Illinois, other Miss. River states failing to address pollution worries: Report

The Mississippi River Collaborative (MRC) today released a report that implores the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take specific actions to clean up nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in Illinois and nine other states, because those states have failed to make sufficient pollution reductions. The ten states that are the focus of the report all border the Mississippi River and send their pollution to the river and ultimately to the Gulf of Mexico.

The report, “Decades of Delay,” was prepared by MRC, a partnership of 13 environmental and legal groups, and assesses state progress in reducing the pollution that threatens drinking water supplies for millions of Americans and causes the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone.  

The report finds that nitrogen and phosphorus continue to pose serious threats to Illinois waters, interfering with the public’s use and enjoyment, and threatening the health of people and aquatic life. Illinois lakes have been especially devastated by phosphorus pollution.

“EPA’s hands-off approach is simply not working in Illinois. Every summer our lakes and beaches are fouled by noxious, smelly and sometimes toxic algal blooms,” said Kim Knowles, Staff Attorney at Prairie Rivers Network.  “The state lacks a rigorous program for addressing this scourge.”

The report suggests six specific steps EPA can take to protect human health and water quality in state waters.  Recommendations include setting numeric limits of allowable nitrogen and phosphorus in state waters, assessing more waterways to determine the full extent and impact of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, and making sure states develop rigorous plans for reducing pollution and for procuring the funding needed to address this significant problem.

“For 20 years, we have been told the EPA and the states would address the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that fouls our rivers and lakes and perpetuates the Gulf Dead Zone,” said Jessica Dexter, Staff Attorney, Environmental Law & Policy Center, an MRC member. “This report demonstrates the falsity of that claim. EPA should use the tools outlined in the report to uphold the Clean Water Act and get us on a path to clean rivers and streams.”

–Prairie Rivers Network

2 thoughts on “Illinois, other Miss. River states failing to address pollution worries: Report

  • Pingback: Illinois, other Miss. River states failing to address pollution worries: Report – The Rock River Times

  • November 24, 2016 at 11:17 am
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    A federal judge in New Orleans, hopefully soon, will decide on a lawsuit, filed five years ago, demanding EPA to regulate ‘nutrient pollution’ on a national level. Nutrient (fertilizer) pollution originates from different sources, now mostly blamed on the runoffs from farms and cities, but what the public does not know is the best kept national secrete, that EPA never implemented the CWA, because it used an essential test (BOD) incorrect and not only ignored 60% of this oxygen exerting waste, but all the nitrogenous (urine and protein) waste, while this waste, like fecal waste exerts an oxygen demand, but also is a fertilizer for algae. By calling this waste now a nutrient and blaming it mostly on farmers, the public has been successfully kept in the dark.
    Therefore no more new regulations or lawsuits until EPA first acknowledges three major sources of nutrient pollution, that are presently ignored.
    1. The lack of nitrogenous (urine and protein) waste treatment in municipal sewage, due to a faulty test and also causes nutrient pollution. Wp.me/p5COh2-2C
    2. Septic tanks do not treat sewage, they only solubilize sewage so it can get into groundwater.
    3. The impact of ‘green’rain’ or rain containing reactive nitrogen (fertilizer), the result of the burning of fossil fuels, the increased use if synthesized fertilizer and increased frequency of lightning storms, the result of global climate change.

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