should call their local region's office and find out where those test results are.

        /snip from my previous post

        We are paying these folks to do their job. But it is obvious to me there are other forces at work here.

        Just as the World Health Organization's hands are tied when it comes to releasing any health studies about the harmful affects of ionizing radiation on humans, due to their agreement with the IAEA to check with them first to get their approval (as if the IAEA has ANYTHING to do with the world's health!), I remember getting an email notification last spring or early summer stating the EPA and the NRC were holding a public forum on Fukushima in Washington D.C. The agenda stated that in addition to the public sessions, there would also be a private behind-closed-doors session just for the EPA and the NRC. Now what might these two agencies need to keep private in regards to Fukushima and its potential impact on Americans? Hmmm…I wonder.


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        • What-About-The-Kids

          continued (final part):

          …Remember, all the gvt. agencies work together in some capacity, sharing information. So although we'd like to believe the EPA is free to publish the true facts and figures their scientists discover, one can't help view their reports without some measure of skepticism. I wish I could say otherwise, but given the sad lesson we've all learned about how information gets controlled, covered up, obfuscated, since 3/11, I have to reserve some healthy skepticism.

          If any of you do follow up with your local region EPA offices to inquire about their drinking water testing for radiation, please do report what you learn here. Thanks and good luck!


          Report comment

    • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication

      @majia

      Since there appears to be no effective oversight of the failures of the EPA, the central questions once again are: Why are we paying the salaries of incompetent/negligent people who don't care a fig about our safety? Why have they not been FIRED! Doesn't the Federal Government have any consequences for non-performance?


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    • HoTaters

      Amazing, Majia.

      Now we finally know the truth of why the EPA did nothing! They didn't need to have DoE guidelines dictating their policy. They just used FDA guidelines and assumed since there isn't a problem until a lot of time has passed (consumption over time) there was no problem!

      Aha! We've all been wondering about this for the longest time. Finally an admission.

      Class action lawsuit, anyone?


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  • jec jec

    Some organization with horsepower needs to request a stop work for the contractor supporting EPA in all this. No more wasting our tax dollars for useless monitoring. Any company who has taken EPA contract dollars needs to be fired if they were related to the above lack of performance. Whistleblower? Anyone got a suggested group which would be willing to get EPA on the hot seat..similar to the Secret Service debacle of the past weeks in Colombia. Also, bet EPA also does highly funded "events" like GAO! So. ???–is there anyone out there? Since the GAO is suspect (they are the agency which catches funding waste…HAH!) who else should step in? Congress? Senate? Not Obama, its an Obama political appointee who is the head of EPA of course…..


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    • EPA actually disagreed with the White House on gulf oil spill

      Emails obtained using the U.S. Freedom of Information Act http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/interactive/2011/apr/15/bp-internal-meeting-notes

      Here is the Guardian's story http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/apr/15/bp-control-science-gulf-oil-spill?intcmp=239

      "Emails expose BP's attempts to control research into impact of Gulf oil spill Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show BP officials discussing how to influence the work of scientists…

      "Other documents obtained by Greenpeace suggest that the politics of oil spill science was not confined to BP. The White House clashed with officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last summer when drafting the administration's account of what has happened to the spilled oil. On 4 August, Jane Lubchenco, the NOAA administrator, demanded that the White House issue a correction after it claimed that the "vast majority" of BP oil was gone from the Gulf. A few days earlier, Lisa Jackson, the head of the EPA, and her deputy, Bob Perciasepe, had also objected to the White House estimates of the amount of oil dispersed in the gulf…."


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      • StillJill StillJill

        Awesome unearthing of info, majia!
        So,…there were UNSUNG heroes all along the way who TRIED to stop this 'steam roller' called NUCLEAR, OIL, ENERGY waste-FARCE!


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      • arclight arclight

        thank you majia for making the distinction on who to point the blame at.

        EURDEP the european monitoring service that has public access stopped working on the 6 april, after a suspicious earthquake and release in the west turkey area.. the monitor in the van region picked up a release at the same time as the earthquake.. i am still trying to determine if there wasnt at least one other release on the go… i suspect from the armenian reactor..

        "Armenia's Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant is often called "the most dangerous nuke plant in the world", as it is one of the few nuke plants in the world without primary containment structures, and is in the earthquake-prone region without ready access to water as reactor coolant in case of plant damage by the earthquake."

        the armenians though claim it is built to withstand a ten on the reichter scale i believe..

        whether i am right or wrong a monitor team could be sent if more evidence became clear to ascertain the level or not of contamination.. a good system.. however the politics mean different levels of accuracy from different countries…

        for instance when cameron and sarkosy did the deal with edf and rolls royce, any news of releases and the fact that germany exported wind generated electricity to france when catternom broke down again was not covered by msm but could be gleaned by the public..

        after a nice phone call with one of the representatives of eurdep he said that he would sort it out and that he was…


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        • arclight arclight

          not made aware of the problem…

          this evening i looked and it is back on sort of.. only up to the 13 april now!? the date for another release is around the 20 april, should be interesting…

          this system could be improved with little effort, but it is good in principle.. and the people who devoted their lives to radiological health and safety should be applauded no matter what organisation they hail from..

          these monitors should be independent in training and operation from the rest of the nuclear industry and education etc.. IMO

          peace!


