Will Media Bust Obama For Grandma's Illegal Sea Burial?

President-elect Barack Obama might have broken Environmental Protection Agency regulations when he tossed the cremated remains of his grandmother into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Nuuanu, Hawaii, earlier this week.

As the website of Hawaiian NBC-TV affiliate KHNL reported Tuesday (video available here):

Secret Service security keeps a close watch as Obama, oldest daughter Malia and sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, among others, make their way down to the rocky shoreline. Together, they spread the ashes of Madelyn Dunham. It's the same spot Obama paid tribute to his mother last August. 

Yet, as reported by the Turkish website SABAH Saturday, such a procedure may not be legal:

A ceremony arranged for his grandmother, whom he lost during the election process, may end up causing quite a headache for Barack Obama.

In a ceremony held in Hawaii, Obama, teary-eyed, poured his grandmother's ashes into the sea from the sand-lined shore. Environmentalists were quick to stand up against the move.

The reason behind the contention was the state's Department of Land and Natural Resources Protection Law, which prohibits ashes from being dropped into the ocean. According to the regulation in place, ashes must be poured at a distance of at least three nautical miles. It has not yet been determined whether Obama will receive a fine for his actions.

According to the EPA's website:

Disposal location and measures - Non-cremated remains

Burial at sea of human remains that are not cremated shall take place at least 3 nautical miles from land and in water at least 600 feet deep. Certain areas, including east central Florida, the Dry Tortugas, Florida and west of Pensacola, Florida to the Mississippi River Delta, require water at least 1800 feet deep. Refer to the Code of Federal Regulations at 40 CFR 229.1 (PDF) (1 p, 149K, About PDF) for details. All necessary measures shall be taken to ensure that the remains sink to the bottom rapidly and permanently.

Disposal location and measures - Cremated remains

Cremated remains shall be buried in or on ocean waters without regard to the depth limitations specified for non-cremated remains in paragraph 2 above provided that such burial takes place at least three nautical miles from land.

The SABAH article said, "Environmentalists were quick to stand up against the move."

Clearly, these environmentalists aren't members of the American media, for I haven't been able to find any reports concerning this matter.

I wonder why.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.