Americans Have a Simple Message for EPA: No Toxic Water!

As the public comment period closes on EPA’s proposal to curb water pollution from steam-electric power plants, more than 165,000 Americans have told EPA to protect clean water.

September 20, 2013

Washington – Power plants, particularly coal-burning power plants, are the largest polluters of our nation’s waters, discharging more than 5 billion pounds of toxic contaminants into the nation’s rivers, lakes, and streams every year – more than the next nine top-polluting industries combined. In April EPA proposed a long-overdue update to Clean Water Act standards for power plants – the first update since 1982. The public comment period for EPA’s Proposed Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category closes today. More than 165,000 Americans have supported the strongest possible standards to protect water from power plants’ toxic pollution.

All summer, environmental and clean water groups, including Clean Water Action, Earthjustice, Environmental Integrity Project, Waterkeeper Alliance, and Sierra Club, have mobilized people across the country – at rallies, public hearings, and in face-to-face meetings – to support a strong rule.  Americans are speaking out because, as EPA’s own data reveal, more than half of the most toxic water pollution in the country comes from power plants, making them the number one source of toxic water pollution based on toxicity in the United States.  These discharges have degraded 399 water bodies around the country that provide drinking water to local communities, and 40% of coal plants discharge within 5 miles of a drinking water intake.

“It is time to hold the coal industry accountable for cleaning up this pollution. Americans deserve – and the law demands – commonsense safeguards that protect downstream communities and our watersheds from dangerous heavy metals,” said Jennifer Duggan, managing attorney, Environmental Integrity Project. “Affordable treatment technologies are available to eliminate toxic discharges for power plants and are already in use at some plants.  There is no excuse for further delay.”

For the press release, click here.

For the comments, please click here.

For the list of exhibits, please click here.

For the supplemental comment letter, please click here.