          Report comment

      • dharmasyd dharmasyd

        Eventually, to safeguard their jobs, the underlings do what the boss wants. Where would Lisa Jackson be today if she didn't follow the big Kahuna's wishes?


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    • HoTaters

      Beyond Nuclear? They are very active in working with Washington, and their headquarters is in Maryland. I'd start there.


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  • lam335 lam335

    re: "The agency also stands by prior statements that radiation from Fukushima detected on U.S. soil was at “such extremely low levels, the risk of health effects are so small that it cannot be distinguished from exposure to natural background radiation … "

    But this is not what the agency claimed last spring. They claimed the levels were so low that there would be no health effects from them. They did NOT admit that, yes, there could/will be health effects, but we won't be able to "distinguish" them from health effects caused by other sources.

    The responsible people should feel ashamed. They have no integrity whatsoever.


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  • Bobby1

    EPA Financial Advisory Board. Bankster-heavy representation:

    http://www.epa.gov/envirofinance/efabmembers.html

    Bradley Abelow – Chief Operating Officer – Bradley Abelow is an American businessman and political leader who formerly served as Chief of Staff to the Governor of New Jersey in the Cabinet of Gov. Jon Corzine. Prior to entering Governor Corzine's Cabinet as State Treasurer, he was a top executive for the Wall Street firm of Goldman Sachs. He is currently Global Chief Operating Officer at MFGlobal (Joined 13 Sept 2010).

    William Cobb – Vice President, Environmental Services & Sustainable Development – Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. http://www.fcx.com/

    Lindene E. Patton – Chief Climate Product Officer – Zurich Financial Services

    Scott Haskins – Vice President, Global Water Business – CH2M Hill – This firm handled the Hanford "cleanup"

    Thomas Liu – Managing Director- Bank of America Merrill Lynch

    James Gebhardt – Chief Risk Officer – The BondFactor Company LLC – "BondFactor is a New York-based outfit created two years ago by public finance people who once worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. It is currently working on its business model before attempting to raise capital and apply for credit ratings."


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  • Here's a couple of potrblog videos.

    EPA censorship:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eIsf2hR1rA&feature=plcp&context=C4b4ebd1VDvjVQa1PpcFMiXlEaB0n-XuuUvyZIAs-VIDKcV0GFBAA=

    Graphs Removed & Restrictions:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EXAqDWVYyg&feature=plcp&context=C4169719VDvjVQa1PpcFMiXlEaB0n-XtlqTQYE5EQanOtSOWXjSKU%3D

    "Data queries throttled…" – potrblog
    "Something strange in the data…" – potrblog

    There IS a reason.

    Reviewed and Approved data… hmmm…???


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    There's opportunity here for new companies to get into this field, to test and show results of radiation in air, food, and water.


    Report comment

  • StillJill StillJill

    Now THERE's THE BIGPICTURE! :-)

    Good point!

    What companies will, 'ride the wave', I wonder!?! :-)


    Report comment

  • arclight arclight

    meanwhile in jordan

    Jordan receives U.S vehicle-based radiation monitoring system

    "..Amman, Oct. 5 (Petra) – The Jordan Nuclear Regulatory Commission (JNRC) on Wednesday received four vehicle-based radiation monitoring system from the U.S Department of Energy, within the joint cooperation program to protect human being and environment and combat illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive materials.

    In remarks during a ceremony, JNRC Chairman Jamal Sharaf said that the trucks, equipped with ionization and radioactive sensors, will be used in Amman Customs Department, Queen Alia International Airport and in the capital city of Amman.

    He added that the new system will enhance the Kingdom’s ability to monitor nuclear and radioactive materials and protect local and international human beings and environment, pointing to the 2008 MoU signed between JNRC and U.S Department of Energy to prevent illegal trading of nuclear and radiological materials…"

    http://www.petra.gov.jo/Public_News/Nws_NewsDetails.aspx?Site_Id=1&lang=2&NewsID=45317&CatID=13&Type=Home&GType=1

    go figure??


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  • arclight arclight

    "…The IAEA helps its 151 Member States to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism and draw plans for an effective response to eventual malicious acts involving the use of nuclear or other radioactive material.

    In less than a decade, the IAEA has trained some 9 000 experts in 120 countries in all aspects of nuclear security; improved facility security in 30 states; supplied some 3 000 detection instruments to more than 50 states; helped repatriate more than a tonne of highly enriched uranium research reactor fuel to the countries of origin; and the Agency´s Illicit Trafficking Database, with 110 states participating, is the most authoritative source of information in its field.

    For years, the IAEA has been providing specialized technical assistance and expert advice in the nuclear security field to countries that host major public international events. In addition to working with the organizers of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the IAEA has supported nuclear security measures for the 2008 and 2004 Olympics in China and Greece, the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, and the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil…."

    http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2010/sonnivan.html

    just thought they might be worth a mention

    good or bad IaEA?


