Whitecaps

Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Name:
Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Coeur d'Alene Classified?

On Friday, January 14, 2005, I E-mailed two questions to:

Gene Taylor, PhD,
US EPA Region 10, Drinking Water Unit
1200 6th Ave
(OW-136)
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: 206-553-1389
Fax: 206-553-0165
Email: taylor.gene@epa.gov
The questions were:
"Under the provisions of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (Bioterrorism Act), the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (population between 35,000 and 37,000), was required to certify and submit the vulnerability assessment of the city’s community drinking water system to the EPA Administrator by June 30, 2004. The city was then required to prepare or revise an emergency response plan based on the results of the vulnerability assessment and certify to the EPA Administrator, within 6 months of completing the assessment, that an emergency response plan has been completed or updated.

Has the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, complied with those provisions of the Bioterrorism Act? If not, with which provisions has the city failed to comply?"
On January 18, 2004, Dr. Taylor responded via E-mail with this answer:
"The Bioterrorism act modified the Safe Drinking Water Act by adding the requirements you describe.

The City of Coeur d'Alene will be required, if not in compliance with this requirement, or any other requirement of the Safe Drinking Water Act, to provide a statement to that effect in their next Consumer Confidence Report.

I hope that this will meet the needs of your inquiry."
Well, no, as a matter of fact, Dr. Taylor's answer did not meet the needs of my inquiry. His answer was nonresponsive to the questions asked. So, I replied to his reply:

"Thank you for your reply; however it did not answer my question.

My question was: Has the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, complied with those provisions of the Bioterrorism Act? If not, with which provisions has the city failed to comply?

To make my question clearer: Is the City of Coeur d'Alene presently, today, in compliance with the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (Bioterrorism Act)? If not, with which provision is the city presently, today, not in compliance?

The law prescribed compliance by specific dates, and I am trying to determine if the city has complied with the law. Your answer suggests that the EPA is depending on self-reporting of noncompliance by cities rather than identifying cities who did not comply with the law by the prescribed dates.

If your office is unable to provide the requested information, please direct me to someone who can. Thank you."
Mr. Taylor replied promptly and instructed me to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters. I have.

Yes, I might have called the City of Coeur d'Alene and received an honest answer, but I am interested in seeing if the federal government is doing its job. It seems odd that a citizen needs to file an FOIA request to learn if our city is complying with federal law, a law intended to keep our drinking water safe. Dr. Taylor's answer suggests the EPA expects noncompliant jurisdictions to report their own noncompliance. I am not reassured.







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