Health of waterways, wildlife, public is important

To the Editor:

A coalition of environmental groups (including the Sierra Club, the Waterkeeper Alliance and Earth Justice), in collaboration with public heath advocacy groups filed suit May 3 in the District of Columbia’s Federal District Court alleging the EPA did not have the power to wipe out protections which have been in place for 35 years which clean up the toxins in water from the No. 1 source of water pollution in this country – the waste from coal power plants.

The lawsuit challenges the rollback of the longstanding EPA regulations that set limits on the amount of heavy metals like mercury, arsenic and lead that don’t degrade over time and end up in drinking water. The heavy metal toxins in the waste from coal plants increase the risk of cancer, impact fish and wildlife – making fish unsafe to eat – and travel up the food chain, ending up in the bodies of children and adults.

Rolling back the protections will also increase the cost of municipal water due to the additional investments which will need to be made to ensure safer drinking water can be delivered to customers.

The guidelines have also made rivers safer for swimming and fishing.

One of the advocates for the suit noted that instead of keeping water protection regulations in place, the EPA and the Trump administration are turning back the clock to a time when rivers caught fire and polluters dumped toxins in waterways with impunity. The advocates for the suit insist they will not stand idly by and will fight to ensure that common sense prevails and that the health of the waterways, wildlife and the public will not be regarded as less of a priority than greed on the part of the polluters.

Amelia Shea

Wilton Peace Action

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