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    • arclight arclight

      LOL THE IAEA ARE DOING THE 2012 OLYMPICS??

      hahhaaa! dont tell them about the radioactive waste 100 meters north of the stratford olympic stadiummmmm! lol!

      doubt they could find it with the overaveraged software they use.. and by the time they take off 0.03 mcSv/h for supernovas etc they would be lucky to find the reactor buried in the bristol channel !! IMO!! ;)

      THINK BUSBY FOUND TRACES OF IT MAYBE????

      what happened to busby!! ????

      they seek him here they seek him there that damned elusive pimpernel!! :)


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      • arclight arclight

        err message to police handler..

        typo

        meant
        lucky to find a reactor buried in the bristol channel

        not

        "…lucky to find the reactor buried in the bristol channel.."

        to everyone else meant

        "…lucky to find the reactor buried in the bristol channel.."

        luv a rumour!! :)


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      • dharmasyd dharmasyd

        Gol! The sprinters could get there in under 10 seconds! Higher! Faster! Stronger!


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      • RutherfordsGhost

        Arclight Old Boy!

        Which reactor? There are at least two there – maybe more?, and another core was cut up and dumped around Merseyside for land fill. The contractor saved a fortune!
        Reactors here, there and everywhere!
        Then there was the famous Dutch Company that had that storage yard, with plutonium washing into your water catchment, gardens and houses etc.
        Busby? Didn't he get hounded out of the UK by MI5? That poor man!

        I wonder if the Royal family has checked their estates and lands for illicitly dumped materials ….


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        • arclight arclight

          lol just caught your post ruther me old mukka :)

          hounded into the hands of the french not very secret service i suspect… bet the apple juice is nice down there :)

          the royal family has connections in the kazahkstan region that could quickly and cheaply deal with that sort of thing, if not the blair witch has some connections too!!

          got any links to these illusive reactors?? might be interesting!

          ta!


          Report comment

  • CaMom

    Wow! This comment thread is one of the most informative I've read yet. I learn so much from you folks.
    Thank you, everyone!


    Report comment

    • What-About-The-Kids

      CaMom, you are welcome! I too appreciate everyone's contributions here. We are all working together in efforts to help each other learn the facts in this ongoing catastrophe.

      And like you, having family and friends in California (as well as WA state) whose health has been adversely affected by Fuku, I am very thankful to have such a helpful resource since it looks like most scientists have been silenced on this topic elsewhere…


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Btw, radiation doesn't travel thousands of miles and then stop in California. It's coming down in snow and rainfall, everyday, somewhere.


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  • Surprised no one mentioned all the radiation monitoring equipment the US army has. Very sensitive too as it was designed to check for covert A-bomb testing. The EPA is a shell game and a distraction. I personally do not believe that US army or other US gov branch does not have DETAILED info on fall out from Fukushima


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    • snowwy snowwy

      They have, it is called classified in order to prevent mass panic and hysteria. Imagine a situation where everyone who feels unwell needs to go to hospital and does not get sent home with aspirin and told that they got a flu like illness…has the US got enough resources to really look after people who get tipped over the edge by the fall out after so many years of elevated radiation (which was home grown)?


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    It's a waste talking about governments and EPA. They were never there for us. And aren't there now. At all.


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  • Jebus Jebus

    This article is nothing more than a scapegoat for their preventing the public from knowing how much fallout hit the west coast od USA last year.

    To support this, I bring your attention back to this information from '08.

    Nuclear detectors in Washington state detect radioactive cat
    Published 25 March 2008
    http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/nuclear-detectors-washington-state-detect-radioactive-cat

    Dirty Bomb Scanner Spots Radioactive Cat
    http://seattlest.com/2008/03/24/radioactive_cat.php

    Watch out, you're being watched
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/dannywestneat/2004300343_danny23.html

    Do ya really think all those detectors were broken?
    Do ya really think Radnet is the only system in place?
    Do ya really think they just didn;t know?


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  • glowfus

    they just found mad cow in california. the cow was in a truckload of dead animals that "showed no signs of illness" and, of course, it's the non-contagious type of b.s.e.


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  • StPaulScout StPaulScout

    “EPA remains behind schedule….”
    "has not resolved contracting issues….."
    “Until EPA improves contractor oversight, the agency’s ability to use RadNet data to protect human health and the environment, and meet requirements established in the National Response Framework for Radiological Incidents, is potentially impaired.”

    Thank God George Bush cut all these unneeded budgets. This probably saved each of the 100,000 richest Americans 10 bucks each. They can start up new companies with all that cash….


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  • RutherfordsGhost

    Your EPA is an International joke … Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck could run it better. But they are imaginary characters that are there to teach fairy stories?

    In Soviet Russia – EPA monitors you!


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  • CaptD CaptD

    Let's not forget to mention all the Nuclear CRIMES committed by these folks:
    US Circumvented Laws To Help Japan Accumulate Tons of Plutonium
    http://www.dcbureau.org/

    A really high quality article with attached research doc's…


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