“As Americans focus on March Madness and "Dancing With the Stars" instead of the radioactive plume spreading all across the country, the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is attempting to make the mainstream media cover up of the Fukushima cloud a bit easier. The agency now notorious for its infamous claim that the air was safe to breathe after 9/11 is now seeking to raise the PAGs (Protective Action Guides) to levels vastly higher than those at which they are currently set allowing for more radioactive contamination of the environment and the general public in the event of a radioactive disaster.
PAGs are policies established by the EPA that guide the agency in enforcing the various environmental laws such as the Clean Air and Water Act in the invent of a radioactive emergency such as a nuclear/dirty bomb or factory meltdown like that occurring in Japan. The EPA had already established PAGs in this area in 1992. They can be found here. However, the agency now plans to amend and revise these standards this year. Because regulatory agencies form their own policies (although they can be directed by either the President or the Congress), there is no requirement to seek Congressional approval for these changes. All that is required is that the agency place the proposed changes in the Federal Register for public comment before it finalizes its draft into legal policy.
According to PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, the new standards would drastically raise the levels of radiation allowed in food, water, air, and the general environment. PEER, a national organization of local, state, and federal employees who had access to internal EPA emails, claims that the new standards will result in a "nearly 1000-fold increase for exposure to strontium-90, a 3000 to 100,000-fold hike for exposure to iodine-131; and an almost 25,000 rise for exposure to radioactive nickel-63" in drinking water. This information, as well as the emails themselves were published by Collapsenet on March 24.
In addition to raising the level of permissible radiation in the environment, PEER suggests that the standards of cleanup after a radioactive emergency will actually be reduced. As a result, radioactive cleanup thresholds will be vastly lowered and, by default, permissible levels of radiation will be vastly increased in this manner as well. As Michael Kane writes for Collapsenet, the current EPA numbers, as well as those generally agreed upon in the international radiation assessment community, all point to the fact that these increases in permissible levels would create a level of radiation where approximately 1 in 4 people would contract cancer from exposure to them.
The changes to the 1992 PAGs are not a new attempt by the EPA. The agency attempted similar changes in 2009 but the revisions were stopped largely by a barrage of FOIA requests and a lawsuit filed by PEER. However, in 2009 there was no massive radiation disaster the EPA needed to cover up as there is at the current time. In 2009, the EPA could afford to back off, regroup, and try again at a later date. Unfortunately, it is not likely to react the same way this time around.
As of the time of this writing, a toxic cloud of radiation has not only reached the US West Coast, but has spread all the way across the country to states like South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, and Massachusetts. Both the US government and the mainstream media have largely denied any risk associated with the radiation and have actively engaged in covering up the extent to which it has spread across the country.
In the event of any real journalism, the revelation of the danger and scale of the Japanese radiation cloud could be disastrous for those who hide the truth from the people who are sure to suffer the consequences. Indeed, the revelation that a toxic cloud of cancer-causing particles is littering the United States (especially in real time) might even be too much for the average television- and sports-obsessed American to handle. However, the lowering of safety standards for radiation contamination would be a major victory for those wishing to cover it up. After all, the talking heads would then be able to claim that the radiation levels are within the safety range set by the EPA.
No cause for worry.
Regardless of the motivation behind these new changes, they must be actively opposed. We cannot allow the veil to be pulled even further over the eyes of the American people. At the very least, we cannot allow an agency charged with protecting both the environment and the people who live in it to set standards alleviating itself of that responsibility.“